Critical Habitat

Fiction - Science Fiction
270 Pages
Reviewed on 05/31/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

TERRENCE KING is the author of the award-winning urban fantasy novel, The Silent Partner: the Eric Hoffer Award for Best Commercial Fiction, the Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award for superior work by a debut author, and Focus on Women Magazine’s La Femme De Prose Books Quill Award. He lives in San Diego, CA with his family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Critical Habitat is a work in the science fiction, dystopia, action, and adventure subgenres. It is suitable for young and adult readers and contains minimal fantasy violence. Penned by Terrence King, this gripping and highly conceptual dystopian story transports us to a dying planet where survival is everything. Our central characters are X and Y, born in times of rebellion against an austere government controlling the world’s food supply. The rebels have survived thanks to a precious nest of honeybees, the last in the known world, but now the vicious General Speer is hell-bent on a quest to find and conquer the rebels and their precious supplies for the Authority once and for all.

Terrence King delivers a superb dystopian drama that feels incredibly tense throughout. There’s something so brilliant about the pace of the narrative and the atmospheric depiction of the dying world, where danger and annihilation seem to lurk around every corner. The worldbuilding is concrete and realistic, making the concept all the more believable and the plight of X, Y, and the rebels all the more frightening. With thriller as its base emotion, the story builds up layers of science fiction, horror, dystopia, and action to become a fully rounded dark drama that easily surpasses the more simplistic us-against-them stories, developing into a serious, passionate drama about human survival and the way greed and power can corrupt. I would not hesitate to recommend Critical Habitat to fans of intense dystopian stories packed with accomplished writing.

Asher Syed

The dystopian science fiction novel Critical Habitat by Terrence King takes place in a post-war world under the rule and subjugation by the Authority. The populace is desperately malnourished and reliant on the Authority's poisoned food. Hidden in the shadows is a rebellion, rebels who are keepers of the last known living bee colony. Two rebels, X and Y, have a game-changing download that can implode the oppressive power structure. The fate of the Third Continent rests on the success of X and Y's mission and keeping the download from falling into the hands of an ambitious general. In the midst of a dire predicament, Mel Custode faces a pivotal decision: whether to prioritize self-preservation or align herself with the crusade for equity spearheaded by the rebellion, which will indelibly shape the fate of humankind.

Terrence King has a deliciously evocative writing style, conjuring up a vivid and haunting post-apocalyptic world that feels all too real in Critical Habitat. Mel is the most compelling character and came across as deeply authentic. Obviously, I wanted the liberation of the people from the crushing grip of the Authority, but first I just wanted Mel to get that get-out-of-jail-not-free card, whatever commitment is required. I guess that is the parent in me: unchain Mel and figure the rest out afterward. King is adept in creating the connection required for us to care about characters, as well as the unsteady but persevering courage of young protagonists and the horrors of those who are actively working to shut them down. There are some eerie similarities between the world we live in now and the one King presented in power and control; how at a micro level the motivations and struggles of the individual will challenge the role they will play in the continuation of or the downfall of their own society at a macro level. Overall, Critical Habitat is a must-read for fans of dystopian fiction and a remarkable addition to the genre.

Rabia Tanveer

Critical Habitat by Terrence King is a dystopian science fiction novel set in a time when everything was lost, and Earth was taking its last breath. The food supply was dwindling, and what was available to the masses was slowly poisoning them. A rebellion arose from the ashes of the remains of the Third Continent, where X and Y emerged as the new heroes. They were the product of the rebellion and rebels by default. When they were given a dangerous task, both teenagers took it as their responsibility to bring down the authorities and their reign of terror. However, they were not expecting to be caught. But things changed when they met the courageous Mel, who fought for her cause. What will happen when their paths and missions collide? Was that a disaster waiting to happen or a start of a bright future?

Critical Habitat is filled with drama, action, suspense, and strong character development—everything I look for in an entertaining novel. The world-building was phenomenal. I felt like I was part of the story and going through the events with X, Y, and Mel. Each character had a story to tell, and author Terrence King ensured his readers experienced each one. I loved X’s spunk and Y’s vulnerability. He wanted to do more, be better, and save the bees that were so vital for their survival. Mel, on the other hand, was perfect in every regard. A reader’s dream character, Mel, had my attention from the moment she was introduced until the last mention of her name. I loved General Sangeeosay, even though she acted questionably at times. The narrative was perfect, and the pace never slowed. I was always sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next. The ending was fantastic and left room for more to come. I hope Terrence King releases a sequel very soon.

Pikasho Deka

Critical Habitat is a dystopian sci-fi thriller by Terrence King. After the Great Uprising of the Millennium, a tyrannical regime called the Authority sprang up to rule the Third Continent, taking control of all its food sources. Hope rests on the rebels, who still possess some remaining food stocks along with the last known nest of honeybees. Two teenage rebels, X and Y, have in their grasp a highly-coveted computer chip with the power to bring down the Authority. Hunting for the download is the rogue General Speer, who won't hesitate to destroy entire rebel camps to get what he wants. But X and Y find some unlikely allies who could swing the war in the favor of the rebellion. Chief among them is a former Alvarium prisoner, a wise sage, and a mercenary. Do the rebels have a chance?

Shocking betrayals, political intrigue, and captivating battle sequences make Critical Habitat an absolute page-turner of a novel. Terrence King builds a sprawling yet believable dystopian world where survival is never guaranteed, with enemies and unknown threats lurking in every nook and cranny. King uses a multiple-points-of-view narrative style, showcasing every facet of the sides involved in the story, which makes you understand the stakes. The unique dynamics and relationships between members of X and Y's little group are the primary focus as most of the plot threads revolve around those characters. I was genuinely impressed with King's brisk pace in what seemed to be quite an intricate plot. This is a fantastic book for anyone who loves stories set in immersive dystopian worlds.