Audience: Young Adult
The drone circled high above the wreckage of war.
- first sentence
The third book set in the Drowned Cities universe brings us full circle by including characters from both previous books. It was great to see everything connected and to see Nailer back. I enjoyed the book, but Ship Breaker will always be my favorite from this universe. Tool is like the Terminator - he never gives up and almost can't be killed.
This book was recommended to me on Twitter. I’d replied to a thread about SciFi and said I thought I didn’t like the genre until I read some SciFi by women, and cited Margaret Atwood, Ursula K LeGuin and Octavia Butler as writers whose work I’d really enjoyed. One person suggested I try this trilogy by Jemisin, and I’m glad I did. Personally I am surprised this is classed as SciFi. Is it the alternate world setting that qualifies it as part of the genre? It felt like fantasy to me but, either way, I loved it.
It’s a tricksy, twisty narrative, but to explain why would be to spoil some of the fun, so I’ll attempt to write a spoiler-free review. The narrative is split between three POVs -Syenite, Damaya, and a second-person narrative Essun. All three are orogenes, people with the ability to manipulate the earth and rock to create or stop earthquakes. Because of this catastrophic power orogenes are feared and shunned by the rest of society known as stills.
It begins with the death of a child and a quest for revenge, but this is woven into a wider story which questions the fundamentals of a society which is constantly threatened by mass extinction. The main characters are beautifully drawn and the world-building is rich and vivid, with brilliant expletives and fascinating customs and politics. It is absolutely not somewhere I would wish to live.
I’ll be ordering the next book in the series with my next paycheck and if you enjoy alternate worlds and (what ostensibly feels like) magic, I would suggest you grab a copy and lose yourself in 449 delightful pages.
AUTHOR: Robert Repino
"After the “war with no name” a cat assassin searches for his lost love in Repino’s strange, moving sci-fi epic that channels both Homeward Bound and A Canticle for Leibowitz. The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony's watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans' penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. As a final step in the war effort, the Colony uses its strange technology to transform the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth's creatures."
This is a book about a cat and a dog, ... and ants (giant vengeful ants!). Also friendship/love. This novel has an interesting and original concept but sometimes I wished for more plausibility (I'm not talking about the giant ants), and something more. Something was just missing. In the end I didn't really care that much about Mort(e).