Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Crash by Guy Haley

"Dariusz is an engineer whose career ended years ago; now, a man he’s never met sits in a bar that doesn’t exist and offers him a fresh start... at a price. Cassandra – ‘Sand,’ to her friends – is a space pilot, who itches to get her hands on the controls and actually fly a ship, rather than watch computers do it for her.

The ‘Pointers’ – the elite 0.01% who control virtually all wealth – have seen the limitations of a plundered Earth and set their eyes on the stars. And now Dariusz and Sand, and a half-million ambitious men and women just like them, are sent out to extend the Pointers’ and the Market’s influence across the galaxy.

But the colony fleet is sabotaged and the ESS Adam Mickiewicz crashes, on an alien planet where one hemisphere is seared by perpetual daylight and the other shrouded in eternal night. The castaways have the chance to create society from scratch... if they're not destroyed by the hostile planet – or their own leaders – before they can even begin."

"Why do you read fiction?" When I turned the barrel of this question to myself, my immediate answer was: "to be entertained". In fiction, entertainment is what I'm looking for and the overall experience is what I value the most. To qoute Jojen Reeds from Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire: "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." So, when I turned the first page of Crash, I was looking to put another notch on the hilt of that sword.

Crash opens with a prologue that immediately hooks the reader.
"At first, Dariusz Szczeciński was dead, then he was not.
Machines hurried him to life more quickly than they should. Preservative fluids were sucked from his circulatory system with haste, warmed blood pumped in their place..."

The main protagonish, Dariusz Szczeciński, wakes up after, what appears to be, a crash. The dozen-page prologue is perfect to whet the reader's appetite.

Then, the author takes us to 22nd-century Earth where the reader remains throughout the first quarter of the book. Here Haley paints a very probable picture of our hurting planet that is damaged beyond repair. In that future, a handful of people forming the elite of the society, the pointers, live a dream life while 99% of the human population can barely survive. In this first part, the reader gets to know the backstory of the main protagonist Dariusz as well as some other important characters.

Maybe it comes with the age but as I grow older I lose my faith in humanity. We are not doing enough to protect our planet, we are wasting precious resources, in the name of dogma we are not educating our people in family planning. And one of the projections of our planet's current state could very well match what Haley describes in this first part of Crash. That probable realism glued the book to my hands.

And in the second part of the book the reader find herself back to the crash and the very important events surrounding it. That's where the story picks up more speed.

Unfortunately I hadn't read any of Haley's work before therefore I won't be able to compare Crash to his previous novels however I really liked his smooth, flowing style. The structure and the construction of the story is skilfully realised and Crash is somewhat reminiscent of some of Eric Brown's work. One or two characters failed to make an impression on me however, in general, I didn't have much difficulty in relating to them.

Crash is an action-packed, enthralling novel. I loved Guy Haley's storytelling and in Crash he gives us an adventure well-worth following. I am really looking forward to reading the sequel. And when I turned Crash's last page I knew I was going to read one of Haley's previous works very soon, while waiting for its sequel to be published. A copy of Champion of Mars is already waiting for me on my desk.

Plot: ............. 8
Characters: ... 7
Style: ............ 8

Overall: ....... 8.5/10

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