Exo-Hunter: Dark Horse Rising by Jeremy Robinson (book review)

November 13, 2020 | By | Reply More

If you’re lucky, you’ll read six books in a year that really strike home. The story is engaging, the pace perfect, the characters full of deliciously faulty holes – don’t ask me how that works, just roll with it. The experience of reading is as much fun as the book itself. You laugh, you may get a tear in your eye, you nod emphatically at this and growl menacingly, along with the heroes, at that. All in all, it’s not just a good book. It’s a great book and you want to tell your friends about it.

‘Exo-Hunter: Dark Horse Rising’ by Jeremy Robinson is one of those books.


Exo-Hunter book cover

Exo-Hunter: Dark Horse Rising by Jeremy Robinson (book review)

I first stumbled across Jeremy Robinson the same way I do many new-to-me authors, via Audible’s Daily Deal promotion. After reading the blurb for ‘Infinite, I one-clicked and listened and liked what I heard. I’d always intended to check out more of Robinson’s books, so I was delighted when I was asked to read ‘Exo-Hunterfor review.

The story starts with a bang, quite literally, in 1989, twenty kilometers from Soviet-controlled Vostok Station. Dark Horse, his team of elite marines, the scientist they’re there to protect and an opposing team of Soviets are caught in an explosion. When Dark Horse and Chuy (his 2IC) are dug out of the ice of Antarctica by a team of salvagers, they learn that not only have 1000 years passed but the world of the future has been ethnically cleansed. Being Black and Latinx, respectively, Dark Horse and Chuy are the first people of color the salvagers have ever seen. Dark Horse takes full advantage of their surprise by commandeering their ship, renaming it the Bitch’n and setting about figuring out just what the heck happened. As in why are they in the future and why is everything so white and why is everyone speaking with a fake German accent?

His new crew provides some answers. There was a Fourth Reich and they did unspeakable things. As a result, society is utterly homogenised. It’s also intent on breeding itself in the Universal Book of Records, meaning new planets are required, stat. Seeing as his dark complexion would cause conniptions at Union Command, Dark Horse repurposes the Bitch’n from salvage to Exo-Hunting, which is the search for new planets. It’s a dangerous profession, requiring teams to scout new worlds, either pronouncing them habitable or not.

Five years later, Dark Horse, Chuy and Drago, a Soviet who was dug out of the ice with them, are no more assimilated than when they first arrived. They have, however, along with their adopted crew (I loved Burnett, Porter and Morton), established themselves as the best of the best when it comes to Exo-Hunting. They have also figured out how to track the rest of Dark Horse’s team from 1989. It’s only when they catch up with the first member that life on the fringe of the Union starts to get a little bit complicated. Then a lot complicated and then we learn why Dark Horse is really there and what he’s actually supposed to be doing and… I’m not going to tell you what that is. It’s pretty awesome, though.

It’s not going to be Dark Horse and co. flying merrily around the galaxy discovering great and terrible planets for blandly evil future Nazis.

On the surface, ‘Exo-Hunters’ is a fun, almost tongue-in-cheek novel of space adventure. It’s a loving homage to the 80s and to the music and movies that helped shape our culture. At its core, however, ‘Exo-Hunters’ is a not so subtle look at what we’d miss if humanity was ever collectively stupid enough to erase more than half of what we are.

Reading a novel like this during 2020 meant some of the edges were sharper than probably intended. While I don’t imagine Robinson could have predicted what this year would bring in terms of a worldwide pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S.A,, no doubt he’s sadly unsurprised. Movements are not born overnight and history rarely happens in a single moment. The seeds of Robinson’s almost absurd future world are here already and, if nurtured, could mean the death of who we are as a species.

I love a good time and I had a good time reading ‘Exo-Hunters’. But I also like to be made to think and feel. I hope very much that Jeremy Robinson will consider writing a sequel sooner rather than later. There’s plenty of setup in the epilogue for Dark Horse’s next adventure. But, also, it’d be awesome to see a book that reflected not so much of a world going mad, but one that is being collectively healed.

As to whether either of these things will happen, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Kelly Jensen

November 2020

(pub: Breakneck Media, 2020. 364 page illustrated hardback. Price: $24.99 (US), £19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-94153-956-9)

check out website: https://bewareofmonsters.com/


Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

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