2 out of 4 stars
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Review of 30th Century Escape, by Mark Kingston Levin, PhD
First and foremost, this book needs a disclaimer that it contains graphic sexual content. I believe that this book should be marked for a mature audience.
Summary of 30th Century Escape, by Mark Kingston Levin, Ph.D.:
A highly trained operative, Jennifer Hero, escapes the Synods who are systematically killing off the Naturals. She uses a one-way time machine built by her late lover to first send a team to introduce a virus to correct moral deficits in the Synods then abandons the team to make her own escape into the twenty-first century.
Marty, a college professor from the University of Hawaii, rescues her from a radioactive atoll and takes her to Tahiti. There she meets Jules who believes she is a long lost heiress and helps her enter twenty-first-century society.
When Jennifer’s interest in Archeology is revealed, she is granted the ability to visit a dig that is not yet public where she and the head archeologist’s daughter Kyoko are trapped in a cave in. Jennifer helps Kyoko through the ordeal by involving her in the archeology of the cave. The two discover skeletons and artifacts while they wait for rescue.
Jennifer, as a result of recommendations by both her rescuer and the lead archeologists at the dig site that caved in, enters the University of Hawaii as a postgraduate and earns two Ph.Ds over the next couple of years. Her relationship with Marty grows.
While the grammatical editing in this book looks professional, it could use a copy editor to clean up inconsistencies in timing, plot, and characterization.
I rate this book a 2 out of 4, but on the low side of a two. While the story has great potential, it failed to reach anywhere near it.
I do like that the author kept to relatively short chapters. These make it easy to take breaks while indulging in the story.
From the weak beginning, an info dump to bring us up to speed, to the weak dialog found throughout the story, I found it a struggle to complete the book.
The author continually beats the reader over the head with reminders of previous information: Jennifer’s rank, she is from the future, she is starting a new life, and her luck in being rescued. In Chapter 23 the reader is told multiple times that Mike and Alice are training pilots while not with Marty and Jennifer, there are more examples of this browbeating.
When Jules thinks that Jennifer is a long lost heiress, he jumps to give her access to the family fortune. I don’t see this as realistic. At the minimum, fingerprints would be taken, dental photos would be taken, and a DNA test would be administered. The DNA test happens in Chapter 30 and then, by cousins who did it secretly. The reader is given no information about how the cousins came to have a sample of the missing girl’s DNA for comparison.
The gratuitous sex scenes that begin to appear mid-book seem more like I’m watching a cheesy porn movie at a drive-in than living experiences through one of the characters.
I had other issues in chapter 23. The idea that Marty, a Professor who is experienced with the safety of his graduate students would set aside his safety mindedness when it came to his own children and allow them to take off on a sea voyage in poorly maintained boats with no radios does not fit his character. This is followed by Marty’s jump to a conclusion there is trouble with Amanda and her boat on slim evidence there might be a problem, feels like an overreaction. Then, after the shipwreck, we learn the coast guard was in radio contact with Amada and that she is okay. There is an inconsistency here, or maybe facts are poorly explained.
My biggest issue with 30th Century Escape is the unbelievable characterization of Jennifer Hero. Granted she might have had some ability above and beyond our primitive twenty-first-century education, but the number and degree of accomplishments are over the top.
Near the end, I found the reunion with Kylie, the team leader, for the introduction of the virus, unrealistic. After being abandoned, after believing Jennifer had died, Kylie accepts Jennifer way too easily, and it makes little sense that she would. Yes, Kylie idolizes her, and Jennifer is the commanding officer, yet it just doesn’t work for me. Either there should have been some berating about being abandoned or remembering that Kylie and Jennifer were once lovers, some strong emotion over finding her alive. Their reunion seems too mechanical.
The plot is murky. This feels like two stories sandwiched together. The Sci-Fi time traveler in the first two and the last two chapters forming one story and the acclimation to the twenty-first century the other stuffed between.
Near mid-book we switch into an exploration of sexual fantasy instead of pursuing any real goal for Jennifer. In this story the sex is gratuitous, leading us nowhere.
In the end, the reader is presented with a duex ex mechina resolution with an unknown twin sister, Jenny, appearing from the thirty-third century with a two-way time machine. Jenny turns out to be the lost heiress. She agrees to help Jennifer rescue the abandoned team from the twenty-seventh century, letting Jennifer relive her supposed guilt.
30th Century: Escape (General Audience Edition)
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