Review: Equinox by Lara Morgan

Equinox by Lara MorganIt’s Rosie’s seventeenth year and she’s starting her first year at Orbitcorp Academy, but it’s not going to be all parties and pilot training. Helios hasn’t forgotten her – and she certainly hasn’t forgotten them. Bent on revenge Rosie is still working in secret to try to take them down.

But a terrible miscalculation will send Rosie once more on the run, this time into the unknown lands of the north, Gondwana Nation, where word has it Helios is building something big.

There will be a new friend and a new boy – the handsome and wealthy Dalton Curtis – who will surprise Rosie with a secret she can’t begin to guess. And Pip will return, but how does he feel about Rosie, and where has he been?

Pursued again and on the run, Rosie might not have time to find out all the answers, but what she will learn is that a capacity for evil can be equalled by a capacity for good –  and she will be forced to make a choice that will change her future forever.

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Spoiler Alert: Equinox is the sequel to Genesis and the second novel in the Rosie Black Chronicles, which means spoilers may run rampant in this review.

Review

This is an interesting situation where I find myself feeling as though I should be singing the praises of Equinox, compared to being slightly disappointed with it’s predecessor, Genesis. How often does it happen when the sequel comes across much better and makes you want to continue on with the series far more than the first one does? Genesis makes me glad I stuck with the Rosie Black Chronicles and now I’m looking forward to the next one.

Equinox still has that science fiction, action-adventure mood to it, but the dystopian side is starting to make an impression; what I wanted in Genesis has become predominant in Equinox. We get that futuristic, yet hard-life dystopian atmosphere, which is fed and enhanced by the Australian backdrop. I’m sure there are other countries that can do so, but I think Lara Morgan has done a great job of incorporating the heat and grittiness of an Australian theme into the societies’ way of life.

I found the main plot far more engaging as well. A secret organisation that has manufactured a deadly disease and than pretended as if they did no such thing does make for a good dystopian idea, but I found Helios’s bid for control this time around, and how they’re going about it, far more thrilling. Perhaps it’s a change of dynamics and end goals now, with everyone on the run and spies being who knows where, which has helped to create that sinister dystopian vibe. Whatever it is, I love it and hope it continues on with Dark Star.

Having more background on the villains has definitely helped and I now consider Genesis to be the set up for the story, sort of more like a prequel, with Equinox being where it all really begins. This is how I like to see it and read it as though, but you could not read Equinox without reading Genesis first and missing a whole lot of detail.

As for the characters… Well, Rosie didn’t bother me as much in this one. In fact I think she might be growing on me. She’s lost the self-deprecating habit of calling herself stupid, or an idiot, and has only bit her tongue once. I think Pip being out of the picture somewhat has added to the story because there’s less chance of her noticing his warmth and proximity in life-threatening situations. Of course those moments are still present, but they’re not played on as much.

The introduction of Dalton and Cassie has definitely created a better dynamic between all characters in my opinion. Especially for those readers who weren’t won over with Pip and Rosie, now there are more personalities to identify with, enjoy, or possibly dislike instead. Personally I couldn’t stand Cassie, she’s pretty arrogant, but she does help take the edge off of my irritation with the Rosie/Pip dynamic. This is where I think it’s just me, this whole love story aspect annoys me to the point where I sigh a little each time it comes up. For a while there it was looking as though it would be a love triangle, now I’m not so sure and I’ve got my fingers crossed for the possibility of everyone being paired off instead.

This isn’t a spoiler by the way. This is me speculating and hoping a love triangle doesn’t completely manifest. I think not only the main story, but all the sub-plots including the romance one, could go anywhere. But of course there’s always clichés and typical scenarios you can’t help but think of when a story does go a certain way. The whole love triangle, maybe people being paired off instead, scenarios are something that I could see happening.

I’ve already pretty much expressed my delight over the Australian setting, but I love it even more that there’s an indigenous facet as well. If you haven’t read much Australian fiction, believe it or not, part of the Australian heritage doesn’t necessarily make it into a lot of fiction. I think this is a shame so to come across its presence in a dystopian Aussie fiction makes my day. This leads me to the Yalgu Warriors. They’re awesome. They’re the shit. They’re like the Indigenous Australian’s (in Equinox anyway) answer to Ninjas. They’re probably my favourite part of the whole book (if I didn’t have health limitations I would be at a Ninjutsu Academy getting my ninja on).

Another thing I enjoyed, and something I didn’t mention in my review of Genesis, was the use of Nanotechnology. Not just the nanotechnology, but also the mixture of crazy technology with dilapidation. I get the impression of this society breaking down, if not already broken down, yet still having this insane ability to travel into space, terra form planets, and have some serious healing capabilities, along with information storage and sharing. It’s an interesting mix and I think could have gone badly, but the balance is done well.

I’m still not completely invested in the main characters, don’t particularly care about the love story either and would probably prefer to follow the side characters, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the next instalment of the Rosie Black Chronicles.

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