With The Electric Church (Canada, USA, Europe), The Digital Plague (Canada, USA, Europe), The Eternal Prison (Canada, USA, Europe), and The Terminal State (Canada, USA, Europe), Jeff Somers introduced readers to Avery Cates, a far from likeable gunner you can't help but root for. Often down on his luck and not always the sharpest tool in the shed, Cates' first person narrative has been a highlight from this series since the opening chapter of the very first volume.
I felt that The Terminal State raised the bar to new heights, so I was eager to read "the bullet-ridden conclusion to the Avery Cates saga."
Here's the blurb:
The world is dying. With avatars replacing humans and the birth rate non-existent, the human race is almost extinct. In the end, it comes down to Canny Orel; Avery's long sought after nemesis -- transformed now into something other than human.
Orel might hold the secret to humanity's salvation, if he can be convinced -- or forced -- to relinquish it. And when Cates chances on a way to trick his old master, he suddenly has a choice to make: get his long-delayed revenge, or save the world.
True to himself, Somers came up with yet another noir techno-thriller set in a futuristic dystopian Earth. As is usually his wont, the author's latest offering is a balls-to-the-wall, action-packed, kill-em-all novel that will keep you entertained from start to finish!
With The Eternal Prison and The Terminal State, I felt that Jeff Somers had matured quite a bit as an author. The overall arc echoed with more depth and featured more multilayered storylines. The same can be said of The Final Evolution, yet this installment is more about resolution and closure rather than continuing to raise the bar. As such, though it brings back elements from all previous volumes, I wasn't sucked into this one as much as the others. Maybe I didn't want the series to end. . .
As was the case with every Avery Cates book, the post-apocalyptic worldbuilding is a neat touch giving the series its own flavor. As always, it remains in the background and doesn't intrude on the story. It felt kind of odd to have the endgame take place in Split, Croatia. I had an awesome time in Split two years ago, and it was weird to have the Diocletian's Palace serve as the location where the faith of mankind would be decided.
The characterization remains my favorite facet of the book. The first person narrative filled with wise cracks and dark humor continues to work incredibly well and doesn't get old, even after five installments. As I mentioned in the past, Avery Cates is a despicable, manipulative, immoral, lousy, and sick fuck. Yet for all his faults and shortcomings, it's well nigh impossible not to root for the poor sod. The book is filled with gems like these:
Belling had always seemed to be dressed in expensive suits, killing people via suggestion and disdain. I was always covered in blood and bile, pinned under fat guys who never bathed. It was enough to make me question my approach.
I felt pretty good, despite being sick to my stomach, way too old, friendless, and sitting in a urine-soaked rad suit so heavy it was smothering me by increments. I felt at peace.
It was fucking amazing. Even as the world wound down, going still, all the assholes in the world were hard at work making everything more complicated, and more complicated, and then fucking more complicated.
The multilayered storylines add another dimension to The Final Evolution, true, but they did not slow the pace of the book. This final installment is another shoot-to-kill thrill ride that will keep you turning those pages.
As the blurb indicates, the fate of humanity lies in Avery Cates' hands. Needless to say, the gunner probably isn't the kind of fellow who's meant to be mankind's salvation. Hence, don't expect a "... And they lived happily ever after" sort of ending. The main protagonist remains true to himself till the very last page.
I've been saying it for years: These books are addictive! Give this series a shot!
The final verdict: 7.75/10
For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe