My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is book three in the Double Helix series. If you haven’t read the first two books, then you should take a hint and go read them before you finish reading this review. The Double Helix series has already won a number of awards for author Jade Kerrion and it is easy to see why with this latest installment.
The story picks up over a year after the events of Perfect Betrayal. Danyael Sabre, the protagonist of the first two books, an alpha empath with remarkable healing powers is chained up like a rabid beast in a super-max prison, with an electric collar around his neck that electrocutes him every 60 seconds. The good days are the ones where the guards come in and spray him with freezing jets of water, because then the shock from the collar knocks him out for several hours and at least then he is free from pain until his nervous system comes back online. Luckily, the super-max is hit by a militant group, called Sakti, that seeks to liberate imprisoned mutants and Danyael is one of the many they rescue. When Danyael does regain consciousness, he finds himself in Elysium, a retreat for human derivatives that is out of the reach of the public and given clemency by the US government. But when Danyael seems finally to have found a place where he can live in peace, Elysium comes under attack and somehow a fail-safe is tripped, which results in the compound blowing up. Danyael manages to escape with Reyes, the man who ran the retreat, but is shocked to learn that the Mutant Affairs Council (like the X-Men) were behind the attack on the retreat and that they were looking for him. Incredibly, it is the Mutant Assault Group, a military task force and the people who had ripped out his memory in the first book, that offer Danyael safe haven. But all is not as it seems . . .
Danyael Sabre is probably one of the most interesting characters in science-fiction, his empathic and healing abilities making him the perfect Christ figure, bearing in mind the amount of pain that is afflicted on him, and it is easy to see why readers can become very attached to this character. To add spice to this is his inability to have a normal human relationship, due to his psychic shields that have the side-effect of repelling people, despite his desperate need for love and friendship. His closest friends have all betrayed him in the past and the one person who was like a brother to him has been psychically brain-washed to hate him on sight, and the woman he is love with is a stone-cold mercenary that has a very complex attachment to him.
The plot is much more focused than the previous installment, with plenty of twists and depth. The pacing is much better than the previous installment, but there is a point early on where I felt that it could have done with slowing down a little to build up more of a sense of loss when taken away from Danyael. The world-building is just as solid as before and continues to expand the reality in which the story is placed. The writing itself is fluid and descriptive without drawing attention to itself.
When I read the first book, Perfection Unleashed, I compared it to Heroes and Alphas, and whilst this series still bears some resemblance to the lore of those television shows, Double Helix is far more exciting and hi-octane and in a league of its own. This is a well-deserved 4 out of 5. Near perfect but just shy of greatness.