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Jupiter Winds Paperback – May 11, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
The story was engrossing, the characters believable and relatable, and while faith was woven throughout the story, it wasn't preachy or overly saccharine. I have already recommended it to one friend, and will recommend it to others.
The scientific inconsistencies were troubling as well because they pushed beyond the level of plausibility. Petroleum in the water for example on a planet that it seems to be hinted that had animals brought from earth - that just needs explanation where exactly did the algae and zooplankton come from to make the oil? If it wasn't from those sources, then how and where did it come from? since the animals are from earth but extinct, then are they clones? They are just there, running wild about the planet with no explanation of an eco-system or really, much purpose. Are they genetically modified to survive there? How?
The problem of atmospheric pressure is a huge problem, if there possibly was something under the gases of Jupiter, there needs to be a little bit at least of an explanation of how that is possible (Ben Bova's "Jupiter" and "Leviathan's of Jupiter" touch on this for example, but give some believability to humans surviving the pressure). I love Sci-fi as pure speculation, but this seemed more of a slide into fantasy rather than Sci-fi. I was wondering about the name of the evil empire as well. Masdar is an actual planned city in the UAE. The first part seemed to indicate they might be related, but then if the similarity was intentional, it seems very odd to have a Russian (?) woman as general.
Temperature would also be an issue - Jupiter's "surface" (likely liquid and plasma) is hot because of pressure. How do you resolve the high heat, even if theoretically there was a solid surface and the gas was theoretically breathable there are still issues with the heat and density of the gas. How do you see in that level of density? The indication was that the atmosphere was like ours - which we know isn't the case. Visibility at the very least would be an area to discuss. Say there is some strange element that doesn't melt in that heat and could be solid, a theoretical mountain range - what is it and how is it possible for people to survive there? Is it an "Avatar" type floating surface, floating in the atmosphere where it wouldn't be burned? How is that possible? A little suspension of disbelief is fine - this seems to suggest a whole other solar system than the one we actually have. It blurred fantasy and Sci-fi too much.
Some description of the planet, to make it more otherworldly would have been helpful. There wasn't really anything in the book that couldn't have happened on earth. The trees, the grass were all the same, the animals could have easily been clones - so nothing to make it seem that it was a different planet at all. More description (in the sequel perhaps? Because while I am writing more of a negative review, I do hope for a sequel - this book had a lot of promise, it just needs to be fleshed out and given depth) of the planet would be helpful. Is the sky orange all the time? Can you see stars through the thick gas? Is there a sea (Ben Bova again)? The core of Jupiter is speculated to be liquid. Where is this surface (susupended in the atmosphere possibly?) and how is it there?
The space tunnels were odd as well. Why is that necessary? It is theoretically possible to move our rockets faster through nuclear or other (Helium 3 for example which speculated to be plentiful on the moon's surface) means. Yet, I am not sure even why the speed was necessary. The story wouldn't have been affected at all had a few months passed while on a spaceship. If the author intended to keep the children younger, then she could easily have started them younger in the beginning of the book and it wouldn't have disrupted the story at all. The tunnels weren't described and just seemed to be there as a mechanism, not for any realistic reason.
Also - this maybe picky - but "drones" are unmanned aircraft. Androids I believe are what the author intends to be writing about. Having worked for the US Air Force in the past, I cringed whenever I read "drones" instead of "droids" just a picky detail there - but still, drones bring to mind robots hovering, not an android.
What is the Mazdaar conflict over anyway? How are they "tyrants?" Surely there is more to it than just being tyrants because: empire. Bad. There wasn't really any explanation of why they were bad though. What is their motivation? Energy? Power? Money? Oligarchy? I would love to see the ideas fleshed out more. Also radiation fallout from a nuclear war; how are people living on that? Are they dying from cancers? How are the children affected?
I love Science Fiction. It is a huge weakness in Christian markets, and rarely done well. But it is possible. More attention to detail needs to be given though, otherwise, it might as well be fantasy, why bother making it Sci-fi if no scientific rules apply?
On the other hand, the novel's extreme creativity is hampered by the author's limited writing style and characterization. Story ideas that sound good when described were executed with little finesse, and the promising characters and world building are largely unexplored and underdeveloped, with people acting without motivation simply to further plot.
I had such a hard time getting through the opening chapters I nearly missed the good parts of this book; had I not received it for free in a contest, I likely would have never finished it. That's a shame, since the premise is truly a neat idea.
I don't know how scientifically accurate it is to envision land beneath Jupiter's storms to colonize, but it makes for a unique world with some very wild indigenous life forms. The geosocial/political structure of Earth in a new world order allowed author C.J. Darlington to explore some typical genre tropes with a new angle: an Asian espionage ring seeking dominance over a Middle Eastern power, with the Western world largely at either's mercy, and enough futuristic bionics to satisfy any aficionado's dreams.
But these details aren't delivered in a satisfactory way. Rather than a slow build or a massive spectacle, the novel doles out exposition like medicine, continually forcing characters to engage in clipped explanatory conversations. Gray and Orinda are meant to be streetwise yet vulnerable; instead, I had trouble buying that either of them had made it on their own for so long, or that those around them were much better equipped to deal with the situations at hand.
Most disappointing was the main antagonist, a character who in theory should have been the most engaging. A heartless ice queen with a tragic past, desperately seeking to dominate those around her sounds wonderful, and also someone who could offer a great foil for our main heroines. Alas, her character was the least developed of anyone in the entire story. Her motivations were muddied, her actions not so much opaque as rote, and her strategy came straight from the stereotypical single-minded villain playbook.
I did enjoy the final third of the book. Forgive the pun, but the story really takes off once everyone gets to Jupiter. Without any further exposition to deliver the author finally settled into a nice, standard action template with the bonus of an almost entirely female ensemble fighting it out. There were a few twists and a conclusion that ends this specific story while leaving room open for more.
If you're a fan of distopian novels and want a change of pace, this book certainly delivers. There aren't any stand out characters or moments to delight, but despite its clunky pacing it does have the saving grace of not inventing a love triangle or other melodramatic plot device to further its plot. I'd be willing to dip into this world a second time. Just don't expect to be swept away by this mild adventure.