This was brought to my attention by the excellent ‘BookBub’ which is a service that notifies of time limited free and bargain priced e-books, or I doubt I would have come across it.
I’m glad I did as it’s good, cheering, unpretentious escapist fun. The writing is clear and delivers on a briskly paced, character driven space opera that sets us up for a wider saga, but is nevertheless a cracking self contained adventure in and of itself.
As the blurb says, it’s reminiscent of the ‘Firefly’ template of disparate characters bonded by camaraderie and adventure crewing a distinctive ship that itself has a strong identity.
It neatly sets up our heroes first meeting as pilot Alice Marchenko, surviving soldier from a recent Alliance / Empire War (guess which are the nominal ‘bad’ guts), salvages her Mother’s freight ship from an intergalactic junkyard only to find a veteran from the Empire, a Cyborg, stowed on the ship. Compelled to keep him as a passenger, she builds a crew willing to pay passage off the planet to her home world of Perun where she hopes to be re-united with her daughter. So enter a soldier fleeing from mafia entanglements, a priest-caste figure with ties to the Empire, a kooky female farmer joining Marhcenko and her already trusted, cynical mechanic, as they take to the skies en route to an asteroid that the Cyborg has ‘requested’ they detour to. There begins an adventure with pirates, more cyborgs, a mysterious orb, chases and cinematic action set-pieces. The crew appears to bond, but some may be harbouring agendas of their own..
If all this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. But no matter. If the writing is good these well worn tropes can be wrapped around you like a duvet on a cold Winter’s night, reassuring when all around is unfamiliar, threatening and uncertain, which has been this week, basically.
So I recommend this, it does what it should, and should you want to spend longer in world of Alice Marchenko and friends a further five instalments await