Regeneration (Evolution book 3) by Stephanie Saulter (book review).

In the years since Gems were granted their freedom, society has changed beyond recognition. Now, the gillungs, capable of breathing underwater, are about to launch a revolutionary new power station but not everyone is happy about it. As suspicious accidents plague the facility and gillungs start to develop strange illnesses, Detective Sharon Varsi is called in to investigate. Maybe it’s just coincidence but Zavcka Klist has just been released from prison and nobody expects her to adapt well to a quiet life…

‘Regeneration’ is the third and final novel in Stephanie Saulter’s ‘Evolution’ series, bringing to an end a beautifully written and engaging political Science Fiction series. With a gap of a few years between each book, ‘Regeneration’ lets us see the culmination of the events started in book one, showing us how the Gems have found their place in society and how they’re using their special abilities to carve out their own places in the world.

Some trilogies fizzle out as they try to find an ending, but ‘Regeneration’ is a strong finish, giving us a twisty plot filled with the political intrigue that has been strong throughout. In this book, we follow a sabotage plot, the activities of a newly released Zavcka Klist and the political debates preceding an important election date, all intertwined in a satisfying story. Tied in among the bigger plots are also a whole host of little stories, glimpses of life for the Gems in ‘normal’ society, how they’ve adapted and grown as a community. It really brings the world together as a whole, seeing the day-to-day events alongside the remarkable abilities of the Gems and the larger political stories. It’s very tidily done.

It’s also nice to see how the different characters have evolved and built new lives together and seeing their growing families and how the new generation of Gem and half-Gem children are growing up in a new accepting society. It’s quite rare to be able to follow the smaller details of characters’ lives over the decade or so that we’ve seen them in this trilogy and it’s great to be able to see how the consequences of various actions play out over that time.

This has been a refreshing Science Fiction series, exploring not only a few big plots but also the more human details of how a society evolves to cope with major changes. No big action sequences, no intergalactic civilisations, just a well-written political Science Fiction novel showing us a potential future for our own world. I’m looking forward to see what Saulter writes next and would definitely recommend this series so anyone looking for something a little bit different on the Science Fiction scene.

Vinca Russell

(pub: Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus, 2016. 371 page large paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78206-024-6)

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