Not steampunk, not edged with the magic of fantasy, this one is all science fiction with a capital SF. Some years in the future colonization of Mars, I’m guessing about 238 Martian ones since chapters are indicated in Annos Martis. And, I had to look this up to know for sure, their years are double as long as Earth years. That makes 200+ Martian years something in the neighborhood of 400 Earth ones, so perhaps we’re roughly 400-500 years in the future? I am become as tedious as a panel discussion at a Star Trek convention, so I will move on after I say that our main character Durango is between his eighth and ninth Mars birthday, so merely 16, even though he is this kick-ass Regulator, though a dalit one, missing part of his pinkie finger and disgraced for not offing himself at the disgrace of his father and commander. Once poised for greatness, he now scrambles for paying jobs with a single pledged female soldier, Vienne, who is the worth of many and dear to his heart. He fights for hire on a Mars now run by corporations, little better than the prior orthocracy (prefix ortho meaning straight or upright, correct and proper seems to imply a religious bent to the pioneering of the planet). Crap, I bored myself again. Okay, more action.
Oh, and I forgot: Durango’s only other advantage is the brain of Mimi, his fallen commander, somehow implanted into his own, resulting in kind of weird dialogue that seems to take place entirely in his head. It’s handy that she acts as a high-powered computer using his senses and proximity to scan and affect their environment. So far as I can tell, no one else knows that Durango carries a plus-one with him everywhere. The operation was hush-hush and conducted at the behest of D’s father, at that time a CEO of one of the ruling corps, now jailed for vague crimes.
So, we witness his recovery of adult kidnapping victims, who end up showing up when he takes the core job of the novel: Training and protecting a community of miners, now forgotten as their commodity is tapped out. What needs protecting emerges only slowly and a full understanding of who and what the cannibalistic Draeu who threaten them is also a bit late in coming. That said, the average teenage boy will probably be fine with cool symbiarmor suits and armalite guns programmed to only be used by their owners. The plot unfolds much as a video game might. In fact, I may have played. The characterization is superior to a game, but the world-building is a might sketchy, but that’s all the action hounds probably need. So, I think the book fits a certain audience, and while I love me some Epic
, I won’t be hand-selling this one nearly as much. Ender's Game
, it also ain’t. Still, I have to admire the book’s purity of genre, though I think its audience a might limited and my 3 a little generous.