BOOK REVIEW: The Darwin Elevator By Jason Hough

Darwin Elevator_cv.jpg.size-230The first in the rapid released “The Dire Earth Cycle” trilogy is out now, so we take a look at the start of the story in The Darwin Elevator.




After aliens constructed an elevator from Darwin, Australia into space, humanity established orbital colonies along the elevator’s cord. Years later, those outside of the machine’s protective aura were wiped out by a mysterious plague. When the elevator’s virus shield begins to break down, a scavenger and a scientist must unravel the mystery of the failing alien technology to save what’s left of the world.

I love a good Sci-Fi adventure, but I am not a great fan of huge space opera. This book sounded like a nice easy fun ride, so I jumped in with both feet. I also will note that I love the new covers for this reprint, as the original cover was rather bland. The story is quick to establish the status quo, with the people stuck on Earth inside the safe zone around Darwin and the ones who live and work on the space elevator.

We are introduced to a team of scavengers who go on missions outside the safe zone to various places on Earth on their craft. Outside Darwin you would get infected and become something bad, something hungry and something else. However, our team of “finders” are written as a rag-tag group who work well together and have respect for each other, but they all share one key attribute: they are immune to the disease outside the safe zone. This crew would not get infected by stepping outside the zone, so they were perfect for scavenger missions.

In Darwin, we get the feeling that things are bad and depressing, with food and other resources provided by the gardens that have been built on the space elevator. There is resentment for the people who live on the elevator and you get the feeling that we are always on the cusp of a rebellion.

It seems like the rich and privileged live on the elevator, along with scientists doing research.  People still don’t know why the aliens dropped the elevator off on Earth and just left it there. Mankind took advantage of it and built homes, gardens and more.

Author Jason M. Hough has some great ideas here that I hope will come to fruition in the 2 follow-up books, The Exodus Towers and The Plague Forge. He has tried to create a likeable group of reluctant heroes alongside some interesting political personas with various and hidden agendas.

It is easy to see the world Hough has created with his writing style, but I am still missing something by the end of the first book. Yes, we get some fun at the end, but it feels rushed and I wanted more action, more answers, more character building. Maybe this is exactly what Hough was going for and is keeping his cards close to his chest for books 2 and 3 to reveal all, but for me the first in a trilogy has to impress – this first book was OK, and I hold out hope for the next two to deliver what I want.

Overall, a decent start to a trilogy, but now there is high expectations for the rest of the trilogy to deliver a great story.

If you want to read an excerpt from The Darwin Elevator go to Hough’s website here where he has chapter 1 for you to read.


Reviewer: Montoya



ISBN: 9781781167632
Paperback: 496pp
Publication date: 26 July 2013
Author:  Jason M. Hough


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