My review of this book is long, long, long overdue. I read the first draft of this book last October, read a revised version the following December during Free-e-day, and then read the FINAL version a month or so back. And yet I still find it hard to collect my thoughts about this book and order them into a nice review. This is a story that I’ve seen develop from start to finish, and that makes it very difficult to step back and review objectively. But I’ll do my best.
Kani isn’t Tundra. Tundra is a dustrunner: a ruthless space pirate, flying dangerous missions in low Earth orbit, risking the lives of millions of people below. Kani is just a regular teenager, and she wants absolutely nothing to do with that. Unfortunately, she has no choice. Thrown into a world of deception and betrayal, Kani must fight to keep herself alive as she’s hunted by law enforcement, spies, mobsters, and even her so-called teammates, none of whom want to see her survive another day. All she needs to do is make one fatal mistake: tell them who she really is.
Typhoon is the first book in the Dustrunners quintology, a series following not only Kani’s story but the lives of her team members as well. Set in a not-too distant future, the Dustrunners world is one of piracy, politics, adventure and danger, not to mention nail-biting emotional rollercoasters.
It’s hard to create a realistic dystopian future, and as such the thought and attention given to the world-building are a credit to MCM’s writing. Kani’s world has traces of the familiar—mobile phones, water polo, school—and just when you’re lured in and getting comfortable, BANG! Missions to space, unusual technology, and more danger than you can shake a stick at.
What I really loved were the details that really made this story believable, from the government-issued posters warning about pirates, to Kani’s faulty radio alarm clock, to the confusing controls in her spacecraft and the ice bullets spacecrafts shoot at each other. The action scenes in space are probably the most enjoyable part of the story; Kani’s sense of wonder and terror at being launched into space with absolutely no instructions whatsoever was very believable.
But the science fiction elements of the story never overwhelm the plot, which at its core is about loss and grief, and the struggle for survival in a world under nigh totalitarian governmental control. Interspersed throughout is MCM’s quirky sense of humour, which shines especially brightly through comic relief characters like Spastik and Kaso.
It is the characters, overall, who are the driving force of the story. MCM has created a believable—and likeable–cast of characters, from socially-awkward-but-funny Kaso, to the tragic relationship between Yuri and Chenne, plus a host of other subplots. That you’re not even sure whether they are the good or bad guys until halfway through the book is irrelevant: you can’t help but love them. And what’s covered is only the tip of the iceberg; the Dustrunner world has a lot yet to offer.
To make a long story short, this is the first book of MCM’s that really made me a fan of his, and you should definitely read it. Ideal for contemporary sci-fi fans who enjoy a large helping of adventure.
Want to know more? Check out the official Typhoon page on 1889 Labs!