Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Could be great...instead, a bit uneven, too often
on 11 February 2013
This is such a difficult book to review and I had so many highs and lows throughout it I'm not sure where to begin.
A good place might be if any indie published book can show how a professional publisher's editorial eye is an essential ingredient in the production of most books, this is one. It could for a start off do with at least 50 odd pages axed at a stroke and there is one unforgivable sequence of unnecessary repetition that should just not be there. The characters are cardboard cut outs and their dialogue stuck in some 50s jolly hockey-sticks novel, and there is too much wooden technical description. But, having said all that...
...The story is riveting. I nearly gave up early on but got hooked, because the author has created a fascinating world on Zeta Nine and an intriguing tale of initial exploration of a planet strangely empty, but scattered with ruins of a now departed civilisation. As mentioned the dialogue between the two first explorers, Raife and Nancy, is a bit daft at first- they talk all the time like this! Yes they do! Everything is fun and ends in exclamation marks! All the time! And they like to poke each other in the ribs, and they like to make sure they have plenty of snacks, all the time!- but I have to grudgingly admit after a while, I gave in and succumbed to their gentle charms.
And so for much of the book I was hooked. The storyline meanders though and the whole book is really more of an experience than a story, as the couple activate more pioneers [spacecraft set out from Earth for century long journeys with explorer personalities digitised, then put into cloned bodies when they reach the designated destination, quite a neat idea actually] to help them get to grips with their new world. It has to be said though there are some glaring plot glitches along the way and the end just petters out in a very unsatisfying way, but Zeta Nine and it's mysterious former inhabitants managed to pull this reader through the whole book with a fair degree of enjoyment, it has to be said.
I finished though thinking what a wasted opportunity all in all. A wonderful idea and a writer who has some fantastic ideas- the book has clearly been properly edited as well, not a typo in sight- but it really should have been a lot shorter and 'novelised' with a proper plot structure and, perhaps, the introduction of some good old fashioned danger to spice things up [after an initial mishap, our pioneering couple become obsessively risk averse- great approach in real life on a new planet, a bit boring though in a book].
So probably a good read for 77p on Kindle. One last thing though from this moaner- the cover. It is awful. Of all the books that needs a wonderful retro SF cover of two lycra biosuit-clad young people stood on an alien planet outside of a good old fashioned rocket ship, this is it. Not a pile of old rocks...:)