The Dire Earth Cycle starts off with a bang in Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator. This thrilling jam-packed novel creates a world which is shockingly realistic. Hough delivers a sci fi novel which is both post apocalyptic and space dwelling with adventure at its core.
In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura.
Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.
The most impactful aspect of The Darwin Elevator is the world which Hough creates. Characters are neither too generic nor overly memorable. Instead, each character serves to make the story move with an adventure which encompasses the entire world rather than a few characters. The interesting aspect of this is that the natural pattern of characters in The Darwin Elevatorr is to choose the path of the greater good. This is so much the case, that one takes notice when characters act selfishly to propel their own interests. This mentality is one of the many which solidifies a universe which is both familiar and alien- a considerable asset in the sci fi genre.
In stark contrast to other sci fi books on the market, The Darwin Elevator doesn’t tackle the larger issues. Instead, the character objectives and state of the world propel the story. In the very best way, The Darwin Elevator is simply entertaining. Like a good action movie or video game, there are few plot distractions such as incomplete romances or red herrings.
One of the main downsides is Hough’s visualization skills. Very rarely is the question ‘How is that done?’ ever answered. This is true for action scenes which are lacking detail and move past in an unremarkable fashion. The technology of The Darwin Elevator is also somewhat vague and Hough relies on the alien nature to hide specifics.The Darwin Elevator Though I don’t expect a full schematic, it would be nice to have some illusion of a completed technology, alien or otherwise.
Despite my minor complaints, I genuinely enjoyed reading The Darwin Elevator. With a decent pace, Hough intrigues the reader, making you want to follow the journey which unfolds. Whether you are a looking for a new series or simply a quick read, you will be able to find something to like in The Darwin Elevator. I am eager to see what happens next in The Dire Earth Cycle and can’t wait to read the next installment.