Who writes the sequel to three books at once? Jeremy Robinson. ‘The Order’ is the direct sequel to ‘Exo-Hunter.’ It’s also a sequel of a sort to ‘The Others’ and ‘Flux’.
You don’t need to read either of the latter to dive in, but you should probably read ‘Exo-Hunter’, if not only because it’s awesome and a uniquely Robinson book. Also, Dark Horse is simply the best – a reference Dark Horse would probably get. In fact, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t.
Before I get to my review, a short note: I did go back to read ‘The Others’ and ‘Flux’ because I’m a completist. They’re both exciting and engrossing reads and everything I’d expect from Robinson. I enjoyed getting to know Dan, Wini and the kids from ‘The Others’ and Owen McCoy and ‘Mazzola’ from ‘Flux.’ I was glad I had a more than passing familiarity with these characters before catching up with them in ‘The Order’. But Robinson does do a fine job of bringing up-to-date readers who dive in here.
That being said, however, ‘The Order’ is perhaps the first part of the countdown to the end of the Infinite Timeline. Now is probably a great time to catch up on anything you missed.
On to my review: Dark Horse is once again our man of the moment and he has lost none of his snark, questionable humour and love of all things created in the 80s. I enjoyed traveling with him again, so much that this book could have been twice as long and I’ve have remained entertained. But I’m not sure everyone would have lived to see the end.
Like most Robinson novels, the action pretty much kicks off on page one, with Dark Horse and his crew finishing what they think might be the last task on their list: destroying a future plague before it’s even developed. Despite a confusing development, the mission appears to be a win, until Dark Horse and co. realise that despite winning this particular battle, they’ve barely scratched the surface of a war they knew nothing about.
When half of Dark Horse’s team is captured, along with someone very dear to Wini, new allies are called upon to not only effect a rescue, but to battle a new enemy: the Order. The best way to fight order? Introduce chaos.
What makes this book extremely awesome is, well, a lot of things. But I’ll start with my favourite: the character development, which is not confined to only Dark Horse. I’m going to veer a little into spoiler territory here but I’ll try to keep it vague. At the end of ‘Exo-Hunter’, Dark Horse has become more than a callsign. He is the unexpected. The winner who came from behind. He also is also carrying a passenger, a being he has much more in common with than he might ever understand. Without giving too much away, Dark Horse and his passenger will need to learn to share a single space and this aspect of his/their development is so beautifully executed, in both halting and sure steps, that I found myself in tears more than once.
Fans of Hildy and Burnett (‘Exo-Hunter’) will also be pleased with how they mature here. Cassidy Rose from ‘The Others’ continues to delight while teaching Dark Horse that chaos isn’t necessarily all bad. Mazzola didn’t have a name in ‘Flux’. Now he does and…just read the book, okay? (Which book? Any book.)
The scope of ‘The Order’ is vast. The further development of three separate stories, now woven into one vast timeline is masterfully done and the result is so huge that I’m glad we have two more books with which to experience it. The final battle in ‘The Order’ is big enough that I actually put the book aside for just long enough to check back with the Infinite Timeline to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and that this wasn’t the end. But, for as much as Dark Horse and his newly expanded team have accomplished together, there is more yet to come and it promises to be epic.
Finally, as with ‘Exo-Hunter’, I loved the banter, the pop culture references and the playlist of new songs to hunt down on YouTube. The humour is spot on. My very middle-aged self laughed out loud several times and even read certain sequences out to passer-bys. (My husband, my daughter, a friend who called to chat.)
I’m not sure who will lead the team in the upcoming finale, ‘Singularity’, but I very much hope it’s Dark Horse again. He not only has the grit and pathos of a worthy hero, he’s funny, too, and even the darkest moments need a little light.
Before we get to the end, however, the other half of the team or a second team needs to come together: the characters from ‘Tribes’, ‘The Dark’ and ‘Mind Bullet’ in the forthcoming novel ‘Khaos’. I hope the wait isn’t long.
(pub: Breakneck Media, April 2022. 386 pages hardcover, ebook and audio. Price: $28.99 (US) £24.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1941539668. $ 4.99 (US) £ 3.99 (UK). ASIN: B09RNGLDVM. $31.49 (US) £36.13 (UK) ASIN: B09TNGR6XG)
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