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The Song of the Jubilee by Raeden Zen
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The Song of the Jubilee

by Raeden Zen

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Dazzling. That's the impact of this intro to an extensive dystopian sci-fi saga. The first book in a series of five, ‘Jubilee’ sets the scene and themes in a complex, carefully crafted future history. It’s a world of contradictions and contrasts, saturated in vibrant technicolour throughout.

The author uses a glittering palette to paint brilliantly vivid word pictures of almost-immortal telepathic transhumans, imprisoned within the earth by their own technology which sustains them underground but – in the form of a catastrophically virulent viral bioweapon – has rendered the surface uninhabitable. It’s a vast, sprawling vision, and it takes a bit of getting used to.

This opening episode explains the basics of transhuman development, the staggering scope (and limitations) of technological achievement, and the dictatorial government which has spawned a ragtag rebellion. We meet the scientists struggling to combat the virus; under threat of mortal censure should they fail.

The divided, sprawling population is oppressed by Marstone which monitors their thoughts – similar to the Big Brother viewscreens in 1984. Yet author Raeden Zen avoids obvious comparisons. While Winston Smith’s world was one of grinding, grey misery, emotionally stunted and physically deprived, the compliant citizens in ‘Jubilee’ enjoy utter abundance and unimaginable luxury. An underground civilisation might have been a dark place, dimly lit, suffocating and claustrophobic.

Raeden Zen has instead built a spectacular edifice full of shining light, diamond-edged and dazzling… and all the more effective in its oppression of the human spirit thanks to its utter artificiality. These people have almost everything, yet they yearn for simple sunlight and fresh air. Their existence is all about contradictions: the title of the book refers to a great celebration, a massive street party… but one with the most sinister implications.

The scientific content is also a credit to the author and his advisors. There are firm foundations to the biology, especially the struggle to manipulate the immune system to combat a virus which mirror-switches its genetic material and to the technological hardware.

‘Jubilee’ is a relatively short book. It contains a complete story arc, but it is only the tip of the overall tale. If you find yourself intrigued by the extensive cast of characters and the unfolding multiple scenarios, then you’ll want to hop straight on to the next in the series, The Gambit With Perfection.

The saga is perfect for readers who want an extended, immersive, inventive experience. If you’re looking for short-term immediate satisfaction, then you’re less likely to enjoy ‘Jubilee’. It asks many questions and starts many plots threads – most of them ‘to be continued’ as this episode draws to a close.
8/10

You'll find the full review here:
https://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/the-song-of-the-jubilee-a-cascade-of-discordant-colour/


Please note, I was delighted to read an early version of the ‘Phantom’ series, and to provide feedback on it. I’m even more delighted that some of my suggestions made it to the published version – but that doesn’t affect my review, which is as unbiased as I make it. I was knocked out by this series at my first acquaintance, and still am…
( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
The song of the Jubilee is Book One of five. In this introductory book we find that earth’s inhabitants as we know them no longer exist. A genetically engineered virus swept through the planet killing many and forcing survivors underground where they have built a society, the Great Commonwealth. Most residents are no longer human instead they are transhuman, genetically altered to survive. There are different factions within the Commonwealth and the upper-class live closer to the surface. There is a Reassortment research team headed by Capt. Brody that perform genetic experiments to try and cure the virus that wiped out humanity; the plan being to once again resurface above ground but as to date they have failed. Now they have come to a dilemma either succeed or be banned to the lowest depths of the Commonwealth. As in all societies there is a rebellion underfoot led by the Liberation. Unfortunately their leader is captured leaving his son Hans to take lead of the rebellion but he is mostly concerned about protecting his younger brother Connor and seeing that he survives. The story is okay a bit hard to follow at times but is worth continuing on with Book Two to see what develops, in hopes that it improves which based on the ending of Book One I think it holds potential. ( )
  vibrantminds | Jan 21, 2016 |
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