The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers — book review

The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers. Orbit ‘7.99

Reviewed by Tony Lane

I broke the cardinal rule by reading the final book in a series first, and I was expecting to struggle to understand what was going on. I didn’t. The Final Evolution works well as a stand-alone novel, though I would recommend starting from the beginning. There are points where background information and emotional investment was hinted at from previous books.

Avery Cates is a Gunner, a street-kid criminal pressed into the army as an assassin and implanted with cybernetic implants that, as well as giving him various physical advantages, also allowed his controllers to terminate him remotely. This dystopian society ends after a war, and like a cockroach Cates travels through the post-apocalyptic wilderness and cityscapes searching for the people who put him in this position. It is easy to relate to the trapped and manipulated situation that pervaded Cates’s existence.

Everybody who spends any time near Cates ends up dead. He makes John McClane from Die Hard look like a lucky charm. He does the only thing he knows how to do and kills anyone and everyone in his way. The collateral damage in this story is epic. Some of the language used is just stunningly descriptive. My favourite example of this was, “His accent was English, bitten off with cheerful relish, as if words were fun.” This is not an overly wordy book though; it is a quick and fun read that although concludes nicely does leave some questions for your imagination to consider.

I enjoyed this book and fully intend to read the whole series. It has roots in classic near future SF, but has enough original points to complement the plot of this aggressive action thriller.

The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers. Orbit ‘7.99

Reviewed by Tony Lane

I broke the cardinal rule by reading the final book in a series first, and I was expecting to struggle to understand what was going on. I didn’t. The Final Evolution works well as a stand-alone novel, though I would recommend starting from the beginning. There are points where background information and emotional investment was hinted at from previous books.

Avery Cates is a Gunner, a street-kid criminal pressed into the army as an assassin and implanted with cybernetic implants that, as well as giving him various physical advantages, also allowed his controllers to terminate him remotely. This dystopian society ends after a war, and like a cockroach Cates travels through the post-apocalyptic wilderness and cityscapes searching for the people who put him in this position. It is easy to relate to the trapped and manipulated situation that pervaded Cates’s existence.

Everybody who spends any time near Cates ends up dead. He makes John McClane from Die Hard look like a lucky charm. He does the only thing he knows how to do and kills anyone and everyone in his way. The collateral damage in this story is epic. Some of the language used is just stunningly descriptive. My favourite example of this was, “His accent was English, bitten off with cheerful relish, as if words were fun.” This is not an overly wordy book though; it is a quick and fun read that although concludes nicely does leave some questions for your imagination to consider.

I enjoyed this book and fully intend to read the whole series. It has roots in classic near future SF, but has enough original points to complement the plot of this aggressive action thriller.