- File Size: 2439 KB
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: November 11, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MDSRRFQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,215 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Colony Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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This story demonstrates a great many of Florschutz’s strengths in one big, neat package. Let’s just start with the main characters, who each bring a set of unique interests, skills and personalities to the team. We’ve got Anna’s awesomeness as a supersoldier among supersoldiers – you know you’re seeing something special when she steps into the story’s first engagingly written fight – but with her own brand of weaknesses and fears stemming from a life on the battlefield. Then there’s Jake, the streetwise and imminently practical investigator who knows exactly how to deal with powerful adversaries and sticky situations, even if he finds himself a hydrophobe stuck doing work on a world where the inhabitants have to live underwater every minute of every day. Sweets rounds out the cast as a constantly curious, but certainly not naive, expert hacker and programmer, though he’s not exactly up and ready for combat situations.
Each character is interesting to watch in their own way, and Florschutz takes the time to let us really get to know them. Rounding them out, addressing their interests and concerns, the story lets us grow attached, making it hard for anyone not to relate to at least one. Supported by a large cast of side characters from hyper intelligent AIs to dangerous rebellion leaders, we’re left with no shortage of solid characters.
Then we have the imaginative new setting, Rapture gone overdrive. Florschutz puts us on an underwater planet complete with dome cities, massive submarine navies, an ongoing power struggle and even a few *cough* aliens for good measure. Never getting too technical, the narrative paints a clear picture that is easy to follow even as it explores a wide range of consequences for an underwater civilization. It’s not the kind of science fiction I expected by any means, and that works strongly in the story’s favor.
Then we move to the action, which is regular and at times riveting. You’ve got urban warfare, street thuggery, alien combat, and tense underwater scenes. By far the best of it is the naval war that Florschutz paints in wonderful detail, putting us in the driver’s seat of one of the submersibles and watching the micro-torpedoes fly. I dare say this author is getting better at these types of scenes.
If I had to pin down the only thing that may be a turnoff for people, it would be the length. Let’s face it, Colony is a big story. As good as it is, some people might be intimidated by its size. Still, the author pulled this off while maintaining a good, steady pace that never gets boring, so I don’t think it’s that big a deal.
As a side note, I couldn’t help but notice how the author regularly avoided a number of tropes. Take, for example, romance. There are hints throughout the story that Anna could potentially end up in one. Most authors would have taken that and run away with it, and the properly inclined readers would have ate it up. Imagine my surprise, then, when subtle hints are as far as it goes. Even at the end, when I half expected some final clue to be thrown in there to give the romantics a bone, it never came, leaving the entire concept as nothing more than a vague possibility. Little things like that are great highlights for how this author likes to step outside the box at times, and I wholeheartedly approve.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Out of all the stories I’ve been reading over the past few weeks, this is the only one that I was excited to get back to every day and regretted putting down at the end of my scheduled wordcount for the day. It’s exciting, it’s unusual, it’s interesting, it’s fun. Had I not been forcing myself to focus on other necessities such as my own writing and other stories, I probably would have plowed through it all in a few short days.
And really, do I need to say anything more than that?
'Colony' is not at all in the same universe as his other stories, and I guess I'm gonna have to redefine 'BFG.' In the book, it means 'Big Freaken Gun.' But I'm looking at it as 'Brilliant Freaken Genius,' because I suspect that the imagination that produced such widely divergent novels does, in fact, approach the genius level. But before I get to that:
I have to give point out the fact that the cover is classically beautiful. A little sliver crescent of a planet on a black background; nicely understated lettering. The credits list Nigel Nahous/ Alpha-Element as the artist, and Luke Rodziewicz as the cover text advisor. I am not familiar with their work, because I'm not THAT brand of geek, but it is lovely, simple, and eye-catching.
Okay, back to the genius. Florschutz has previously published two novels about a psychic investigator, and a collection of short stories (the last ALSO has a beautiful cover, I don't know if it's the same designer). They are excellent, well-organized plots with interesting characters, and there is absolutely ZERO cross-over to 'Colony.' It's a bit of a shock, actually, to see the radical departure. I really LIKED the psychic investigator, and hope to see more of him, but 'Colony' has its' own great set of individuals populating the pages.
The first part of the book reads like Michael Crichton at his early techno best. Think 'Andromeda Strain' and 'Terminal Man,' and you will have a feel for the writing style.
Sweets is a hacker of the 'white hat' set, meaning that after he exploits a weakness in a corporation's data systems, he sells that info to them so they can fix it. His primary drive is the sheer thrill of the chase. However, if an agency refuses to pay him for cracking their code, he exacts revenge by exposing them. He has slight coach potato tendencies, but counters that by participating in the sport of free running, which resembles parkour superficially. However, the free runner has only the objective of arriving at the destination; the flips and contortions of parkour are not an end in themselves.
Anna is a tough-as-nails mercenary, who has received combat enhancement for strength, speed, reflexes, etc. She is also the proud owner of her own set of combat armor and a skinsuit, which means she can come ready-equipped to the job. She works as an independent contractor to provide bodyguard services, and the cultural set gives her lots of opportunities for employment.
Jake is a corporate investigator, and has a mix of both Sweet's and Anna's skill sets. He is hired by mega-corporations to determine who is stealing their dough from the inside. What happens after he identifies the guilty party and hands them over isn't part of his job description, although he does suffer an ethical twinge when he imagines their fate. He expects his clients to try to rip him off, and he is frequently right.
This future postulates mega-corporations fighting for control of countries. National identities have either disappeared, or are on the way out. The United Nations is the only governmental entity left, and they are no more ethical than their adversaries. Megacorps and UNSEC both incite revolutions to increase their power base, and as usual, the little guy winds up paying the bill. FTL has been achieved, and colonies have been established on an unspecified number of extra-solar planets. It costs a life savings to migrate out, and there is no guarantee of safety.
Anna, Sweets, and Jake are all kidnapped and blackmailed into a mission to find a missing super-programmer. The rewards are sufficient to overcome their initial resistance.
And then stuff happens.
The MIDDLE of the book, with the combat scenes, reminds me more of Tom Clancy than Crichton. I don't recall Crichton doing combat scenes, except for dinosaurs eating each other and the random human. If you want another book to compare with this part, go for 'Red Storm Rising' or 'The Hunt for Red October.'
Without getting into spoiler territory, the end of the book is Fred Saberhagen.
I must take issue with some of my fellow reviewers. I did NOTR find 'Colony' to be slow-paced. It is INTRICATE, and it is LENGTHY. It's not slow. There is enough material here to set up a complex society on Earth, as well as two other rival systems on Pisces, the planet where the action takes place. Cutting the text would ONLY be needed IF there was was a page limit set due to the mechanics of publishing a physical book. As it is, there are some scenes that establish the skills and relationships among the three main characters that don't directly contribute to the storyline, but they are well-written. To me, a book is slow if it has characters sitting around a coffee table talking about random events/their feelings about random events. None of that is present in 'Colony.'
That said, it took me an outrageously long time to complete the book: over a week. Normally, I'll read and review one book per day; sometimes, I'll read it one day, and review it the next. That's NOT the fault of the book, however; it just seems that there was a conspiracy of events that kept me out of my Kindle Reader.
It is my humble...forget that. It is my PROUD opinion that 'Colony' deserves to be a smash hit. Highly endorse.
Most recent customer reviews
I finished this book just a few days ago, and it took me that long to let all of my thoughts on it coalesce.Read more