Space Exploration/Science Fiction
An enormously complex and wide-ranging story with a cast of characters from all over the galaxy, this is essentially a tale of survival against the odds.
Male criminals, of human and different alien species, are incarcerated on a hostile uninhabited planet as punishment for their crimes. They are treated as slaves to mine minerals from deep underground. Commercial greed persuades the intergalactic authorities to treat these prisoners as disposable labour and their guards can do as they wish with them. When the inevitable rebellion comes, it’s no surprise the convicts are ferocious in the treatment of their warders.
The story continues and is, in itself, engaging if somewhat male-centric and brutal. But the writing style often intrudes, the author’s voice entering for lengthy sections, and including unnecessary repetitions. Much of the narrative is wordy and the book would be improved by serious cutting, perhaps by as much as half the content.
I found instances of implausible science as well as anachronisms that I found occasionally jarring. It reads as if the manuscript has been published without any real editing.
But there’s no doubt the story paints a picture that will find fans, and many YA readers will undoubtedly enjoy it. The structure of the tale brings in new empathetic characters late in the story, but the initial chapters, for me, lacked any players I cared about.
I wish I could be more positive about this book; it’s a piece of work showing great promise but let down by sloppy editing, a lack of proper research into the science, and a failure to recognise current trends in technology that will inevitably develop exponentially in a setting so far into the future. I’ve no doubt, though, many readers will forgive or ignore these aspects and enjoy it for the rollicking action read it could be.
I wrote this review based on an advance reading copy the publisher sent me.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]