- Narrated By: Justine Eyre
- Written By: Derek Kunsken
- Duration: 14 hours 19 minutes
- Date: August 2020
- Published by:
- Penguin Audio
- Simon and Schuster
- Imprint: Solaris
Life can exist anywhere. And anywhere there is life, there is home.
In the swirling clouds of Venus, the families of la colonie live on floating plant-like trawlers, salvaging what they can in the fierce acid rain and crackling storms. Outside is dangerous, but humankind’s hold on the planet is fragile and they spend most of their days simply surviving.
But Venus carries its own secrets, too. In the depths, there is a wind that shouldn’t exist.
And the House of Styx wants to harness it.
(P) Penguin Audio and Rebellion Publishing 2020
This book really showed the writers ability to hit you on an emotional level. Easily worthy of 5 stars, but, as I enjoyed the The Quantum Magician and Garden a bit more, I have to give it a Strong 4.
I loved going back in time, 250 years before The Puppets, and the Axis Mundi, to see the importance that Venus had. Its an insane life the settlers of the Venusian clouds live, but as the book progresses, it seems not so insane, but just the brave step this group of humans had to take, to make their own way.
This was not a book I was asked to read, or given a free copy of. I purchased this after falling hard for Derek’s previous two books, The Quantum Magician, and The Quantum Garden. Both got under my skin and am bummed I didn’t wait until the next book was written, only because I am now fully engrossed in this world Kunsken has created and am biding my time until the next book is finished and released.
Being so in love with what I’ve read from him, it was only natural that I would jump on his newest release, The House of Styx. What really grabbed my interest was, one, the cover. Strange jellyfish type creatures floating in the atmosphere of Venus, and two, Venus being a key planet in the Quantum series, this book is said to give some back history of an earlier stage in the humans history, pre-Wormhole, or “Axis Mundi.” and hopefully paint a bigger picture into how things have turned out the way they have.
I don’t think its necessary to read the previous books to enjoy this, but if you have, there are some “Holy Shit” moments that are gifts from Kunskens SF God. Some yummy snacks that really added to the excitement of the worldbuilding. Thank you Derek for this grand artistic creation.
The idea of this story is based a few hundred years in humanity’s future. We have left the confines of earth, and are creating settlements out into the solar system, but our reach has not yet extended beyond that.
Venus, thought to be a planet with value, but not really enough to outweigh the risk to investors to send in the big players to mine her resources. A toughened group of humans from Canada, mainly Quebec have found just enough investment to try to make their own way.
Living in floating habitats 50 to 60 kilometers above the surface, they form their own government, mine the clouds, as well as the only life form they call Floaters, large jellyfish type creature that can be used for oxygen and used as a tool to help keep the habs stable, so they are connected to habitats, and they are even Floater farms, if going out and rounding one up on your own proves too dangerous.
Actually everything is dangerous here on Venus. Acid rain and winds that would whittle a person down to nothing but its atomic constituents helps keep every living person on their toes.
The story follows a family forced to mKe it on their own. Because of an event 20ish years in the past, they live far below the average distance to surface. They receive no support from their own government, so no meds, no food is provided. They take risk everyday to make it another day. But they are close, overflowing with love for each other, and relationship complexities happen as they would anywhere.
The main character is Pascal. Still a teen, yet carrying his family’s future seems to be close on the horizon, and he is going through some incredibly tough self realization, mostly on his own, and drowning in that silence that is despair. Kunsken really expands his writing chops here, and though it’s weird to say, finds his way to connect with emotions and feelings that I was surprised and very appreciative of.
I cannot leave out the talented Justine Eyre, who brought this story to life with wonderful narration. This was the first time I believe I’ve heard her talent. She was a perfect choice and good grief, she nailed the french-canadian accents and language.
Thank you for taking the time to check out the review, and I’d love to hear what you thought of the review, or the book, if you’ve read it!