Source: Flame Tree Press – I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Edition: Paperback, 304 Pages
Genre: Science Fiction Thriller
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Welcome to Earth, the year 322 of the New Enlightenment. Having just been killed in a mysterious shuttle explosion, Gethin Bryce is back to uncover what happened. An unusually gifted investigator with the InterPlanetary Council, Gethin is tasked with seeking out the truth behind unexplained anomalies that lie outside IPC control. In the dazzling arcologies that arose from the ashes of war, death is a passing inconvenience and technology has made all things possible… except for true freedom. Humanity has colonized nearby worlds, but all are subject to the unquestioned authority of the IPC. And expansion beyond Sol is forbidden. In the world outside the arcologies, mortal life is savage and fleeting. The ruins of Old Calendar cities serve as living testaments to an age when warfare nearly extinguished the human race. The remnants of that grisly era linger in the forgotten outlands, catacombs, and diseased underdark, as the descendants of bygone warlords fight for the scraps in the shadow of the civilized world. Now, in the fourth century of a new age, war is brewing once again. A dark conspiracy is extending its reach across cities and worlds. Gethin’s investigation takes him from the luxurious enclaves of Earth’s elite, to the battered Wastes beyond civilization’s protective thrall. Linking up with an inquiry team from a planet-spanning corporate powerhouse, he also befriends a grim and reluctant outlander. She has an important piece of the puzzle–evidence of a sadistic entity which threatens not just civilization, not just Earth, but all life… Everywhere.
Ten Thousand Thunders is a complex sci-fi mystery with plenty of intrigue and action, and more than a few intensely cool ideas.
I do not find myself venturing into hard sci-fi territory often, as much as I love the genre I have my limits in terms of attention span. Thunders tested those limits quite a bit. I really enjoyed most of the set up that Trent gave us, with a very intriguing ‘solution’ to the problem of mortality. I love the idea of an ‘extra life’ where you get a second chance (or third, or fourth) to live with a new body altogether. The history of Earth, Luna, and Mars was also quite interesting and I liked seeing how things had developed and changed, even if some of it was a bit quirky. We were even treated to quite a bit of action, some intrigue, and some badass ladies to boot. The style of the book, however, is what solidified this as a 3 star read for me. It has a very cut and dry style that makes it harder to digest and for me harder to focus on. All of those really cool ideas were kind of lost in the very matter of fact way it was presented, and I had to take more breaks than I normally do with it. Much of the world building is presented very quickly, along with a whole host of characters, and with multiple story threads to follow. It can be quite overwhelming at first, but as the story moves forward and the stories start to merge a bit it becomes much easier to handle and much more enjoyable.
Our main character is Gethan, who has had a rather long and interesting life. He works as an investigator and as a result ended up dying in an explosion while on a case. He’s certainly quick-witted but found him rather bland overall. He is very much a main focal point but I often found myself more intrigued with those around him. We do get chapters that also focus on a wide range of other people, and while this is initially confusing by the end of the book I found myself sad to see some of them go. Celeste and Keiko were definitely a highlight for me, but I think my favorite character was certainly Jonas, a young boy who finds himself tangled up in the web of schemes. Where the other characters had moments where they would be lost in the ongoings of the story, Jonas stood out and felt fully realized everytime he appeared.
While the story can be very dense I really liked the overall storyline, I just wish it had been a bit easier to digest and paced a little better in terms of information output. There are a ton of strong ideas to be had in this, but at a lower page count, it often felt like too much in conjunction with everything else. I, however, would be interested in seeing more from this author in the future as he definitely has some really intense ideas that are worth reading.
If you enjoy sci-fi and are not scared off by denser reading material, then this one is definitely one to check out! There is a fair bit of violence and some mature content as well, for those who might wish to shy away from such things.