The Exodus Towers by Jason M. Hough
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“The sudden appearance of a second space elevator in Brazil only deepens the mystery about the aliens who provided it: the Builders. Scavenger crew captain Skyler Luiken and brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma have formed a colony around the new Elevator’s base, utilizing mobile towers to protect humans from the Builders’ plague. But they are soon under attack from a roving band of plague-immune soldiers. Cut off from the colony, Skyler must wage a one-man war against the new threat as well as murderous subhumans and thugs from Darwin—all while trying to solve the puzzle of the Builders’ master plan . . . before it’s too late for the last vestiges of humanity.”
I was pretty blown away by the first book in this series, and I wondered if the second book could keep the action going and deliver a story that was just as interesting. I needn’t have worried. The Exodus Towers picks up several months after the end of The Darwin Elevator and takes readers to a different part of the world: Brazil, where a new Elevator has touched down. It also brings in some new characters, or ones who were only peripheral in the first novel.
What I like about Hough’s novels is that he isn’t afraid to shake things up and have some really earth-shaking events happen. Many series save all the most memorable moments for the final novel, but Hough has been merrily making his characters’ lives difficult from page one. And that makes for a darn good story, because this tale is anything but predictable.
I have to say that I wasn’t as happy with the character of Tania Sharma this time around. I do understand that she’s way out of her depth in many of the situations in which she finds herself. The thing is, she spends a large chunk of this novel cringing and crying instead of stepping up and doing what needs to be done, which she has already proven that she can do. I can forgive some fumbling out of sheer ignorance, but it seems like she just fell apart in this book.
There’s a new antagonist in town as well, although you’re going to question his motivations to the very end. His name is Grillo, and he’s one of the local crime lords who works with the city’s cult to bring about law and order. How deeply he is into the cult, and what his actual aim is in doing what he does, is highly debatable. The author balances all of these aspects of Grillo’s character in a way that makes for several very suspenseful scenes.
The Exodus Towers in the prose version of a summer action flick—plenty of explosions and fights and peril, laced with some excellent character interaction and a looming mystery that may spell the end of humanity. Jason M. Hough is one of my favorite new authors, and I’ll definitely be reading whatever he decides to publish.