Jupiter Winds

In 2160, a teenager becomes the bait to capture her missing revolutionary parents she thinks are long dead.

In 2160, a teenager becomes the bait to capture her missing revolutionary parents she thinks are long dead.

Grey Alexander has one goal—to keep herself and her younger sister Orinda alive. Not an easy feat living unconnected in the North American Wildlife Preserve, where they survive by smuggling contraband into the Mazdaar government’s city zones. If the invisible electric border fence doesn’t kill them, a human-like patrol drone could.

When her worst fear comes true, Grey questions everything she she thought she knew about life, her missing parents, and God. Could another planet, whose sky swirls with orange vapors and where extinct-on-Earth creatures roam free, hold the key to reuniting her family?

“A fast-paced, character-driven space adventure that’s reminiscent of science fiction’s golden age.”

— Kathy Tyers, author of the Firebird series

Similar articles

1
Join the conversation

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify me of
Michelle R. Wood
Member

I’m very torn about this book. On the one hand, its premise and story is a bold fresh idea on the increasingly overcrowded YA distopian scene, with its focus primarily on female characters independent of any male love interest, dueling mother/daughter subplots, and the choice to allow sisters to work with and for each other. There are alternate cultures and worlds, and an exploration of a planet I’ve never seen delved into with this vivid an imagination.

On the other hand, the novel’s extreme creativity is hampered by the author’s limited writing style and characterization. Story ideas that sound good when described were executed with little finesse, and the promising characters and world building are largely unexplored and underdeveloped, with people acting without motivation simply to further plot.

I had such a hard time getting through the opening chapters I nearly missed the good parts of this book; had I not received it for free in a contest, I likely would have never finished it. That’s a shame, since the premise is truly a neat idea.

I don’t know how scientifically accurate it is to envision land beneath Jupiter’s storms to colonize, but it makes for a unique world with some very wild indigenous life forms. The geosocial/political structure of Earth in a new world order allowed author C.J. Darlington to explore some typical genre tropes with a new angle: an Asian espionage ring seeking dominance over a Middle Eastern power, with the Western world largely at either’s mercy, and enough futuristic bionics to satisfy any aficionado’s dreams.

But these details aren’t delivered in a satisfactory way. Rather than a slow build or a massive spectacle, the novel doles out exposition like medicine, continually forcing characters to engage in clipped explanatory conversations. Gray and Orinda are meant to be streetwise yet vulnerable; instead, I had trouble buying that either of them had made it on their own for so long, or that those around them were much better equipped to deal with the situations at hand.

Most disappointing was the main antagonist, a character who in theory should have been the most engaging. A heartless ice queen with a tragic past, desperately seeking to dominate those around her sounds wonderful, and also someone who could offer a great foil for our main heroines. Alas, her character was the least developed of anyone in the entire story. Her motivations were muddied, her actions not so much opaque as rote, and her strategy came straight from the stereotypical single-minded villain playbook.

I did enjoy the final third of the book. Forgive the pun, but the story really takes off once everyone gets to Jupiter. Without any further exposition to deliver the author finally settled into a nice, standard action template with the bonus of an almost entirely female ensemble fighting it out. There were a few twists and a conclusion that ends this specific story while leaving room open for more.

If you’re a fan of distopian novels and want a change of pace, Jupiter Winds certainly delivers. There aren’t any stand out characters or moments to delight, but despite its clunky pacing it does have the saving grace of not inventing a love triangle or other melodramatic plot device to further its plot. I’d be willing to dip into this world a second time. Just don’t expect to be swept away by this mild adventure.