Being accepted into the Chrysalis Corporation’s military flight program is Damion Hawk’s ticket out of the mines and off Mars. It’s his chance to see the world and do something important. Making it through basic isn’t easy, but Damion is determined to become the best flier possible so he can join the Alphas, obtain a Zodiac, and partner with a Core. But when a notoriously dangerous Core chooses him, Damion realizes there are consequences for getting what you want.
Core 47 chose Damion Hawk because he is the best Fighter the Corporation has to offer. He knows the two of them can be the greatest asset ever acquired by the Corporation, but their road will not be an easy one. The other Fighters reject Damion and 47 is heavily monitored by the mysterious Creators as he begins to explore the boundaries of his humanity. As Damion and 47 grow closer, they find themselves surrounded by a cadre of enemies determined to destroy all they have achieved.
Chrysalis Corporation is an always fascinating, though occasionally long winded, science fiction novel that explores the nature of being human. The author has done an excellent job of world building and creating a complex, intriguing cast of main characters. The main focus of the book are the Core, a group of genetically modified humans who are treated as little more than computerized slaves. Abuse and torture of the Cores is commonplace and often reinforced by society as a whole. 47 is something of an anomaly amongst his Core brethren, as he is far more advanced and his devotion to Damion is absolute. The Cores are an interesting fictional concept and they are the stuff that makes science fiction such a pleasure to read. That 47 continues to strive for his humanity, without always realizing he does so, suggests that he is innately more man than machine. This is hardly a new question and is one often posed to readers of science fiction, but Chrysalis Corporation does a great job of exploring this idea in an unusual way.
Damion Hawk is an captivating character to be sure, though his motivations aren’t always as clear as 47’s. His love for 47 is unquestionable, but despite the realistic and slow moving nature of their relationship, his attachment to his Core exists rather than evolves. Which doesn’t always make much sense. Still the relationship between he and 47 is endearing and emotionally salient and even when Damion’s actions don’t always make sense, 47’s do, so their love still works.
Chrysalis Corporation is definitely a strong novel and the story is engaging from the start, but it suffers from a laggy, exposition-laden middle. Some of this is important to the overall plot development, but too much of it feels like filler at times. As a result, an already long novel feels, at times, excessively slow. I love long novels and generally the longer the better, but only when the length adds to my experience and that didn’t always happen here. The only other area of issue surrounded the antagonists. I never felt like readers were given a complete picture as to why people want 47, and Damion by extension, dead. As a result their interactions with these bad guys tended to come off as rather flat and forced. This was an area in which Chrysalis Corporation needed a bit of bolstering.
On the whole, Chrysalis Corporation was an excellent book. It offers its a readers an exceptional science fiction piece and a wonderfully matched love interest. It does tend to run overly long, but the otherwise strong plot balances this out. The book ends on a mega delicious soap opera like cliffhanger so I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye peeled for the sequel. Anyone who loves great romance, a bit of a philosophical exploration, and a well fleshed out piece of world building will probably enjoy Chrysalis Corporation.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.