on Feb. 5, 2015 :
I just finished reading Kyrathaba Rising, and I feel like I just went on a four hours’ roller coaster ride; needless to say, I love roller coasters.
First, I should say that the author did a great job of weaving science fiction, technology, and fantasy into one action-packed tale. Add to that the unexpected turns and surprises, and you have one hell of a story.
The story is set in a futuristic Earth that has been invaded and decimated by ugly, tentacled, misery-loving aliens that can masquerade as humans. Humanity has been forced to move into deep underground compounds because the planet’s surface is full of deadly radiation. And then the story takes off! There is never a boring moment.
Be warned that it ends in a ‘Cliffhanger,’ but it does not leave the reader unsatisfied, and it is a full-length novel. I definitely will read the next installment.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on May 27, 2014 :
A cool concept, mashing science fiction and fantasy along the lines of Tad Williams in his Otherland series. Of course, Mr Miller takes us one step further - into a Matrix-like necessity where the humans who don't tap into the virtual reality face the prospect of uncertain death in a post-apocalyptic world. Adding an element of sleeper agents, or non-humans infiltrating the human population, like in Battlestar Galactica, just ups the suspense factor in what is a fascinating science fiction thriller.
There's a huge amount of technical detail in this book, so if you're passionate about knowing precisely the model number of the weapon used...this is definitely for you.
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
on Dec. 3, 2013 :
Smart Scifi-Fantasy mix. This is an intelligent, ever evolving, plot that just keeps taking you deeper and deeper into the realms of quantum physics designed to save humanity after an alien invasion. About the time you think you’ve got it figured out, you don’t. Anxiously awaiting book two.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Nov. 4, 2013 :
In Kyrathaba Rising (Kyrathaba Chronicles), by William Bryan Miller, Sethra Slatton has spent seven of his twenty three years as a post-apocalypse survivor in the late twenty-third century. While many people believe the end of the world was the result of global terrorism, the government stated it was due aliens, who used viral and nuclear weapons. Sethra lives in an underground compound called A-3. While he suspects there are other cells of survivors, he realizes it's possible the human race is down to just eight hundred survivors. With the dangerous levels of radiation reaching the compound, that number is falling fast.
In the atmosphere, an alien craft is orbiting the earth. Underground, as radiation levels rise and the remaining humans are poisoned, the survivors face tough choices. The community decides to dig deeper into the ground, knowing they could be dead before they reach safety from the radiation. Sethra and his friends don't like the odds, and have a different idea for survival.
Sethra, along with Byron, Eddie, and Veronee, Sethra's girlfriend, decides to explore a different option. Using a chip holding an advanced total immersion game, the group decides to enter the continuous reality of the simulation. At the same time, the software actually transfers to the consciousnesses of the users into the simulation. As an added twist, Byron resolves not to leave his girlfriend behind, in spite of only four receptacles for five bodies. The problem is resolved in a particularly poignant manner.
Near time to put the plan into action, Sethra discovers a mysterious death through his search algorithms. While mortality has always been related to illness, the death was a violent one. And when Sethra realizes the dead man had been guarding the Shaft, he knows the killing was deliberate. The Shaft is the source of the radiation leakage from the surface. The leakage is making the underground population sick and leading to its annihilation.
Mr. Miller's descriptions, plots and subplots, and character interactions combine for an excellent science fiction read. His amazing grasp of science and technology leads to his creation of a future which is as compelling as it is possible. For example, his characters use subvocalization, which allows them to create documents in their heads. At the same time, his characterizations of the androids reflect humor and humanity. Like Sethra, Mr. Miller could be an MIT graduate and scientist. With pop culture references from Huey Lewis and News to Tolkien, as well as the RPG aspects, the book also appeals to the less hardcore sci fi fans.
I can't wait for the sequel, Kyrathaba Waxing!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 30, 2013 :
I thought this was a fantastic and unusual mix of sci-fi and fantasy. The writing was excellent as was the editing. The book was full of unexpected moments and revelations and was populated with unique characters that I felt I got to know as the story progressed.
The ending did feel a little rushed but it leaves you with a lot of questions and a desire to read the next book!
Overall I would highly recommend this book
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 25, 2013 :
Kyrathaba Rising is science fiction at its finest. I've been a devoted reader of authors like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke Bradbury and others since childhood, and all I can say is that there is a new name to be added to that roster--William Bryan Miller.
The story begins after an invasion by aliens that has driven the remnants of humanity underground, and focuses on a few individuals who seemingly escape their dire reality by entering a virtual world of magic known as Kyrathaba.
But have they truly escaped, or are they merely pioneers, preparing the way for the rest of their remaining fellows?
The story is so well-written that it is almost impossible to put down, and I found myself reluctant to work when I could be reading. The plot is structured, unlike so many recent books that seem to jump from one confusion to another. I have not read a sci-fi book so well constructed since Foundation, or Heinlein's Lazarus Long series.
The ending leaves the reader slightly confused, but I suspect that this is due to the complexities of the plot. There are things that even the protagonists seem unaware of, and it will make the second book in the series even more complex as the author resolves those issues.
Despite this, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves science fiction, and anyone who wonders just where humanity is actually headed. Some of the concepts within this story make one pause and wonder, could this really be in our future?
Don't cheat yourself out of one of the best reads you'll ever find. Read Kyrathaba Rising, and you'll be waiting with baited breath for the sequel, just as I am.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on Aug. 23, 2013 :
What does one say about a book like Kyrathaba Rising, the first in a planned series of sci-fi novels about human survival in a post-apocalyptic world?
In a nutshell - Wow!
This is one of those big ambitious sci-fi stories. Much like some of the classics of the genre, it takes on big topics such as: survival of the species, definitions of consciousness, and technology’s role securing a very different future than the one we originally imagined for humanity.
In many respects, Kyrathaba Rising has more in keeping with works such as Asimov’s Foundation or I Robot stories than it does with the more introspective and inward looking sci-fi of writers like Ballard or Heinlein. And although it’s not space opera, Kyrathaba Rising definitely is a form of opera. Perhaps “civilization opera” would be the best way to describe it.
And like all good opera, this story is loaded with complex and layered elements that make for a solid main plot plus several interesting subplots. These elements include alien invasion, some Lovecraftian imagery and themes, virtual reality, mind transference, emerging robotic intelligence, swords & sorcery gaming, political intrigue, and even a tiny bit of good old fashioned sex.
From that list you might get the idea that Kyrathaba Rising is one of those hodge-podge “with everything but the kitchen sink” stories. But it’s not. Strange as it may seem, all of those elements (plus a few I’ve left out) are wedded seamlessly. And all make absolute sense within the context of the story. Nothing I read seemed to have been put there purely for the sake of filler.
If nothing else, Kyrathaba Rising is an unusually well plotted story. Refreshing in an era where characterization and “character driven” fiction has pushed plot to the background in far too many stream of consciousness narratives.
Science fiction, as a genre, is supposed to be about ideas. Kyrathaba Rising is a story loaded with ideas as well as being a very enjoyable read.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
on Aug. 22, 2013 :
Intriguing high-brow sci-fi
I received Kyrthaba Rising as part of review exchange with the author William Bryan Miller. It tells the story of the surviving pockets of humanity, who live underground after Aliens have attacked and destroyed the surface through a nuclear assault.
Four survivors manage to insert themselves into a virtual reality full of Orcs and magic, that may be more than it seems, whilst the humans and androids in the underground bunker of A3 deal with murder, intrigue, deception and a full on alien attack.
I enjoyed the book overall, it was very well written and with excellent editing and proofreading (I don't think I encountered a single error that comes to mind). It isn't what I'd normally read, but I'm glad I did, and with how it ended, I would be keen to read books 2 and 3 to discover the rest of the story.
My only gripe is that the reveals at the end of the book didn't completely gel with what I'd read in the book so far. Maybe the details of the how and why will be revealed in later books, in which case I applaud the author for drafting such a complex metaphysical tale!
Score 4 out of 5 stars
5 stars excellent
4 stars very good
3 stars average
2 stars below average
1 star poor
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)