Hachette Book Group (AU)
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Terminus Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
- ASIN : B009EA91IO
- Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton; UK ed. edition (20 June 2013)
- Language : English
- File size : 1375 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 416 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 823,977 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from Australia
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The story follows Lupe, a New York gang-girl who has been co-opted by a team of scientists, rescue personnel and soldiers to re-enter New York (first taken over by the zombies and subsequently nuked by the government - shades of the classic North American survivalist paranoia going on here?) and extract the one scientist (a rather cornily named Doctor Ekks) who might have found a cure. Their search takes them deep into the Manhattan sewers and subway system, but what will they find there...?
Now there's good, bad (well, sort of) and indifferent here, for me. The story itself is well-paced and it skips along nicely, striking a perfect balance between the excitement of the classic zombie melee, tense claustrophobic searches through collapsed (nay, collapsing), flooded tunnel systems and long periods of boredom waiting for... rescue? for the zombies to break in? to die? And it IS a good story, calling on the well-known, tried and tested Resident Evil gameplay scenario, with characters galore, puzzles, traps, expositional documents and landslides - it really DOES feel like the classic computer game. The atmosphere is well-crafted too - murky, claustrophobic, cold and smelly; nowhere that you'd like to spend your summer holidays, that's for sure.
Another plus point is that it becomes clear from the beginning that the characters are pretty much doomed, having received a healthy, bone-marrow-warming dose of radiation poisoning, they are gradually succumbing to its effects. This adds bucketloads of tension to the story and turns the determined optimism of the more typical "we're going to get out of this if we alll pull together" schtick onto its fatalistic head. A very nice touch and one that Private Hudson would have loved; "Great! Game over man! Game over!".
The characters are, as I have mentioned, varied and fairly interesting and again there's a nice balance struck between the comfortably recognizable (perhaps straying a little towards the cliched?) and the anti-typical. I guess I have to say that I found the characters a little flat, wooden, samey in places. They all talk much like one another (in a stylized, hyper-macho mil-speak) and behave much like one another and a little more development and behavioural diversity would have been nice.
I have moaned about Baker's style in previous reviews. His clipped, staccato delivery. Sentences of no more. Than three words. At a time*. Tends to grate. After a while. I admit that I find it a little easier to read, with practise, and it does add tension and pace, but I would prefer to see him break out of it and use the method a little more sparingly. I'll also admit that it does force him into some rather cool, tastily descriptive (even lyrical) compound word groups...
"Smashed teller-glass crackled underfoot."
"Bloated bruise-flesh marbled with livid veins."
"Meat-smack as the bullet punctured inert flesh."
So, this is a fine, distinctive addition to the zombie apocalypse genre from Baker; it's good points far outweigh the occasional bad and it rattles along the tram-tracks at a decent pace, spraying blood, bone fragments and brain tissue about with gay abandon. Good holiday reading, but don't forget to bring a length of lead-pipe or a baseball bat... you'll need it.
* Yeah yeah. So I'm exaggerating. Sue me.
Top reviews from other countries
To add to the tension, New York -- along with many other major US cities -- has been hit with a nuclear device in a desperate attempt to stem the spread of the infection, which has turned much of humanity into cadaverous revenants riddled with metallic growths. A high-yield device, even the tunnels are no protection from radioactive contamination, so it's a race against time to find the man who may be able to save mankind.
Terminus is a follow up to Baker's novels Outpost and Juggernaut; both action-packed yarns that are filled with tension, gripping characters, and a suitably doom-laden air. This third installment maintains all those elements, but I have to say there is a sense that it has lost some of the momentum found in those earlier novels.
Perhaps it's the metallic plague losing some of its lustre (an infection, incidentally, that all-but reminds me of the melding plague in the Revelation Space series), perhaps it was the constraints of its setting in the tunnels beneath Manhattan island, but the story and the atmosphere felt a little stale by comparison with those earlier works.
So why the four stars? Despite what I've just said, I think it deserves them. Terminus remains an edge of the seat thriller, packed with action, suitably chilling, populated with characters whose fate you'll care to share, but the theme appears to be showing signs of wear and tear.
The series is based on a kind of end of world scenario where people are infected by alien spores that have a bit of a hive mind. Humans are being hunted now and there is not much sign of hope. As the books progress mankind is more and more on the back-foot and we are given different perspectives on the out-break, the link to the books is the outbreak, not the characters that change from book to book. In Terminus an over-run New York has been nuked in a desperate attempt to slow or destroy the infection but it is discovered that a key bunch of scientists may be surviving in the subway system. A disparate team is sent in to try and find them and or recover any key research. And, of course, things do not go well.
There is an undercurrent in these books that mankind is doomed so you feel that there will not be a miracle cure or a resolution, you are watching the death of humanity. And that becomes the series weakness, as a reader you have no hope or expectation that anything you are reading will make a difference, so your view becomes “when” and not “if”.
Having said that, this is full of action and tension and delivers well.
This is a tightly woven novel which focuses on a small group of people in a world that has clearly been hit hard by the alien pathogen. This small group, operating in a small area of New York is on a focused mission, but there's plenty of action even in this narrowly defined group and area. The prowlers are everywhere and the rescuers each have their own motivations for what they are doing.
This is not a book for those of squeamish turn, nor for those offended by bad language. This series of books feature hard men and women who are fighting for survival and don't intend to let much get in their way. This book is no exception, and the narrative is short, staccato and breathless to fit the flow of the story.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of these books, and I hope there are more to come because there are certainly loads of unanswered questions and heaps of directions that the story could now take. There's a lot more to be learned about the infection itself, as you will see from reading these books, and I hope the author has some more books up his sleeve for us to enjoy. Definitely recommended, but start with Outpost first, then read Juggernaut before you read this one.
What follows is an underground bunker story. Very much in the ilk of James Herbert's Domain. Antagonists on the outside just waiting to break in. Rising water levels and other dangers within.
It is a good slow burning book. I knocked a star off as Adam took a bit too long to get to the climax.