The Fifth Era of man is an interesting combination of flavors that could have worked very well together, but the balance isn’t quite right.
Short summary: It’s a travel log about people forced to work together to unravel a mystery.
The first vibes I got was Blade Runner neo-noir, grimy sci-fi. It even had the disgusting loan shark; a very unprogressive view on women and the letter X in random names.
But that was only the first chapter. The rest of the book leans towards Stargate, The Fifth Element or even Trigun vibes. This part appealed to me as I believe there need to be more archaeology based sci-fi novels.
The characters start off as standard archetypes. The gunman with no luck, but a heart of gold; the straight laced scientist; the noble savage; the amazon warrior and the pure, innocent girl. None of them had any charm to be truly likable… at the beginning.
By the second half of the book the group dynamic between them was carrying the story more than the great mystery. By the last chapter I really cared for this dysfunctional adventuring team.
And then it ended… and it’s a bit of an anti-climax. I’m not sure the status quo change at all. We went on an adventure with some people, but the only thing that was really affected by any of it, was one character’s monetary problems.
It’s written adequately. There are some discrepancies in the viewpoints making it hard to follow who is doing what, but I’m also not used to reading omniscient POVs. On a related note, it does tend to tell the story more than show it and make it a more compact narrative.
I liked the story, but felt that it could have been more. And that is what this review adds up to. The elements for a really great adventure story are there, but is not fulfilled.