I've been hearing about Tobias S. Buckell's Xenowealth series for years and finally got around to it last month. My schedule made reading time difficult to find, so it probably suffered somewhat from that, but overall, I really enjoyed Crystal Rain, book 1 in the Xenowealth series.
John DeBrun has no memory of his past, but there are a few odd things he's realized about himself, such as the fact that he doesn't seem to age or get sick (unbreakable!). We find him established with a wife and son and living in a Caribbean-esque world that leans toward the steampunk.
In this Caribbean-style world, just about everyone talks in dialect. As far as a unique world, I haven't come across this yet and I thought it was interesting ... at first. Then, it got frustrating and difficult to read after a while. It really threw me off and I never got used to it even by the end. Kudos to putting it in there and diversifying the genre, nonetheless.
The Caribbeans are attacked by the neighboring culture who live across the Wicket High mountain range and who are intent on domination. Again, the actual reasons behind the attack (and the interesting surprises) are much more than one country ruling another and has more to do with who is pulling the strings as we learn as the story progresses.
I don't want to spoil too much, but the payoff in the end is really great after the mysteries finally start to unfold. I blazed through the last hundred pages and it helped I actually found that mysterious reading time I was looking for.
Again, I fear spoiling too much, but this is a brilliant mix of fantasy and science fiction that started off slowly, but really built to a great ending. I did have some problems, but overall I highly enjoyed Crystal Rain and I'm looking forward to the sequels. The reveals were worth the minor difficulties and I think going into the next book, those hiccups will be overcome.
3.5 out of 5 Stars (recommended)
1) Crystal Rain
3) Sly Mongoose
4) Apocalypse Ocean
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