My first read this year is a Sci-Fi debut that is a decent story, though plagues with smaller issues.
The book starts with a scene that shows a double-agent getting into a fight between revolutionaries and the law enforcement units. And just as fast, the first minor issue pops up: lack of clarity when it comes to scenes. The author uses only extra space (hitting enter twice instead of once after a paragraph) as “scene break” which doesn’t work at all. Not only that’s not exactly clear, but if the extra space is the end of a page, you’ll miss it. And it happened a couple of times to me. So, this simple formatting mistake means it was a bit harder for me to grasp at the crucial beginning.
This story delves with two major factions – the Talisaar, an alliance of human-colonized planets, and the Qai’dinium, an alliance of planets inhabited by the serpent-like Gorraan. But there are factions between those, whether neutral or allied with the faction of opposite origin for various reasons.
The Qai’dinium is led by a ruler that, due to personal past, sees the humans as a threat to be eradicated, and this book eventually shows the height of his plans. The human-side story (which is dominant) follows a small cast of characters, all of them with a troubled past. The fact that they’re heading into a war where they’re short-handed doesn’t make things easier. And when Kal’atora, one of the main characters, discovers mythical artifacts from the past that grant him superior powers as well as troubling visions, he needs to control his temper and face not only the enemy but himself as well. The fact the enemy would like to get their hands on those artifacts also means he becomes a part of a political play.
Earth comes into the play as well – first in two small scenes, but those are shown to be a part of the lizard-men’s goals as one of the seven main targets. This brings another of the things that I struggled a bit with: the people of Earth have no clue that there are other humans in space, despite the fact that those humans are their descendants. This wasn’t well explained either. However, one part of the finale takes place on Earth.
The second part, which deals with stopping the Qai’dinium’s leader and happens after the Earth-side part, then felt a bit rushed and lacked clarity for me as well. Which, I’d say, a bit hurt the overall feeling I had from the story.
Finally, I expected more backstory and exploration for those artifacts.
That said, it’s a decent story for a debut, if not for the formatting and clarity issues. And it could use more backstory for the artifacts if it’s standalone (the book doesn’t say directly whether a sequel is planned or not).