Welcome to another book review, this one long overdue because I read it over a month ago! This book review of Explorer’s End by H.W. Portland was originally published on Reedsy Discovery, which you can check out here!
Slowly but steadily, I am catching up on my long, winding TBR. And one of these days, I will post consistently… but today, alas, is not that day.
But I’m hoping that after this week, I can get into a groove with blogging again. I really want to! I just have a bad habit of juggling too many projects at once. I’m a chronic over-committer, one might say. I’m sure I’m not alone there.
In any case, enjoy this much-belated review of H.W. Portland’s science fiction adventure, Explorer’s End!
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Explorer’s End: Synopsis
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
One-line review: A well-thought-out sci-fi survival and exploration story with a great imagination!
It’s up to an unlikely hero to find the origin of the galaxy and protect it at all costs in this new sci-fi adventure from author H.W. Portland.
Dr. Alan spent his life searching for the origin of those who seeded the galaxy with intelligence. After years of dead ends, he is shown an extraordinary new clue with the promise that on a distant planet, covered in exotic jungles and teeming with life, lies the answer. The only problem: the planet is about to be obliterated in a galactic cataclysm.
Faced with little time and few resources, Alan must team up with a headstrong adventurer to get to the remote planet and recover the forgotten knowledge before it’s too late.
But Alan isn’t the only one who has seen the clue. An old nemesis is already on his way to steal the evidence — and the credit.
And if he beats Alan, he will use what he finds to rewrite history and undo civilization as we know it.
In Explorer’s End, a science fiction adventure, friend and foe race to capture the last evidence of a lost, life-giving civilization. Whoever wins will control the history of a million planets…
Book Review: Explorer’s End
In this sci-fi adventure, an anthropologist travels to a doomed planet to track down the remnants of an ancient civilization said to be the origin of life in the galaxy. Faced with the elements, old rivals, and the impending collision of the entire planet, it’s a race to find what he’s looking for before it’s too late.
This book was richly imaginative and one of its greatest strengths was the immersive, detailed settings. At its core, it was a treasure hunt story, which is fun in and of itself. But it also had a distinct “lost in the jungle” survival story aspect that was equally as compelling. It was familiar, but also alien. I loved the jungle planet of Helios even if you couldn’t pay me to go there!
This is a very fast read that played out like a well-paced action-adventure movie. (Sidenote: if this ever got brought to the big screen, I would definitely watch it.) Everything fit together, all the Chekov’s guns went off, and the ending was both satisfying and a bit open-ended. (Sequel, Author?) I thought it was very well-thought-out with just enough worldbuilding to keep things cohesive!
The characters were also fun, though I would’ve loved to see more development, especially for our protagonist, Alan. The one thing I couldn’t help but notice is that the book lacked physical descriptions. I had no idea what most of the characters looked like, so I had to fill in the gaps with my imagination. (Mup looked like Tom Holland in my head and there’s no convincing me otherwise.) But the dialogue was quippy and natural, and there were some great character beats sprinkled in, particularly between our protagonist and his rival.
Aside from that, my criticisms are purely technical: there were a lot of places where pronouns could’ve substituted proper nouns and where the passive voice could’ve been eliminated to make the writing stronger. Other than that, it was very competently written with few typos.
At the risk of sounding derivative, this book is like if Indiana Jones were sci-fi mixed with Prometheus if it actually made a lick of sense. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good sci-fi adventure or survival story!
I’ve got some fun surprises in store within the next few weeks… upcoming book-related stuff as well as some long-overdue Last Celestials stuff, which has naturally been taking up a good portion of my time! Stay tuned, because things are about to get real… real science fiction-y, that is!