2 out of 4 stars
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30th Century Escape by Mark Kingston Levin is a book in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy genre and the first part of the 30th Century trilogy.
The story begins in the distant future where humanity is in a fight for survival against genetically enhanced beings called Syndos. It is the 30th century, and Captain Jennifer Hero is the commander of a Secret Society(SS) of humans whose mission is to travel to the 27th century and attempt to correct the flawed genetic makeup of the Syndos. Captain Hero successfully sends her team out to the 27th century but in a last minute change of plans, she herself travels 900 years back in time to the 21st century to start a new life.
She arrives on a deserted Polynesian island and survives four months before being rescued by a team of marine scientists led by Professor Marty Zitonick. They are the first humans she meets in the 21st century, and develops very close friendships with some of them, eventually even falling in love with Professor Zitonick. The rest of the story deals with Jennifer's struggle to build a life in the 21st century, her academic exploits, and her relationships, some of which are extremely passionate, involving both men and women.
What happens to the Secret Society and their mission? Does Jennifer ever re-unite with her team? We find out at the end of the book.
The story starts with an interesting plot involving a futuristic battle for survival, elements of time travel and a main character with a very interesting name--Jennifer Hero. However, the plot seems to unravel with Jennifer's arrival in the 21st century. For starters, it is never quite clear why Jennifer parts ways with her team and travels to a different time. It was also surprising to see the ease with which she adapts to the social framework of a civilization living 900 years before her time. Except for hiding her strength and playing down her intelligence, she seems to have no trouble at all! She conveniently uses amnesia as a cover story to guard her secrets and lack of background, but the people closest to her accept this a little to readily and never seem suspicious or surprised about anything. The secondary characters in the story just pass through Jennifer's life and have no stories of their own. These characters could have been better fleshed out. We do not find out what happens to the mission against the Syndos until the very end of the book and I felt it was wrapped up rather hastily.
The parts of the book I enjoyed reading were the detailed descriptions of the beautiful locations in the Pacific islands, though I felt the pictures and maps were unclear and superfluous. The part where Jennifer Hero defends her dissertation in dark energy physics is written elaborately and passionately, and the author has tried to explain some very complicated concepts in layman terms.
I felt that there was a lack of emotion in storytelling and the conversations appeared stilted at times. Also for the most part, the story deviates from the initial interesting plot. For these reasons I give 30th Century Escape 2 out of 4 stars.
30th Century: Escape
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