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Be prepared for some serious apocalypse. Earth left with a dangerously-low quota of humans who are dwindling fast. This book keeps you guessing, fast paced, with many plot twists.
A good hook, which gets off to rocky start as I got a little restless not knowing where the story was heading, but it drew me in, ultimately, with plenty of action and interesting characters.
This story is a meld of science and fiction with adventure to boot; features space travel, planetary shields, time-traveling, terraforming, friendly polar bears...there is enough here to keep SF and space opera fans turning the pages. Also a set of solid main characters, a main character who gets under your skin and is insanely likeable, and a villain who seems overly villainly, if you like them like that. Like how depraved can a guy get? But the author weaves in his motive and it all makes sense in the end.
There’s some romance and an alluring female protagonist which adds spice, but some head scratches and eye rolls from me as to how a lone man could terraform a planet single-handedly or create an empire as far out as Jupiter, or a main character who wishes for a miracle and it happens...like a silver-domed shield suddenly popping into existence over a hub.
That aside, Paolinelli is a fine writer of weaving narrative and dialogue, and kept me engaged. I liked the philosophical overtones he sprinkled throughout, and the compelling world-building. I wish some of the science was explained more, like the slingshot effect that takes a ship up to 8 million miles per hour, and how planets could be terraformed, and how thoughts could be controlled by an electronic device.
I recommend this book for readers of SF who like their stories fast paced, with a likeable hero who proves himself, and is not afraid to risk his life for the benefit of others.
Let me caveat this review by saying that I am not a huge reader of science fiction but am a reader with an open mind. Thankfully, I can say that being open minded has led me to a wonderful discovery in Richard Paolinelli’s book, Maelstrom. It is worth reading and I’m happy I did. The strong part of any science fiction story in my opinion is the ability to communicate a future world/thought/feeling in such a way that is accessible to the reader. What is immediately compelling about this book is the author’s ability to create a three dimensional character who sucks you into the drama as it unfolds. The events around him are not throwaway descriptions but integral to the overall integrity of the story. I was happily surprised by this. Even as a sci-fi novice, I found myself not only entertained by the story, but eager to read more. The book is a quick read, which is a testament to the author who demonstrates a skillful hand at taking the reader on an adventure he or she won’t soon forget.
Maelstrom, by Richard Paolinelli is a wonderful science fiction story. The ending was a total surprise. I knew who Elizabeth was from the start but Andras was a shock. It is a story that I hated to stop for to get some sleep at night and I got up early to keep reading. It is worth reading.
I really enjoyed this sci-fi book, and from the opening chapters, I was sucked into the narrative. Paolinelli skilfully blends scientific accuracy with compelling characters that pop off the page. As a science writer, I found the premise engaging and plausible, the characters to be psychologically profound and the suspense gripping. The story is clear, and the prose lucid and is a short and engaging read for lovers of high concept narrative. Recommended.