27 March 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Forsaken Skies (The Silence #1) by D. Nolan Clark

Forsaken Skies (The Silence #1) by D. Nolan Clark
My Rating: 4.7 out of 5
From the first moment I saw it, this book grabbed a hold of my attention. This is the first part of a series (three books announced so far) called The Silence and I’d classify it as space opera with a definite military sci-fi vibe and a good dose of hard sci-fi. I think it’s a very well-balanced mix that many fans of these genres will enjoy. It’s quite long but is wonderfully easy to read and the story kept me engaged easily, not exactly on the edge of the seat, but firmly locked in nonetheless.

Set hundreds of years in the future, humankind has spread far and wide using a vast network of wormholes to cover huge distances, many light years at a time. The vastness of space is controlled and funded by huge corporations who exploit the resources of the planets and asteroids. There’s been lots of conflict between their private armies as well as against the governing military forces who tend to side with whoever they think is the best political choice. The remote colony planet Niraya has a small population of mostly religious idealists and prospectors and is attacked by mysterious aliens. The company who owns and controls it decides it would be too expensive to defend and decides to cut it’s losses and abandons it. A pair of religious zealots from Niraya make their way to a central space station in an attempt to contract the services of the military to fight the invaders. Through an exciting series of events, Commander Aleister Lanoe, an ageing but highly decorated Navy fighter pilot, hears about the Nirayan situation and chooses to help. He puts together a rather ragtag team of former Navy squad mates and associates to fight the alien invasion. What follows is a fine adventure.

The author (well-known horror author David Wellington using a pseudonym) says: “Ever since I saw Star Wars as a child…why I wanted to write in the first place…my whole life and career was leading me to write this book” (see interview HERE). Well, he’s done a bloody good job of it, I must say. You can sense the Star Wars influence in there, from the vastness of galactic society to the full-on space war. Just on that, I did find some the big main battle a little bit long and began to tire of it before it’s conclusion. However, I often say that so I guess big battles are just not my thing, but if they’re yours then you’re probably going to love the shooting and explosions in this. There’s lots of them.

The character depth is great by my standards, not too much but still enough to be able to make a firm decision whether you like them or not, each character having at least one unique quality about them that you will either love or dislike. I found myself liking most of them and able to identify with all of them to some degree. There are some slight romantic interests between a few of the characters, but these aren’t dominant yet play an important part in events. Once again, a good balance for a reader like me.

The world building is top notch, I enjoyed hugely the descriptions of the planets, moons, vehicles and space stations along with the wormholes that link them all together. A particular favorite of mine is the Navy headquarters planet with it’s Saturn-like rings which are actually artificial, formed of countless stations, habitats and orbitals. Awesome stuff, tickling my sense of awe that is one of the major keys to good science fiction for me. The eventual reveal of the alien invaders which comes late in the book is fascinating and hints at some real interesting things in book two Forgotten Worlds.

Overall it’s a wonderfully satisfying book, a great action story and setup for what I hope is an equally satisfying series. I’m glad the author decided to try his hand at producing science fiction because he’s very good at it.

4/5 for concept
5/5 for delivery
5/5 for entertainment
= 4.7 out of 5

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