Hello, everyone! Today I’m excited to review Mercury Rising by R.W.W. Greene. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one when I got the email from Angry Robot offering an eARC. The synopsis sounded intriguing, though, and I’m really glad I decided to read it.
Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty
Even in a technologically-advanced, Kennedy-Didn’t-Die alternate-history, Brooklyn Lamontagne is going nowhere fast. The year is 1975, thirty years after Robert Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Nuclear Engine, twenty-five years after the first human walked on the moon, and eighteen years after Jet Carson and the Eagle Seven sacrificed their lives to stop the alien invaders.
Brooklyn just wants to keep his mother’s rent paid, earn a little scratch of his own, steer clear of the cops, and maybe get laid sometime in the near future. Simple pleasures, right? But a killer with a baseball bat and a mysterious box of 8-track tapes is about to make his life real complicated…
***Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
I ended up loving this book. I didn’t really have many expectations going into it, but I was immediately sucked into this brilliant alternate history where the space race went into overdrive and radically changed the technology and timeline of the mid twentieth century. It was fascinating and a bit weird to read the language and pop culture of that time period alongside the spaceships and colonization of the moon and Mars. The book tackled a lot of important themes/ideas, including environmentalism, homophobia, racism, globalism, mental health, and economic inequality to name a few, but it did so in ways that were entertaining and felt true to the overall story being told. There were also plenty of great sci-fi elements sprinkled throughout with an increasing emphasis on those aspects as the story played out, and I loved the way it all came together in the end to show that the aliens and their conflicts were always driving the story, even during the points of the book where they weren’t quite as obvious. My favorite thing about the book, though, was the main character, Brooklyn. He was such a relatable character in so many ways, and his growth was immense. I love stories with flawed, reluctant heroes, and Brook fit that mold really well. A great deal of this book was spent building up his character before diving head first into all the sci-fi craziness, and I appreciated the decisions Brook made at the end even more because of it. Overall, this was a fascinating story with a great balance of plot and character focus. If you like sci-fi or alternate history stories (or even if you don’t), this is one that is not to be missed. Therefore, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.