I can admire any writer who has the courage to create characters/places, imagine a plotline, slave for countless hours over a computer, edit, shop the thing around, and so on (hence the two stars). However, in this particular case, why go through all that "exercise" and not at least try and create something unique? It's not like there isn't limitless possibility within the imagination, especially when dealing with science-fiction/fantasy. Granted, George Lucas mined an aweful lot of mythologic structure in order to tell what amounted to a 6 episode story in which only 2 really deserve any real praise, 2 more have moments of pure entertainment, and the final 2 are barely worth mentioning... in other words, I am not a Star Wars apologist and I completely realize that most of Lucas' ideas are ripoffs themselves, but nonetheless, Lucas and his Star Wars franchise are now the benchmark (where that benchmark sits is highly debatable) for science-fantasy in it's most pulp sense (Dune could be considered science-fantasy but it represents a wholly unique experience which is something that Star Wars cannot claim - just read Lucas' initial drafts of Star Wars and you can see how heavily he borrowed from Dune).
I don't know about others who have read this book but I was instantly struck by not only the similarities, but the direct references to Star Wars, as if lifted from those pages and planted in this story with only slight alteration of their name/setting/plotline.
1) Barudii = Jedi: At least Jedi is an actual word (Hindi), and draws direct allusion to the characters that call themselves such in the Star Wars Universe. These Barudii have hyper-kinetic powers; sounds like Jedi powers to me (the ability to jump/leap great distances as well as move quickly). Within the first 5 pages a Barudii warrior levitates people (children)... I mean, come one.
2) The Barudii's "sword": This thing, although explained as a "molecular destabilizer", reads exactly like a light-sabre.
3) Clones: of course clones and cloned armies have been used before Lucas put them in his Star Wars stories, but to blatently use them again, although these clones are more feral in their appearance and attack methods, is just one more example of this author's lack of imagination.
There are numerous other examples (an evil empire, rebellion...) of the similarities of these two stories but if you really want to read this novel I'll leave these up to you to discover.
The other thing I don't appreciate is the blatant attempt to couch this as Christian Science Fantasy. Somer's is allowed to believe whatever he wants, write about whatever he wants, but this feels like an exercise in marketing rather than a genuine attempt at creating such a genre. The reason I say this is because of the forced way in which this concept is introduced, as if an afterthought or marketing gimmick - the very first line of the first chapter is "Not so long ago, in another creation of God", and I'm not going to go into detail about the direct ripoff job of "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away"...
I'm sure that some people may get a kick out of this novel, and perhaps I'll even read the second and third novels from this series when they come out simply to see just what the author does (will he continue to ripoff and blatently copy? or will he stretch his imagination and write something a little more original?). However, I cannot recommend this novel to those that are searching for a great or even good science-fantasy read. The author does pack an aweful lot of action in his story which seems to stem from the Lucasian tenent of "all an audience really wants is a rollercoaster". At least Somer's has achieved this in spades. Just remember, there are great and even good rollercoasters, and there are "barely made me yawn rollercoasters", this is one of those.
I would very much love to read a truely unique Christian-based piece of science-fantasy. I am not Christian myself, but I used to be, and I've read the works of Stephen R. Lawhead, John White, Frank Peretti... and I still enjoy a good story no matter what the subject matter is or the inspiration behind the piece.
*This review is not an attack against the author's personal character or spiritual/religious beliefs*