The Exodus Towers (Dire Earth Cycle #2) by Jason M. Hough (Del Rey, August 27th, 2013)-The Exodus Towers finds Skyler in Belem, Brazil, at the site of the new space elevator, the new “gift” from the Builders. A robust colony is taking shape around the base of the elevator, within its Aura, thanks to the work of Skyler and scientist Tania Sharma. Mobile towers have also been found that they can use to extend an Aura beyond that of the space elevator. Skyler has plenty to keep him busy, especially since he’s one of only a few immunes that can venture outside of the Aura without the danger of being infected by the SUBS virus (another Builder “gift”). Or so he thought. He soon meets young immune twin brother and sister, Davi and Ana, that claim a man named Gabriel, an immune himself, has been rounding up other immunes, ostensibly to do some rebuilding of society himself, but it soon becomes clear that Gabriel’s intentions are not philanthropic, and it will spur Skyler into taking action, especially when the new colony is threatened.
Meanwhile, while we now know the timeline of the Builders, and the spacing of the events, Tania is still working to find out what they are planning, and most importantly, why. The next event is looming soon, and unfortunately, they still rely on Russell Blackfield for supplies and also for colonists. In Nightcliff, Blackfield has made a deal with the devil, in the form of a slumlord who calls himself Grillo. Grillo will clean up the mean streets of Nightcliff, with plenty of concessions from Blackfield. Grillo also has help from Skyler’s remaining crew member, the irascible Samantha Rinn, who will do anything to get out of prison, help free Kelly, and get back to Skyler.
I was blown away by The Darwin Elevator and the ending left me gasping, so I was eager to dive into The Exodus Towers. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint. I was fascinated with the ends and outs of creating a new colony, which is important because Skyler has such a big part in this, and he’s tireless in his efforts. He also grows increasingly frustrated with Tania, and her unwillingness to make important decisions for the colony. As for Tania, she’s been thrown quite unwillingly into a position of authority, one she never wanted, and although she longs to be with Skyler, the rift that opens between them, with so much at stake, may prove to be too wide in the end. He feels as if his duties are endless while Tania enjoys a certain amount of comfort in Orbit. Of course this isn’t really so, since Tania has plenty to deal with in delegating the needs of the colony and fighting her own, nearly crippling, self-doubt. Some of my favorite scenes in the book were the ones with Samantha and indeed, she’s certainly a scene stealer: strong, determined, and every bit the survivor. The action you’ve come to expect from this series is abundant and always exciting, and the discovery of a new type of SUBS creature will send chills down your spine. There’s even a bit of romance, which adds a new emotional level to the story. This series has it all: SF, horror, more than enough thrills and chills, and a rich but accessible story, and to me, would be a great series to try if you’re interested in SF but nervous about reading the “harder” stuff. That, and it’s just great fun! Luckily, we don’t have long to wait for THE PLAGUE FORGE!