Review: Tesla Evolution (Box Set) by Mark Lingane

★★★★★ Tesla Evolution by Mark Lingane

In the far-flung future, long after society as we know it has withered and decayed into only unremembered remnants, humanity will rise again from the ashes of the old. But we are not alone. Legends will tell of a mere orphan, Sebastian, who grew from obscurity into a hero of the wastes, who discovered his true talents under the keen eye of his teacher at the Academy,  and gave everything for the strange, yet beautiful world he came to understand. Embroiled in an ever-evolving conflict, it’s steampunk versus cyberpunk; technology versus humanity; old versus new…versus absurd. In the “Mad Max”-like young adult science-fantasy world of the Tesla Evolution series by Mark Lingane, nothing will ever be the same.

The collection includes all four parts of the series: the eponymous Tesla, Decay, Faraday, and Fusion. In short: if you ever wanted to see zombies, sky-pirates, cyborgs, mutants, steampunks, technomancers, and more, all fighting on the same stage of a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy setting, here’s the series for you – enjoy!

The books are chock full of Lingane’s trademark humor, bizarre-yet-fantastic genre-mashing, as well as his uncanny ability to put together a cohesive world and immerse a reader in even the most insane-sounding concepts. It’s hard to believe that such an idea can be done well, and yet Lingane manages it, with aplomb. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s amazing – a truly fantastic series.

The series definitely matures and takes on a darker tone as it goes on, dabbling in themes of loss, trauma, existential crisis, loyalty, sacrifice, and death. While the first book, Tesla, has a touch of immaturity about it, this soon fades as we enter the much more mature follow-up, Decay, where things really start to get shaken up. It seems that Lingane had a much stronger idea of where to take the series after putting the first part out there, and gladly, every aspect is improved on the second outing forward.

All sides of the ever-expanding conflicts develop a real personality and their own particular shades of gray, and no group is without sympathy in the end, even if certain figures within them are quite easy to feel joy in watching fall. It never gets in too deep and the series holds true to the standards of a modern young-adult read without compromising on its personality nonpareil, ensuring plenty of levity, even a bit of black comedy woven into the narrative that keeps the tone fresh and relatively light. That said, there are few punches pulled in the book’s post-apocalyptic, war-torn setting, and no character is spared from the sometimes unflinchingly brutal consequences of their actions, though thankfully short of being overly graphic or gratuitous in nature.

What more can be said? Despite a few flaws throughout, it’s a quirky, nerdy, and utterly unique series, and you owe it to yourself as any kind of connoisseur of geekery to get in on the collection now that the books are all together, as they should be.

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