Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Stars Now Unclaimed

The Stars Now Unclaimed

by Drew Williams

3 out of 5

Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.

Hot on her trail is the Pax--a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.

Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.

And that's just the beginning . . .

Jane is one of the Justified. In a world torn apart by chaos, she has to play her part in protecting it. This includes rescuing a reluctant teenager, and her mechanical sidekick, as they might have the strength to stop the newest threat.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a slow-starter for me.
It opens with an unnamed agent of the Justified, dropping in on a relatively peaceful, and unevolved planet (there was "The Pulse" that knocked out advanced technology across the galaxy, in some spots worse than others).
The agent is working a job, and is methodical in her approach. As she is our narrator, it felt hard to connect, as she efficiently works out endurance, or social requirements, or wind speed for gun fire, etc. It is quite dry and analytical.
Then her peaceful little planet suddenly becomes the scene of a brutal battle. As one of the worst sects in the galaxy hunt for the special girl.
From there, everything picked up, and by half-way I was really enjoying it.

As the agent interacts with Barious (AI robot/religious leader), Esa (grumpy teen with superpowers) and Schez (spacecraft with attitude), she becomes more human and relatable.
An uneasy truce occurs, which slowly becomes friendship. Which, naturally, can lead to bickering and teasing, and can be awkwardly fun to follow.

I think throughout the story, the characters work so much better in a group, than individuals. Scenes on their own felt dull in comparison, and they lost their shine.

The story follows them, as they return to the Justified home world, in a race to protect against an unexpected danger.
There are a lot of fight scenes, which I thought were well described, and awesome.

I felt this book was unnecessarily long, and could have been compressed easily, without losing the story. There were sections that were repeated, and certain things stewed over, again and again.  I did end up skimming those sections.

Overall, it's not a bad debut, and I would be interested in seeing where the series goes.


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