Never doubt the influence of a well-written review. Two of my favorite book review blogs- Caffeinated Reader and Christy Loves Books reviewed this book and I immediately decided that I had to read it.
A sci-fi thriller set in the future and taking place on a remote and hostile planet during a war between space empires. From the moment, the anonymous main character opens his eyes to a desperate and confusing situation to the last word on the last page, I didn’t want to put it down. I am happy to see that this is the first book in an ongoing series and after experiencing the writing, plot, setting, and character development I will eagerly await the next installment.
As I said, the story opens with the character known only as the Admiral being roused from deep sleep in his sleeper by a frantic trio of new military recruits who have also only just awakened to a disturbing mystery. They are on board a ship of enemy design that they aren’t even supposed to be on, the crew of the ship is missing and the clues to what happened are confusing and disturbing at best. The admiral sees their suspicion of him, but also their need for his skills in helping them survive until rescue. But then their situation grows even more critical and desperate as they learn the truth about the planet turning the story into a harrowing survival adventure even while they try to find the truth of their mysterious marooning.
The story was a superbly written piece. The author grabs the reader from the first sentence and begins trickling the truth in small doses that leave the reader craving each little clue. The description of the world and the setting are not stingy, but happily not handled in an info dump, but explained and revealed organically as the story progresses. I enjoyed the blend of military thriller, sci-fi adventure, fiction, and just a wee hint of romantic interest.
It’s an interesting situation as it has only one narrator, the Admiral- who never actually gets named. This is on purpose. He tells the story, but the reader is meant to always wonder what he is revealing, but equally, what he is concealing. The other three, military recruits just out of the Evagardian Empire’s academy were supposed to be taken the Empress’ flag ship to start their careers. One is a science medical officer, one is a tech officer, and one is for diplomatic work. All are capable just untried. The lieutenant is openly suspicious and hostile, but she follows orders, the tech guy is content to take orders and is brilliant at what he does, and the ensign is something of an enigma in herself as she is the only one to trust him explicitly and looks at him with knowing eyes that makes him wonder what exactly she knows. All work together using their strengths to investigate and survive. Connections forge so that they felt like a well-oiled team in the end.
And that leads me to the plotting and pacing. This one had a nice steady pace that had atmosphere and foreshadowing so that transitions into action sequences could come on gradually or startle the reader into heartpounding excitement. I loved all the twists and turns this book took. Just when I thought it couldn’t get more intense or nailbiting; it would.
The focus was most definitely on the thriller and survival aspects, but there was a nice little slow build of something between the Admiral and the Ensign when they connected between deadly situations. Their shared kiss was brief and things were left open. I’m romantic enough to see some more of them together in the next installment. They were a pretty good team (within the whole of the team). I liked the way she is a strong, cool, skilled military officer and he respects that about her. I liked that he encouraged her to follow her dreams and be herself, but she was also good for him in that she let him find some peace and took as much pressure as she could off of him. Good pair, there.
In the end, I was smugly pleased with myself that I had figured out the truth about the admiral even if the surrounding situation and some of the reasons for the predicament had escaped me.
Those who enjoy sci-fi thrillers will definitely want to give this one a go.
Mary @ Dark Thoughts my music choice came from exploring some of those death rock bands you had in your video a while back. Haha! Still creeps me out. But this one was tamer for a wussie like me. 😉
Romance Roundabout #203 Sci-Fi
New To Me #83 author/series
Books N Tunes #28 Nox Aurea’s Distant Stars
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