Talk about an epic space opera! “Luska”, the first in the Spearfinger series, is a robust story, both in terms of the world building, the amount of developed characters the reader is introduced to, and the far reaching conflict that is introduced. The story starts with the caretakers of the galaxy, the Idrix, being wiped out leaving a power vacuum that disrupts the once peaceful balance the galaxy had been in. Now the different factions that feel neglected or who chaff under a perceived yoke of servitude, rise up and cause wide spread havoc which gives the perfect cover to an even worse threat to come in. An ancient god-like race that is firmly anti-alien threatens everyone and everything, and only a few people are in a position to do anything about it. You can tell just from that really brief synopsis that this is a complex world and story, which I am all for—most of the time.
So, “Starry Messenger” paints itself as a story about a benevolent alien coming to save the world from the forces that have infiltrated it, that have set it on the path to self-annihilation. The world may appear to be this idyllic place on the surface, a near utopian, but it’s all just a smoke screen to distract from the fact that it’s far from perfect. Only a race of aliens, that are chosen by a supreme being to protect its favorite little fledgling planet—Earth—know the truth. They are sent to discover why humans haven’t progressed the way they should and haven’t joined the other enlightened races in the stars to live in true peace. This is where our main character Quentin comes in. He’s the one sent to find out what’s up with these earthlings, and in the process, discovers the true evil, and then falls in love. It’s an interesting twist on the whole aliens coming to Earth idea, but I personally found the characters to be a bit flat and the story ends rather abruptly.
At first I thought “Hell Holes” was going to be a science fiction novella given the cast of main characters are all scientists or researches in the natural sciences. And, admittedly, the first half of the book feels like a true science fiction as the characters explain the science and their reasoning for what the mysterious holes popping up all over Alaska could be or what may be causing them. Then it takes a pretty hard left into pure horror/paranormal action. “Hell Holes” starts off as a quest for answers about these holes and what can be done to keep them from interrupting a lucrative Alaskan oil line, then ends on a high speed chase across the tundra as the scientists are hunted down by all manner of hell-spawn and demons. Was I disappointed by this turn? Not really. But I was taken by surprise.
The title of this book, coupled with the vaguely angelic looking, tribal painted model would have you think this book is some introspective art piece, I mean, the title is essentially a messenger’s speech/monologue, which, it actually is. The monologue I mean, not the art piece. Messenger, the 16 year old main character, is telling the story of what happened to him, his family’s tequila farm, and his entire family plus his love interest, to a therapist of sorts while he recovers in a hospital. The entire book, with very few exceptions, is told through this dialogue, recounting the recent past. Basically, on one rather normal day, Messenger’s farm is destroyed by three alien ships as they land and then begin hunting for something on the property. What follows is the main characters tale of how they ran, what they found, and how everything changed from that moment on.
Written by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, “All the Stars are Suns” is the author’s estimation of what the future will hold as humans evolve and shape the technology around them. At its core, this book is a look at the relationship between man and machine and how the different religious groups and governing bodies view that changing relationship. It offers a portrayal of how the world becomes ever smaller, blending cultures and languages into one big hodgepodge of dialects and races as well as the acceptance of different sexual orientations. As someone who is entrenched in the changing tech world the way Brown is, it’s no surprise that her story follows that of a true sentient artificial life form and the perils that come with being different from others, all while striving to colonize the stars when terrorist and idealist fanatics stand in the way. And, indeed, that’s what the synopsis has you believe as well, and while the book is about all these things, it’s not as… tense, shall we say, as the synopsis portrays. This is no hair raising race to the stars before the main character(s) secrets are found out, but more a slow, methodical chess game to show where all the players are as they converge on Sincerity/Quan.
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