Review: Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields

Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.

Neek does not believe—and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views.

Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl—a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?

Neek is Exiled from her home planet, Neek (you’ll understand within the first few pages), and is a pilot on a transport ship that works between galaxies.Their very ancient ship Mercy’s Pledge is trying to get to the nearest port for repairs when they happen upon Risalians’ and Mmnnuggl’s in what appears to be a skirmish, during peacetime. From there, everything seems to go downhill, and in the process, Mercy’s Pledge has a new crew member. A being that Neek insists cannot exist, as Ardulan’s are mythology, and religious doctrine that she has been disputing all her life,causing her exile and unable to contact her family.

This was a really enjoyable story. The world building was fantastic, and the writing is clean. There is some science/tech stuff that goes over my head, but I’m not hardcore sci-fi reader so it worked for me.

All of the beings are interesting, and the political system that is set up is fairly complex. Risalians seem to be the protectors for many species, and the drawback of this is they are the only ones with weapons, which is problematic when it appears the Mmnnuggls are trying to engage in battle, that they as outsiders are fully equipped for.

I liked that this switched to other points of view. We get an understanding of how Risal hierarchy is set up, and their role in keeping the peace.

Captain Yorden, Neek, and Nicholas, a Journey Youth who is along for an adventure as part of his rite of passage, are a band of misfits who don’t always follow the rules, so it makes sense that they would somehow end up in the predicament they find themselves. This is a pretty action packed adventure, with lots of space travel, and encounters with plenty of interesting characters, witty banter, and some heavy introspection from Neek.

I read book two first, which was a mistake. Although book one filled in the gaps for things I missed out on, I do not recommend reading this out of order. I do however recommend reading this if you dabble in sci-fi as a genre. It was fun, and the writing was really impressive.

On to book three.

a review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

No comments:

Post a Comment