Review: Rupture by Curtis Hox

Rupture (Transhuman Warrior #1)
Curtis Hox

Self-Published (2012)
YA / Science Fiction / Supernatural

Simone Wellborn is a Transhuman with an attitude. She’s been genetically engineered from birth to be super smart. The problem? All that tinkering her parents paid top dollar for provided a few unexpected results, like an annoying ability to blast telekinetic energy at the worst possible times. She also has another tricky issue: strange entities possess her and, worse, transform her into something dangerous. 

Simone's mother sends her to the Sterling School for reject Transhumans. While there, she meets a few other students with similar problems. They’re all Transhumans with dirty secrets. Heartthrob Hutto Toth is a charming gladiator. He annoys Simone from day one, but he’s also a Werebear who accidentally killed a boy in a glad match, and Simone can’t stand how much she likes him. There’s two-foot tall Wally Dorsey, who’s determined to pilot a personalized mech. His best friend,  Beasley Gardner, is a mountain of a young girl with enough muscle to beat up any boy at school, but she’s suffers from a rage disorder. Finally, Simone meets Kimberlee Newkirk, an unassuming Succubus who fears she’ll kill the next boy she kisses. 

These defective students find themselves at the center of a deadly conflict when another student, Joss Beckwith, attracts a Rogue Artificial Intelligence, the new power brokers in a society radically changed by science and technology. 

The Transhuman Warrior Series tells the story of Simone and her friends as they’re transformed into highly specialized human weapons. They must challenge the increasing power of the Rogues as these enemies push into Realspace with one goal in mind: total domination.

Rupture is a hodgepodge of a lot of things. It is high-tech science fiction mixed with metaphysical fantasy thrown together with a melodramatic family soap opera that is steeped in cyberpunk. So many things blend together to form this novel that it’s hard to pull the pieces apart to understand fully what’s happening at any given moment. A glossary in the back defining all the science fiction AI terms came a little too late to unmuddle what felt to me to be a very cluttered story.

It takes a while before I figured out who the main character was as Hox introduced several transhuman characters, focusing progressively more on each individual until, about a third of the way in, Simone took center stage. While it helped to get that background on some of the characters, it made it feel very disjointed as though it took a while before the plot had any true direction. Once the story did get going, the combination of misinformation provided by Simone and the cross of metaphysical religious philosophy and cyberpunk science fiction tropes complicated matters beyond my comprehension. How exactly are these AIs taking over humans, becoming solid and creating zombie vampires? And what does that have to do with Simone transforming into some strange giant alien creature from Avatar? And why does the jock turn into a giant grizzly bear? There was no room in the story for more background or exposition, but I needed it to tie everything together. Instead I had to just throw comprehension out the window and go with the flow of the story.

It didn’t help that with Simone as our main protagonist, all the faulty information she believed and multiple explanations she gave for how things were as they were turned out to be patently false midway through. Meanwhile she’s surrounded by a brother and mother who keep having conversations of the following sort: “We need to tell her.” “We can’t tell her. She’ll be in danger.” “She’s already in danger.” “But we still can’t tell her.”

It was really frustrating. By the time Simone – and through her the audience - learned the “truth” about whatever was so super secret, I didn’t know how to put the pieces together into the larger story. Which secret was this? When were they circumventing this particular subject? Instead I continued reading with half formed ideas and comprehension about what was going on. Then as things settle down and I'm given a moment to comprehend what I'd just read, the book stops. Right in the middle of a scene. No conclusion. Just The End.

Things I really like about Rupture: Simone’s brother turns into a freaking robot! Once again I don’t understand why or how, but it’s super cool. I also enjoyed the idea of children being enhanced prior to birth with high intelligence or great athleticism or insane attractiveness. I just couldn’t figure out how those things would turn people into monsters or succubae or the Hulk. Or what happened to make the tiny two-foot tall kid so tiny. The war between cyber entities with their human slaves and the human race also had fascinating amounts of potential. It just got bogged down in all the other things going on.

There’s just way too much in this book. I love the idea of an artificial intelligence somehow inhabiting humans and building hardcopy monsters in an attempt to subjugate the human race. I especially love giant mech robots being driven by tiny little people stomping across the countryside. I could probably get behind the idea of characters transforming into some alien creature thing and even becoming a ghost version of them upon dying as long as an evil cyber version of themselves existed. I just couldn’t take it all in one book. 

 

I received an e-book version of this book from the author in return for an honest review. Blurb comes from GoodReads.