The Darwin Elevator
by Jason M. Hough.
(Book received for free for review from Random House Publishing Group.)
Darwin Elevator should have been a great match for me. When I saw a review of it elsewhere, I ran right off to buy it, then had to stop when I found the ebook price was higher than the physical book price. How lucky it was offered to me for review!
The plot takes place in Darwin, Australia. Aliens come and drop a space elevator
there, and with the elevator came a plague. It killed most people, and the surviving humans name it SUBS, because it devolves humans into sub-humans/primates. (Notice how the town name ties into the plot. Darwin. Devolution. This was typical of the symbolism in the book -- kind of 'beat you over the head'ish.)
Enter the bad guy. Black
field. Fittingly named, he's as bad as bad can be. Mustache-twirling, rapist, not a single redeeming feature about him.
So the bad guy wants to take over the world (or what's left of it), and the story goes downhill from there. The bad guy shows his true(r) colors, and did just about every bad thing a person can do. (Including "He chewed a bite of food with his mouth open." and, while watching two girls he's forcing to make out in front of him: "He burped and said, "That's no kiss.".)
Unfortunately, in addition to the characters being black and white, their actions often make no sense just because the plot needed X to happen so it could advanced. For example: The main male good guy character, Luke Skyw-- Er, Skyler Luiken, a pilot, got himself into a situation. Stuck on the ground, armed with a rifle and multiple clips of ammo, he ran into a sub (the subhumans). She started to chase him. He's badly injured (broken ribs and more). He decides not to shoot her to save his bullets. (For what? What worse situation could he be in than wounded and having a sub right on his tail?) Over a chain-link fence he climbs, and thinks she won't be able to follow him. This subhuman, devolved so she's closer to an ape than a human, might have a harder time getting over it than a human with broken ribs? Into a building he goes, thinking he's now safe. Down some stairs and into a basement. He hears noises at the door upstairs, but writes it off as his imagination. In a room on lowest floor, he leaves his gun by the door
and crosses the large room to do work on the other side. Because the primate can't climb a chain-link fence and because it was his imagination that something came into the building after him. Sigh. But the plot needed to get a sub into this basement, so the character had to be bogglingly stupid to make that happen.
The book had a few enjoyable moments in the beginning, but as it went on, those became few and far between. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this book.