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Stormbreak (The Serenity Strain Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The writing is great too, there's a couple of passages in particular that I can't really talk about (no spoilers here) but I went back and reread them, just because they were so well put together.
Overall, a fast paced read that just kept dragging me back for one more chapter. Highly recommended and I can't wait for the sequel.
The arrogance of science coupled with the wrath of Mother Nature brings Southeast TX to its knees. The Maestro, a guinea pig for the Serenity Strain, is a formidable and disturbing representation of evil who, with a following of equally twisted convicts, is hellbent on carrying out his prophesied mission. The arrival of the worship evoking goddess Id establishes the hierarchy of evil and promises the coming of a being darker and more evil still.
The deck is stacked against the estranged family who, not of want but seemingly of destiny, is placed in the path of unfathomable challenge and circumstance. Together, with the family dog and ultimately an inevitable partnership with the scientific author of the Serenity Strain, they stand toe to toe with sheer evil.
Chris Pourteau does a masterful job with his rendition of the Apocalypse Weird world. I hereby mandate this one as a must read!
In “Stormbreak,” three apocalyptic hurricanes ravage the Earth. A nympho villainess known as Id lures the mutant felons to her new stronghold in Texas, where they gain followers, escalate the carnage, and celebrate their psychopathy with public displays of carnal glee. Is anything sane and human left? Yes. Her name is Lauryn. A cold, sober corrections official, she’s forced to team up with her cheating husband, their teen daughter, and the family dog while searching for survivors in the aftermath of the hurricanes.
At this point in almost every apocalyptic novel, I marvel at how people risk life and limb to get to a ruined town in hopes of finding Mom still alive. Don’t do it! Don’t go there! But they never listen, and bad things always come of it.
That’s one reason I rarely spend much time summarizing plots. The other is that I’m accused of too many spoilers, no matter how many details and events I’m leaving out. That said, of course I’ll warn readers that someone is gonna die. You know this. I know you know this! Doesn’t anyone else get angry at authors who coerce you into entering the world that hatched inside their heads, get us to care about these imaginary friends of his, only to bump off some of them?
Fists of rage shaking at Chris Pourteau, I will pass over in silence the carnage and the body count, and focus on the part that hooked me in the first place: the science.
The Serenity Virus itself doesn’t exist, Pourteau informs us in the Afterword, but most of the genetic stuff Dr. Eamon Stavros tinkers with is scary-real. With Stavros and his creator, Pourteau, I believe “the promise for science eradicating illness and behavioral issues from humanity has never been greater than it is stormbreaktoday,” but it’s a long, dark road to the cure. It’s one thing to discover our genetic impulse control center, as French and Finnish researchers have with the HTR2B gene, not to mention the Chinese, MAGE, or MIT-developed “multiplex automated genome engineering” technology used for cutting and pasting genetic sequences. It’s another thing to try controlling that biological control center.
Pourteau makes good use of a classic theme in science fiction—“the danger from tinkering with the inner workings of the body’s clock, the most miraculous (and delicately balanced) of machines ever created.” He also pulls us, far too deftly for my comfort, into the horror of being a human in the path of a hurricane.
“Ah, for the days when our greatest worries were simpler,” he quips in that Afterword, “less about a genetic genie escaping a laboratory bottle and more about how best we could avoid Mother Nature’s wrath. Maybe, when you think about it, hurricanes aren’t so bad after all.”
Oh, yes they are. At least in this story, they’re as bad as Peter Marsten, the ringleader of the prisoners infected with the failed Serenity Strain.
Stunned civilians stumble out of their homes, pillage the remnants of gas stations and WalMarts, and hide from, fight, or join the marauding “Serenity Strain” felons. Lauryn is tough enough to battle the felons who were once under her charge, but now they have a queen who blew in with the storms, a powerful temptress known as Id.
**A New Threat Emerges** - quick! You'll want Book 2. Good news: it's right here, ready for you to buy on the heels of Book 1.
IT TAKES MORE THAN ONE battle to win a war, and “Ironheart (The Serenity Strain Book 2) brings us to the next stage.
Between the podcast and the prose, the complex characters, the intriguing plot, and quiet interludes of introspection in between all the battles, bloodlust and just plain lust, it’s no mystery how a middle-aged geek from Texas got me to read the kind of book I normally avoid. (“Ironheart: The Serenity Strain, Book 2...
(My complete review was published at Perihelion Science Fiction, 12-June-2016.)