They have failed.
All that’s left are the Strains- bacteria so strong they have brought the world to its knees.
But humanity has fought on, carving out pockets of civilization in a wasteland known as the Sicklands, creating the super high-tech Clean Nation cities.
And from the cities GenSOF has been born- Genetic Special Forces Operations. An elite military branch of the government that enlists men and women with specific genetic anomalies that allow them to be hosts to bacteria that even the Strains cannot defeat. Under the watchful eye of Control, GenSOF protects the Clean Nation cities from the ever encroaching Strains and the diseased inhabitants of the Sicklands.
But now Control has other plans for GenSOF, and possibly the Clean Nation cities themselves, and it is up to the operators of GenSOF Zebra Squad, and their cloned Canine Units known as bug hounds, to find out what those plans are.
Or die trying.
As I said in the intro, Jake’s putting out a bunch of books this year. On the one hand, as a fan and as a writer, I was worried that given the ramped up production schedule the quality would suffer. On the other hand I was all “WOOHOO! MORE BOOKS!!”. Well it turns out *DRAMATIC PAUSE* I needn’t have worried. Jake is returning to fertile ground that he knows well; a blighted no man’s land, a post apocalypse, and para-military ass kickers. The good thing is, to me, this doesn’t feel like more of the same.
The Goods – The characters in this book are deeper than some of the ones in past books. I can see that Jake is spending a lot more time with his characters and thinking through them. He’s created deep characters in the past, but in this book there’s more of them. Fewer two-dimensional characters is a good thing, most definitely. The plot is also very enjoyable. There’s a lot that the main characters don’t know and just when they think they’ve figured something out the world gets a little more screwed up. They have help along the way, but even this help isn’t always reliable or available. The whole thing moves along briskly and when I saw that it was almost three hundred pages I was a bit surprised.
The Bads – I first few chapters of this book were awesome. Then it hit a few dead spots for me as they trundled through the Sicklands. Things got… weird. Even by Jake Bible’s standards. This may not be a problem for anyone else but me, but when the tone of the book changed, about the time they met the GenWrecks, it stumbled. It didn’t fall, but it took a few chapters for me to get back into the swing of things. When the group got to its destination the whole book picked right back up again. There are also a few typos that the copy editor missed. I’m seeing more and more of these pop up and not just in the Indie books I read. There’s not a lot of bad to be found here. I had to look.
Overall – This was a fun read. I like the “land mines” he laid for book two. He says this looks to be a two to three book series. If he takes his time I could see it going four. The concepts, especially the bug hounds and how he handles AIs, are a lot of fun, and I’d be interested to see more of what life in the Clean Cities is like for the general population. Hopefully we’ll get a little more of that.
I give this book four out of five Cooties.