Publisher: Ronel van Tonder
Publishing Date: October 2014
Publishers Description: The omnipotent Phoenix was left in charge of running the domes and seeing to the needs of all the denizens residing within. And after everything that it has witnessed, after everything it has been tasked to do… it has become unstable. Hope takes the form of two women from disparate halves of this terrifying future Earth, each with their own personal vendettas and agendas. But how can such fragile creatures defy their adversaries?
Review: Well no one is speshul, so that’s a relief, although Peppermint flits around it’s edges. Yeah, Peppermint. Who the fuck is named Peppermint, or Maple. How about Onyx, Topaz, Aluminum (Alum) and Jasper? I guess 300 years into the future, naming conventions are standardized to represent a Logan’s Run type civilization, sheltered from the hideousness of reality.
Anywaaaay, this was pretty good writing coupled with a ho-hum storyline a dismal plot, average character development (that failed with the movement) and great world building. We have an encore appearance of Humongous from Mad Max playing the part of a God like leader in a stinky city. The issue I had with the storyline was that at times, it seemed formulaic. Almost like the author was relying on an often tried and true movie scene. The angry blaming Father, resentful son, mediator mom shtick wore thin as did Humongous/Bartertown. The plot goes nowhere. Attempting to hide the plot for the entirety of the novel does not increase the impact of the finale. As the ending was abrupt, so the plot was rendered non-consequential.
The fails on firearms function and shooting were numerous. Take for instance the Glock handgun. You don’t oil a Glock, period. You don’t cup the hand holding the gun while bending the elbow to reduce recoil. In fact, this promotes uncontrolled recoil. At one point Pearce is ordered to look in the scree for the spent cases and ends up looking for rubber bullets. So……which is it? I know that if I tried to look for bullets of either the lead or rubber kind, that it would be impossible and non-profitable.
I liked the insulated future city and it’s vacuous inhabitants looking for the next rage. The evil underbelly of the city and the crazy AI complemented the characters and extended my interest while the desert dwellers (outside) lacked any formative development. The movement was not constrained on the outside, it just failed to provide the oft used vehicle to enhance and grow the characters. Jinx never really changed even though her circumstances were in constant motion.
This received fairly good reviews across the board and one reviewer likened van Tonder to Isaac Asimov, “re-inventing the genre”. I just can’t hop on the sycophantic van Tonder train as I just don’t see a 5 star work here. What I got was Mad Max’s uninteresting Bartertown + Logan’s porn Run= Compile: Quest with some rapey scenes thrown in.