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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
Bryan Peterson
Equinox - Lara Morgan 3 stars because it was fun and sometimes I require nothing more from a book than entertainment and distraction. I love that everything is so crazy over-the-top in this book – Lara Morgan’s vision of Newperth is nothing if not imaginative – and it really seems like she has fun building Rosie’s world and the gadgetry it comes with. It’s all artificial intelligence, and pulse guns, and helijets, and bullet trains up the west coast of Australia and nanobots.. Just don’t ask for detailed explanations, because the book’s answer is basically: ‘because SCIENCE and THE FUTURE, that’s why.’ So if you’re willing to forego intense scrutiny of every aspect of the technology, Rosie Black’s cyber-punk(ish) world is vivid and interesting, particularly when it comes to Morgan’s depiction of social order and class. Despite the fact that Newperth has become a multicultural melting pot of sorts, the lines between the haves and have-nots are clearly delineated, down to the physical areas of the city they occupy. The plot is heavily action-based, throwing Rosie back into the path of Helios and their nefarious deeds, while forging new alliances and reuniting with familiar faces. Rosie is compelled to make and reflect on some tough choices, but those moments of introspection are sandwiched between high-speed chases, gun-fights and espionage. Morgan rarely takes her foot of the pacing accelerator through the entirety of the book, and Rosie and company spend most of the novel in fight or flight mode, which makes for quick reading. The story sees the addition of a couple of new characters, and I was initially wary that these were going to fall into ready-made cliches: the cute new guy and the "bitchy" hot girl. Thankfully, Morgan steers clear of perpetuating the stereotypes, and both Dalton and Cassie make interesting additions to the cast and change up the dynamic of the character interactions. If I’m going to nitpick about the book it’s that some of the plot developments just seem all a bit too convenient. A number of times, the necessary piece of equipment or knowledge or skill just happens to be within easy reach. Dalton, for example, is a wealthy, intelligent student who’s parents are conveniently out-of-sight, with access to vast resources, and happens to be a pretty brilliant pilot, has a subversive streak and some underground contacts, oh and did I mention he also knows how to whip up some bombs with stuff just lying around – MacGyver style? Handy, no? Why don’t I have a friend like that? If you were a fan of Genesis, Equinox is a fun, high octane follow up, raising the stakes believably for what promises to be a strong finale. (Oh yeah, and Pip is back!)