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Review: Cormorant Run by Lilith Saintcrow

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Cormorant Run by Lilith Saintcrow // VBCCormorant Run
Lilith Saintcrow
Published: June 13, 2017 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

No one really knows what precipitated The Event. Aliens? Trans-dimensional rift? All that is clear is one day The Event happened, and it opened up Rifts in various parts of the world. Anyone or anything unlucky enough to get caught in a Rift perished.

Years later, scientists and the government are still trying to figure out what exactly happened. There are certain people, known as Rifters, who are able to enter and navigate the Rifts. They’ve come back with valuable pieces of technology and scientific discoveries not without great personal danger to themselves, of course. When Ashe the Rat—one of the greatest Rifters of her generation—is killed after a run, the government brings in Svin, her protégé, to pick up where Ashe left off.

Newly released from prison on the condition that she help find whatever mysterious object Ashe was sent into the Rift to retrieve, Svin has her own agenda once she gets in the Rift. That is, if she can actually make it to the end.

Cormorant Run reads just like Aliens. There’s the highly underestimated Rifter Svin (aka Ripley), a various group of untrustworthy militant men who would rather shoot first and ask questions later (complete with various colorful uses of the F-word), and the scientists who’s inquisitiveness almost doom them from the beginning.

I actually liked that I could equate this story with something familiar because there’s a lot of twisting and turning that goes on within the pages of this book. I would go so far as to say there’s too much going on within the pages of this book that, as far as I’m aware, is setup as a standalone story.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of very interesting ideas. This post-apocalyptic world is dirty and gritty and has its own slang and terminology. There are no “pretty” people found within the pages of this story, and your survival is based on your own skills, forming relationships and relying on some else should be avoided at all costs. Inside the Rift, places look the same as when The Event occurred (buildings, houses, cars, businesses etc), but overrun by nature. Lilith Saintcrow really capitalizes on the mystery behind The Event and what creatures now lurk within the Rifts. I really loved all the ways she showed us the different dangers to be found.

For all these very interesting aspects of the story, the fact that it’s full of so much, kind of forces you to keep the characters at arm’s length. Almost every chapter has a different point of view, with Svin of course being the main character. I liked seeing her from others’ perspectives and getting their thoughts about the Rifter, but I wanted to know more about Svin from Svin herself, and I felt like we didn’t get enough. Saintcrow teases us with little snippets of informational depth on each character, but I felt like it didn’t really build up to anything that would actually make me care whether or not these people survived. And I wanted to care.

The big mystery of what is worth risking life and limb inside this particular Rift drives the story pretty much right up until the end. But I’m not sure the payoff is equivalent with everything that comes about before we get to the end. Regardless, if you’re in the mood for a heavy sci-fi read with interesting concepts, I think you’d enjoy Cormorant Run.

Sexual content: References to sex

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