When I started reading Emergence (The Rise of House Iax) by Chad Hench, I was in the hospital. Every tenth page the Kindle app would get stuck between two pages, forcing me to restart the app while I growled in rage. All this during busy season, with the world tumbling down around me and the Dungeon Master of the Universe smiling down with sinister eyes, daring me to complain about my low role on the D20.

In other words, the book had quite a few things working against it totally unrelated to the text on the page. How did it manage to shine through?

I’d say it did okay. We’re not looking at the next Dune here, or Ender’s Game, or a third Sci Fi novel that’s not coming to mind because I’m really tired and all I see when I close my eyes are dancing tax returns and general ledges, but it was a fun Sci Fi book.

Let’s break it down.

The Mile High Summary

Twin fraternal teenagers discover that they’re really Canopeans, an alien race that died out thousands of years ago. They were put into statis before their parents died, only to be awakened in 2012 because of that Roland Emmerich movie the Mayan calendar told someone to. Now they’re being used for their bodies to reawaken a great destructive force that will lead to universal conflict. Many adventures ensue. Fun for the whole family.

My Thoughts

Really good stories don’t make you sit back and think, “wait, couldn’t this whole thing be avoided by doing x?” This one does. I won’t say what the big issue is to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that the way I see it, putting the main characters into statis in the first place was a bit of a tactical mistake.

Of course, then there wouldn’t be the whole rest of the story. The rest of the story was definitely fun. I read a few sections to my son, and he kept begging me to read more to him. It’s book candy, for sure, at least once it gets going.

It takes a while for that to happen, though. There’s a few too many dream sequences as the two kids awaken to their new lives and power. Plus we follow each of the twins as they are taken by a different alien race, which is way too parallel. Getting the universe’s story from the different perspectives of warring alien races was an interesting idea, but it made the plot lines so parallel that you’re basically reading the same story twice.

Once it gets going–let’s call it 40% of the way through–things get fun. We jump from the rails of parallel stories into planetary exploration and space battles without being dragged down by logical scientific explanation that so many Sci Fi books are addicted to today. It’s the kind of fun sci fi action that’s been missing in my books since reading the Timothy Zahn Star Wars books back in early high school.

When I read some excerpts to my son, and he absolutely loved it. I would have read him more, but since he literally stopped me every paragraph to ask questions, I never would have gotten to the end.

Wow, I’m just rambling now. Even my writing tool says my Readability “Needs Improvement.” Harsh. I blame the cat on my lap.

To sum up whatever it was I was trying to say, the book has some problems, especially at the beginning, but it does get fun. Sci Fi action movie fun, which is totally okay. In fact, considering that I’m reading The Three Body Problem as one of my other books right now, a very deep, hard science type book, it’s probably a good thing.

Titillating Tropes

Let’s see, people on Earth who think they’re normal discover they’re aliens with superpowers. Nope, doesn’t remind me of any other story ever.

Speaking of tropes, we were treated to plenty of dream sequences. Unlike me right now, as I’m trudging through tax returns and, for some reason I can’t completely explain, writing this review.

Self Pub Setbacks

Fortunately, despite the occasional grammatical mistake, nothing really jumped out at me on that front. So that’s good.

Plotwise, the one thing that should have been edited out was the year. The author really wanted the twins to be awaken in 2012, but then for them to be old enough for the story to make sense this had to happen in the late 2020’s. But since it really wasn’t about Earth, we’re treated to an Earth-world exactly like ours except with updated technologies that didn’t quite work for me (the PlayStation 8. Call of Duty: Jump the Shark edition, etc.) Had it gotten rid of the unnecessary 2012 stuff and just made them awaken at some indeterminate point in the past, with the story taking place at some indeterminate point between today and later this week, several head scratching moments trying to get the exact time to work could have been blissfully removed.

Recommendation Level

This book is for the 1970’s – 1980’s era Sci Fi fan. Star Wars, Star Trek, Last Starfighter, Ender’s Game, etc. Cut out the hard science explanation, add in the fun. It does have a few issues and plot holes, and it does try to be a bit too parallel, but once you get past that, it’s an enjoyable read.

It can be found here on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I read this book on Kindle Unlimited without any coercion, including knives to my back, guns to my head, anonymous threats to my family written in cut out magazine letters, fear of public humiliation, fear of being forced to run for public office, or any hope of getting paid any money whatsoever except for whatever pennies I get through Google Adsense. If any of that changes in the future, I won’t update this disclaimer unless I also update my review.
Featured Image by Nicolas Raymond