Review: Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

Rising Tide

Book Two of the Ben Gold Series

by Rajan Khanna

Science Fiction | 268 Pages | Published by Pyr in 2015

| Rating |

This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review

Whilst it was the synopsis for Rising Tide which first drew me to the Ben Gold series by Rajan Khanna, Falling Sky impressed me with its fast-paced and thrilling premise, its post-apocalyptic setting, and its cliffhanger ending. Following on from this exciting debut, I had high hopes that Rising Tide would continue in the same vein and, whilst I would have preferred some divergence from the pattern laid out in book one, it turned out to be a rather enjoyable sequel which has me waiting expectantly for the third.

Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda—the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik’s dirty work. 

Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben’s help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test—but first they must rescue themselves. 

When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?

In Falling Sky we followed Ben and Miranda as they fled the doomed scientific colony of Apple Pi as it came under the lustful eye of the Gastown raiders. In his determination to retrieve his stolen airship, The Cherub, and to assist Miranda in finding a cure for the horrific virus responsible for turning humans into Ferals, Ben embarks on an adventure which takes him into the heart of the piratical state and to the one safe haven left for civilisation, Tamoanchan.

In an explosive cliffhanger ending, Ben, in his somewhat out of character determination to protect both Miranda’s research and innocent lives, sacrifices the remaining link to his past to bring down the raiders who would see Tamoanchan fall.

Following on directly from this cliffhanger ending, Rising Tide follows Ben and Miranda as they are pulled from the sea by an old friend turned enemy, Malik. Intent on getting one over on Ben, Mal takes Miranda hostage and sets Ben on a path that could very well mean his death. Determined to save Miranda, the one woman who makes him something of a good man and the one woman who might just make a difference to the world, Ben uses all his cunning to fulfil his quest and free them both from Mal’s clutches.

But there are more dangerous forces at work in the world than an old friend with a vendetta. A new virus is spreading across Tamoanchan, a virus which can only have sinister forces behind it. The only hope for the people of Tamoanchan is Miranda’s research; the fate of the world may just depend upon them. If they can escape.

Once again we are transported to a world of airships and sky towns, of ferals and raiders, and scientific researchers fighting for a cure. The setting is just as exciting and intriguing as the preceding novel but I feel that, once again, this post-apocalyptic world would have benefited from a third person perspective. The science behind the novel is also a little haphazard, but it is painted with a light enough brush throughout to moderate any major fears. The action throughout most of the novel also serves to alleviate some of these problems as it leaves little room to second guess such decisions.

Khanna writes in a dynamic style which continually moves the narrative forwards and lends to the air of excitement which is the mainstay of this novel. However, the sections of the novel from Miranda’s perspective, which were almost journal entries, threw me a little and felt a little shoehorned into the storyline. They do go some way into developing Miranda’s character, uncovering Mal’s intentions, and describing events which would otherwise be lost with Ben’s absence, but otherwise felt a little out of place after the single perspective introduced in Falling Sky.

Ben Gold sets a cracking pace during his narrative, the continued flashbacks to his past adding depth and interest to his character whilst highlighting his personal growth. Yet the same problem remains from the first novel – I just don’t connect with him. Whilst the storyline in itself is entertaining, my continued issues with Ben along with my slight disinterest in Miranda, made this a slightly less enjoyable read than the first novel, despite having a storyline which in itself was on par with Falling Sky.

However, the return of Rosie and Diego to the storyline, along with Claudia, goes some way to mitigate whatever issues I have with the protagonists. There is something of a spark in these gun-toting and sharp-shooting supplementary characters which can’t help but entice you into the storyline, and their roles frequently fill the action-packed and exciting scenes which carry the narrative along and make this on whole, a rather enjoyable read.

Rising Tide certainly continues in the same vein as Falling Sky and, despite any problems I may have had with the characters, was more than enjoyable enough to have me looking out for the third novel in this series. If you’re looking for a short and sharp read which transports you back into this post-apocalyptic landscape of Ferals, raiders and airships, then Rising Tide is sure to bring a little excitement into your world. 

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The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015

The Monthly Round-Up - DecWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!

| Books Read |

December has come to an end and we’ve crossed the threshold into 2016 – and what a year it has been! I’m currently compiling my year in review but December alone was a great month of phenomenal fiction. With a hefty pile of novellas bulking up the number, I’ve discovered some fantastic authors, read some thrilling tales and been taken to some truly amazing worlds.

And in the process of devouring – my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge was well and truly surpassed, I fell just short of the mark on my Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge and I well and truly flopped on my personal goals for December… But nevermind! This has been a fantastic month and here are the books to prove it:

| 1. |

Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

| 2. |

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

| 3. |

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

| 4. |

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 5. |

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 6. |

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

| 7. |

The Serpent by Claire North

| 8. |

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

| 9. |

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 10. |

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

| 11. |

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

| 12. |

Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship by Aliette de Bodard

| 13. |

The Thief by Claire North

Book of the Month

The Serpent

by Claire North

| December Goals |

To finish at least one of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

(The Daylight War, NOS4R2 or Emma)

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete


To read at least one Christmas themed novel

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete (though started!)


| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 115/100 Books Read (115%)

Status: Completed

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: Incomplete

| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The Serpent by Claire North

Superposition by David Walton

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

| Other Posts From December |

December brings with it a new feature – The Friday Face-Off – where I pit cover against cover to discover the best cover art from across both sides of the pond.

The Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

The Month Ahead: December 2015

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – UK Edition

Cover Reveal: Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – US Edition

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Ex Machina OST

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Heligoland

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics of 2015

Top Ten ‘X-Mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 01 – Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 08 – Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Teaser Tuesdays: December 15 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

An X-Mas Teaser Tuesday: December 22 – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 29 – Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The Friday Face-Off: December 18 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The Friday Face-Off: December 25 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Review: Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience

Falling Sky

Book One of the Ben Gold Series

by Rajan Khanna

Science Fiction | 252 Pages | Published by Pyr in 2014

| Rating |

This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review

Falling Sky first came to my attention after reading the synopsis for its sequel, Rising Tide. With its backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Earth teaming with terrifying Ferals, glorious airships and cities in the sky, this is a novel which had me hooked with anticipation alone. And it didn’t disappoint. Falling Sky is a new and exciting interpretation of the post-apocalyptic zombie genre which, though short, remains a fast-paced and action filled debut whose climactic conclusion left me reaching for the next book.

Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben, a lone wolf, has reluctantly agreed to use his skills and his airship to help an idealist scientist, Miranda, on her search for a cure. Protecting her from Ferals is dangerous enough but when power-mad raiders run rampant, Ben finds himself in the most dangerous place of all—the ground. 

Ben’s journey leads him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. Old friends and new enemies are drawn into a struggle that quickly becomes a fight for the fate of the world. Ben must decide to focus on his own survival or risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future.

Falling Sky follows the story of Ben Gold – a gun-wielding, Feral-fighting airship captain – who finds himself the protector of a colony of scientists, and Miranda in particular, at the small research town of Apple Pi. Except this is a world of vicious Ferals who roam the earth and barbarian raiders and hostile townships who patrol the skies. Ferals kill indiscriminately and the bandit states revel in pillage and plunder, actively seeking the destruction of others. Once under their radar, no one is safe… and for Apple Pi time is running out. Ben and Miranda must set off on an adventure which takes them into the heart of the piratical state as Miranda attempts to continue her search for a cure to the Feral plague and Ben does all he can to help Miranda, and himself, survive.

Khanna has creating a terrifying and enthralling world where the beauty and wonder of life aboard airships and on sky towns is contrasted with the destruction of the human race and the unstoppable spread of the virus which turns humans into Ferals. Thematically I loved this book, and in particular the wonderful depiction of the warmongering bandit states -Valhalla and Gastown. Khanna has fashioned a world where airships and, quite literal, townships vie for supremacy over a ruined and overrun world; where life on the ground is undeniably dangerous, and where carving out an honest existence in a world of cruelty and selfish greed is an incredible hardship.

It is through the voice of the narrator, Ben Gold, that a true sense of this hardship is made apparent. Ben is an interesting protagonist whose rough and ready approach makes for a fast-paced and exciting read, his life and history unfolding unobtrusively as the narrative progresses. However, whilst enjoyable throughout, Ben’s voice failed to captivate me as much as it ought to and I became keenly aware that I would prefer to read this book in a third person perspective, in order to convey more of the post-apocalyptic landscape.

This, as always, is subjective and whilst Ben might not be the man for me, he played an excellent counterpoise to the scientists of the novel who are almost in a world of their own with their singular, and sometimes dangerous, determination. Khanna also fields a host of other characters full of charm, wit and gun-toting reflexes; in particular Diego and Rosie, who convey a sense of strength and solidity in a fragile world, and Claudia, who all became firm favourites over the course of the novel.

Falling Sky is a thoroughly exciting read set in a brilliantly realised world, whose climactic conclusion had me reaching for the next book. Khanna has succeeded in creating a dynamic tale which is constantly moving forward (even when looking backwards) and practically brims with action on every page. This is a novel which surprised me with its world and storyline, left me a little wanting where the protagonist was concerned, yet surprised me again with its cliffhanger ending. In short – a very enjoyable read.

If you want to read a novel about a terrifying post-apocalyptic world where lives are carved from the ruined remnants of society, and life is truly experienced in the airships of the sky, then this might just be the read for you. Whilst by no means perfect, Falling Sky remains an exciting and enjoyable read, has satisfied my zombie cravings, and has introduced an author who I certainly intend to read far more of in the near future.

Bookish Beats Suggestion

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The Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

The Monthly Round-Up - NovWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!

| Books Read |

Ahh November, the craziest month of the year! Not only was this Sci-Fi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow, but I started a new job! This meant I was unable to post as much as I had wanted to as I hadn’t prepared in advance (tut tut!).  I’m only just getting used to my schedule – or in other words: If I want to post anything at all I need to prepare in advance! – so hopefully December’s posts will be a little more organised.

Onto the overview. I read five books in November, none of which featured on my Sci-Fi Month Introductory Post! But they were all excellent reads and reviews for the unreviewed will be cropping up in the next few weeks. I managed to jump on the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (hello Book of the Month!) and I also reached my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books in 2015 after finishing Superposition. Hurrah!

So without further ramblings, here are the books I slowly devoured in November:

| 1. |

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

| 2. |

Down Station by Simon Morden

| 3. |

Superposition by David Walton

| 4. |

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

| 5. |

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Book of the Month


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

by Becky Chambers

| November Goals |

To finish all the (poor neglected) novels I’m currently reading

1 of 4 | Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Status: Incomplete


To hop onto sci-fi month over at Rinn Reads

Status: Completed


| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 100/100 Books Read (100%)

Status: Completed

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: +0% during November

| Reviews Posted |

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch


Down Station by Simon Morden

| Other Posts From November |

The Monthly Round-Up: October 2015

The Month Ahead: November 2015

Sci-Fi Month: November 2015 – Introductory Post

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 1

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 2

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 3

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 4

Cover Reveal: Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe

Tough Travelling: Military Genius

Tough Travelling: Tricksters

Bookish Beats: Inception OST

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love to See

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards

Teaser Tuesdays: November 03 – NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

Teaser Tuesdays: November 10 – Emma by Jane Austen

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: November 24 – Superposition by David Walton