by Mary Baader Kaley
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Pub Date 10 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 10 Jan 2023
Zuzan Cayan, a brilliant Subter girl with “light blindness,” is about to leave the safety of her burrow and earn a living. With her low life expectancy, however, her options are slim. That is until she’s offered the chance of a lifetime to study the population’s broken genetic code, fix the divide and reunite the world once again.
But when a new virus turns fatal for the Omnits, Zuzan must find a cure or humanity won’t simply remain separate, it will become extinct.
With enemies on all sides, Zuzan must hold on to the light at the end of the tunnel – or risk the world falling into darkness.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Burried Deep | Plain Jane | War is Coming | Plaguing the Game ]
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 33 members
Thank you, Angry Robot books and NetGalley, for the opportunity to read the advanced copy of this terrific book.
I am not sure where Angry Robot books manage to keep finding these talented writers (check out some of their other titles). Here they have unearthed another gem in the shape of Mary Baader Kaley. This talented writer has produced an extraordinary post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, having all the ingredients to make it an instant hit.
In a post-apocalyptic future, a genetic plague has separated humanity into two distinct civilisations. We have the clever in a unique scientific way Subterraneans. But they have a limited life span and live in underground burrows to protect their health from various ailments. Then there are the Omniterraneans, strong, surface-dwelling individuals, less intelligent but provide food and equipment from the surface to those who dwell below.
Zuzan Cayan, a brilliant Subterranean girl with defects and flaws beyond the usual Subter, is given the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to study the population’s damaged genetic code, fix the divide and reunite the world above and below again. But then a new virus turns fatal for the Omnits. Zuzan Cayan must find a cure, or humanity won’t just become separate; there is a likelihood it will become extinct.
Zuzan, in her new guise as J'Mave Allele, begins her new role at the GCE. But her attitude and disrespect of authority start affecting her and those around her emotionally and psychologically. Her dedication to the task is without question, but there are outside influences at play that just might put the assignment beyond reach.
When I first started reading this novel, I thought it might be one of coming-of-age books that are so prevalent these days, but this is far from it. Yes, the book starts with Zuzan at a tender age of seven when she is first shipped off to the Burrows, but then we do not see much of her till she is almost ready to graduate in her twenties. That is when things start to get more than a little interesting.
Burrowed has many unique and intriguing science and technological elements to the storyline, which makes for fascinating and enthralling reading. I do not even pretend to understand some of the tech jargon, but nevertheless, it made some semblance of sense. In the best tradition of science fiction, the book is very intense and consuming, never letting up on the excitement, tension and suspense for a moment. I am full of praise for the way the author keeps the book flowing at a good pace, even in the slightly subdued moments.
Burrowed is what I would assume is called a character-driven novel. As there is not a lot of world-building involved. The characters have a variety of personalities and traits and are not at all formulaic. The dialogue is relatively realistic, clear, and profanity-free, apart from the use of the word Jet, which will be explained in the book. There are some slightly disturbing features within the narrative involving torture and bullying, which I think might be upsetting to some, but it is kept to a minimum.
Burrowed is a thrill fest of an incredible degree. A pure adrenaline-fueled ride and no mistake. It will be a more than welcome addition to the genre. Suffice it to say, the novel Burrowed has made an impression on me, and I recommend it highly. I look forward to the next offering from Mary Baader Kaley with bated breath.
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