Saturday 2 May 2015

Crystal Force

Crystal Force by Joe Ducie (Hot Key Books 2015)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN: 9781471404559

Reviewed by Jade Harmer

Buckle up science fiction fans. British-born Perth author Joe Ducie, joint-winner of the Guardian and Hot Key Books Young Writer’s Prize for his debut novel, The Rig, is back with Crystal Force, an action-packed sequel. And you’re in for a roller coaster ride.

Crystal Force is predominately set on the East Coast of North America in the not too distant future, just two weeks after the events in The Rig.

With all the makings of a dark, apocalyptic tale, Crystal Force is balanced by Ducie’s charming teen protagonist, William Drake, and the development of his relationships with his sidekicks from The Rig through which Ducie introduces themes of self-esteem, identity, belonging and love. Will, Irene and Tristan may have escaped the world’s most secure juvenile detention facility, but Will’s exposure to the potentially deadly Crystal X and his resultant super powers see him on the run, struggling to distinguish friend from foe and battling to maintain his sanity.
Despite the Crystal X running through Will’s veins, his radical physical transformation, and the sheer unpredictability of his raw power, the fifteen and a half year old still remains the type of guy you want by your side.

Fiercely loyal, protective and instinctive, and with a healthy sense of humour and a voracious mutant teenage appetite, Will is driven by the desire to cure his mother of the cancer she suffers at the hands of the Alliance – global controller of all things from communication to medication.

Ducie’s background in security and intelligence adds credibility to his depiction of the global net of control cast by the powerful and ruthless Alliance.
Will and his friends share a volatile journey during which they meet potential allies, encounter an all too familiar nemesis and stand alongside enemies for the sake of human civilisation as we know it.

In an ever-changing battle field, Ducie draws contrasts between young and old, light and dark, sanity and madness, good and evil, love and hate, and, ultimately, life and death.

And when Will follows his instincts into uncharted territory, Ducie leaves friends, allies, enemies and readers alike to deliberate the consequences, and contemplate the future.

Recommended reading for thrill seekers and sci-fi fans aged 12 years and upwards.

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