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Hardly the omnibus edition
on 10 December 2012
Jason Halstead or his publisher have a problem with what is a book and what is an omnibus edition. In reality, their books are parts (not much more than chapters) and the omnibus is Book 1 of a series. There is no contents list or any easy way of navigating around the book, just a continuous flow of text (this is even more obvious in the Kobo edition, where in order to get around the problem of a maximum file size, the book has just been chopped into three parts at random points).
Part 1 (the free volume) has a detailed well-written plot, and was sufficient to tempt me into buying the "Omnibus", however the story that it narrates is only a way of getting the characters to the planet where the rest of Book 1 takes place and is not required for the main plot. Part 2 opens with a new set of characters, but fails to explain the relationships between them all, leaving the reader to guess. Part 3 has another new set of characters, but with a very similar plot to Part 2. Part 4, ditto. It is only once the reader arrives at the last part that the story really progresses, but even then it only reaches the point of setting the stage for the next book. At no point does the story ever indicate a positive outcome for humanity on the planet of Vitalis.
The book suffers with typos which should have been picked up by the publisher; for example: "The creature let loose a roar Jeremy suspected he'd be hearing in his right before he woke up in a cold sweat for the next several weeks." "He saw no sign of pursuit, but the waste high grasses would have hidden the passage of smaller predators." "Like most animals in the wild their young had to grow up fast or be culled from the heard." Rosh and Crystal each put in a single appearance when other, existing, characters would have been more appropriate.
For a £1-£2 book these faults could have been overlooked and I might have bought the second book in the hope of finding a positive outcome, or at least learning where the story was going. But at the price that is being charged I expect a professionally produced book, as the publisher's web site promises. Yes it is half the price of "Red Mars", but it is much less than half the story.