The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers

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The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers

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Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The fifth and final part in this dark noir thriller of future days. The world must be saved, and there's not much humanity in this world of cyber-personalities to do it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1841499437

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Don't assume too much when starting this book. Certainly, do not assume you can jump straight into this series at this, part five - start much nearer the beginning, as I did. Don't assume the first person narrative means the narrator survives, for this is a world of cyborgs, and psychic human intelligences stored in robot hardware, and more. Don't assume the lulling opening chapters herald a simple revenge actioner, as Avery Cates lives in a tangled web of vengeful villains, and nothing is very straightforward. And don't assume the unremarkable opening is from an author low on ideas, for when Cates is proven to be the one man to save the world, we find it suitably meaty, and gripping, despite that old saw - and it's a rich nightmare of post-apocalypse for him to be saving, as well...

This cycle-closer has returning characters, themes and locales. Avery, the enhanced human killer finds his last target for revenge ties in with saving the world, and righting some of the wrongs done to it over the years - robotic policemen, cyber religions, plagues, nuclear Armageddon... But the returning reader knows there's a very singular strand of humanity in this "hero", and he's a very dark place to look for a spark of hope.

The whole world of this series is a dark place, and one finely wrought. Somers noticeably is light on describing people, locations and anything else less important to Cates' reportage voice. We do get a lot of detail from being in his mind, though, and the clarity coming from this particularly cold source is commendable.

There is though a feeling that the series would have outstayed its welcome by inviting us back for some sixth part. We've seen the blase attitude to killing and body adaptations, and regret Cates carries, like the future-noir protagonist he is, already. Lost perhaps is the novelty of this dystopian sci-fi future crime speculation. Luckily we have the strong story to fall back on, and even the slow-running stream of the opening 100pp has submerged rocks, proving Somers is an author of some powerful genre talents. This cycle has been on a decent plateau of quality; his next ideas are bound to be great.

I must once again thank Orbit for sending me review copies.

More cyber-styled future crimes can be had with Version 43 by Philip Palmer.

Jeff Somers' Avery Cates Series in Chronological Order

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