Top positive review
Savage Stars: 7 Novels of Space Opera
Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2020
This book was free when I downloaded it. I wanted to try new authors to see if I liked them. How do you rate a sampler book? Do you average the stars for all the books in it? Or do you rate how good it was at giving you samples?
The variety of books was good. I think most people unfamiliar with the authors would likely find at least one of the books to their liking. I gave it 5 stars for that reason.
Starship Waking by C. Gockel
This was the first book that I read by this author. It is the fourth book in a series called ‘Archangel Project’ and can be read as a standalone. Fairly early on, I really did not care what happened to the characters. I continued to read the book, so I could do an honest review and so that I could go on to try the other books in the collection. There was not a lot of humor, but what there was seemed forced. The Archangel Project was not explained, at least not early on. I did eventually care a little about the characters and read through to the end. There were some philosophical or ethical points raised and I found them to be interesting.
I do not intend to continue with the series. It did not pique my interest enough. If reviewing this by itself, I would probably give it 3 stars.
Exin Ex Machina by G. S. Jennsen
This was the first book that I read by this author. It is part of a series, ‘Amaranthe’, and is also the first book of a trilogy within the series.
I liked that the main character, Nika, was a strong woman. She was a leader of a rebellion and understood how people needed to be motivated. She was also good at planning missions and allowing others with skillsets to use them.
You would have to decide whether you would call the characters in the story people. They were described as a mix of organic and synthetic components. Presumably, they began as AI that developed personalities. If a part was broken, it simply was replaced. The characters felt emotion and had relationships. Though not stated explicitly, I do not think they could have children. One character reveals he is over 3,000 years old.
Their planet faces a threat and through the story you slowly learn that the leaders of the planet, the Guides, are not telling the people about it. They react in a way that others might disagree with if they knew. The beginnings of a rebellion were sown.
I do not intend to continue with the series or the trilogy within it. If reviewing the book by itself, I would give it 4 stars. The writing was strong, but I did not care what happened to the characters or the world.
Crystalline Space by A. K. DuBoff
This was the first book of a three book series. It is also the first book I have read by the author. I decided to take a detour and finish the trilogy which I did. The three books in the series are consistent.
The story is on the unbelievable side, but I ignored that. The premise is that crystals will allow you to ‘reset’ your life or that of others for a period of time. It depends on the range of the crystals.
A group of unprepared characters are asked to save the universe. I think this is meant to be a YA book because 3 of the 4 main characters are young. They have miraculously good instincts and make it through their first trial, which is to save a reset point in the archive.
The story was told from Elle’s point of view and she is a strong character and the eventual leader of the team. She and the others become very strong friends and are loyal to each other.
The book raises a few philosophical questions which I enjoyed.
Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker
This was the first book I read by this author and she has become an auto buy for me. This is the first book of a series that is very entertaining. I liked and enjoyed reading about the main characters very much. Some authors write series where each book is a standalone book. This author writes interconnected stories where there is resolution in each book but the overall story spreads over the series. I supposed you could read it as a standalone but I far prefer to read her books in order through the series. I often read them all back to back when I can. All of her books have a lot of action and laugh out loud humor.
I plan to continue reading this author’s work. 5 stars.
The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn
I did not like this book at all. I did not care about the characters, the story, or anything else about it. It is advertised as a philosophical story, but it does not have that much depth in my opinion. I did not like the depiction of Christianity in the story. It is the first book of a series and I do not plan to continue reading this book or any other by this author.
Bypass Gemini by Joseph Lallo
This book is well written and a fairly fast paced adventure. The main characters, Lex, Karter, and Ma, are each interesting. It can be read as a standalone, but is the first book of a series.
Most of the story is based on Lex, an adventuresome pilot with questionable ethics. He finds out about a plot that would result in the death of hundreds of thousands of people. He decides that he has to do something to stop what might happen and it is at this point that I started liking him more and became more invested in the story.
I do not think that I will continue on with the series; the story came to a conclusion that allows a stopping point. However, I can see why people would continue on and why many other readers consider this a 5 star book.
I did not notice any major plot holes.
The Concordia Deception by J. J. Green
This book is described as the first book in a series by this author, but there is a prequel story/novella called ‘Night of Flames’ which you can get if you sign up for her newsletter. When I began reading the book, I thought I had misunderstood and perhaps this was not the first book in the series because there were several references to the First Night on the planet. There was a lot of detail and it felt like it was assumed that you would have read about the event already. You do not have to go back and read the prequel first, but I am just mentioning that it threw me off a little. The story can stand on its own. References to the First Night are not a big part of the story.
I read this in 2020, so it was a little hard not to think about racial issues when reading this book. A spaceship arrives at a planet and some of the people in the story were put into cryogenic containers for the trip. They are referred to as the ‘Woken’ (‘woke’ is currently a weighted word in the public dialogue). Others in the story, were descendants of the people who worked on the spaceship during the flight which was almost 200 years. They are called the ‘Gens’ (Generation Descendants). There is also a group that arrives separately that call themselves the ‘Guardians’. Though skin color is not described much, you still got the gist that several of the Woken felt superior to the Gens.
I thought the reason the Guardians were sent to the new planet was unlikely. I also thought the author should have spent a little more time on the character development of the two main characters, Ethan and Cariad. Some of the other characters in the book seemed one dimensional, but they were lesser characters so you can attribute the lack of character development to that. Also, Ethan and Cariad were described as friends but I thought that should be explained better. One was Woken, the other Gen. They did not work together. How did their friendship come to be?
At this time, I do not plan to continue the series. I think others would come to a different conclusion but it was not up my alley. 4 Stars