On October 1, 2011, Death Drop will burst onto the scene, leaving a trail of genre bending destruction in its wake. This explosive debut novel by Sean Allen is the first book set in The D-Evolution series.
Humans are dead. That’s right, they were completely wiped out 400,000 years ago; however, the universe is still populated by a myriad assortment of sentient life. That life is threatened by the Durax, a heinous race whose bodies are weak, but whose mind-controlling abilities have enabled them to conquer, destroy and enslave all who cross their path. Fortunately, all is not lost. A group of rebels known as The Dissension has a serum enabling them to withstand the Durax’s telepathic assaults. Or at least they did. The serum is no longer safe and the Dissension is slowly losing their rebellion to the Durax.
Dezmara Strykar has heard the stories of humans, and it seems that somehow she is one, possibly the last one. She is willing to go to any lengths to keep that fact hidden. Smuggling comes easy to Dezmara and is the perfect front as she searches for information on other humans. She has quickly become the best smuggler around, gaining a solid reputation, but that reputation comes with a cost… recognition.
A double-cross leaves a top Dissension soldier dead, and Dezmara is the prime suspect. When multiple enemies start pursuing Dezmara, she is forced to muster every last ounce of her intellect, strength and skills to avoid being killed. Death Drop starts with a BANG and ends with a BOOM!
It’s a jungle out there
Death Drop has many different races; each one is described in such detail that it felt like watching anime in my brain. Many are molded after Earth animals and have a variety of awesome talents. It’s clear these races have been culturally immersed for a very long time. Almost all have been terrorized in some way by the Durax. Many are enslaved; some, transformed into crazed super soldiers, have taken advantage of the turmoil and formed immense criminal empires or joined forces with the Durax; and a brave few stand in rebellion. The rest are just trying to survive, if they haven’t already been completely wiped out.
Dezmara is a heroine with a quick wit and insane skills. She’s River Tam on steroids (well, at least with an awesome flight suit, helmet and weaponry). Every scene involving this high octane smuggler was heart-pounding fun. I enjoyed her encounters with the various denizens of the universe, although the accent of Simon, her mechanic, got pretty annoying. (I liked him, but I often wished he would lose his tongue.) I absolutely loved her guard cat, Diodojo.
Other characters were equally impressive. From the grizzled war veteran with the powers of Ice to the murderous, soul stealing enemy General, the various characters had distinctive personalities, striking physical descriptions and amazing abilities.
I might need a neck brace
Every turn of the page brings about a new twist, intense space battle, or a fantastic new location. The plot develops quickly and the action zips through the pages. Dezmara, who I feel is the most interesting of the characters, doesn’t even show up until a fifth of the way through, but the setup is so good you’ll hardly notice. Once she enters the story, prepare for some serious whiplash. The double-crosses, unexpected twists and mysteries characters continue to the last page.
During many chapters, Allen’s narrative wanders into alternating point of view. This is not my usual preference in novels, but due to the fast-paced nature of the story, it adds to the feel that this is more like a movie or comic book than a novel, which I believe was his intention.
BOOM! KAPOW! CLACK CLACK CLACK!
Death Drop is heavy on the action and almost every page includes some onomatopoeic sound effects. This is another example of Death Drop’s comic book qualities. I’ve seen this used often in graphic novels and comics, but much more sparingly (if at all) in science fiction and fantasy novels. Thankfully, Allen’s use of onomatopoeia enhances the quirky feel of Death Drop and was another distinguishing facet of his style.
I will advise that many scenes have detailed descriptions of gore and heavy doses of R-rated language. It fits with the style of the book, but is not advised for those under 18.
Why should you read this book?
Sean Allen clearly had fun writing this book and I had fun reading it. There’s plenty of high tech gadgetry, cool spaceships, magnetic shields and vast space colonies for the science fiction buff. The fantasy enthusiast will enjoy the multitude of beings that inhabit the Death Drop universe. The ability to move rocks, shape shift, control minds or capture the souls of those they have killed are just a few of the powers presenting a magical touch. There’s something for everyone in this book. The style is different from my typical fare and it won’t suit everyone, but if you’re adventurous, why not give it a go? If you’re still not sure, check out the awesome character art and download 280 pages free (yes, free) at The D-Evolution. Is it anime? Is it a graphic novel? Is it Space Opera? … no, it’s Death Drop.
Jake received a review copy courtesy of Vintage Six Media.