Author: Adam J. Smith
Website: https://adamjsmithauthor.blogspot.com/
Genres: Dystopian Science Fiction

Review: Neon Zero, Prequel Novella

Climate vs. man

On a terraformed world colonized by humans from Earth, the domed cities and towns face imminent destruction from raging solar flares. Lance Corporal Edmonds races to evacuate smaller communities and winds up trapped in the city of Neon where he discovers the thriving metropolis has a shockingly dark underbelly. Outside the safety of Arcadia’s dome, fifteen-year-old Jax hurries to his hidden refuge to save something special he’s created before the solar waves hit.

Neon Zero is a well-told tale of betrayal, loss, and a the unethical choices of a small group of elitists. The novella, a prequel to the Neon Sands trilogy, unravels at a brisk pace and sets the stage for the series, giving the reader an intriguing glimpse into the grim secrets of Neon.

Review: Neon Sands, Book 1, Neon Sands Trilogy

Something under the sand.

Neon Sands launches a gripping trilogy set in a world challenged by a harsh environment and hidden corruption. I highly recommend starting with the prequel novella, Neon Zero, for context and insight into this Earth-colonized planet and the diabolical deeds of the Neon City elite that underlie the action of the entire series.

In this first book, we are introduced to a small band of people surviving in Sanctum, one of a handful of domed cities in a wasteland of sand under constant cloud cover. The characters and background events are laid out in clearly labeled segments that come together into cohesive, rolling action. The narrative is told from multiple points of view which gives depth to the story and color to the protagonists and quirky side characters.

Calix and Annora, both orphans raised in Sanctum, join a crew to scavenge the sands for anything worth salvaging. Out in the grimy crawler, Calix begins to realize the depth of his feelings for Annora and an injury triggers memories that indicate a childhood friend was murdered. When their crew uncovers an empty dome with solar hoverbikes and intact underground levels strangely devoid of bodies, events quickly spin into something ugly, orchestrated by individuals among them who are motivated by a hidden agenda.

Neon Sands is the first chapter in Calix’s journey of discovery. He is the heart and soul of the trilogy and his unshakable love for Annora carries through the events of all three books. At the end of this first volume, his world is cracked wide open and he finds his quest has only begun. Neon City isn’t even mentioned in this book, but its dark tentacles are distinctly felt. When I finished, I was happy I had Book 2 ready to dive into and as I continued, I found, like Calix, the weirdness just kept coming.

Review: Plains of Ion, Book 2, Neon Sands Trilogy

Madness on the plains.

This second chapter in Calix’s journey brings him to an astonishing and bizarre town in the arid plains beyond the sands, a world he never knew existed. Looming on the horizon is the sparkling, forbidden dome of Neon City.

The action and storytelling of Plains of Ion are just as interesting as the first book of the series. The story opens with the Liberty Trials, a hoverbike race out in the plains that grants the winner entrance to Neon City. The race introduces some of the characters, their backgrounds, hopes, and mindsets. Elissa, one of the competitors, rescues Calix off the mountain at the edge of the plain and he is taken to the palace of one of the town’s three matriarchs to recover.

As Calix struggles to stay afloat in the baffling town of immortal rulers, true-born descendants, clones, and dark secrets, he finds the way to Neon City barred and despairs of ever finding Annora. Through tenacity and new alliances, he learns to adapt and makes plans to break through the barriers into the bowels of Neon.

Review: Flames of Apathy, Book 3, Neon Sands Trilogy

Degeneration in the domed city.

Flames of Apathy opens with Rylan, a tech living in one of the lowest underground levels of Neon City. His ex and her new dissident lover tell him they’ve found the remains of a submersible next to a subterranean waterway down in the pits and want him to help them stir a revolution. Caia, one of the antagonists from book one, re-emerges, hunting the depths of the city for Calix in order to keep him away from Annora, now the prized property of Kirillion and the city’s elites.

This last chapter in Calix’s journey sees him struggle to rise unnoticed through the levels of a city full of vapid, complacent people and unyielding, immoral, lethal authority. Accompanied by Elissa, he searches for Annora and ultimately finds unexpected allies and less-than-ideal answers to his dilemma.

Personally I was quite saddened by the ending. While many threads are resolved with a satisfying flair, I would have liked to see a healthier solution for the protagonists. The nightmare of the domed city lives on and since this trilogy is the first of three in the Neon saga, it is clear that that the author has much more planned for this seemingly stagnant world.

I’m usually not a fan of anything dystopia. The longer I live, the more it seems we’re already living in it, which is probably why we have an entire genre full of it. In this series, the people aren’t any more evolved than current humans. The level of technology is pretty much on par with our current state of development. No real human development or new abilities, and nary a psychic ripple. So why did I like these books? Frankly, they’re quite an accurate reflection of the depravity of our global elite and the apathetic, electronics/web-addicted masses of our world today. They paint a shockingly vivid picture of a society cut off from its roots and true history, rudderless and wholly content to live in servitude under the tyrannical rule of a few, never standing up to the horror and crimes of the upper crust. After experiencing such a dismal world through the eyes of Calix and the other characters, there is a strong urge to see things set right and, in my opinion, therein lies the real gold of the series: the element of the steadfast heart. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of solutions unfold for the people of Neon, the plains, and the sands.

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Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

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Author: Adam J. Smith
Website: https://adamjsmithauthor.blogspot.com/
Genres: Dystopian Science Fiction

Review: Neon Zero, Prequel Novella

Climate vs. man

On a terraformed world colonized by humans from Earth, the domed cities and towns face imminent destruction from raging solar flares. Lance Corporal Edmonds races to evacuate smaller communities and winds up trapped in the city of Neon where he discovers the thriving metropolis has a shockingly dark underbelly. Outside the safety of Arcadia’s dome, fifteen-year-old Jax hurries to his hidden refuge to save something special he’s created before the solar waves hit.

Neon Zero is a well-told tale of betrayal, loss, and a the unethical choices of a small group of elitists. The novella, a prequel to the Neon Sands trilogy, unravels at a brisk pace and sets the stage for the series, giving the reader an intriguing glimpse into the grim secrets of Neon.

Review: Neon Sands, Book 1, Neon Sands Trilogy

Something under the sand.

Neon Sands launches a gripping trilogy set in a world challenged by a harsh environment and hidden corruption. I highly recommend starting with the prequel novella, Neon Zero, for context and insight into this Earth-colonized planet and the diabolical deeds of the Neon City elite that underlie the action of the entire series.

In this first book, we are introduced to a small band of people surviving in Sanctum, one of a handful of domed cities in a wasteland of sand under constant cloud cover. The characters and background events are laid out in clearly labeled segments that come together into cohesive, rolling action. The narrative is told from multiple points of view which gives depth to the story and color to the protagonists and quirky side characters.

Calix and Annora, both orphans raised in Sanctum, join a crew to scavenge the sands for anything worth salvaging. Out in the grimy crawler, Calix begins to realize the depth of his feelings for Annora and an injury triggers memories that indicate a childhood friend was murdered. When their crew uncovers an empty dome with solar hoverbikes and intact underground levels strangely devoid of bodies, events quickly spin into something ugly, orchestrated by individuals among them who are motivated by a hidden agenda.

Neon Sands is the first chapter in Calix’s journey of discovery. He is the heart and soul of the trilogy and his unshakable love for Annora carries through the events of all three books. At the end of this first volume, his world is cracked wide open and he finds his quest has only begun. Neon City isn’t even mentioned in this book, but its dark tentacles are distinctly felt. When I finished, I was happy I had Book 2 ready to dive into and as I continued, I found, like Calix, the weirdness just kept coming.

Review: Plains of Ion, Book 2, Neon Sands Trilogy

Madness on the plains.

This second chapter in Calix’s journey brings him to an astonishing and bizarre town in the arid plains beyond the sands, a world he never knew existed. Looming on the horizon is the sparkling, forbidden dome of Neon City.

The action and storytelling of Plains of Ion are just as interesting as the first book of the series. The story opens with the Liberty Trials, a hoverbike race out in the plains that grants the winner entrance to Neon City. The race introduces some of the characters, their backgrounds, hopes, and mindsets. Elissa, one of the competitors, rescues Calix off the mountain at the edge of the plain and he is taken to the palace of one of the town’s three matriarchs to recover.

As Calix struggles to stay afloat in the baffling town of immortal rulers, true-born descendants, clones, and dark secrets, he finds the way to Neon City barred and despairs of ever finding Annora. Through tenacity and new alliances, he learns to adapt and makes plans to break through the barriers into the bowels of Neon.

Review: Flames of Apathy, Book 3, Neon Sands Trilogy

Degeneration in the domed city.

Flames of Apathy opens with Rylan, a tech living in one of the lowest underground levels of Neon City. His ex and her new dissident lover tell him they’ve found the remains of a submersible next to a subterranean waterway down in the pits and want him to help them stir a revolution. Caia, one of the antagonists from book one, re-emerges, hunting the depths of the city for Calix in order to keep him away from Annora, now the prized property of Kirillion and the city’s elites.

This last chapter in Calix’s journey sees him struggle to rise unnoticed through the levels of a city full of vapid, complacent people and unyielding, immoral, lethal authority. Accompanied by Elissa, he searches for Annora and ultimately finds unexpected allies and less-than-ideal answers to his dilemma.

Personally I was quite saddened by the ending. While many threads are resolved with a satisfying flair, I would have liked to see a healthier solution for the protagonists. The nightmare of the domed city lives on and since this trilogy is the first of three in the Neon saga, it is clear that that the author has much more planned for this seemingly stagnant world.

I’m usually not a fan of anything dystopia. The longer I live, the more it seems we’re already living in it, which is probably why we have an entire genre full of it. In this series, the people aren’t any more evolved than current humans. The level of technology is pretty much on par with our current state of development. No real human development or new abilities, and nary a psychic ripple. So why did I like these books? Frankly, they’re quite an accurate reflection of the depravity of our global elite and the apathetic, electronics/web-addicted masses of our world today. They paint a shockingly vivid picture of a society cut off from its roots and true history, rudderless and wholly content to live in servitude under the tyrannical rule of a few, never standing up to the horror and crimes of the upper crust. After experiencing such a dismal world through the eyes of Calix and the other characters, there is a strong urge to see things set right and, in my opinion, therein lies the real gold of the series: the element of the steadfast heart. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of solutions unfold for the people of Neon, the plains, and the sands.

Like and share this page!

Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T’nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

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