The Darwin Elevator : Dire Earth Cycle

  • by Jason M. Hough
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: Dire Earth Cycle
  • 14 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Jason M. Hough's pulse-pounding debut combines the drama, swagger, and vivid characters of Joss Whedon's Firefly with the talent of sci-fi author John Scalzi.
In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet's refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator - created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders - emits a plague-suppressing aura.
Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow "immunes", he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura's edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped - along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma - to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.

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What the Critics Say

"Jason M. Hough does a great job with this huge story. The world of Darwin and the Elevator is deliciously complex and satisfying. Skyler, Tania, and all the other characters are delightfully drawn and fun to spend time with.... The story unfolds with just the right balance of high adventure, espionage, humor and emotional truth.... As soon as you finish, you'll want more." (Analog)
"Newcomer Hough displays a talent for imaginative plotting and realistic dialogue, and the brisk pacing and cliffhanger ending will keep readers enthralled and eagerly awaiting the next installment." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Jarring Cliches

What would have made The Darwin Elevator better?

Not having the female scientist be stunningly beautiful and prone to weepy moments.


What could Jason M. Hough have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not having the female scientist be stunningly beautiful and prone to weepy moments.


What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Simon Vance did a good job with this book.


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Er......it is what it is....a sci fi adventure that had potential but just kept jarring me.


Any additional comments?

I would start engaging with the story, only to be irritatingly hauled back by (you know what's coming, don't you?) the stunningly beautiful scientist who was prone to weepy moments! Did you know that her mother taught her to value her intellect more than her beauty? That makes it all okay then, doesn't it? I won't be listening to the remainder of this trilogy but hey.....I didn't send it back for refund and I did finish it!

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- Sarah B

Reasonable story let down by iffy characters

Would you try another book written by Jason M. Hough or narrated by Simon Vance?

I'd try the second one in the series probably - there's a lot of potential there, if Jason Hough works out how to characterise villains properly, the second book might be excelent.


How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Improved the villains motivation, made the book quite a lot shorter, removed the contrived elements.


Would you listen to another book narrated by Simon Vance?

I've listened to a couple by Simon Vance now - he's pretty good. Not great, but pretty good.


Any additional comments?

The Darwin Elevator has a lovely idea behind it, and some pretty sharp writing in places. The world has a good feel to it, the sub humans who are the main threat in this universe are well thought through and avoid being just another set of zombie creatures.

The problem arises in the motivation of some of the characters - particularly the main villain, whose only motivation is he's EVIL! EVIIIIIL! I think it might have gotten away with it if we hadn't been given insight into why he was taking these actions - he's so completely evil and without any redeeming features he comes across as just a characature - a 2d device who is there to give the other characters something to fight against, he doesn't feel like a character in his own right.

There are a couple of other problems - the book is a bit long and pads sections out in places by having things conveniently go wrong (often in rather contrived ways) so the book can continue for another few chapters. It's also not narrated particularly well. Simon Vance is perfectly fine but his soft spoken drawl isn't well suited for this type of sci fi.

Having said all that, I did finish the book and I'm thinking of getting the second in the series when it comes out so there's definitely something to be said for it. The concept is such a strong one that even a terrible antagonist can't ruin it and there are a few central mysteries that kept me coming back to the book, even when I was getting frustrated with its other aspects.

TL:DR give it a go but don't expect a classic. Maybe book 2 will be better.

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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 30-07-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio