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Rating: 3 out of 5.


Firewalkers are brave. Firewalkers are resourceful. Firewalkers are expendable.

The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And as for power?

Well, someone has to repair the solar panels, down in the deserts below.

Kids like Mao, and Lupé, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.

The Firewalkers.


Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

This was my first read from this prolific SFF author and good enough that I am looking forward to reading more from him in the future, but also hopeful that this is not a representation of some of his best work.

Overall I did enjoy this short book. The story was well paced and well written with distinct characters that had no problem holding my attention. The landscape and plot both pained a future that was easily believable, and I appreciated that Tchaikovsky didn’t fall back on generic forms of drama such as romantic and/or sexual tension between the three main characters.

That all being said, there were two problems that stood out to me while reading. First, parts of the book I found to be really repetitive. There were character traits, background information, and plot points that did not need to be repeated five or six times in a 200 page book.

Second, and more important, while the end as a whole was interesting and took me by surprise, the last pages/the end of Mao’s story I found to be both unnecessary and unbelievable and was the defining factor in my decision to give this book three stars instead of four. There was no need to go back to that particular plot point and made the otherwise unique ending/character somewhat generic.