Saturday, 13 December 2014

Review for Kyrathaba Rising by William Bryan Miller


KYRATHABA RISING by William Bryan Miller

I received a copy of Kyrathaba Rising in exchange for an honest review and I have to say that when the second part of this book becomes available, I will be there to get my purchased copy. There are so many good ideas in Kyrathaba Rising by William Bryan Miller that it is hard to pin down which is the more interesting.

The book starts off with a cold open than introduces us to this dystopian world inhabited by Sethra and Byron, survivors of an alien invasion that leaves Planet Earth a radioactive wasteland. As a result, the survivors have been driven to an isolated subterranean existence with no idea if they are all that's left of humanity. While the trope of nuclear destruction may be quite common, what is unique is the manner in which the aliens exterminate the bulk of the human population. With our reliance on social media and electronic devices, how we may be wiped out by an alien intelligence is not only chilling but surprisingly plausible.

While the main plot of Kyrathaba deals with the new world that Sethra and Byron discovers and how it may well be humanity's salvation, there is also an equally compelling story in the way the A-3 bunker conducts its day to day business. The author paints the picture of a society that is almost if not more interesting than Kyrathaba itself.  The balance between the two realities is quite expert as the riddles Sethra faces is weaved in spectacularly into the book's third act. From this point on, the dystopian tale I was reading became a sweeping saga with ambitions concepts.

Although the book begins with Sethra and Byron, Kyrathaba Rising is really an ensemble piece. We're introduced to several residents of A-3 but it is Dr. Mephford, Grant Thompson and for a brief time, Dr. Hazard that really stand out. From Dr. Mephford's strategic management of A-3 to a riveting first contact situation with Grant, these characters leap off the page and command your attention right to the end. My personal favorite was Dr. Mephford.

My only complaint is that I received a copy of Kyrathaba Rising as an Audible book and I found the performance of the narrator a little difficult to follow because she speaks a little too quickly. It makes absorbing the technical components of the book difficult but I solved this problem by slowing down the speed. She does get better as the book progresses and by the third act, the narration has evolved beautifully.

This is a fantastic book in the vein of of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clark with a dash of William Gibson. Telling you why would be spoiling the book because there are some excellent twists. The story is well written with great attention to detail, particularly in the description of how A-3 operations and the suspense artfully delivered. There is also some lovely Lord of the Rings references. By the time the book reaches the end, reader's appetite is properly wetted for the next installment.

I recommend this book to those who love hard science-fiction, a well-paced story as well as character studies. Kyratha Rising is an epic read that is only just getting started.