The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough (Del Rey, July 30th, 2013)-Skyler Luiken and his small crew are making a living in the scavenger business. They have a trusted fence and there seems to be no shortage of jobs. It’s also a plus that every member of his crew, including himself, are immune to the SUBS disease that has depleted humanity. Now all that’s left of humanity lives in Darwin, Australia, where a space elevator stands, placed there by the Builders years before, after unleashing the plague on humanity. The space elevator gives off an Aura that protects against the plague, but lately, the Elevator seems to be faltering, and if that means that the Aura is faltering too, Darwin could be in big trouble. Those in orbit depend on Darwin for air and water, and the citizens of Darwin depend on the Orbitals for food. Darwin is a grim place, but it might be about to get much worse. That’s where Dr. Tania Sharma comes in. Her benefactor, Neil Platz, has been making plans for a long time, plans that include having a safeguard in case the Builders decide to come back, and she’s been tasked with finding out why the elevator may be failing.
Are you a fan of Firefly? Love zombies? How about zombies in spaaaaace? If so, then you’ll love The Darwin Elevator. I keep seeing the comparisons to Firefly, and while that’s accurate (it is!), Jason M. Hough has created something wonderful that’s all his own. The Firefly comparisons certainly come from Skyler and crew. They’ve got that particular charm that makes Firefly so winning, especially the uneasy camaraderie between Skyler and Samantha. However, be prepared for this crew to be put through the ringer, and then some. Jason M. Hough has taken the best of space adventure and populated it with characters that are so much fun, and so easy to like, and hate. The villain in this one is the baddest of the bad, and even worse, he’s extremely smart. Under a huge helping of arrogance, the leader of Nightcliff is a cunning, ruthless bastard, and you’ll love to hate him. It becomes a race to the finish when the different groups, in Orbit and in Darwin, decide the time is right to gain the upper hand. Why is the Elevator failing and what exactly is the Builders’ plan? These are the questions that Skyler and Tania will need to find out the answers to in order to ensure humanity’s survival, but first they have to survive. Plenty of action and more than a few surprises round out this spectacular dystopian/space adventure! I’ll follow Skyler and Co. anywhere!