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4.2 out of 5 stars
39
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 26 March 2014
I think it was Robert Heinlein who said when you have written your hero into an impossible situation the best way to go is "With a bound he was free" And re-start your story from a new chapter. But I don't think you are allowed to use this trick every time your hero/heroine is in trouble.
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on 10 October 2014
enjoyable story looking to be able to read more
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on 17 June 2012
I picked it up initially because it was free, and I was bored. I wasn't expecting much, having read some purely awful free books. Man oh man, was I in for a surprise.

The book is entertaining, with very likeable main characters (Sigrid and Suko specifically), plenty of mystery and intrigue, a gripping plot line, and very very well written action scenes. The relationship between the two main characters is handled sensitively and written very well too (at least in my opinion) and the brief sex scene actually serves a purpose (progressing the relationship) rather than just being thrown in there because hey look lesbians! Laurel K. Hamilton this is not. So I ended up reading until 4am, despite being bone tired I couldn't put it down until I actually nodded off gripping my kindle. Even after I put it down, I went to sleep wondering what was going to happen, and found out as soon as I woke up. The book ends at a fairly good point too, but leaves it wide open for the sequel which so needs to happen.

Give it a read, guys and girls, you won't be disappointed if you enjoy sci-fi, military action, and kickass women. Cary, hurry it up and gimme a sequel! Don't leave us hanging.

Sorry if this is all a bit obscure, I'm trying to avoid spoilers.
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on 7 May 2012
This is one of those books you discover and wonder where it's been all this time. Possibly hibernating and waiting for the right moment to present itself. Fast-paced, action-packed, character-driven, and with the right amount of tech-talk to keep the story convincing and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cary Caffrey's debut SF novel. The Girls from Alcyone follows the lives of Sigrid Novak and the other girls from a specially trained facility that "dabbles" in genetic manipulation. The outcome, some sexy, kick-ass, ninja-styled fighting girls. That's just asking for trouble!! Looking forward to reading the sequel.
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on 25 June 2012
When I started reading The Girls From Alcyone, I thought that it was going to be a fairly standard Luke Skywalker/Ender's Game type scenario, maybe with a little bit of lesbianism thrown in for good measure. There are certainly elements of that in this book (including the lesbianism), but it actually takes what could have been an unoriginal and uninspiring retread and makes something that I found really exciting and very intriguing. And the lesbian elements of the story are a sensible and natural extension of the story.
The story has some brilliantly choreographed and well-thought out action sequences (the sequence in the lift is especially exciting) and the characterisation is believable - the hero's are well-written and sympathetic and the villains are suitably villainous. I was not aware that it was the first part of a series, although coming to the end and discovering that there was still more to come didn't upset me. The only drawback is that I have to wait for volume 2 - Hurry up Cary!

Stephen Mellor - author of The Long Sleep
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on 6 July 2013
I've always thought the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" could be at once appropriate and misleading. Some covers are beautiful and reflect the vision of the author and her or his story. Some are beautiful and don't reflect a damn thing. Others are not attractive in the least, but contain stories of boundless wonder.
In the case of The Girls from Alcyone, the cover was both beautiful and relevant. I could be reading too much into it as well, but that's fine by me.
When I saw the cover, I thought: killer girls, space adventure and friendship. I was right for the most part, though my guesses were rudimentary in comparison to Caffrey's detailed storytelling.
We join the girls before they're from Alcyone, and we follow Sigrid----so easy to root for--as she grows into something more than human, all the while struggling to identify herself and place amongst the girls, and eventually the Kimura corporation that has funded the Alcyone operation.
Sigrid experiences a multitude of hardships--from childhood bullying gone savage (literal water torture) to foiled assassination attempts. But she keeps a cool head in every moment. It helps to know your body is a weapon like no other. And Caffrey does a great job of detailing and selling the idea of these body modifications in a universe where a governmental council and mercenary guild navigate the politics of space with no small amount of blood shed between them. In fact, the politics of the book was one of my favorite parts of the book. To imagine a time where mercenaries have developed a guild that operates under its own codes, mostly separate from the general government---blows my mind. And makes for a lot of back-stabbing, corporate/mercenary sabotage. The book has fantastic fights, rolling tension and enough background to keep you rooted without drowning you in info.
Something that was absolutely endearing, however, was one of this title's most muted/minimized components: Sigrid's relationship with Suko.
It was genuine, oddly unaffected by the atypical and ever-changing status of their lives. It was understated in a way that made it charming amongst the fantastic qualities of the book. Another factor worth noting is Caffrey's inclusive cast, which is skillfully distinguished and interwoven. Basically, I didn't have to ask where the black people were. I always appreciate that.
Here and there, the story seems to lull (particularly in the beginning), but once the intricacies and far-reaching scope of the book kick in, little hiccups that may pull a reader out fizzle into nonexistence. At least they did for me.
But regardless of whether you're looking for action, space races or charming love between two bad-ass assassins, I recommend the read. Immediately.
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on 16 April 2014
The origin story part of this book is brilliantly written.

But good grief.

When the heroine makes it through her training she becomes the kind of heroine who you know can never be beaten. Never outthought, outwitted, maneuvered......

It's testamount to the strength of the books beginning that the people in this authors heroine was more heroic when she was up against opponents who were either her equal or above. Once we get into the meat of the narrative no one is able to stop her, which wouldn't be so bad if she actually had some motivation beyond doing what her mistress tells her to do.

The overarching conspiracy drowns under not enough information being handed out to the reader. Which may be on purpose so as to not allow the plot to be given away. But keep hanging these teasers in front of a reader for chapter after chapter and eventually, with no answer's to the questions coming, you can easily lose the reader's interest.

It doesn't help that there is a sexist undertone to this story either. Male character's are either ineffectual mooks, bad guys in suits, or character's who live in engine rooms. Never seen or heard, but reported to be doing good works. And it's a shame because the author's heroine suffers because the supporting cast around her are essentially flimsy cardboard cutouts that do not give the story any dramatic tension.

A strong opening with a weak ending to launch another novel. Hopefully the next one will make the heroine work for her victories, beyond being good with a gun and having, what essentally, boil down to super powers over ordinary folk.
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on 6 December 2013
This is a very enjoyable space opera with space battles, combat between mechanically enhanced humans, space elevators, corporation-controlled wormholes, and so on. There are some blatant political messages too about the inhuman greed of politicians, the use of propaganda, the destruction of Earth's environment, and the idea that little girls should be afraid of the big, bad man. This last in particular - it's not a clear-cut female-male good-evil opposition, but that's the sense of it.

The story follows Sigrid's early life, starting with her being taken from Earth to Alcyone as a young girl, where she and thirty-odd other girls are trained to be elite special-ops warriors by the Kimura mercenary organisation; they are also modified genetically and cybernetically. Reminds me sometimes of Dark Angel (the series with Jessica Alba) and Naked Weapon (with Maggie Q - great film if you like female assassins). There are the usual themes of adversity, friendship, bullying, and eventually love. That's the first half of the book. The second half is Sigrid's grand space adventure, the race to rescue the girls of Alcyone from the evil forces that would destroy them one way or another. It's imaginative, scientifically clever, and generally a very tense read - I stayed up until four in the morning to finish it.

I do have some minor complaints. The repeated use of 'Oh my' makes me wince. Sigrid's capabilities seem a little extreme and without negative consequences, so that it creeps into the realm of fantasy character; occasional unnecessary repetition of how amazing the girls are adds to this impression.

But I really enjoyed this and I will be reading the next in the series.
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on 5 March 2014
Pretty good effort here. The story is a little thin, probably because it's the set up for a series of sequels, but it's pretty well written and engaging. There's some action, some politics, even a little sex thrown into the mix. Not a hugely complex plotline, and the characters aren't very deep, so it's a little undemanding, but there are times where I'm in the mood for just that kind of lightweight fun. I enjoyed it and will probably pick up the sequels.
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on 14 March 2012
Genetically advanced, the girls from Alcyone are trained to be mercenaries by Kimura. Not only that; they are effectively an experiment in bionic engineering, the result of which is that their abilities far exceed those of normal human beings. Sigrid is eventually chosen for a special task, and as that happens, the entire project comes under threat from an unknown source. Sigrid needs to find out what is happening - as well as to protect her fellow girls from the forces that move against them. But who can she trust?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Cary creates a very complex universe in TGfA, yet manages to illustrate it in a believable manner that does not result in huge chunks of background information. I can honestly say that this is a page turner as one follows the lives of Sigrid and Suko, the two main characters, through the events that unfold around them.

In TGfA, Cary has taken science fiction by the scruff of the neck and turned it inside out, bringing a refreshing commentary on politics and gender dynamics to our bookshelves/kindles. And inoffensively so. I would gladly recommend this book to all scifi lovers out there - trust me, it's worth it!
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