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Song of Scarabaeus Mass Market Paperback – 27 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (27 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061934739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061934735
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 969,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in a tumbling-down Victorian house in England, where I tapped out my first stories on a tiny blue typewriter. After moving to southeastern Australia as a teenager, my love of all things fantastical hooked me on science fiction. Then I grew up -- but I still play with words. Marriage to an American resulted in a second intercontinental move, and I lived in Arizona for five years. I now live in Melbourne, Australia, with my husband and daughter.

I write SF adventure stories with a touch of romance. My debut novel is Song of Scarabaeus (2010) followed by Children of Scarabaeus (2011) from Harper Voyager.

http://www.saracreasy.com

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Sz on 27 May 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Edie has been trained by the Crib government since childhood to be a cypherteck, a world terraforming expert. And she is the best. Now, because of these skills, Edie has been kidnapped by mercenaries who want to utilize her skills on the Fringe worlds. As part of the plan to protect and control Edie, the mercenaries leash a serf, Finn, to her implant. If he goes too far from her or she dies, then he dies. The problems Edie has with this plan arise when she realises the whole plan hinges on getting the "seeds" from the first planet Edie tried to terraform, a world she tried to save - Scarabaeus. The process taking place there and the lead-up to getting there make this book one you will not be able to put down. Enhanced by the fresh SF ideas and the developing relationship between Edie and Finn, Song of Scarabaeus holds your attention from start to finish, and leaves you wanting more.

Sara Creasy has written a fantastic debut novel, I look forward to the sequel.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book might be small, by a relatively unknown author, but I can assure all sci-fi fans, it is worth a read. The story is well written, it flows so well that you do not want to put it down, the subject is imaginitive but plausible - despite being set some considerable time in the future, and the characterisation is wonderful with a little nicely-handled love interest. Buy it, you will not be disappointed! My wife has read it; as an author herself (but not a regular sci-fi fan), she loved it - true praise indeed!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Song Of Scarabaeus is a Science Fiction book written by Sara Creasy. Edie Sha'nim was born on the planet Talas to a native father and human scientist mother. Abandoned by her parents at birth and thought of as an outcast by the other natives Edie grew up in one of the camps where she displayed a natural talent for talking to tech. As a teenager she is rescued by the Crib they insert an implant into her arm that gives her a dose of the special neurotoxin that natives of Talas need in order to stay alive and she is trained to become the best cyphertech there is with an outstanding talent for biocyph seed technology. It is now some years later and Edie reluctantly works for the Crib travelling from planet to planet terraforming them with her biocyph expertise so that humans can inhabit the planet, whilst the Crib bleeds the inhabitants dry. The story begins with Edie kidnapped by renegade mercenaries who want to free the terraformed planets from being under the Crib's control whilst also making some money themselves. In order to keep Edie safe and to ensure that she complies with the mercenaries demands they assign her an escaped freedom fighter now captured slave called Finn. Finn has a chip is in head that is linked to Edie's chip so if Edie dies or is further than 2000m away Finn will die too. The mission that the mercenaries have kidnapped Edie for is to go to the planet Scarabaeus and retrieve the non-working BRAT's that Edie put there seven years ago.

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a little bit of time to get into it as I thought the start was a bit slow but once we get into the action the pace soon picked up.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 50 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Debut 27 April 2010
By SciFiChick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Prodigy Edie Sha'nim was trained at a young age to program technology called biocyph. But when she is kidnapped by mercenaries wanting to exploit her gift, she is given a taste of actual freedom away from the forced labor of the Crib government. Edie is assigned a bodyguard, Finn, who has no choice in the matter. But the two must work together to fight for their freedom against the mercenaries and the Crib.

Creasy has created a fascinating universe of advanced technology with debatable repercussions. Edie and Finn have great chemistry and are a bit of an "odd couple," being complete opposites. Edie is naturally submissive and highly emotional. Whereas, Finn is stoic and rebellious. With subtle description, the characters and landscapes jump off the page. And within the first few chapters, I was pulled into the story.

This was a highly impressive science fiction novel from a promising new author. The technology was described enough to seem believable, yet not enough to get bogged down in explanation. And its blend of technology and moral ethics was surprisingly fresh. With plenty of mystery, danger, suspense, intrigue, and alien life - fans of the genre will definitely enjoy this exciting debut. Ending in a mild cliffhanger, readers like me will be eager for a sequel.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Ok,if you don't mind cliffhanger endings... 3 Sep 2010
By Moth Ella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't remember where I first heard mention of this book. It might have been on Kristin Nelson's blog or The Galaxy Express, but, at any rate, I'd heard of it, I had no idea what it was about, but I'd heard it described as a SFR so I thought I'd give it a try when I found my local library had a copy.

SOS (as I will call it so I don't have to keep spelling out Scarab-whosit) is the story of Edie Sha'nim who works for one of those typical, control-everything-in-the-universe-superpower-governments, in this case called "the Crib." Edie is the most gifted cypherteck the Crib has ever trained, and she has the best success rate of all her kind at manipulating the Crib's seeding technology to begin the terraforming on primitive worlds, getting the ball rolling on making them habitable for human life. Edie's not really happy with her life, her job, or the manipulative "mentor" who took her away from her none-too-fun homeworld, but Edie can't really see any other path for her life.

Then one day, while doing routine maintenance a crew of "rovers," sort of smuggler/space pirate types kidnap her. Edie is a valuable commodity, you see, in and out of Crib-controlled space because she carries the key to terraforming worlds. And there are plenty of worlds that still use Crib-technology to power their ecosystems. Ecosystems which will cease to work if they are not restarted every year by the Crib-controlled "keystones." The Fringe colonies have to pay a crippling tax every year for access to these "keystones" or risk their entire planets dying as the ecosystem collapses. Edie doesn't particularly want to help the rovers but then they assign her a slave, Finn, as a bodyguard and install a chip in his head that will kill him if 1. She dies or 2. She moves out of the sensor's range. Edie feels compelled to stay until she can find a way to sever the leash between her mind and Finn's. She doesn't want Finn's death on her head, and once his life is put in the balance that becomes one of her major motivations throughout the book.

As you can probably tell from that none too brief summary, this is one hell of a complicated book. The world-building is densely constructed, and layered all throughout. The characters are complex with intricate motivations and summing up 350+ pages of plot for this review was a bitch and a half (I hope my summary was semi-coherent). Anyway, on to the review!

I thought Edie was a good protagonist as these things go, just a little bland for my taste. She was maybe just a tad too perfect. I like a heroine with a little grit, who's a little selfish, a little petty sometimes. I feel like Edie didn't really grow or change very much over the book, which meant I was never really energized by her. In some ways this book reminded me of Ann Aguirre's Grimspace, especially in the basic premise: gifted tech-worker kidnapped by roving crew looking to stick it to the status quo by hijacking their tech and selling it to the backwater worlds that need it. Wackiness ensues--well, except for the wacky because this book's tone is actually pretty serios. But whereas the main character of Grimspace, Jax, starts out selfish and bitchy then grows to become a part of the crew, a friend and a lover, I feel like Edie remains pretty static throughout. And Edie never really chafes at her captivity. She never fights back, she never gives as good as she gets. She just kind of rolls over and takes everything the rover crew dishes out. I wanted a bit more fire from her and I never really got it.

So, I mentioned above that I've seen this book billed in certain places as a SF romance but I have to say at this point it's more of a SF book with romantic elements, as the attraction between Edie and her enigmatic protector Finn never really gets off the ground. Which brings me to something else I think I should mention: This is book one in a series, and the ending of this book is a cliffhanger in a lot of ways. Several major plot-threads are left dangling, and the ending felt less like the natural conclusion of a book, and more like this book had been cut in half. I would say this book does not stand alone well, and yet the sequel will not be out until next year. This may not bother some people, but I wanted to mention it for those who like to read a series only once it's finished.

Now, onto Finn! Since the book is all from Edie's perspective we never get a glimpse into Finn's head, which actually made me sad because he's a pretty interesting guy, wrapped up in all kinds of mystery. We learn some of his background but not all, and I have to say what we did learn made me want to learn more. Finn was an interesting character for me in the way that Edie wasn't. Finn, because he was sold into slavery, beaten, lied to, dehumanized basically, for years, has kind of evolved a different moral compass from the rest of humanity, and some of my favorite parts of the book were where Edie made an assumption of what he would do based on her own morals only to find Finn had a totally different idea of what was "right" than she did. Finn was complex and I felt like he arced in the story much more than Edie did. I think the book might have benefited from getting into his head.

Overall, this book went by pretty fast, although some of the tech explanations of the terraforming process and other stuff kind of dragged a bit for me. I'm a SF fan who prefers more fiction than science in my stories. I do have to say, though, the world-building in this book was expertly crafted and interesting. I also thought the plot had some good twists and turns. The pacing lagged at times for me, but I was intrigued enough by the plot and the plight of the characters *cough* finn *cough* that I breezed through this in about a day and a half. I'd say if you're interested in complex world-building, a hot hero, and you don't mind a mild cliffhanger of an ending you should give this book a try.

Grade: B
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A treat! 2 May 2010
By Hyacinth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have summarized the plot, so I'll content myself with saying Song of Scarabaeus is a thoughtful, well-written book that manages to combine immensely appealing lead characters (Edie, the strong-willed but generous kidnapped cypherteck) and Finn (her bitter but intensely moral bodyguard) with great science and quite a bit of believable fast-paced action.

The plot--and here I give no quarter--stands up to 99% of scrutiny (with just a little fudging over data storage in the resolution). All in all, Song of Scarabaeus is of the best SF books I've read in years. Can't wait for Sara Creasy's next book!

Note: The book has a very cool trailer posted on a well-known video-upload site that I'm apparently not supposed to link to <g>.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
World unpleasantly, unbelievably dark 19 Feb 2011
By G. Shank - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this; I really did. But I didn't. It was very tiring emotionally - nobody in the story was good. The heroine (Edie) was kind of OK; the hero... maybe. Everybody else was immoral and venal and wicked. Everybody. The race that she grew up with (the Talasi) were horrible and abused her and removed the tongues of children for talking. The woman that took her away from there was selfish and evil. The company she worked for was greedy and evil. The people that kidnapped her were evil and greedy. Every single person on the ship was selfish and betrayed them. The "fringe" worlds that they wanted to help had betrayed the hero. There were no good people here. And people died right and left, so you ended up being glad that you hadn't ever liked them.

Yet somehow we were supposed to believe that the heroine was inspired to do what was right by the tired people that she almost escaped with. Why should they be any different than anybody else? Where would the heroine have even acquired a conscience? Certainly not from anybody around her. I think that the author took too much to heart the idea that you should always make things worse for the characters. Nothing ever went right. It was exhausting. I wanted a little relief from the endless bad news and never got it. Out of emotional exhaustion I stopped caring and started skimming.

Had a hard time believing in the "romance". Why would these people bother caring? Everybody was bound to betray you sooner or later. That seemed to be the message, anyway. It's not like there was anything special between the heroine and hero. They were forced to be together because the hero would die if he went too far away. And the pat little sacrifice at the end was just too much.

There was interesting technical stuff. The terraforming stuff was interesting. The author wrote smoothly enough. But there just wasn't enough that was *enjoyable*. AND it ended without resolving big issues, in a cliffhanger. Which I would have resented if I had been caring about the characters.

I kept thinking that none of these societies could have survived with such a high percentage of immoral people around. You can't do business if you can't count on being paid.

Would maybe read another if I could see some chance of getting some enjoyment out of it...
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Sonnet Review (from All-Consuming Books) 7 Jun 2010
By Tiger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Meet Edie. She's a cypherteck who works
with terraforming seeds called BRATs (a brand
of bio-engineered sci-bomb which jerks
a planet's ecosystem into shape and
preps it for new colonists). She's kidnapped
by rovers (space pirates) who need her aid
in fixing dying Fringe worlds. Since her apt-
itude is rare and vauled, Finn is made
into her bodyguard--can't leave her or
he'll die. Tension ensues. Now Edie must
survive assassinations, restore
planet Scarabaeus, and earn Finn's trust.
Romantic subplot's swwet and feels legit--
I only wish that there were more of it."

I picked up this book because I was looking for another read like Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series--modern, mostly positive, science fiction written with a female audience in mind. I'm a big fan of science fiction, but I've mostly read very guy-centric SF, like cyberpunk, and I've recently grown more interested in SF stories that feel like a counterpoint to urban fantasy--action, intrigue, some humor, and no Big Messages about how We Are All Doomed, like a lot of dystopian SF has delivered in the past. Well, author Sara Creasy sure knows her science fiction, because Song of Scarabaeus is both brilliantly imagined and deeply entertaining.

Edie's abilities are interesting and well-rendered, and she's also a very believable character. She grew up as an outcast on her primitive backwater world, but now she has skills that are vauled throughout the galaxy. But she doesn't let pride get to her. When Finn, a slave who was incarcerated for fighting on the wrong side during a galactic war, is assigned to her as a bodyguard, she thinks of his wellbeing, though everyone else treats him like an intelligent animal. Finn's boundary chip keeps him from leaving her (or else his head will go kaboom), and the two of them have to learn to work together under various hostile circumstances.

This book only just narrowly missed a "A" rating because I felt that second half of the novel didn't live up to the promise of the first half--which is to say, that not everything unfolded like I was expecting. But Sara Creasy is now on my autobuy list, because if this lovely piece of excitement is what she produces for a debut, I can't imagine how awesome subsequent novels will be.
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