Author: Carole Cummings
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Kimolijah Adani—Class 2 gridTech, beloved brother, most promising student the Academy’s ever had the privilege of calling their own, genius mechanical gridstream engineer, brilliantly pioneering inventor… and dead man. But that’s what happens when a whiz kid messes with dynamic crystals and, apparently, comes to the attention of Baron Petra Stanslo. Killed for his revolutionary designs, Kimolijah Adani had been set to change the world with his impossible train that runs on nothing more than gridstream locked in a crystal. Technically it shouldn’t even be possible, but there is no doubt it works.
Bas is convinced the notoriously covetous and corrupt Stanslo had something to do with Kimolijah Adani’s tragic and suspicious end. A Directorate Tracker, Bas has finally managed to catch the scent of Kimolijah Adani’s killer, and it leads right into Stanslo’s little desert barony. For almost three years, Bas has tried to find a way into Stanslo’s Bridge, and when he finally makes it, shock is too small a word for what—or, rather, whom—he finds there.
Review: This book was so damn good. Like take a day or two off reading because I know it won’t be fair to whatever I pick up next type of good. I’ll admit the first 20 pages are a little slow going. From the first page you’re dropped into this complex world through the mind of a very distinct POV of one of the main characters Bas. He’s a tracker for the Directorate, which is basically like the FBI in charge of all humans with tech skills. Tech in this world refers to the person having something equivalent to a superpower that’s graded on a scale depending on how strong they are with their gift. Bas has been tasked to hunt down a class 5 weather tech who has all but vanished. He thinks he knows where she is and that it will also lead him to the murder of another brilliant tech he’s become acquainted with through the notes and studies he’s left behind. Bas believes the weather tech has been taken by the ruthless baddie we get too know all too well later in the book named Stanslo. Bas spends a lot of time trying to perpetuate a false persona to help get hired by the baddie’s recruiter and one day he’s plucked into service . He’s put on a train unlike anything he’s ever seen before. A train that runs off gridstream (that gets complicated so I won’t get into it) and defies everything he’s learned about how it works. When the train stops he’s been transported to a crap town in the middle of the dessert full of ruthless men all under the control of Stanslo. He trying his best to play the rogue gun slinging lawless type that got him hired. But this place is so strange and dangerous There’s really no way to prepare yourself mentally for being dropped into the town known as Stanslo’s Bridge What makes things all the more interesting is he also finds the young grid tech he’s become somewhat obsessed with after investigating his disappearance. The one they were all convinced was dead.
This world building here is so rich and vivid. It’s amazingly unique. If I had any advice for someone picking this up I’d tell you to just go with it. It’ll all click together as you read. I tried to absorb every tiny detail of the story from the first page but it’s a lot to take in. You learn everything as Bas does. It’s a game and he has to figure out the rules and roles of the people in that game. He has to watch his back and learn as much as he can as fast as he can. He’s all alone and in a world of trouble. As if figuring out the hierarchy and inner workings of this hell hole aren’t bad enough, he also has to figure out if Kimo is there of his own will or not. Again sounds easy enough but Kimo is a beautiful and volatile creature. He’s freaking epic! Like a live wire that burns too hot and too bright shoved into the small brilliant man. I totally get why everyone seems drawn to Kimo. He can do things nobody else can do. AND yet he’s at the mercy of Stanslo. He’s even apparently sleeping with him? But it that by choice or is it forced? The only thing you really know is Stanslo is evil and if they want to live Bas has to get them out. Thing is Stanslo isn’t stupid and he puts some crazy measures in place to make sure his people bend to his will. Including Kimo. This part of the story just adds to the mind games. I seriously HATED Stanslo. Hated him. He is a suave and charismatic baddie I wanted to die at the first opportunity!
The huge cast of characters was surprisingly easy to follow. I also felt like I knew them fairly well. They’re all so interesting. You really don’t know who trust. You feel you probably shouldn’t trust anybody but you know Bas will need an ally. Bas and Kimo are my favorite though. There is a love story but I would consider this a steam punk dystopian fantasy with a romantic story line. That story line however is so so good. Well worth the wait and frustration. Kimo doesn’t trust Bas either. They spend the majority of this long novel arguing. Neither can just come out and say what they want. Their back and forth was so so good. The dialogue was witty and sexy. Full of tension. Bas does a good job of holding his own against Kimo which is saying something.
This book is absolutely one of my favorites of 2015. It’s full of danger and intrigue. Amazing world building that’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. A tumultuous but gripping love story. Crazy characters I loved and hated. Action packed. Creatures. Those fucking spiders! I can’t help but think this book was kind of like a western flavored Mad Max. Arrrghhh…there’s really no way to sum up all that this story is. What I do know is it is AWESOME! I freaking loved it. I absolutely recommend it.