Title: Apex Lost: Volume 1 Max Velocity
Author: Jesse Rubio
Review: The opening to Apex Lost: Max Velocity was stunning, the novel begins in 2101, we meet Ezzer on Athenia after a disaster leaving him stranded trying to communicate with other sectors but all the equipment has flatlined. Ezzer along with James were the only ones from their section to make it to safety and survive the disaster and after three months they are desperate for rescue as their supplies begin to run low. I loved Ezzer’s reaction they aren’t calm and measured like I see in a lot of sci-fi/dystopian novel but the complete opposite. During some expositional scenes we learn more about Ezzer and what his life was like on Earth before he went to work for Star Bright Industries, and we learn that Ezzer didn’t join because he was brave or wanted recognition he joined purely because he was desperate and had no other options, which I really liked at it made him a more relatable protagonist.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Ezzer become the only survivor that he knows of on Athenia and he is constantly telling himself he isn’t going to die here although he knows it is a possibility if he doesn’t get help soon. We see the true horrors that occurred during the disaster and how unprepared the people on the planet were for this kind of disaster. Ezzer now alone on the planet is desperately trying to hold on to life and his sanity. This book gives of similar vibes to Under the Never Sky and Illuminae both of which we books I loved. While Ezzer is looking for supplies outside the tower he comes across Larry’s sexbot Cherry. Cherry is an advanced AI so Ezzer realises if he can reprogram her, she might be able to find a way to get him back home. When they get back to the tower Cherry manages to reboot the computer and finds out that they were all manually shut down a day before the disaster. Ezzer can’t understand why someone would do this although I am sure with Cherry’s help they will figure it out.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we see Cherry and Ezzer (although more Cherry than Ezzer) figure out a way to get to Olympia where all their equipment is still working. If they can get there than they have a better chance at getting back to Earth but the first major hurdle they have to cross is the broken bridge. Cherry has found a way to get across the partially demolished bridge but it will be dangerous. I liked the odd chemistry between Cherry and Ezzer and it was quite refreshing to see as I haven’t read a sci-fi book before that has two main characters where one is human and the other is an AI.
As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see Cherry and Ezzer put their plan into action spurred on by a video message from James telling them that something beyond some rogue weather happened three months ago. We also get to some varying perspectives giving us to different views on the current situations and I am beginning to realises how much this book reminds me of Illuminae and the core themes there really resonant here. After some strange events and alien insects Cherry and Ezzer get separated and he ends finding another human survivor whose name we don’t know but we do get to see some of the events that led her to be as cold as she is.
As we cross into the second half of the novel we see Ezzer and Sarah travel for ten days to reach the outskirts of Olympia where the encounter tons of crawlers and barely manages to stay alive. As the pair prepare to finally part ways plans change when Sarah discovers the crawlers are adapting to the environment and start coming out during the day when they would normally be safe. I liked the tentative friendship between Sarah and Ezzer as they come to depend on each other emotionally. Ezzer doesn’t forget Cherry though and writes her messages and takes picture of the carnage around them. Sarah asks Ezzer for help on her mission which he agrees to if only for the company on this desolate planet. When they arrive at their destination they have to face yet more mutant bugs and I can honestly say if it was me in that situation I would be seriously freaking out. When they break through the defences and into the building they find more survivors on the supposedly desolate planet.
As we cross into the final section of the novel they pair are captured but Sarah uses her bad-ass skills to free them and get away with a vehicle and weapons although they don’t realises they are being followed as they head to the next sector. In the pair’s true fashion they encounter more trouble but not before they develop a relationship of sorts. The ending to this book was so good and I can’t wait to read on because I really have to know what happens next. Usually I really dislike cliffhangers but this one just fit the novel perfectly.
Overall, I really enjoyed the sci-fi and action elements of this novel especially with there being more than one antagonist. The romance was a bit hit or miss for me initially but by the time Ezzer and Sarah got together I was so invested in the characters and the story that I didn’t care anymore. The romantic element were minimal or downplayed so they didn’t dominate an amazing plot with great characters. I highly recommend Apex Lost: Max Velocity to sci-fi lovers especially those that like novels similar to Illuminae or Ender’s Game.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by the author
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