4 out of 4 stars
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Price of Eden by Brian Burt is book three of the Aquarius Rising series. Set in the future, Earth is very different from what we see today. The effects of global warming are rampant. Earth’s land is almost completely barren, leading humans to create Aquarians, a human-dolphin hybrid species that can adapt to the changing climate. The hybridization of humans and dolphins created tension among groups of opposing humans, leading to further tension with the species and subspecies inhabiting the sea. Relationships, on land and in the water, are further strained after chemical warfare and genetic engineering are used as weapons by the warring factions. However, there is a prophecy surrounding Ocypode, a half-human, half-Aquarian hybrid. The prophecy names Ocypode the Storm-Slayer. Will Ocypode, with the help of his allies and even some foes, be able to end the inter-species war and prevent the looming destruction of Earth?
First off, the world-building in Price of Eden is phenomenal and nothing short of high-level. The various sub-species and artificial intelligences that Burt created are all well thought out and meaningful; all characters, species, and sub-species play an important role in Burt’s jigsaw-puzzle like plot. Further, the under-the-water world where the majority of the story takes place is beautifully described and, thankfully, science is not ignored. The attention to scientific detail, like the communication by light and color instead of spoken word between the Cephaloan species that live in the Deep Black, brought the story to life in a realistic tone.
Second, the basic idea at the crux of Burt’s series is both relevant and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s use of progressed global warming to show the extensive lengths the Redeemers (human scientists) will go to in order to save the Earth and revive its lands. Further, the futuristic, scientific elements in this story are developed in a believable way. For example, ‘biosculpting’ and genetic engineering, though not unique on their own, were spun in an imaginative way that felt inventive yet also plausible.
Lastly, Price of Eden is the third installment in the series, and I highly recommend beginning with the first book. Although the author does a good job of seamlessly adding bits of information to the narrative so one has an understanding of the previous events leading up to the current plot, a lot of detail about the inter-species relationships and the appearances of the various species and characters is missed by not starting with the first book. There are so many intricate aspects in Burt's plotting and characterization, that to truly indulge in the beautiful world the author has created, one must start from the beginning.
It can be hard to standout in the sci-fi genre, but Brian Burt’s series has emerged with a visionary world and an equally imaginative plot, earning Price of Eden 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend this enchanting, underwater sci-fi adventure to readers who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy and are looking for something quite different from the usual options in the genre. The futuristic look at climate change and scientific advancement are well played out in this compellingly immersive tale.
The Price of Eden
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