I'm happy to report that Kirkus Reviews has given Everfree a rave:
Sagan's mind-blowing post-apocalyptic trilogy comes to a satisfying, terrifying conclusion. Having successfully weathered the trials and tribulations of Idlewild (2003) and Edenborn (2004), the PH (post-human) trailblazers genetically designed in the last dark days of the humanity-annihilating Black Ep plague are finally putting their species back on track. In the ostensibly comforting confines of Cambridge, Mass., the PHs, raised in virtual-reality environments and boasting plague-resistant immune systems, carefully begin to thaw out those who went into cryofreeze during the plague in hopes that science would stop Black Ep. It did, and all should now be set for humanity to slowly rebuild itself from the ground up, avoiding the mistakes of the past. Easier said than done, since those who had the money to be frozen were the wealthy tip of the American socioeconomic iceberg, meaning that humanity is now mostly composed of former CEOs, tycoons and politicians flush with ideas of carnivorous capitalism and jostling for control in the newly virgin world. Sagan relates these developments via the cynical narration of Gabriel Hall, ill-tempered protagonist of Idlewild, who is now in charge of security in Cambridge and has zero faith in the ability of these chest-beating alpha males to reconstruct society. Unsurprisingly, the humans foment trouble with the peaceful, globally minded PHs, cloaking their naked power grabs in the faux-populist, laissez-faire lingo of dog-eat-dog 21st-century capitalism. Sagan loses some steam halfway through, splitting the middle of the novel into a hodgepodge of narration provided by other PHs, but he brings the story to its end with a refreshing grace and palpable sadness rare in fantasy of this kind. A powerful plea for sensible human cooperation delivered via a knockout story.
Reviews like this are deeply gratifying. When reviewers use words like, "mind-blowing," "powerful" and "knockout," I find myself with an extra spring in my step and a giddy grin on my face. Needless to say, this puts a real crimp in my "walk around all angst-ridden and scowly" agenda.
Publisher's Weekly found it just a bit overwhelming:
Though Sagan's latest future thriller is supposed to complete a trilogy that began with Idlewild and Edenborn, it's stuffed with ideas that veer off into fascinating but underdeveloped tangents. The genetically altered young Post Humans of Sagan's first books have gone through their bloody personal crises and now have settled down to revive the people who had themselves frozen to escape a deadly universal plague. Since the ones who could afford cryogenic sleep were the most "successful," they tend to be insanely competitive, unwilling to be guided by their saviors. And so factions begin plotting to take control of the new utopia and to revive private armies for rival communities. The book ricochets through its complicated plot in short, snappy chapters, most of them dictated by Hal, the Post Humans' chief of security. Hal's an agreeably cynical observer, and his lively sections summarize the action well. However, so much is going on and flying off in so many directions, that the book finally reads like a tantalizing summary of a really interesting novel.
Many positives here ("tantalizing," "fascinating," "stuffed with ideas"), with too much too fast as the complaint. As negatives go, that's not a bad one to have. I wonder if it's simply a function of my writing style? Jampacked and unputdownable are always among my goals, and I imagine there are readers who prefer books that take a little more time to smell the roses. Ah, if only my roses weren't bursting with a swarm of belligerent venom-stingered bees...
Mankind is a predatory species bent on self destruction. Regardless of cost we pursue our own agenda without thought for those around us. Can mankind survive itself?
That's an excellent question.