Megalops is an Aquarian, a human-dolphin hybrid who lives in one of the many reef-cities that thrive beneath the waves on an Earth ravaged by climate change. Some of the Humans who cling to the barren lands blame Aquarius for their plight and unleashed the Medusa Plague that entombed Megalops’s wife and daughter in stone. Tormented by that loss, Megalops dedicates everything to avenging his murdered family, no matter what the cost. He unleashes a Vendetta Virus as cruel and lethal as the Medusa Plague, a bio-weapon that transforms living Humans into Aquarian corpses. Ocypode — one of the heroes who stopped the Medusa Plague — and his band of Human and Aquarian allies battle desperate odds to prevent Megalops from committing an act of genocide that will escalate into global conflict, dragging the Earth’s other humanoid species into the chaos. War demands sacrifice. If Mother Earth and Mother Ocean wage war against each other, will anyone survive?
I’d picked this book up much too long ago to remember much about it, other than I wanted to read it. Even with the description, I really couldn’t remember what intrigued me about the book in the first place. So, with that, I had to go with what the cover and description led me to expect: some type of thriller, or horror with a sci-fi or fantasy twist.
As I started reading this one, I found myself a bit lost. When I double checked the cover, I discovered why – this is the second book in the series. The world building is adequate enough for a new reader to understand what is going on, and where things are happening. However, I am certain that I missed quite a bit of depth that would have been present had I read the first book. There are a few places that felt as if there was a small inside joke with the way the world developed in this book, which just rang hollow without the background to understand them. Also, there are some political interactions that felt shallow without the previously published material.
Overall, the world building in this installment is decent, but it didn’t really shine for me the way most well written stories do. I’m thinking this is due to not having the previous installment to build on is the main cause.
If the world building was lackluster, the character development more than made up for it. Despite having a prior installment to work from, the characters were easily distinct (though the names were a bit of a tongue twister for me, though suitable for their species). Each character had their own motivations, virtues, and flaws – even the ones who quickly stood out to be the antagonists in this part of the story. As the tale unfolded, the characters behaved realistically – accepting, or distrusting the others they were with – which made the cast come alive and really shine.
Overall, the pace of this book felt a touch on the slow side with bursts of activity. Despite having the central focus for the events on a battle, which inevitably causes a feeling of “hurry up and wait,” the build up remained very slow. Also, toward the end, things became a bit too pat – every action had an almost immediately balanced reaction, which stalled any feeling of building momentum.
Intriguing as this one should have been, it fell short of the mark. I’m inclined to think, as I stated earlier, that it is due to not having the entire story from the beginning. As such, I’m giving this one a tentative 4 of 5 paws from this pukah. It definitely is a character driven story, but some of the events in the latter part of the book really kill the tension creating a feeling of “is this just going to go on forever”? There is a twist, yet sadly, it doesn’t salvage the lackluster presentation.
The story itself is well written, just parts of it didn’t quite make a full connection with me. If you like character-driven, military-based science fiction you may enjoy this one. Why not give it a try by picking up a copy on Amazon Here.