When I was contacted by David Fickling Books and asked to take part in the blog tour for Earth Swarm, I must confess I was a little cautious. I’m not a huge fan of this kind of advance blog marketing as it often feels as if you have to agree before you’ve read the book, and it doesn’t give you much room if you don’t like the book.
That said, I offered to read Earth Swarm and give an honest review and I’m relieved to say that I did enjoy it. It’s being described as sci-fi, but it does have a more tech-based dystopian feel as the setting is a London of the very near future. It has all the classic elements of a good adventure yarn (a missing father, mysterious militaristic organisations, a brave kid and his sister…) all wrapped around a novel depicting cutting-edge tech.
Earth Swarm carries us into a semi-futuristic environment that is ultimately scarily believable. There are undeniable elements of Terminator and AI and those highly visual movies that explore the danger of giving over too much power to technology, but Hall manages to pull it off and the reader feels in the know. It’s like an open nod to the tech-fear and conspiracy theory genre, and it works.
There are mentions of specific brands (and bands) that may jar with some adult readers, but they do give the book an immediate currency that a lot of teens may identify with, and the teens in this are very believable. Their dialogue is sharp and edgy and at times I felt that I was alienated by that. I don’t say that as a bad thing – I’m in my fifties and to be honest its rather refreshing to find a book that isn’t written for me, but for a much younger audience. I should be feeling a little alienated from this world, and I think the author nails that.
Earth Swarm is a novel that rockets along from a fast-paced start to a gripping cliffhanger. The first in what will clearly be a very popular series.
Earth Swarm is written by Tim Hall and published by DFB (4/7/19)