on 23 September 2013
Of Hearts And Stars (The Cadet Starship Chronicles) is a debut novel by a promising young writer, Edward West.
The book follows the adventures of Swift from his childhood to later teenage years. In the opening of the novel, his mother was killed in a terrorist attack by the Rebel Faction and his father lost his life fighting as a pilot in the war that followed the attack, defending the Empire.
The first story arc, set in an orphanage, is brilliant. There's a problem to solve for the main hero that is resolved at the end after a setback and the tragedy at the story's climax. That's how adventure literature, well, any novel, really, should be written.
Then we see Swift enrolled in the Arbalest Military Academy. The points of view switch between Swift and some of the new characters that are introduced, most notably Gin, a man no one notices. There are many different subplots that are present through the novel: an "enemy who is a friend," conspiracies, mysterious aliens, even a romantic rivalry subplot makes an appearance.
The strongest point of his writing is most definitely the style. It's easy to read, dialog and action-driven, with just enough humor and levity to offset some of the more dramatic moments. Some fun turns of phrase are present as well:
✔ "There's nothing but space and opportunity between us. Drop the knife and we can see what's up."
✔ The effect was like a meteor striking a greenhouse.
✔ ...the equivalent to watching paint dry at a golf tournament.
Despite a few rough edges that are expected from a debut novel, this was a most entertaining read. My advice--keep an eye on Edward West, he is one of the more promising writers whose work I've read this year.
on 5 August 2013
This futuristic, young adult science fiction traces the life of Leoric Swift from his birth in the opening chapter. Leoric is more than a little wild, he is reckless, but with the help of his friends and teammates, Reville `Revy' James and Corrigan `Gin' O'Hare, Leoric embarks on galactic missions in the ship his father left him.
It took me some time to get into the storyline: I found the opening chapter to be a little contrived and young Leoric`s life a little too idealistic...until his home is destroyed and his life is completely changed. While the writing style occasionally feels a bit clichéd, if you bear with this and get through the opening chapter, you are ultimately rewarded with an unusual and entertaining novel.
`Of Hearts and Stars' is a unique story with an interesting and intricate plot. The characters are well-written and likeable - it is an easy story to engage with and will keep you reading to the end of the rollercoaster!
on 1 August 2013
As far as young adult science fiction stories go, this one was amazing. Revy, Gin, and Leo were a great team against dangerous odds, and ultimately prove that a strong friendship can accomplish just about anything.
Set in the future where we have space travel, the Empire and the Rebels are at war with each other. Next to fighting the bullies around them, Leo soon has to fight the Rebels directly when his friends are put in danger. Together they are like a magnet for trouble, but not without the skills to get through.
This was a very enjoyable read with great characters. I look forward to the next book in this series!