Friday, November 18, 2011

REVIEW: Age of Giants (Awakening) by Rob Reaser

I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi adventure, especially when there’s a post-apocalyptic or dystopian twist. Not sure if it’s nature’s way of balancing all the romantic and erotic fiction that I read, of if it’s just a facet of my inner duality, but it does make for a very diverse bookshelf.

Anyway, Age of Giants (Awakening) is definitely on that darker, more intellectual side of the equation. Set in a world where humanity has decimated by a plague inflicted upon them by the Nephilim, a race descended from pre-history’s fallen angels, there’s very little about the world that is light, romantic, or erotic. Faced with the threat of enslavement to satisfy the Nephilim’s lust for excess, a ragged band of rebels survive among the ruins.

Surprisingly, the protagonist here is a beautiful young guerrilla named Nora, who is forced to embark upon a rescue mission after her team is captured by the forces of the Nephilim. As much as I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi adventure, I’m ever more of a sucker for a good sci-fi adventure with a strong female protagonist – and Nora absolutely delivers! She is a ruthless (in a good way) and unshakably loyal warrior, shouldering an impossible burden of responsibility. Although she presents a cold exterior, we get to know the slightly more vulnerable woman at the core. We not only want her to succeed as a champion of humanity, but as a heroic individual.

This is an extremely fast-paced read, which piles crisis upon crisis and climax upon climax, but without trying the reader’s patience. This is not an artificially plotted series of events, but a story of real danger, real suspense, and inescapable conflicts. Rob really keeps you turning pages, so much so that I was often a few pages further on before I caught some of the deeper, more intellectual revelations that were carefully exposed.

I was initially worried about the premise of fallen angels, only because I’m cautious of having any author force a religious agenda upon me, but here it works. There’s actually very little talk of religion here, and no overblown attempt to reinvent (or reinterpret) biblical mythology. Instead, it’s simply a justification for the existence of monsters, which is fine by me.

Although the language seems a bit forced in a few places, this was still a thoroughly enjoyable story, and one I can heartily recommend.

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