04 August 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Outpost (Donovan Trilogy #1) by W. Michael Gear

Outpost (Donovan Trilogy #1) by W. Michael Gear
My rating: 4.7 out of 5

I've been seeing this title [the first of a planned trilogy] pop up on a few book blogs that I keep an eye on, the synopsis immediately catching my attention, sounding like an interesting far-flung space colony story set on a planet with weird and wonderful ecology which is resisting human attempts to plunder resources from their home. The colony is on the planet Donovan which is thirty light-years away and the colonization and mining operations are being overseen by a ruthless profit-driven corporation based back in our Solar System. The strange thing is that the last half-dozen Corporation ships that have attempted to make the journey to Donovan have all disappeared, leaving the colonists stranded and left to their own devices. That is until the ship Turalon, which carries a high-level member of The Corporation board, finally makes orbit. It's crew prepares to head planetside to find out what's been going on over the last few years.

Down on Donovan they discover a failed colony with the government overthrown, the few colonists who are left having gone rather feral. This is quite understandable because the planet has presented a number of challenges, mostly the strange and often deadly flora and fauna which is constantly trying to kill them. When The Corporation, along with a squad of Marines, attempts to re-establish their power they are in for a shock because the Donovan colonists have reorganized themselves into a dysfunctional yet effective group who are [only just] surviving despite what the planet throws at them. Toss into the mix a few characters who have agendas of their own and you get a really engaging and interesting plot. The story follows the political and physical tussle in superb detail, with stacks of action and great dialogue all wrapped up some very good world-building. The creatures on the planet are simply awesome, especially the huge almost dragon-like quetzals, nemesis of the colonists and who I expect are going to play a much larger role in the ongoing story. The cover is slightly misleading in that the structure of human bones pictured [while definitely present in the story] is not really a major plot element in an overall sense. But, maybe I'm wrong? Or have I missed a crucial clue somewhere along the way? I thought that the cover art was not the best choice as an indicator of the story content.

As I read through, I was often reminded of the movie Avatar which has a similar vibe, the planet and what it holds being more than initially meets the eye, and also the struggle against a huge corporate power. The world building in this book is just as good and I often found my mind's eye thinking on the same scale, reminded of the fantastic imagery of the movie. Think of this as a good thing, unless you thought that Avatar was rubbish, which will mean that you might find some aspects of this book tiresome. Not me though, I loved it and I'm really looking forward to book two of this Donovan Trilogy called Abandoned which is due for publication in November 2018. Overall this sci-fi adventure is great entertainment which ticked all of the boxes for me in what I look for in a novel these days.

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

Buy the ebook HERE (Amazon US)
Buy the paper book HERE (Book Depository)

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