Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. I’m currently outlining Maternal Vengeance, the fourth novel in my Sleeping Legion Series. I wanted to take a second away from that to share my review of the last novel I read, and recommend it! Tomorrow I will have a new World Building Wednesday, and I’ll share some super exciting news with you! Nothing else has changed on my end, so I won’t bore your brain buckets with gobbledygook. Instead, let’s jump right into the nuts and bolts of the story.
Author: Michael Siemsen
Price: $3.99 USD
Obtained: Bought on Amazon on the recommendation of a friend
Rating: 4/5 Grenades
This novel tells the story of several scientists, who travel light years on a one-way trip to an Earth-like planet. Their mission was to study the two species of intelligent lifeforms on the surface from their orbital station. One of the species was an isolated people embarking on civilization and building their world’s first city. The other species was a brutal race of massive predators, spreading across the dominant landmass. The scientists believe this species is destined to breed and eat their way to extinction within a few centuries. After almost a decade of observation, disaster struck the orbiting station and only two crewmembers eject successfully. Drifting down through a dark alien sky, the pair realizes their escape pod launched not toward the safety of the city, but to the other side of the planet. They ultimately touch down deep inside a land no human could possibly survive.
There were many secondary characters, but I’ll limit my review to the two main ones. The characters were exactly what I would expect from a group of scientists, but that meant they weren’t necessarily as likeable or personable. The author does get credit for their believability, but much of this is to be expected from this sub-genre of science fiction. Overall, the character development was one of the two reasons this was a 4 Grenade book for me, instead of a 5.
Minerva (Minnie): She was, hands down, the main point of view character and John was her supporting cast. She has been diagnosis with HSPD, some new psychotic condition that forces her to remain on medicine to maintain her sanity. Why would you send someone like this into space? I don’t know, because the author never told us. She was whiny, annoying and I didn’t really like her but I didn’t want her to die either. She was well rounded, not very likeable, and shouldn’t have been anywhere near a space exploration mission. She was believable, as a character, but I kept yelling “Why isn’t she back on Earth?”
John: This character was very thought out, although he came off as a bit too perfect for my tastes. The usual “Mr. Awesome,” who sails through life until Thing X in the story requires divergence from his life’s trajectory. He was strong at times many would have broken down, and I didn’t feel like we had enough back story to justify his actions. Overall, it wouldn’t have bothered me if he got struck by lightning and tied.
The story was disjointed at times, though I can’t tell you how without ruining the plot. It was high octane on the drama, an even mix of internal angst and outside forces. Though, if strange aliens wanted to eat you, you’d be pretty angst ridden as well so I can’t fault that artistic choice. While I did think it was disjointed, the novel was easy enough to follow so that might just be a personal preference on my part. And for all its faults, which might not be flaws for some people, the story kept me riveted. I couldn’t put it down, even as I wanted to throw Minnie off a cliff! I read this in just under two days, which is pretty quick for me. Again, other than the character development, this was a solid plot that was well written.
This was another area where the author excelled! The world was vivid, I could imagine all of it and I wanted to see it on the big screen. The world was fleshed out, and totally believable for the circumstances. I could envision myself fighting the Hynka and dealing with the more advanced Threck. The strange colors and toxic environment would be fun to visit, like an alien safari! But obviously, only if we were well stocked and had food and water for the entire trip! I have nothing to say here, this was a solid 5 Grenades.
The author also got this right, the descriptions were spot on, and added to the desperate vibe the unwittingly unintentional colonists were enduring. I would love to go into more details, but I strive for spoiler free reviews. Overall, if this is ever made into a movie the script writers won’t have to worry about imagining things because Michael Siemsen gave them what they needed! Another 5 Grenades for this category!
In an effort to be fully transparent, I half listened and half read this novel. Whysper Sync I think it’s called? Some books are better suited for that, a lesson that I learned with this book. The audio narration WAS superbly done, since I brought it up. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if Julia Whelan wanted to narrate my books, I certainly wouldn’t say no! If you love audiobooks, give Julia and Podium Publishing a shot, they’ve seem to figure out the magic formula. While I gave the book 4 Grenades, the audio narration gets 5! One of my main issues, aside from the characters, was the use of alien languages. I get it, you want to show your world building and how things are different but if you invent translation programs in your world, we don’t need to bog us down with the language. Move on, tell the story! However, the story and the plot is something the author got right! If I rated the plot separately, he would have a solid 6 Grenades out of 5, it’s that good! If you like science fiction, with some of the science on full display, you need to buy this book! Heck, give the audio book a listen as well!
If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out! You won’t regret it! Well, unless it keeps you up all night and you’re late to work… and then your boss fires you, because you became a book addict and a rabid Michael Siemsen fan. Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT leave you starving. Then again, it COULD be one heck of a weight loss plan! Be warned, but enjoy the high!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.