In 2231, twenty-five billion people walk the Earth. Few lack basic food and shelter. Energy is cheap and abundant. A vast army of 'bots serves our every need, and those who can afford to do so might live forever. To some, it is a golden age.
But Earth is devoid of resources, now harvested on or around Mars. Nations are ruled from above by governments owned by enormous transnats, and from below by powerful street gangs who have largely usurped the police.
This world is not for everyone. A fifth of the world's population has withdrawn into the drug Nirvana, while millions more have chosen Martian exile. And a phantom group called 'The Patriots of Mars' has committed an act of rebellion that shocks the world.
Josh Reynolds, a Martian-born teen with a secret, is trying to change his life when he gets caught up in the wake of the Patriots' insurrection. As he struggles to both find and save himself, Josh begins to realize that the change he had hoped for could become something more far-reaching than anyone had imagined.
I received a complimentary book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is the first book in a new science fiction series.
Josh Reynolds is a wonderful character. He is a young man of seventeen who was born and lives in a colony on Mars, and works in one of the mines that supplies Earth with resources that have been long depleted on that planet. He was also born with a special ability: He has visions and speaks to the Guide, who is a deity or some kind of spirit that helps him when he's in danger or in need of assistance. When a mine accident is triggered by sabotage, Josh finds himself in the midst of an uprising by The Patriots of Mars, a group of rebels determined to break ties with Earth. Or are they? Things are not all they seem and Josh is thrown into a dangerous adventure that could change the face of Mars forever.
This is a book that I struggled to get into at first. However, as the story unraveled, I found myself completely hooked. The book is set in the future, where man has conquered the colonisation of Mars and are mining it for its resources. Everything is overseen (on Earth and on Mars) by MOM, an AI system that keeps things running smoothly. As I was reading this book I kept thinking of the movie I, Robot with Will Smith. Though this book has similarities, there are some major differences too. I was also intrigued with the different characters. I liked meeting Josh's friends: Emily, who is like a sister to Josh though they are not related, Kat is Josh's best friend and John is a big softy though most people are intimidated by his size. I think my favourite character has to be Elvis though, as he is very outgoing and quirky. There are also a few other characters that are brought in, though I struggled to figure out where they fit in with the tale. However, they all came alive on the page.
The story had several different plots and I was unsure as to where it was going. There's several different themes: friendship, politics (both Earthly and Martian) and robots seeking autonomous freedom for their own identity. However, by the time I reached the end, most of the sub plots had come together and I had a bit of an "A-ha!" moment. There are several twists that I didn't see coming and enjoyed the Bazaar scene where Josh and Lowrie meets a slave trader called Ugato, as well as the Steampunk Samurai fight scene with Elvis for an upcoming and brand new TV game show. Josh's destiny is still evolving by the end of the book and his character is growing, so there are several unanswered questions which, I hope, may be revealed in the second book, Rise Of The Technorati. I was, however, intrigued with the Guide aspect of the story as it gave it a spiritual feel. I am not sure what is in store for Josh in the future, but am looking forward to finding out. Although this book doesn't end on a cliffhanger as such, it is set up to begin the second story.
This is Jeff Faria's debut novel. I really enjoyed his writing style, which is fast paced and entertaining. However, I felt that there were too many things happening plot-wise and his story didn't flow as well as it could have done. Nevertheless, I will follow his career with interest.
Although there is no sexual content or bad language, I do not recommend this to younger readers (under 16) as I am not sure if they would understand it properly. I do, however, recommend this book to older teens and adults who love YA science fiction and/or space opera genres. - Lynn Worton