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3.9 out of 5 stars61
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 17 May 2014
Leaving aside the poor science, which doesn’t overly bother me (it’s a story!), this is a competently told tale of the near future, with a fascinating premise – what happens when aliens turn up and build a space elevator? Who are they? Why did they do it? Unfortunately (for my taste, anyway), it turns out to be more of a post-apocalyptic running, jumping and shooting adventure, rather than a First Contact “what if...?”. But that’s fine – just not my preference. Three stars for the story and writing.

But here’s my gripe (slight plot-spoiler) – only inside the book do the publishers say this is just the first of a series. The author sets out so many enticing possibilities, so many interesting questions... But four hundred pages in and so many big questions remain unanswered that you just know they’re not all going to be wrapped up in the last seventy-five pages. OK, it’ll teach me not to buy something on the basis of the cover but it’s intensely irritating to invest time and effort in reading nearly five hundred pages and get no answers. “Pay us more money to find out what happens next!” I don’t think so. Zero stars for Titan Books. (Incidentally, I see Amazon now labels it “Dire Earth Cycle 1” – brownie points to them, at least.)
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on 20 February 2015
I would not recommend buying this book, because you might enjoy as I did.
You will then be tempted to buy the 2nd volume in the 'Cycle' which also has many creditable ideas and scenarios.
Having invested in the story that far you will then find yourself wanting to complete the trilogy only to find that the third book descends into a maelstrom of inconceivable co-incidences and Moonraker style death defying actions which ultimately end in an unsatisfactory and disappointingly disjointed conclusion.
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on 25 November 2013
I read a lot of SF. Two things, to me, can make it good:

1. Consistent, coherent and convincing science
2. Decent writing skills

Now, I'm pretty tolerant of middling writing skills if the concepts are interesting and attention grabbing. Sadly The Darwin Elevator meets neither criteria. At all. The characters are two dimensional, the prose clunky, the dialogue cringe-worthy. And the science: oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The main howlers:

A. A space elevator away from the equator. Why would aliens, however advanced, do that? It's just dumb for so many reasons.
B. All the habitats on the tower are at zero G; lots of floating and bouncing off walls. Presumably because of, you know: SPACE!! The only weightless point on the whole structure would be at geosynchronous orbit. The lower habitats would almost be at earth normal. And remember that these are human-built structures and so are not fitted with an alien antigravity mcguffin.
C. A counter-weight at geosynchronous orbit. Tsk, tsk, tsk. That has to be waaay above that orbit so the centrifugal force holds up all the stuff below geosynch. (see point b for why).

Science mistakes happen, but these are eye-wateringly bad for a novel entirely written around a space elevator! Five minutes on wikipedia before starting would have fixed them all, as would asking a high-school student to read the novel prior to sending to a [scientifically illiterate] publisher.

Needless to say, the next books in the series are not on my wish list.
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on 28 December 2013
I've been reading sci-fi for over 40 years and this series of books has managed to come up with something new and exciting. The concept is novel, the writing is brilliant, the action, tension and mystery woven into the story is gripping. I'm nearly at the end of the second book now and haven't been able to put it down. If you're looking for something different that's going to grab you from page 1 and make you want to read the next chapter and the next then I highy recommend this book.
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on 12 September 2013
This is a good SF thriller, with an interesting problem at its heart. There is not too much explication, details emerge as you read on.
The characters are pretty well done, the "baddie" is believable and the main issue is left hanging as a bit of a mystery.
I like the way it is a human story around an unresolved mystery.
I am now half way through part 2 and I am sure that I will want to read part 3 when it comes out.
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on 1 May 2015
Starts well and interesting combination of vampire type infection with mysterious alien artefacts. Some characters reasonably well drawn but the main "bad guy" is laughably nasty. Female characters very stereotyped and two dimensional. Unfortunately the narrative begins to wander and the interest level falls as the length of the book increases. A shame as I think the underlying storylines are quite good. Worth a read.
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on 30 December 2013
This book was good enough to make me purchase the other two books in the trilogy. Not a bad pace. The story is in a future where all sentient human life can only live within 10 miles of the space elevator. Outwith that space all hmans have reverted to a savage state, most dying out. There is a stuggle between the people at the base of the elevator and those that live in the space stations above earth. A good read.
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on 10 January 2014
A fairly engaging book in the respect of trying to work out what has happened, although the characters are (as another reviewer said) two dimensional. The promise of a revelation as to what has happened is always a chapter away. After having read all three though, I class this as wallpaper. Not something I would recommend. (see comments for other two books, esp. 3rd.)
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on 12 December 2013
Really enjoyed this fresh take on end-of-world fiction.
Rendezvous with Rama meets I Am Legend, with a dash of Mad Max and a smattering of zombie apocalypse.

Well-paced, an interesting range of viewpoint characters, some Big Secrets lurking in the background waiting to come into play. Wanted to go straight to the second and third volumes.
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on 5 April 2016
If you like Firefly, Post-Apocalyptic fiction, Zombies, mysteries and alien invasion, you'll like this this
This Novel combines some of the best elements of all of the above into a compelling, well paced novel.
this is the first in a series of three, and I loved this first installment.
Im excited to read more by Jason M. Hough
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