Ignition 2084, a new science fiction novel by Jordan Hampton, takes place in the long shadow cast by a Second Civil War fought in the United States in 2020. From the War rose the tyrannical and white-dominated Scarlet Kingdom, opposed by three other factions mainly divided along racial lines. As the Kingdom redoubles its efforts to reunify the country by force, one of those factions, the Yaiba Insurrection, manages to level the playing field via new military technology and the skill and courage of warrior John Hamlin.
Hampton’s greatest strength lies in his action scenes; he understands well what makes for good action in print. Not simply in spectacle, as in a movie; instead, he gives each scene context through dialogue and just enough description that the reader always understands the stakes in each fight and, from the prologue onwards, feels invested in each character’s fate. Even incidental characters who appear only briefly often receive a name and a small piece of characterization through dialogue or narrative so that every scene feels like it involves real people with a life outside the immediate context of the story. One should also note that while technology certainly plays a significant role in the story and the spectacle of, e.g., the heat-generating Reikiken sword are appealing, Hampton never lets them overshadow the main points of the story.
Now, Hampton seems to have meant for the racial divisions among the various factions and how they’re handled to be relevant to the real world, which forms an essential aspect of the novel. However, Ignition 2084 is primarily the story of John Hamlin. Though Hampton does have something to say about the real world, he’s not heavy-handed or overly preachy but lets the novel speak for itself.
Overall, Ignition 2084 is a gripping and entertaining Science Fiction novel that’s easy to recommend to any fan of the genre. With espionage, military action, and thrilling battles, readers will be drawn in and hooked from the opening pages of this not-so-distant future story.
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