Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas
CHIMERA CATALYST by Susan Kuchinskas
4 out of 5 stars
‘The planet is getting drier and drier. In fifty years, it won’t be able to support human life – not as you know it’ …
Chimera Catalyst takes place in an unspecified time in the future ~ from the information given, I am guessing around 150 years on. The world as we know it now is gone, following the Big Change (some apocalyptic climate disaster, I gathered); water is a luxury, seas are brown and murky, weather is punishingly hot. The gap between the ‘1 per cent’ (the rich) and the poor is vast. Children are for the rich only; meanwhile, the manipulation of genes and DNA and advanced cosmetic surgery enables the creation of fantasy creatures and beings. Religion is a mish-mash of science and hippie spiritualism ~ ‘mystical neuroscience crap’.
Most of life is lived virtually; following pandemics, people are scared of human interaction. Food is scarce, the air inhospitable, and life is maintained via cocktails of chemical supplements.
The novel is written from the point of view of The Finder, who searches through data to fulfil his commitments to those willing to pay him the coin. He has a pet he has made himself; the Parrot, who is actually part parrot, part dog. The story centres around his search for the mysterious Miraluna Rose, but I found that the plot took second place to the fascinating and convincing picture of life in this future world. It’s very readable and intelligently written, sometimes amusing, sometimes sad. The Finder, for instance, knows little about human contact, and is baffled by how comforting he finds the ruffling of the Parrot’s feathers, or his warmth lying beside him.
Although the world functions ‘normally’, I found this more terrifying than any epic about a pandemic or zombie apocalypse, simply because it’s what could happen if the world carries on down its path to destruction; it is far more of a living hell than any return to medieval times with no power, etc. It’s a jolly good book and I enjoyed it ~ I hovered between 4 and 5 stars throughout and my only complaint is that I wanted to know what the Big Change was, how it came about, and what happened immediately afterwards. This is a series; I very much hope it will include a prequel!
When Finder is hired to locate charismatic, green-haired Miraluna Rose, it seems like an easy job. Crack into corporate databases, brew up some biologics to enhance his thinking, and get the job done with the help of the Parrot, a bird/dog chimera with the finest traits of both species.
The search takes Finder and the Parrot to the sun-broiled streets of Laxangeles, the canals of Seattle and the weirdly mutated vegetation of the Area. It turns out that it’s not a simple missing-person case after all.
Finder discovers that ReMe, a corporation providing medical cloning services, is illegally breeding human/animal chimeras. ReMe is selling these exotically beautiful female creatures, branded as ArcoTypes, as playthings to the wealthy and ruthless.
Miraluna Rose is its finest creation, but she has other ideas. She’s holed up at Refuge, a haven for runaway ArcoTypes, where she’s planning a future of freedom for her sisters.
To help the ArcoTypes fight ReMe, Finder and the Parrot will need the help of a couple of sympathetic AIs, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising company and a posse of highly modded, celebrity-crazed media kids.
As a kid, Susan Kuchinskas spent hours catching toads, watching rabbits and starting ant wars — and reading, reading, reading.
She’s never lost her love for creatures of all kinds. In fifth grade, she discovered the bookmobile’s science fiction section and read nothing else until she got to college.
After the usual writer’s mix of odd jobs – gogo dancer, housepainter, office temp – she happened into journalism. As a technology journalist, she covered the rise and fall of the dotcoms, the move to digital and mobile, and the ascendance of social media.
She’s the author of two previous books, Going Mobile: A Guide to Real-time Mobile Applications that Work (CMP Books 2003), and The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love (New Harbinger 2008).
Her short stories have been published in anthologies and journals including Deep Space Dog Fight and Chicago Literati. This is her first novel.
To exercise the parts of her body and mind that don’t get a workout from writing, Susan is an organic gardener, beekeeper, sculptor and DIY re-modeler. She enjoys uncovering exotic cultures at home and abroad.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her mate, Mike, and their socially challenged dog and super-chill cat.