book review, horror, science fiction, thriller

Earthcore by Scott Sigler

Miners find more than they bargained for when they go deeper under the earth than man has ever ventured before, in this science fiction action thriller by Scott Sigler.

Modern day prospector, Sonny McGuinness, thinks his ship has come in when he makes a major find in the Wah Wah mountains of Utah. When Connell Kirkland hears about the find, he’ll move heaven and earth to ensure his company, Earthcore, is the one to mine the site.

However, some things are better left buried. As Earthcore comes up against an unexpected setback, can their technology save them from what lies beneath?

If you’ve read any of Sigler’s other works, you have a good idea of what the characters have in store for them.

The author’s first novel, Infected, is one of my favorite books, and I often think about scenes that make me squirm to this day. The follow up, Contagious, is a fine novel in itself, but didn’t carry the story in the direction I had hoped it would. When I saw Earthcore on Bookbub, I decided to take another chance on the author.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a sprawling action thriller that has more characters than I have digits. I was engaged for most of the slow build of the first half, willing to go along with the meticulously researched mining information and introduction of yet another important character as I waited for the fun to begin. However, I was disappointed in the second half when the payoff wasn’t as good as I expected, and the unlikeable characters started to outstay their welcome by doing increasingly stupid things for supposedly highly intelligent people.

I will give Scott major props for throwing conflict at his characters though. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse for them, it did, in an insanely ramping series of bigger and bigger obstacles. It’s something I have to remember in my own writing.

This book has made me realize what it was about Infected that I loved so much, and why Contagious and Earthcore have left me more lukewarm.

Sigler has fantastic plots, and in Infected he fully embraced the science fiction horror glory that I love to read. However, in his subsequent books he pulls back, turning the focus on to the action and human aspects of the plot, which makes the books more like generic thrillers. It’s hard not to blame the big publishers that snapped him up after his huge success in blogging his first book, but perhaps Sigler always wanted to write blockbuster thrillers with a touch of science fiction.

At its heart, Earthcore has a fascinating science fiction plot, but I deduced it all from foreshadowing before it even got going. I wish he had spent more time on those elements, developing them in a different direction, but Earthcore is not that sort of book. Despite its intriguing science fiction premise, it’s really a book about greedy miners trying to get out of a cave.

I award Earthcore

Earthcore is available for $5.25 ebook and $9.99 print book on Amazon.

9 thoughts on “Earthcore by Scott Sigler”

  1. This sounds disappointing especially after reading Infected which I definitely want to read now! It’s one of the advantages of self-publishing – no editorial interference (not saying there was in this case but it makes me think of other successful authors who do the same).

    Liked by 1 person

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