Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Shanon Hunt has given us an interesting glimpse into the terrifying possibilities of tomorrow with The Pain Colony, and in the second book of the series, The Rage Colony, our heroes inch ever closer to the truth. On one hand, Layla is inside the secretive colony, and is willing to risk her own life to uncover its secrets. On the other hand, in the outside world, an investigative reporter is trying to expose an illegal “biohacking” ring.
Table of contents
Shanon Hunt Inches Closer to the Mystery
In our search for a better tomorrow we’ve found ourselves turning increasingly often to medical experimentation, which yielded not only cures and benefits, but also opened the door to some terrifying possibilities. In The Rage Colony by Shanon Hunt, the second book in The Colony series, we see just how far those terrifying vistas can expand.
As you might have gathered, there is a prequel to this book and if you’d like to get acquainted with it first, you can have a look at our The Pain Colony review. While the story is a continuous one and it would serve you well to learn what happened in the previous chapter, I think this book can easily be enjoyed as a standalone for reasons which I believe will become obvious over the course of this review.
Moving onward, the novel presents us with a dual narrative, starting with Layla who is living behind the protective walls of the fabled Colony, chock-full of secrets and mysteries, even for those inhabiting it. However, a chance encounter with a woman from her past leads Layla to discover all she has believed about The Colony to have been a lie, even her baby, and she’s poised to uncover the deep hidden truth.
Meanwhile, the outside world has fallen victim to a virus which has decimated millions around the planet, not to mention destroyed the economy and sent humanity reeling towards anarchy. Some people are still determined to do good though, and one such person is investigative reporter Nick Slater, seeking to expose an illegal “biohacking” ring kidnapping young people from the street.
While Nick makes himself into a kidnapping victim to get his story, Layla is struggling with the life growing inside her, as well as constant hallucinations and blackouts. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to most of the planet, a whole new step in human evolution is about to be unveiled.
The Wonders and Terrors of Science in The Rage Colony
This second book in the series has a few layers to it worth discussing, and I feel like the first and most important one is our relation to technological progress and science. Don’t worry though; first and foremost it’s a medical thriller (with shades of science-fiction), meaning the technical details themselves aren’t cumbersome to absorb.
As a matter of fact, it felt like the science was boiled down to an entry level, with Shanon Hunt‘s treating real-world facts like seeds from which her imagination can sprout and grow. With this being said, Hunt virtually never devolves into completely impossible and outlandish ideas; it felt like this story was very much focused on where science could potentially take us one day.
Some rather interesting as well as alarming ideas are discussed by the author, namely in the realm of genetic research, and how it could serve as an invaluable tool for the betterment of mankind… assuming it remains in the right hands. On the flip side, having it in the wrong hands could potentially bring doom to our entire species. How long until DNA research becomes more dangerous than useful?
What I found truly commendable was the fact Shanon Hunt doesn’t push her own agenda too hard and often seeks to explore the other side of the hill. Like every person, she has her own beliefs and convictions, but she’s not the kind to shove them down our throats, preferring to let us reach our own conclusions instead.
The science-fiction aspect is also quite well-realized, with there being some fascinating pieces of technology which, once again, we could imagine ourselves having one day. There are a couple of elements which felt a little more in the realm of fiction than science, but considering this is ultimately a novel, they were quite forgivable and fit in with their surroundings.
The Fast Road to the Truth
As I mentioned it above, first and foremost this novel remains a medical thriller, which in turn implies an eventful and fast-paced story, something the book definitely delivers in spades. The chapters tend to be short and sweet with very little meandering, creating a sense of quick and constant forward movement, complementing the urgency our characters’ quests.
Speaking of which, the dual narrative following Layla and Nick works quite well as a device which adds variety to the story, preventing it from feeling stale and stopping any segment or subject from dragging on for too long.
The difference in their perspectives is quite notable and well-realized, offering us two very different experiences. On one hand, Layla’s story feels like something akin to a detective novel, with her entire goal being to unravel the secrets of The Colony. Naturally, I’m not going to spoil anything, but despite her story being a bit slower than Nick’s, the revelations and twists it carries are unforgettable.
The chapters following Nick’s plot feel more thriller-like than Layla’s, offering layers upon layers of danger and action for our hero to navigate through; if Layla’s plot is the brain, this here is the brawn. Rest assured though, there are plenty of sharp and fascinating turns in Nick’s storyline as well, but I personally found them not quite as thought-provoking as the ones in Layla’s… but I’m only nitpicking.
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The ending of The Rage Colony, and quite possibly the series as far as I’m aware, is well-earned and about as memorable as it gets, finishing things off with a proverbial bang while simultaneously raising some questions about the future of mankind. By this point, it felt like more than a mere novel; it seemed to be a wake-up call for us, as a species, to take our future a little more seriously.
The Final Verdict
The Rage Colony by Shanon Hunt is a magnificent novel combining elements of the science-fiction and medical thriller genres, creating something completely unique and out-of-the-box. Telling an exciting and fast-paced story through a dual narrative, the novel also takes the opportunity to explore genetic engineering and the potential future of the human race.
If you liked the previous novel, or are looking for a serious thriller capable of making you think and dealing with some larger issues of the modern world, then I’d highly recommend this book for you.
Shanon Hunt is an American author who worked for 15 years as a pharmaceutical executive, giving her an insider’s view of the world her peers can only envy.
In 2019, after she took interest in the near future implementations of genetic engineering, she published her first book, a medical suspense thriller titled The Pain Colony. The second novel in the series, The Rage Colony, is set to come out on October 1st, 2020.