4 out of 4 stars
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Blood Tide (Aquarius Rising, Book 2) (2015), by Brian Burt, is a 259-page science fiction novel available as an e-book. The novel incorporates issues such as doomsday weapons, mutually assured destruction, preemptive strikes, espionage, civil war, artificial intelligence, faith in the wisdom of nature, climate change, bioengineering, genetic manipulation, suicide, genocide, mind control, and most of all, revenge and its consequences. The author includes sufficient exposition to allow you to enjoy the book without having read its predecessor, which won the EPIC eBook Award for Science Fiction.
Revenge is a recurring theme in the Aquarius Rising novels. The author succinctly tells us why vengeance is so absurd: it merely serves to "even a score that can never be evened, because every scorekeeper maintains the tally in a different way."
This story is set on planet earth about 200 years in the future, after nanotech machines designed to combat global warming accelerated it instead, devastating the land. The novel features an ensemble cast of characters, mostly humans, human-dolphin hybrids (Aquarians), and human-Aquarian hybrids (Atavisms). Numerous Aquarians want to destroy human "dirt-swimmers," and many land-dwelling humans despise Aquarians. Two Atavisms seek to prevent continuous vindictive wars by forming an alliance with the ex-wife of the now-deceased mortal enemy of the undersea world.
Among the protagonists is a "cyber-ghost," the essence and memories of a dead human brought to life, so to speak, by a computer; one character calls it "a cyber-psycho with a split personality." The antagonist is an Aquarian who committed suicide, but continues to live, in a way, and controls a zombie-like army of Aquarians and humans. There is plenty of suspense in the story. You can't be sure who will live, who will die, and who will turn to the dark side.
Often, SF books focus excessively on technology, and introduce an inordinate number of new words that can confuse readers. Rest assured that this book is not like that; the narrative is focused on the characters, while smoothly incorporating scientific details that enhance the tale.
This exceptional book has easily earned 4 out of 4 stars. The fast-paced story includes timeless topics such as loyalty, trust, guilt, betrayal, forgiveness, atonement, redemption, and life after death. Mr. Burt writes clearly and concisely, with first-rate grammar. He avoids the gloomy atmosphere so common in post-apocalyptic novels, and paints a remarkably vivid picture of his undersea world, which includes numerous intriguing organisms, such as sentient living reefs and vampire squids. The tension builds to a gripping climax, but the victors do not gloat afterward.
One characteristic of the finest SF, such as the Aquarius Rising novels, is that you can enjoy reading the book even if you are not a big science fiction fan. The author has a well-founded confidence in his storytelling abilities, and does not resort to sensationalism to attract readers. This book includes no profanities or explicit sex, and the violence is not excessively gory, so it is suitable for readers of all ages. This is a great book for nearly everyone.
Aquarius Rising Book 2: Blood Tide
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