So when the author emailed me to let me know that there was a new short story picking up some time after the end of the final installment in the series, I was pretty keen to read it! And then the Holidays rolled around and I totally forgot about it. My bad, I know. It wasn't until a few weeks ago, when Somers notified me that another piece of short fiction set in the same universe would be released in June that I remembered the first short story and made a mental note to finally read it. Better late than never, or so they say. . .
If you are a long-time fan of the Hotlist, you may recall that I pimped Somers' series as much as I could every time a new volume came out. And though it's been four years since the last one, it was so much fun to be reunited with Avery Cates, if only for the duration of a short story.
Here's the blurb:
Picking up after the conclusion of "The Final Evolution," this short story gives a glimpse of what the future holds for Avery Cates in the grim world that exists in the wake of his epic battle with Cainnic Orel, the Angels, and the dehumanizing avatar technology. As the System has collapsed under the pressure of war and a sort of "anti-singularity," Cates finds himself in unfamiliar environs - but as always, he's a quick learner. Mysterious inhuman figures. An abandoned prison. And The Howler. Cates has his hands full, as usual ... and is starting to get his mojo back.
As was the case with every Avery Cates book, the post-apocalyptic worldbuilding is a neat touch giving the series its own flavor. Even more so since this is a piece of short fiction, it remains in the background and doesn't intrude on the tale itself. The reader definitely feels on familiar grounds, that's for sure.
The first person narrative filled with wise cracks and dark humor continues to work incredibly well and doesn't get old, even after several 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.
You can always count on Cates to somehow find himself in deep trouble, even when he's not looking for it. This little interlude appears to imply that there might be more in store for Avery Cates. If that's the case, it would make this reader quite happy! The Final Evolution seemed to bring the story arc to a close and no other misadventures seemed forthcoming. But now, someone appears to be looking for Cates. Someone set up a trap to capture him. And the answers he's looking for just might be in Moscow. Only Moscow got turned into slag during the war.
So what can Avery Cates do other than go looking for trouble? I foresee fun times ahead, for the readers if not for Cates. Looking foreward to whatever's in store for him!
The final verdict: 7.5/10
You can download this piece of short fiction for only 0.99$ here.