Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: Lunara

I love a good space opera, especially when it has Star Wars-like elements in the story. I've always theorized that if the Earth is destroyed in some huge apocalyptic battle against nature, humans will be forced to live on Mars. 

Sorry... the Mars card doesn't play out if the Earth is invaded by aliens or for the zombie apocalypse. Mankind is pretty much screwed. 


Summary:

Lunara: Seth and Chloe by Wyatt Davenport is a very intricate look at what civilization might look like should us humans live on Mars; complete with raiders, tyrannical governments and epic battles in space.
Earth is unlivable for the humans in this universe and most inhabit colonies on Mars. However, a small group of settlers have migrated to Lunara-- a somewhat rugged and unexplored colony on the moon. 
Seth and Chloe escaped Mars years ago after the Revolutionary War broke out and raiders terrorized the surrounding colonies; taking what they wanted and killing men, women and children in the colonies, including Seth and Chloe’s families. Orphaned, Seth and Chloe escaped and fled to Lunara as stowaways. They were taken in by Chief Ty Falloom and his wife, Jan. They managed to escape Mars with their lives but they didn't escape the deep emotional scars that the war left behind. Seth also developed a strong dislike for the Martian government.

The novel starts off with Chief Falloom recieving a transmission from Mars Medical--a team of medical doctors and scientists--asking permission to land on Lunara. They are on Lunara to conduct Seth and Chloe’s annual physical. As part of their work agreement, Seth and Chloe must have a physical exam every year in order to work on Lunara. Everything about the visit seems off. The timing, the haste in which the team wants to examine Seth and Chloe...

Chief Falloom, Parker -- another pilot and friend of Seth and Chloe-- and Gwen, the official diplomatic ambassador of Zephyria Colony on Lunara, are all worried about what Mars Medical’s visit means for the couple. They all know about Seth’s superhuman strength and Chloe’s psychic abilities and are worried that the tests might mean trouble for their friends.
Seth and Chloe are in the middle of being sent on an away mission to harvest a meteor heading for Lunara. Meteors are processed on Lunara for their metalor, which is vital to life on Mars. Dr. Hans Bauer the lead scientist on the Mars Medical team, attempts to pull them away from the mission so he can conduct the examination, but Chief Falloom is able to stall the team.


Seth, Chloe and the others suddenly realize the severity of the medical team's presence on Lunara as they are returning from their mining mission and discover the colony under attack. Powerless to help their friends; Captain Eamonn, Seth, Chloe, Parker, Gwen and Jan head to Mars on the Protector under command of Chief Falloom. However, it becomes apparent that Seth must quickly put aside his dislike of Mars in order to help his friends on Lunara and keep himself, Chloe and the others safe.
Review:

This story is rather fast paced and it took no time at all for me to really get into this novel. It does take a while to discover why the Martian government is after Seth and Chloe, but that's just all part of the mystery. 

Davenport does a phenomenal job of creating a plot that comes full circle in the end and answers any questions I had early on in the novel. I am usually pretty impatient about these things but I thoroughly enjoyed the pace in which the events unfolded. I also appreciated the world building in this book. The novel starts off a few years after Mars' Revolutionary War, so we don't actually experience the war other than through the other character's flashbacks. But I liked that Davenport incorporated a thorough amount of back-story that explained the complex ties between Lunara and Mars, Martin government and politics, and the story behind how Seth and Chloe came to live on Lunara. I really felt that this was explained well to avoid confusion later on.

However, there were a few things that I was slightly disappointed about in this novel.

I didn't really like how some of the women weren't ever quite allowed to be awesome. What I mean is, that they often seem to play second fiddle to the men in the story. I'm not a ranting feminist and maybe I've been stuck in the urban fantasy genre for too long, but despite Chloe being a pilot and the fact that she possesses some psychic abilities, it seems that she is often in the background. Yes, she has her moments, but it honestly seems like she exists for Seth to save. The fact that he constantly coddles her also doesn't help her image. By the end of the novel I really wanted more from Chloe but I never felt like she quite reached her full potential.

I also felt that Jan could have also had a much bigger leadership role in the story. Maybe that's not how politics work on Lunara and Mars but she is Chief Falloom's wife, which in my mind would make her the "first lady" of Lunara. The crew all look up to and respect her husband but she is still given the "evil eye" by Captain Eamonn when she tries to ask Gwen's father, the Chancellor of Zephyria, about Ty's well-being.

The only woman who seems to have an important role in this story is Gwen. She is probably one of my favorite characters. But that fact that she was Chloe's best friend and also pining for Seth was a little annoying particularly since he was with Chloe and he made that pretty clear. Awwwwkward. The fact that Gwen said that she cared so much about her friendship with Chloe but still acted on her feelings for Seth was disappointing. For Gwen's credit she does seem to redeem herself later on, particularly when the crew is trying to figure out why the atmosphere on Mars suddenly seems to be toxic, in more ways than one.

But I also realize that these characterizations may not bother other readers. Despite this Lunara: Seth and Chloe was an interesting and entertaining novel. A definite must read for any Star Wars fan.

Rating: 4/5

Lunara: Seth and Chloe is the first book in the Lunara series.  Lunara: Gwen and Eamonn, the second book in this series, is also avaliable from Amazon.

Reactions:

6 comments:

  1. Mars is such a fantastic setting for science fiction and has been since Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Great Review.

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  2. I agree! I've always been fascinated by what life would be like on Mars! Thank you for your comment!

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  3. great review. I am a new follower thanks to Patti :)
    http://kimbathecaffeinatedbookreviewer.blogspot.com/

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  4. Thank you Kimba88! Patti is a wonderful and talented author! I absolutely love her Paradox series!

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  5. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the review. The Reading List appears to be a great place to figure out what I want to read next. Thanks!

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  6. Bill- Thank you! I am glad that you are enjoying the reviews!

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