Tobias Buckell’s terrific ARCTIC RISING was one of my favourite books the year I read it (2012, looks like), for its near-future SF climate change worldbuilding and its heavy focus on the Arctic, which is obviously near and dear to my heart. I liked pretty well everything about it–setting, queer POC female lead, slam-bam adventure plot–which meant that HURRICANE FEVER, set in the Caribbean, had a big hill to tackle as its sequel.
It didn’t quite succeed, in that I didn’t love it as much as I did ARCTIC RISING, but that was pretty unlikely. I had a harder time with the prose in the early chapters than I remember having with ARCTIC RISING, but the POV character had changed–HURRICANE FEVER stars Roo, a secondary character from ARCTIC RISING–and the prose voice might have changed with him. It wasn’t his Caribbean dialect (which is, unsurprisingly, well done) that caught me out, but the actual prose. But I got used to it within a few chapters, and overall really enjoyed the book.
I had no real idea, going in, what the plot was, and so was surprised by the turns of event literally from the 2nd chapter on. There were some great character reveals and a couple of plot twists that made me go “!”, although the bad guys’ end game had a sort of–it felt a little familiar. I’m not sure why, because as far as I can remember I’ve only ever actually encountered it once, and that from a different, er…angle…than the one done in HURRICANE FEVER. So I’m not sure why it kind of twinged as familiar, or…I don’t know. Not quite right, although in actual story terms I thought was within the purview of the characters implementing it. It may be that it’s only something I’ve ever seen presented as either fait accompli or in fantasy settings, and it’s really, really distressing as a plan being put into action in a near-future modern world. Which means Buckell succeeded admirably, because I finished the book more than a week ago and it’s still bugging me, so yeah.
My absolutely favourite thing about the book was how a series of microaggressions paid off. I spent the whole book going “…did they just…they DID…these people are ASSHOLES…” for a payoff that made me cheer out loud. It’s rare I encounter a payoff that well done, so I’m just entirely delighted with Buckell for the effort put in there.
Anyway, it’s a solid book, and, like with ARCTIC RISING, the worldbuilding alone is worth reading it for. Makes me wanna write climate change stuff. :)