The Exodus Towers
By Jason M Hough
The Exodus Towers is the second volume in the Dire Earth Cycle, picking up right where the cliff-hanger ending left the story. A new Elevator and those strange Black Towers only complicate matters for those survivors of the wasteland that is the Earth. Not all survivors are that friendly either and the "cult of immunes" seem to be gaining strength.
As if that wasn't enough, a new threat appears to be forming, our intrepid hero Skyler discovers a crashed Builders ship that seems to be changing the "sub humans" into stronger faster and perhaps even more intelligent foes. The Builders are due to return soon and no-one has any idea what that event that will bring.
I love the way this book manages to pick up pretty seamlessly from the first novel and this includes the fast paced thriller style to the narrative along with a very intelligent story told from multiple perspectives. The already rich back-story of this scorched earth is masterfully played adding real depth to the book. It's clear at this point that the whole Dire Earth Cycle is very much one big story rather than a collected trilogy of novels and this gives a certain breathing room, allowing the author to expand on his ideas.
Some of the more minor characters of the first book play a bigger part this time around and we don't really see much of Skyler at all in the first half of the novel. While this does of course give room for others, his absence was missed to begin with; having played such a major role previously. Ultimately though this does pay off well and we do get plenty of time with the protagonist late on in the story. The antagonists are developed just as well too and we get a bit of a role-reversal with one who played a big part previously as a newer big-bad emerges.
Despite most of the population being reduced to "sub-human" animals, the loss of any central civilisation or government and little room for survival it's not as gloomy as you'd think which makes a refreshing change in the post-apocalyptic genre. I think the pace and fast moving story helps here, as does the fact that some technology still exists in the form of the orbital platforms and such but the writing has a positive edge too, even at it's darkest moments. This re-enforces the feeling that you are reading a thriller novel, a great experience it is too.
Again the author manages to go out with a bang, another cliff-hanger ending that works incredibly well and makes you just want to jump up and start reading the third novel in the series. It's powerful stuff and goes to show how deeply the author hooks the reader in.
Exodus Tower does what a good sequel should, it builds on the previous novel; continuing the clever story, the character development and building on the already rich backdrop - another great book from a seriously talented author.
Written on 14th January 2014 by Ant .