Title: Ten Thousand Thunders
Author: Brian Trent
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Publication date: October 18, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: Gethin Bryce was killed in a mysterious space shuttle explosion en route from Mars to the moon. Thanks to scientific advancements in the far future, he is brought back to life and returns to his position as an investigator of anomalies with the InterPlanetary Council. During his investigation, he links up with Jack and Keiko who work for Prometheus Industries, a massive corporation that was also rocked by a lab explosion on the moon, and Celeste, a woman from the outlands that are wild, unpredictable, and ruled by savagery. Together, they travel across the Earth of the far future, revealing the history of Earth, from the very beginning to our present and beyond. In doing so, they also learn startling revelations about the history of the planet and that history is about to collide with their present.
Ten Thousand Thunders is a stunning science fiction book that takes place far into the future. The world is divided between those who live in the arcologies and have access to the technology that makes them superhuman and allows them to live forever and those who live in the wastelands where the people do what they can simply to survive. But this book was much more than a mere commentary on the division between the haves and the have nots. It’s also an incredible inquiry and investigation into how the past impacts the present and future.
I have to admit that, while I loved this book, it felt like it was far beyond my comprehension level. It seems to be greater than what I can fathom, but, while I sometimes felt overwhelmed, this didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. There was so much information, so many revelations, and so many things to sort through to understand the underlying science fiction part of it, but the story was beautiful and terrifying and everything was seamlessly woven together.
Fantasy is my true love, but the problem with the vast majority of fantasy novels is the info dumping and the massive amount of time spent world building, which either draws out the story to be too long or makes the story suffer. While this book is science fiction, it takes place so far in the future that very little of this world is recognizable. Which means the whole world needs to be built. Trent did an amazing job of just throwing the reader in and letting us figure it out on our own. There was always just enough information for the reader to puzzle it out without having to spend too much time on it and I don’t feel the story ever suffered because of it. Instead, I very much enjoyed it. The story could just continue to roll out and I felt free to be swept up in it. Actually, I enjoyed it so much and needed to find out what happened next that I probably should have given myself time to digest it, but didn’t.
I was most impressed by Trent’s writing style. It was crisp and succinct and did everything to keep the story going. The metaphors were always fitting, but never long. They painted the perfect pictures and I loved how they were descriptive while being stingy with the number of words. There was a great deal of information and a great deal of events going on and every word carried importance and weight. The reader is given everything they need and nothing they don’t. Most of all, I just really enjoyed his style. Short and sweet while being crisp and packing a punch.
Because I’m not a regular science fiction reader and science is not exactly my specialty, it took me a few chapters to really get into the book. I spent much of the early chapters trying to figure out what everything was and what was going on. But, once I sorted it out, I was swept away by the story. It never felt like it was dragged down by unnecessary scenes and actions. Everything was important and everything told the story of the Earth’s past and present colliding. The characters were unique, but tender to be static, though we occasionally learned something new about them as the story progressed. The relationships between Gethin, Jack, Keiko, and Celeste were interesting and intriguing and, while it did progress, there was still the initial atmosphere of distrust. It was kind of amazing how they managed to not kill each other and instead rely on each other.
My one complaint would be the revelation about the Earth’s beginning. It was definitely surprising and kind of knocked me out of the story. While it ended up making perfect sense, it always felt a little off. Though Trent did do an amazing job of incorporating this surprising part into the greater story and weaving it in so it made complete sense. By the end of the book, I was satisfied, but, when it was presented, I was left scratching my head a little.
I am very glad that Ten Thousand Thunders is the start of a series. The last 10-20% of the book made me a little angry because I didn’t want it to end. There was so much going on and, by the end of the book, much of it is wrapped up, but not everything. I did not want to leave this future Earth. I was mollified to learn there is going to be a second book and I look forward to it.
Overall, this is an incredible book. A little dense, but the writing, story, and pacing are all wonderful. There was definitely a little more violence in the middle than I could stomach and not everything made complete sense to me, but this was a very enjoyable read. I definitely recommend stopping once in a while to digest the story.
How many cups of tea will you need?
4 cups should do the trick
Note: Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance reader copy of this book. It will be published by Flame Tree Press, a new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing, on October 18, 2018.
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