Thursday, August 13, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Hurricane Fever by Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell is a Caribbean-American writer who is most well known for his excellent Xenowealth series (kick-ass space operas featuring dreadlocked super-strong, dark-skinned heroes fighting freaky aliens science fiction spanning four books so far). In addition to his Xenowealth books, in 2012 Buckell wrote a fun little "eco-thriller" about a radically different geopolitical power structure reshuffled by the effects of global climate change that features a character which is basically a Black lesbian version of James Bond called Arctic Rising (see my generally positive B+ review). The book generally got excellent reviews and was nominated for the Prometheus Award in 2013.

Last year I found out that Buckell has now written another book set in the same world of Arctic Rising called Hurricane Fever, which this time features one of the more eccentric (but interesting) characters from the first book called Prudence Jones, or Roo for short. Roo is a dreadlocked, former Caribbean Intelligence agent (one of the interesting conceits of the Arctic Rising universe is that the Caribbean Islands have banded together to form a political unit that actually has some sway in the world) who after the events of the first book in the series is now the sole guardian for his orphaned nephew.

I was able to receive an ARC (author review copy) of Hurricane Fever in exchange for an unbiased review.

I actually like Hurricane Fever quite a lot (even more than Arctic Rising). It is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller with an interesting premise set in a foreseeable near-future; however I think that Buckell sort of squanders Roo's potential as a leading man by not making him as likeable or emotionally approachable as a character. I do appreciate Buckell's commitment to include diverse characters and the fact that his main character is a Black man presents the readers with situations and concerns which are not usually raised in your ordinary technothriller.

The basic plot of Hurricane Fever is reminiscent of something from James Bond (Ian Fleming), Jason Bourne (Robert Ludlum), Mission Impossible or even Die Hard. Despite swearing that he “left all that spy shit behind” Roo unsurprisingly gets sucked back in when one of his former agent friends (named Zee) is found dead and a message is automatically communicated to Roo with information about a plot that could lead to a worldwide catastrophe. Roo ends up in the Caribbean sea in the area between Barbados and Venezuela with a woman who calls herself Zee's sister just as a climate-change enhanced hurricane is approaching and a super-villain is trying to complete his dastardly scheme.

Overall, Hurricane Fever is a fun and compelling read, set in an interesting near future world which has been affected by climate change.

Title: Hurricane Fever (Arctic Rising, #2)
Author: Tobias Buckell
Paperback: 272 pages.
 Tor Books.
Date Published: July 1, 2014.
Date Read: September 8, 2014.

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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