It Takes Death to Reach a Star

Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington. Vesuvian, $17.99 trade paper (323p) ISBN 978-1-944109-52-3
The first collaboration between Jones and Worthington (the Action of Purpose trilogy) is a reasonably standard postapocalyptic dystopian work. Thanks to a one-two apocalyptic punch of war and disease, most of the world is uninhabitable; only one remote area of Siberia remains a place where humans can live. Dystopia fans looking for the usual tropes—a highly unequal future society, protagonists from each half thrown together, machinations by the dictator in charge, etc.—will get all that, explained in straight-up exposition dumps by the two narrators (Demitri, a member of the genetically modified elite Graciles, and Mila, a scavenger and member of the tough but poor Robusts) and in ponderous conversations between characters telling each other what they both know. There are a few interesting twists involving Vedmak, a second personality inside Demitri who might represent a failure of the bioengineering and culling that the Graciles practice, but the limitations and sheer grunginess of the setting keep the story solidly predictable. Readers looking for innovation in worldbuilding or characters will be disappointed. Agent: Italia Gandolfo, Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 324 pages - 978-1-64548-012-9
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