A review of Binary Cycle: Disruption by WJ Davies

In the process of writing and promoting my series, I read a large amount about Hugh Howey’s success with Wool. Hugh makes frequent references to the authors who have achieved a degree of success themselves through writing short stories set in the universe he created. One of these authors, WJ Davies, is following up his Wool-derived story with the first part of an original work called Binary Cycle. I had the chance to buy and read it over the past few days. The story takes place on a planet called Taran that we Earthlings colonized presumably some time in the far future when we have both developed the technology to do such a thing and screwed up our own planet enough to warrant the effort. Taran is itself a bit geologically unstable, and one of the planet’s top scientists has discovered that things are probably going to get a whole lot worse. While that is the main thread of the plot in this first installment, there is a lot more going on that made it an enjoyable read. Davies put extensive work into making Taran believable.
His characters live in a carefully constructed blend of futuristic technologies and unusual surroundings brought about by Taran’s light gravity and strange orbit around two different suns. Even in this foreign world, the characters use phrases and figures of speech familiar to those of us on Earth in the 21st century, which I think is probably how it would be. Many of the names of people and places are slight derivations of those we are familiar with, which I assume is done on purpose and strikes me as a natural development as the Taran residents moved away from Earth in the way American English started spelling “colour” as “color.”
The binary orbit is a major factor in the lives of the residents of Taran because of the long periods of day and night. I imagine it’s a lot like living at the North Pole, but with things a lot nastier than polar bears coming to bite you after nightfall. It didn’t take me long to understand how Taran is similar and different from Earth.
The story alternates between several characters, each of whom is distinct and interesting in his or her individual quest. Though I really am curious about the problems that the planet is experiencing (and I should point out that I’m not usually a fan of other-worldly stories), it is the story of Jonathas that, for reasons I won’t spoil, has me waiting for the next installment. That is the true strength of this book. The characters and their adventures are varied enough that there is something for most readers to get excited about. It remains to be seen if these characters and their stories will cross over, but I’ll take it either way. WJ Davies has taken on a challenge here with fleshing out a whole world and I feel he succeeds. I’d probably recommend Binary Cycle: Disruption under any circumstances but the 99 cent price makes it truly worthwhile. Give it a shot.
Buy it here from the Kindle store

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