Sunday, June 1, 2014
Book Review: Haywire by Justin Macumber
Haywire by Justin R. Macumber
Shawn has always felt disconnected, even abandoned, by his mother. She's so obsessed with the history of the Titans that she runs a museum all about them. Shawn couldn't care less about the old relics, especially since the Titans haven't been heard from since they chased the Hezrin away from Earth a century ago. That disinterest gets put to the test when Shawn and his mother suddenly find themselves in the company of a returned Titan, a Titan with a warning.
The Hezrin infected the Titans with a virus, one that has turned them against the people they were created to protect. Sure, the Hezrin have been destroyed, but they've managed to create a tool to avenge themselves. Now, the Titans are now coming to take down humanity.
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from http://www.justinmacumber.com/
When the aliens known as the Hezrin invaded our solar system, we were defenseless against them, their power and technology too much for us. But then from the mind of a mad genius came our salvation — the Titans. Using nanotechnology that turned ordinary soldiers into armored warriors with the strength to tear starships in half, the Titans were able to not only repel the alien invaders, but then vowed to chase them across the galaxy until the Hezrin were destroyed.
That was a hundred years ago. Neither the Titans nor the Hezrin have been heard from since.
Now, finally, the Titans have returned, but instead of coming home as conquering heroes, they’ve been infected by a virus that’s driven them insane and compelled them to destroy everything they’d fought so long and hard to protect.
Standing between them and humanity’s destruction are a scholar, her son, and the only Titan able to resist the infection. Will they find a way to save humanity from its own greatest weapon?
Haywire doesn't give an exact year for its setting (at least not as far as I remember, but I tend to miss a lot of things, so yeah... I fail. A lot) but the lack of a year doesn't bother me. It's obviously not set in the now, or even in the next few decades. If you're looking for a "this is definitely how the future could pan out" sci-fi-story, you're looking in the wrong place. Suspend disbelief for a minute and go with Macumber, and you won't be disappointed. The when, how, and why of Haywire didn't feel like immediate needs for me. There was a whole history involved that was hinted at, the splitting of world powers into two main interplanetary factions, for one, and while I would have liked to know backstory there (because I like that stuff) it wasn't critical to the story much. Macumber gives his readers just what he needs to give us, and it creates a compelling, rich alternate future for his characters and plot to live.
Writers of science fiction can so easily get caught up in terminology that reading their novels (or watching the TV shows or movies) can quickly become an unintelligible joke. Macumber does not fall into that category at all. There's not a ton of "hard" science in it, but I still felt thoroughly ensconced in the future, in a humanity far more advanced than I live in. His plot did not suffer for involving science we don't have in the present-day, his characters were still human (both in race and in characterization) and he was very easy to read and, more importantly, to enjoy. You don't need much more than a basic understanding of the English language to follow Haywire. No fancy degrees... nothing. This is definitely an enjoyable read, meant to be entertaining. He balances plot and necessary science for the setting and events seamlessly.
From the beginning, I was pulled into Haywire. Macumber's characters are relatable in their faults and joys, their interactions with one another are solid and wholly understandable, and the entire setting is, to put it plainly, awesome. Even his secondary characters hace arcs that draw you in. I don't know that I can really say I had a favorite story arc. A favorite character, yes, but all the threads of the story started in such disconnected places that I admit, I wondered early on how all that was going to work. Macumber delivered, though, weaving everything together masterfully. I was left satisfied on every story arc, and that's not something I can say for every novel I read. Well done, Mr. Macumber!
Would I Recommend This Book? Verily. This isn't one of those "I need to have wiring in my head to get it" novels. I'm not all that into the really hard science fiction, personally. If you are or aren't, I think Haywire is still a good read. I give it a nanite-infused 4 out of 5 stars.
For more information on the author, visit http://www.justinmacumber.com/