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So the only reason I bought this book is because it is the first book in a series of seven and it’s spine is bright orange. I saw half a row of bright orange books and decided to stop and check them out. Turns out it was a science fiction series written by Kevin J. Anderson.
Before this book I hadn’t read a Kevin J. Anderson book since I was a kid. It was the Jedi Academy Trilogy and the only thing I remember about it is that I thought it was awesome. I decided I could trust him enough to read the first book in the series. Plus, I was intrigued by the plot description on the back.
Turns out the book was a huge disappointment.
There are some cool things about this book but there are way more bad things.
First bad thing: way too many characters.
For a story like this a lot of characters is necessary. You have humans and these alien allies called Ildiran’s so naturally you will need some characters from each group. But then the humans get even broken down into even smaller groups. The members of the Hansa organization who are kind of bad guys but only to certain people, the Roamers who are a group of space MacGivers who can survive any environment, and the people of Theron who have very interesting skills involving trees. I’ll get more into these people later.
Each of these groups are represented by multiple characters and it seems like none of the characters are more important then the next. In other words, there is no protagonist.
It also makes it hard to even follow the characters, especially the alien ones. Some crazy thing will happen to the alien leader but then you won’t hear from him for a whole bunch of chapters so that by the time you do get back to him you’ve forgotten his whole story line and he becomes less important.
The structure of the book is way off. Too many characters spread out too far. Because there are so many characters it takes forever to get their individual reaction to these awesome event s that are happening. Example:
The book is about an alien race’s reaction to accidental genocide. The aliens are called the hydrogues and they live inside gas giants all over the galaxy. The Hansa accidently destroy a bunch of hydrogues in an experiment to turn a gas giant into a new sun (in the Hansa’s defense no one knew the hydrogues existed).
The accidental genocide happens about twenty or so pages into the book. The hydrogues don’t start attacking people for another 150 pages. That’s a 150 pages of being introduced to a dozen or so new characters.
It doesn’t work.
I’m fine with soft science fiction but there were some things here that even I couldn’t look over. There were people breathing the “air” while mining hydrogen. There is no breathable air in gas giants.
There are other things like this that take away the readers ability to surrender disbelief. I could go into more detail but I don’t want to ruin things for you incase you do decide to read this.
But as lame as some things are in this book there are somethings that I thought were cool.
The space MacGivers, the Roamers, were interesting. Just the way they were able to build something out of nothing was interesting. Too bad the Roamer characters that are featured are way boring and make predictable choices.
The human’s on the planet Theron are also cool. Certain groups on this planet have the unique ability to talk to The World Forrest. They can actually talk to trees. It makes their skin turn green. Not only can they talk to trees but as they spread the trees to other worlds they, who call themselves Green Priest, can talk to each other and relay messages. It a cool idea that adds some uniqueness to this universe.
The last cool thing is these weird insect like robots that are all over the place. There are thousands of them all over but no one knows where they came from. The alien race who built them is long gone. As early humans started exploring the universe they found these robots on random planets. They are mysterious and some people don’t trust them. Their story is interesting and to be honest it’s the only reason I started reading the next book.
Extreme caution when reading this book. It’s not as good as you think but there are good lessons here for you to learn from if you are looking to write your own science fiction book someday.