Core Drift

A Coruscant Novel

Fiction - Science Fiction
380 Pages
Reviewed on 04/19/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite

Core Drift by FX Holden is a science fiction crime thriller. The setting is a future where humans coexist with cybers, beings that are half-human and half-robot. The main protagonist, named Fan Zhaofeng, is a cyber who appears to be responsible for a string of murders, even though his cyber programming prevents him from harming a human. The police know that so they allow him to remain free but the killings continue and more and more evidence piles up against Fan. Soon, he is forced to go on the run with the help of a sympathetic investigator. From there, Fan uses his superior intellect to avoid capture while trying to capture the real killer to clear his name.

The physical action in Core Drift is slow and methodical but intellectually, it moves like a roller coaster. The charm of this story comes from watching Fan work out in his mind who the real killer is, all the while staying three steps ahead of the justice system that is dead set on pinning the crimes on him. There is also a touching relationship between Fan and a female junior investigator who can’t help but be attracted to the genuine nature of Fan. Author FX Holden has done his homework in creating a fully developed world for his characters to exist in. The inner workings of Fan’s world, including the justice system and the history leading up to the time of the story, are complex yet fascinating. Core Drift is a slow burn of a story that builds its plot one mind-blowing brick at a time. The structure that it builds, in the end, is well worth the wait. Core Drift the novel is fully original, exciting, smart, and fun.

Romuald Dzemo

Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel by FX Holden is another hypnotic science fiction novel with strong characters and dark themes from an author that I love. Welcome to the People’s Republic of Coruscant, the colony where Fan Zhaofeng has evolved. It is the only place he has known and the one that has given him everything. A hybrid human-cybernetic who had once lived a miserable life on the fringes of the world in which he longed to belong. He has been a soldier and a killer. But all of that is in the past. He wants a better life, a normal life. He has healed and he wants to heal. But… unfortunately, his past still defines him, and as much as he wants to integrate into civil society, there is one who doesn’t trust him and who will stop at nothing to annihilate him. And thereby hangs the terrific tale.

It was with excitement that I picked up Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel because I have read some of FX Holden’s science fiction novels and have been enthralled each time I read one. In this suspenseful tale, the author creates a world that is unique and that is supervised by the mysterious AI, The Core. It is interesting when an author writes about the impossible and makes readers feel as though they inhabit the world that the author has created. One such author is FX Holden. The story is suspenseful, featuring characters that are complex and elaborately written. Themes of murder, survival, revolution, and the quest for purpose are intelligently built into the story. Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel has an unpredictable plot, sophisticated characters, and nonstop action. It is a feel-good kind of novel that is guaranteed to excite readers, a story of consequence that puts an unusual protagonist in the delicate place between dream and death. Thanks to the storytelling chops of FX Holden, this novel is an engaging story that is full of insight on life and survival and that features a protagonist who abandons regret by gaining perspective.

Grace Masso

Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel by FX Holden is a science fiction novel that will grab the attention of fans of techno thrillers. The setting is a world that features cutting edge technology, a world that is supervised by the mysterious A.I. known as The Core. In this evolved and highly refined world, a hybrid human-cybernetic citizen, Fan Zhaofeng, struggles for acceptance. His past has been characterized by a life of slavery, living at the edge of society. He had once been a soldier and a killer — a ruthless one. But all he wants now is harmony with himself and society and healing from a past that still haunts him. But he has one serious problem — the only person he has trusted might be the one who is determined to exterminate him.

This is an action-packed thriller full of enthralling scenes, great dialogue, and a protagonist that, though not fully human, will arouse strong emotions in readers. The futuristic nature of this novel is thought-provoking and it postulates a very plausible scenario considering the strides science has made in the area of the new eugenics. This novel is well-crafted with a setting that is rich and deftly imagined and executed. While Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel is utterly entertaining, it is also a frightening look at what cutting-edge technology might do to society — a possibility that is unnerving. The author writes about Artificial Intelligence in a way that is captivating, creating characters that are nuanced, and a plot that is grippingly haunting. It is a real feast for the imagination.

Rabia Tanveer

Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel is the second novel in The Coruscant Series by FX Holden. The story continues in the People's Republic of Coruscant, where Fan Zhaofeng lives. There was a time when Fan Zhaofeng, a hybrid-human, was only a mindless killer. He was supposed to do only what he was told and not think for himself. Now that he was reformed, he was looking forward to a normal life. However, it wasn't easy. Try as he might, he could not outrun his past even if his intentions were nothing but pure. How could Fan Zhaofeng integrate himself into society if no one trusted him? Some people would end his life before he even had a chance to live it. Was there any chance for him to get what he wanted? Or was this going to be the end of the road for Fan Zhaofeng?

I loved the first novel in the series; I was blown away by it. I had huge expectations for Core Drift: A Coruscant Novel, and I am glad that FX Holden did not disappoint me at all. Fan Zhaofeng was the kind of character you could relate to in a moment. He was not surprised by the reactions he was getting from people, but he was not ready for it. He wanted normalcy in his life; he wanted to feel human. He had emotions that could not be contained in his body and needed an outlet. His growth and development were phenomenal, and I could not find a single flaw in Fan Zhaofeng. As expected, the background building was pure gold. There were nonstop action, engaging narratives, and exciting dialogues. Fan Zhaofeng's fight for survival kept me entertained for hours! Absolutely fantastic.

K.C. Finn

Core Drift is a work of fiction in the science fiction, thriller, and crime noir sub-genres, and was penned by author F. X. Holden. As part of the Coruscant novel collection, the work is intended for the mature reading audience owing to its high-concept approach and some moderate adult references. Our protagonist is Fan Zhaofeng, a reformed citizen after several years living as a human-cybernetic hybrid in a far-flung futuristic republic. With dark deeds in his past, suffering, and military service, Fan only wants to move on, but the past won’t let him. And the only person able to help him put it to rest for good is hell-bent on his incarceration.

Author F. X. Holden has crafted a vivid work of science fiction with plenty of suspense, thrills, and innovative new ideas to offer its readers. One of the most essential features of this work is the talent the author displays in worldbuilding, through such details as the commitment to the logical reasoning of the societal systems in place and the way technology blends into the new lifestyles and laws of the People's Republic of Coruscant colony. There’s also a deep commitment to character depth with Fan which sets him up as an unusual but highly relatable protagonist, and these added layers of realism and development make you invest more and more in the novel as its enthralling mystery unfolds. Overall, I would highly recommend Core Drift to fans of futuristic noir, clever conceptual sci-fi reads, and for cyberpunk fiction readers everywhere.