Core Melt

A Coruscant Novel (The Coruscant Series Book 3)

Fiction - Science Fiction
238 Pages
Reviewed on 05/04/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Core Melt is a work of fiction in the science fiction and adventure subgenres and serves as the third installment in the Coruscant series. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author FX Holden. The book follows a machine named Emin Wei, a hunter who has been designed to pass for a human and given the singular purpose of hunting down terror suspect Kristen Newgard. His mission is deadly as the three hunters sent before him didn’t survive the attempt to eliminate Newgard, but the last attack by the suspect claimed over two thousand lives, so Emin knows he must do whatever it takes to find her.

This was an excellent demonstration of complex and nuanced lore that has been designed from the ground up to serve as a perfect backdrop for thrilling science fiction adventures. Author FX Holden’s world-building skills are matched by his gift for prose which brought the mosaic of cultures and social ideas to life in a way that made them feel as real as the chair I was sitting in whilst reading. The narrative that has been woven against this wonderful backdrop was a pleasure to read, asking important questions about the world of Coruscant, which paralleled important questions about our own world – a hallmark of excellent and thought-provoking science fiction. One of the greatest strengths of Core Melt, however, was the evolving characterization of its lead character Emin as his experiences throughout the investigation prompted him to develop and grow in interesting and exciting ways that constantly kept the story fresh.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Core Melt by FX Holden is the third book in his Coruscant Series. Emin Wei is the fourth Coruscant Security Service Hunter cyber commissioned to hunt down an alleged terrorist, Kristen Newgard. Other hunters investigated her, and after each encounter, they disappeared. As an AI, Kristen would have been too young to have made the antimatter bomb that killed over two thousand people. It was in her coding that she could not kill humans. Everything points to Kristen, so Emin was built with her in mind. She was his target. Extract the information, then neutralize her. When his mission is complete, he will then die.

Cyber politics and human enhancements are woven within Core Melt, making this an intriguing science fiction read. FX Holden wrote with a purpose, and I felt compelled to sympathize with cyber beings. They died while memories, feelings, and experiences are downloaded to a supercomputer. The pace quickens as Emin earns the trust of Kristen as they travel where cybers should not. The author captures the shock and sinister suspicion as the story alternates between the couple traveling to meet up with her "Uncle" Dmitry and his past. I found this was a riveting storyline filled with twists and turns. The characters were not always loyal to their creator and what they were created to do, which makes this exceptionally fascinating. At one point, I grieved over the ending, but it only magnifies the thrill and excitement for the next book in this series. I highly recommend this book to cyberpunk fans.

Astrid Iustulin

It is month 1, day 7, 3178. We are in Orkutsk, and on this day, a bomb kills more than 2000 people. Who made the bomb? Three Hunters have already tried to discover the identity of the bomb maker, but none of them completed the mission - they all died trying. The fourth Hunter assigned to investigate is called Emin Wei, and he sets out to find someone called Kristen Newgard, with whom his three predecessors had contact before they were killed. Coincidence or not? Wei's quest for Kristen is only the beginning of the adventure you will read in Core Melt by FX Holden - a riveting book in which both investigation and love find their place.

Core Melt is a book that I enjoyed very much and that I believe will fascinate all readers who grab it. FX Holden tells this story in a superlative way, capturing readers' attention and immersing them in the intricate world of Wei and Kristen and of other great characters. I read about all of them with bated breath (I have to mention Sister Anya because her story intrigued me a lot). Readers can rest assured that there will be many twists and turns, and as the story becomes more and more complex, the desire to find out how it will end becomes stronger. This is the clearest sign that Core Melt is a compelling book and that the author has excellent writing skills. I advise you not to wait any longer and immediately start reading this wonderful novel. I am sure it will not disappoint you.

Nicholus Schroeder

Core Melt: Book 3 of the Coruscant Series is a science fiction book by F. X. Holden. In a convention center on Orkutsk, terrorists planted an antimatter bomb that claimed 2,305 lives. The bomb maker is yet to be apprehended years later and the investigation team has lost three Hunters in pursuit of the perpetrator. To get results, a new model of the Hunter class is commissioned, one that can't be told apart from a regular human being, and his name is Emin Wei. Emin's sole mission is to track down the suspect to pass a judgment and an execution if necessary.

Core Melt was a book I enjoyed reading wholeheartedly. The worldbuilding for starters was just phenomenal! No detail was overlooked or spared as F. X. Holden has created something that I would call a perfect fictional world. The effort put into the worldbuilding was astounding. The eco-systems, cultures, political and ethical issues were all handled with finesse along with realism in mind. If a film director wanted to adapt this book into a movie, they wouldn’t even need to spruce up the world as it’s already well thought out and detailed. The plot was a delight as well and had me ensnared within a few pages.

There were also some unexpected surprises occasionally along with a lot of suspense that helped keep me engaged. The protagonist Emin Wei was a likable character and his scenes had all the cool elements a fan would expect from a humanoid detective. His subtle change from an “I will kill you in your sleep" machine to a kind human was a nice touch and added more depth to an already incredible character. Likewise, the other characters were well-written. Overall, this was a really nice book. Readers of books that feature humanoids will enjoy this one.

Saifunnissa Hassam

F. X. Holden's Core Melt (The Coruscant Series Book 3) is a science fiction/suspense thriller set in the far future on the habitable moons of the planet Coruscant. Both humans and AIs, or cybers, live on the moons. The cybers have both human DNA and cybernetic code. The cybers appear as humans outwardly, but their brains and actions function at incredibly fast cybernetic speeds. The Core is a sentient AI computer platform linking computers and cybers on the moons and is designed to improve the Coruscant system habitats. Emin Wei is a Hunter class cyber. He has been created for one specific purpose: to track down a suspected terrorist, Kristen Newgard. If his investigation confirms her suspected terrorist activities, Emin Wei is to terminate her. Most of the story takes place on the moon New Syberia. Intrigue, suspense, and tension fill the story right from the start. This is a tale of espionage, betrayal, love, twists, and turns, right to the very end.

I particularly liked F. X. Holden's Core Melt for its incredible characters and fantastic worldbuilding. I liked how the characters of Emin Wei and Kristen Newgard emerge through action and their thinking. Emin Wei's character was well developed as the hunter who must plan and remain open to the unexpected. Of these two principal characters, I felt that Kristen is the more compelling one, someone who reveals very little of herself but still conveys a sense of hidden depths. The other characters provided great depth, color, and detail to the story, both in terms of their interactions with Emin and Kristen, and also bringing to life the Coruscant system. I found the story thought-provoking as ethical questions arise about the rights and freedoms of cybers compared to humans. I appreciated and liked the inclusion of a description of the Coruscant world, its moons, the Core AI platform, and the cyber AIs that helped me as I read. I found the ending to be terrific, the suspense unbearable! A well-crafted and very enjoyable sci-fi story with strong characters and themes!