It’s been a while, a long while, since I’ve got my teeth into any sci-fi, so its high time that I read and reviewed something to redress the balance. Providence has shined on me once again as this adventurous romp comes highly recommended from that region of Richland, in the country we all know as Americania.
The story focuses primarily on Sira, a lady who has had all her memories blocked. She must find out what the heck is going on, why people want her captured or dead, why she can’t remember anything, who she is and just what the heck is going on.
The approach to the book is interesting, Sira’s view is always first person and chapters split off to follow other aspects of the story, third person with the rest of the characters. It’s a nice mix that varies the pace and the style.
Sira’s opening POV has me in mind of one of those internet games where you wake up in a room with no memory and have to get out, rather like The Raw Shark Texts, but that is another story, literally. It’s all rather neat.
Being wholly ignorant, I quickly realised that this was going to be a more lively and complex plot than I had at first imagined, the signposted and obviously predictable plot lines are not such and evolve into something much more wide-ranging than the clues first given had led me to believe, on reflection though there are subtle portents of what may occur. Not that this makes anything foreseeable but it may be apt to send your mind spinning to all the clichés that it neatly avoids later on.
The plot feels like it has been lain down long ago, and the political machinations and the feeling that everyone is a pawn in some devious and overarching conspiracy, helps make the story feel like it’s all inevitable no matter what choices our hearty protagonists make it is somehow inevitable. Part of the joy of the book is that you do conversely feel the characters can make their own choices though and that they too, are players in this game.
I hate to sully any review with likening a book to Fifty Shades…however if the lead characters of that, had had half the tension that is flying around the two leads here, then E. L. James would have had something with at least one redeemable feature but there is no accounting for taste. I found the very subtle eroticism rounded out the characters without making them descend into some embarrassingly trite plot device.
Usually I find characters to be fairly flimsy in sci-fi books and I don’t think I have necessarily changed my opinion with this book,here the characters are pleasing without being anywhere near as indepth as the reader would wish them to be. I would argue that the universe and plot are the most important for this type of story, character comes after but has to be able to retain that likeability and the hint that there is much more to come from them than is already known .
It is a bit slow at the beginning but give it a few chapters and things gradually start to snowball into a swiftly moving plot and a well realised universe peopled by diverse aliens and varied locations. For someone who has not particularly explored the world of science fiction to a decent depth, I found it not to overly done with all the future stuff, it was enough to give me a sense of the universe as imagined but didn’t become to ridiculous in its imaginings.This is the first in a trilogy and it will be interesting where the next book will go, there are loose ends of course and I am sure I will follow this journey to the end, but all in good time.