Title: Higher Ground
Author: Becky Black
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Science Fiction / Romance / Action Adventure
Length: Novel Plus
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: A disaster movie type adventure and a romance that was very entertaining until 75% of the way in when a bad plot decision left me very irritated.
Blurb: Zach Benesh is sure his prediction is right – the island colony of Zahara is about to sink into the ocean. Adam Gray isn’t as certain, but he’s happy to follow the intense, brilliant geophysicist into the mountains to escape the flooding. Though he’d be even happier without three hundred other people – and their pets – tagging along. He’d like to have Zach all to himself out there.
But Zach’s prediction is right and as disaster begins to unfold towards an unstoppable, inevitable conclusion, the two young scientists must become a team in the fight to save their people. They draw strength from their rapidly developing relationship, but the higher Zach and Adam climb, the more difficult the tests they face – as lovers and as men.
** SPOILER IN FOLLOWING REVIEW **
I was exposed at a precarious age to disaster movies like Towering Inferno and I hate them; I don’t like the tee shirt staining suspense when the main heroic character suffers and I despise it when his dog is sacrificed for gratuitous grief.
So this book was was a bit of a risk but hey…. new author for me, and the extract was all about the characters, so I thought I’d give it a try. I really enjoyed the growing relationship between brilliant but socially awkward while strangely compelling Zach and the easy going, popular Adam. The differences between these characters made for an interesting build up as Adam tries to teach Zach not to grab for what he wants but to enjoy the getting to know you dance. Unfortunately the possible destruction of the planet interrupts their dating games.
The world building was just enough to give a strong idea of the real loss people were feeling at the threat to this forty year old community on the terraformed world. The farmers with their affection for their newly developed land, original pioneers who had buried partners on the planet and the new young families hoping to live there.
The details of Zach’s desperate attempts to convince people of his discoveries and Adam’s pragmatic support was very convincing.
” I figure I have more to lose if I stay here. If I go with you and you turn out to be wrong, then the worst I’ll get is a reprimand for missing work. But if I stay here and you turn out to be right, I’ll die.”
The steady bringing people on side was nicely done as was Zach’s tentative growth into leadership, with the appealing comment that people bring the largest back packs they have…..” because eventually we’ll have to carry the children”.
Personally I was suitably impressed when pets were included as those three hundred people convinced by Zach set out for higher ground in a hike up a mountain to wait for rescue from off planet. I really enjoyed the problems, solutions, and the interactions between the well drawn minor characters. Moreover the relationship between Adam and Zach seemed to continue developing with warmth and believability. There is a fair bit of sex considering they are exhausted and in fear for their lives, but in the circumstances with the delay of their first fuck and then the whole seize the day impetus it seemed very understandable.
So, there I was enjoying this book far more than I’d anticipated, three quarters into the book and the same distance up the mountain when the author decided to rudely interrupt my fun. She literally space shipped in a third character for a ridiculous triangle of angst and misery. At this point I had a real Dorothy Parker moment…...” This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. “ However being in love with my kindle I held on tightly.
The annoying intrusion didn’t last long but during the manic episode, Adam and Zach who had exchanged completely believable declarations of real love broke up like BFF school girls having a bad hair day. Adam in particular behaved absurdly, while Glyn was just a nasty shallow plot device. Other members of the tribe suddenly became callous and disloyal. If this was meant to be a metaphor for the earthquakes ripping the planet it failed to work for me. When normal service was returned the book finished back enjoyably on track. Though I did feel that Zach never got proper kudos for what he’d achieved and the people he saved.
Without this mistaken addition of ill conceived melodrama I would have happily recommended this book. However to be fair about 85% of the adventure was very entertaining indeed, and it might well be that other readers aren’t as bothered by what I felt was unjustified and irritating angst.