Note: This is Volume 2 in the series and I feel this is a series best read in sequence. Volume 1 is freaking awesome but it also gives you a good basis for the characters’s motives in Volume 2
I so very much enjoyed Book 1 and then got distracted by life and other books. But I am very glad to be back in the world of the Atomic Sea. Vol. 1 set the stage with the war and the messed up oceans and the tainted people. An unlikely group forms – they aren’t quite all friends but they do all have some shared enemies. Now in this volume we will learn more about the motives behind the war, about what exactly created the Atomic Sea, and about how little chance they actually have of saving their beleaguered world.
Dr. Avery is still alive and kicking and he, the mysterious Layanna (who was pulled whole from the sea in Vol. 1), and their new odd friends (Muirblog, Janx, Simon, Hildra, and Byron) are just hanging out on a mountainside trying to plan their next move when they see a flying ray (possibly hunting them) in the distance. Yet before they can move out, the Mikvandi attack. They’ve got fish faces and weapons, so you know Avery will probably be having nightmares. Layanna in her weird Cthulu-amoeba-like form saves them only to have the Mikvandi declare her one of their gods (one of the Minuthra) and insist on escorting her to the other gods. Layanna is amenable to going with them because she believes the Minuthra will have an active altar, which is a kind of other dimensional portal. She wishes to contact her friends for very secret reasons which she reveals later in the book and which would be spoilery to chat about in detail here.
Things don’t go as planned and the whole lot of them make an escape attempt. Only some of them get out on a dirigible but they have a direction to go and a quest that they adopt because if they don’t then what hope do they have? Layanna needs another active altar and the crew need answers. Layanna can only give them some but they are kind of mind blowing. It’s all kinds of wonderful messed up.
So if I tell you more of the plot, I will be in spoiler land, so I won’t. In broad strokes, I just thoroughly enjoyed this book every bit as much as Vol. 1. If you eat tainted meat from the Atomic Sea, you start getting these weird fishy mutations – and no one has pinned down a predictable trend (will it be gills and bulging eyes or shark skin and a spiny mohawk?) nor a real way to cure it. So we have these humans who have managed to stay all human, such as Dr. Avery, and then you have humans who had no choice but to eat tainted fish to survive and have these fishy attributes (like our big warrior Janx), and then you got Layanna who can have a human form or her other dimensional Cthulu-like form. I just love all the clashes and chances for odd friendships this causes in the book.
One of my favorite, possibly amoral, characters from Vol. 1, Cpt. Sheridan, returns in this book but not till perhaps half way through. I’m glad she’s back on scene because she adds some real angst to the sometimes emo Dr. Avery. These two bounce off each other in ways that highlight both Avery’s humanity and Sheridan’s coldness.
Then there’s the human sacrifices and the Minuthra gods and dirigibles and giant caverns that house whole cities. It’s like HP Lovecraft and Jules Verne got together and had a baby and named that baby Jack Conner who gave us The Atomic Sea series. We got adventure, a touch of guttural terror, the fear of the unknown, things way larger than you messing with your life, and good people stuck in bad situations. Yeah. It’s that good.
I was provided this audiobook at no charge from the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks!
The Narration: Ray Greenley did a great job with Vol. 1 and he continues to do so with Vol. 2. He does amazingly well with all the distorted fish voices. He makes Sheridan sound ice-cold but then he can switch to the emo Dr. Avery in the same conversation, back and forth multiple times, without missing a beat. Excellent performance.