cover of The 13th Continuum by Jennifer Brody. Abstract blueprints on a blue and orange background

About the Book

Title: The 13th Continuum (The Continuum Trilogy #1)
Published: 2016

Cover Story: Huh?
Drinking Buddy:
Victory Gin
Testosterone/Estrogen Level:
Talky Talk:
Good Story, Average Writing
Bonus Factor:
Our Duty to the Party
Bromance Status:
Let’s Donate to the Pool

Cover Story: Huh?

So what am I looking at? Blueprints meets the Deathly Hallows. I don’t get it, and my eyes are not drawn.

The Deal:

One thousand years ago, the surface of the earth was rendered uninhabitable by a horrible disaster. Only thirteen pockets of humanity survived, burrowing into the earth, hiding in the depths of the sea, attempting to colonize Mars, or simply waiting out the disaster in space. Now, a millennium hence, mankind is returning to their home.

In the undersea 13th Continuum, religious zealots rule the populace. Suggesting returning to the surface, or even mentioning the S word, is punishable by drowning. All records from before the Doom have been destroyed, as have all submarines and surface relics. Amidst this background, a girl named Myra looks forward to beginning her apprenticeship as an engineer, despite having once been branded as a heathen. But when she begins to suspect her father holds a secret that threatens to doom the entire colony, she starts to question everything she’s been taught.

Meanwhile, in a spaceship far from earth, the Second Continuum searches for a new planet to call home. Every member of the colony is a soldier. Military skill is valued above all. Emotions are a sign of weakness, something to be suppressed. Young Captain Aero Wright prepares to lead an expedition to the ruined planet Earth, hoping to make contact with the survivors of the original Continuum. But revolution is brewing, and Aero may find himself fighting for survival before he even leaves the ship.

Drinking Buddy: Victory Gin

Two pints of beer cheersing

I liked Myra and Aero, especially when they realized that, at the age of sixteen, they were the ones who were going to have to save their worlds. Unfortunately, they were (like most of the people in this book), stock characters. A smart, disreputable girl and the by-the-book guy plagued by feelings. There was also the evil priest, the power hungry officer, the spooky technician, and the streetwise black market woman. Hey, things aren’t easy in District Twelve…er, the Continuums.

Testosterone/Estrogen Level: Argh!

This was a fairly intense book, with Myra doing a lot of cloak and dagger, behind the scenes spy stuff and Aero and his soldiers kicking everyone’s ass up and down the spaceship. As for the other side of the testosterone coin, see Bonus Factors.

Talky Talk: Good Story, Average Writing

I really loved the plot to this one, I always wondered what happened after the end of Dr. Strangelove. On the other hand, the writing left a bit to be desired. There was a lot of repetitive text. The villains also had a bad habit of monologing, pausing to taunt their victims and pose for the camera. I can’t count the number of times someone threatened to arrest Myra or kill Aero, and then put it off for a few hours. For people with death sentences hanging over their heads, they sure have a lot of free time to do research and chat.

Also, I find it hard to believe that all-powerful relics would show up clearly labeled in a junk shop or that one determined guy could build a submarine in his spare time, in secret.

Bonus Factor: Our Duty to the Party

Cover of Orwell's 1984, featuring a large eye

Now obviously, with such enclosed communities, people cannot be allowed to reproduce at will. The undersea Continuum has enforced strict family planning. Myra is kind of a lone wolf, especially since her boyfriend, Kaleb, dumped her when she was accused of heresy. But does he deserve a second chance?

Meanwhile, in the space Continuum, reproduction is purely a biological process. Aero will be assigned a spouse, someone he’s never met. They will have a healthy baby who will be a great soldier. It’s better this way. It’s not like Aero wants some weird kind of romance or something. Especially not with Lt. Wren, whose camaraderie might just border on insubordination…or something else.

Bromance Status: Let’s Donate to the Pool

While I probably won’t read you again, I look forward to parts two and three. I’d happily add you to my library, preserved for the future of humanity.

FTC full disclosure: I received neither money nor a spot in the Continuum for writing this review.


Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.