2 out of 4 stars
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If you think a superhuman and time travel are impossible, well, they aren't in Mark Kingston Levin's 30th Century: Escape. An exciting and fascinating adventure that begins in the future and ends in the past.
The Syndos, a group of genetically enhanced humans with no moral compass, is threatening to exterminate the Naturals. In order to survive, Captain Jennifer Hero and her team plan their escape by using a time machine. One by one, the sub-caps carrying the divided teams leave the 30th century to travel back to the 27th century. However, Jennifer programs her sub-cap to go back to the year 2015. She makes her team believe that she dies in the attack. She finally arrives at the 21st century on a deserted island in Hawaii. Will she be able to hide her identity? Will she be able to live a life in the past? Will she be able to conceal her advanced knowledge?
Professor Marty Zitonick and his team of researchers are about to conduct their study in the island of Moruroa when they spot a person on the deserted island. Thinking she is a victim of a shipwreck, they decide to help her. Who is this mysterious girl? How did she end up on the island that has been contaminated with nuclear radiation?
The book starts in the 30th century where the characters are on the move to escape. This chapter was written brilliantly. You can feel the urgency of their life and death situation; I felt immensely immersed in it. I didn't know I was holding my breath until the chapter ended. I also liked how the author explained the advanced technology. The descriptions were easy to follow and vivid. Furthermore, the types of machinery and their concepts suited the futuristic timeline. They didn't sound ridiculous or impossible— they were realistic enough and logical. Also, the sketches of some locations made it easier to visualize the setting.
Unfortunately, the succeeding chapters weren't good enough for me. I had high expectations after the first one as it seemed to be a promising plot. However, as I flipped through the pages, I realized there was nothing more to the story other than Jennifer wanting to fit in in the year 2015. I was honestly hoping to find some sense somewhere, a connection to the 30th century where all the science and technology seemed remarkably interesting. I was disappointed at how everything turned out. I felt like there were a lot of unnecessary events inserted. I found them senseless and tedious since they didn't bring any real depth.
Moreover, there was no rich character development. The characters were not appealing enough, and there were a lot of them that became a part of Jennifer's life just for the explicit scenes. The rest of the book was monotonous. The conversations were too formal and sounded forced.
Additionally, the explicit scenes were excessive and pointless. I was about to commend the author for having characters representing different sexual orientations, but it seemed to me he only used them to have a reason in writing the erotic scenes. The gender identity didn't contribute much to the character as a person, which was a disappointment too.
The errors were little to none. One example was the use of a semicolon instead of a colon. I think it is safe to say that this book is well-edited.
If it wasn't hyped as a science-fiction from the start, then 30th Century: Escape would have been a charming romance novel. It would greatly disappoint readers who are looking forward to the scientific and futuristic element. With all the points made above, I give this 2 out of 4 stars rating. The two points are mainly from the creative futuristic theme and the decent editing. I wouldn't recommend this to teens as there are numerous detailed erotic scenes, and also to adults who are uncomfortable in reading such. If you're into science-fiction with a touch of romantic and sensual elements, then this book is for you. Knowing that this is the first book of a series, I hold out any hope that the second book might not be as bad as this one.
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