2 out of 4 stars
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What if a space captain from the 30th century committed to living in the 21st century for the good of humanity? This question comes into play in Mark Kingston Levin’s 30th Century: Escape (General Audience Audition)as Jennifer Hero, the space captain for the Secret Society, commits to the plan of transporting herself to what she considers a more primitive time in history.
This first of the three-part series grabbed my interest through an action-packed and well-written prologue. This prologue introduced Jennifer Hero as a well-intentioned and intriguing character from the way she gives orders to her understanding of 30th century quantum physics. From the beginning, the reader can glean from the dialogue and actions that Jennifer, as well as others in the Secret Society, offer and commit to the safety of humanity. Syndos, a type of humanoid, threatens to annihilate the Naturals (natural-born and raised humans). To start the plan swimmingly, Jennifer transports herself to an abandoned part of French Polynesia in the year 2015.
First, let’s start with the aspects that I disliked most about this book. Within the first five chapters, I felt as if I had worked alongside the courageous Jennifer Hero as she manages to figure out how to handle Marty Zitonick, the marine biologist and professor, and his crack team of graduate students. Things felt naturally paced—at first. Everything becomes mundane and seemingly created solely for the purpose of showing the reader how delightful and brave Jennifer Hero is without any of the character development that would make the plot more interesting to readers.
After I read the first five chapters of the story, my eyes would glaze over and I became disinterested in what happened to Jennifer, but I continued to read because the Prologue was strong enough to warrant an expectation of something just as action-packed. Unfortunately, this mindset doesn’t pay off until the final chapter. This chapter felt haphazardly slapped together for the sake of wrapping everything up for the reader. It was a lazy cliffhanger that might have come to Mr. Levin’s mind as well-thought, but it wasn’t written well.
The chapters between the Prologue and the final chapter can be described in two words: too perfect. The conflicts wrap up as quickly as they start. Jennifer comes off as too perfect for the 21st century in the methods that she employs to handle each situation. The characters are also at the best of times, two-dimensional in their responses to each scenario that doesn’t conclude well for main character’s incognito mission. Also, there are no Syndos to be spoken of for several chapters at a time. More inclusion of these humanoids could have made the story more interesting.
Despite the dull aspects of the story, there are some parts to it that fit well within the context of its setting and characters. The marine biology and quantum physics angles to each main character are written with those of us who are science nerds in mind. The author clearly knows exactly what parts of both sciences could fit into the story. He displays this with the aplomb that I can only dream of having in either scientific field.
Along with the scientific understanding, Mr. Levin also demonstrates cultural awareness and understanding of past and present French Polynesian traditions. The majority of this novel takes place in this part of the world, and the author squeezes every bit of usefulness out of the cultures he has intertwined to show stark contrasts between them. Mr. Levin also manages to place well-intended LGBT themes throughout the story.
I must issue a fair warning: this book contains numerous R-rated sex scenes. On a scale of one to five chili peppers, I give this book three peppers. The scenes are erotic, but not overtly described as if they are imitation hardcore pornography.
Despite all of the positive usages of French Polynesian traditions and the science that would definitively classify this novel as science fiction, I give Mark Levin’s 30th Century: Escape (General Audience Edition) 2 out of 4 stars. Along with the parts that I liked least, there were 7 typos. I would suggest this book to those who love hard science and LGBT themes.
30th Century: Escape (General Audience Edition)
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