Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review::Right Ascension by David Derrico

Right AscensionRight Ascension by David Derrico

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Right Ascension (Edge of Apocalypse) By David Derrico

I won't say I loved this and I won't say I hated it. It sort of falls between and definitely falls short of what I expected from the description. And unfortunately it's one of a few that I have to agree with the assessment of many that it seems like a rewrite of some of the popular Sci-Fi out there. But if you enjoy the lighter softer side of Sci-Fi it can be an enjoyable read.

Perhaps the biggest problem for many people who found objection is that it doesn't quite live up to the standards of those softer lighter Sci-Fi and even the description it gives itself.

I think also it was a bit jarring to have it start the first chapter with two characters that were probably the most engaging characters and then kill them off immediately. (That's a bit of a spoiler and I'm sorry, but this is an important difficulty with this story.) Chad and Krystal have this thing; two hotshot pilots that are almost on opposite ends of some dipole and yet have this potential chemistry. I got invested in these two and felt really bad when the rug was pulled. Having that happen somehow negated the sympathy I should have felt for the characters who lost these two people. (Well in this case the one who lost Chad since there is no back or forward story involving Krystal.)

The writing is not bad. There is always room for improvement, but honestly it was not anything I felt needed massive amounts of work. It was good and solid with some half way fleshed out characters and some interesting ideas. But I would also agree with people that there are elements too familiar in the makeup of the crew that keep steering the mind to known characters of known Sci Fi.

Also we have a, to be blunt, death-star only owned by the supposed good guys and of course this is a key point in the plot because it is supposedly the death-star that has garnered some superior alien attention. The massive ship Indominable with the doomsday weapon (the omega cannon) that destroys entire planetary systems. Since it's existence causes the mysterious alien race to attack Earth it's key to the plot.

There are a number of elements of this story that are familiar to Sci-Fi fans so the real meat for this novel is the issue of the Moral part. The question of what if everything you have been told about the war with the Korgian Star System was not quite true? What if heroes in the war had to make judgement calls and they weren't the best calls? What if the heroes that saved the day come out smelling a bit tainted? This is what makes this story unique and better. The problem is that it's glossed over too quickly and never fully addressed and then the holier than though people who are taken aback do something later that might actually seem almost but not quite as bad as their predecessors. And that transgression seems to go right over their heads.

We won't even mention that so far as the reader is told these aliens who attack might not know what has been done with this weapon and are only concerned about what it might be used for. And a bit later we do have to ask the question of why they waited 40 years to do something.

If felt like many plot possibilities were missed and many glossed over too quickly for this to come out well as a moral tale. This might be disappointing to people expecting the moral tale to be the bulk of the originality of the story. Perhaps book two will delve into this issue with more clarity.

Sci-Fi fans who like the soft side and don't mind close resemblance to popular fiction should enjoy this as light Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It could have been better and might be in book two, I'm just uncertain where the author is headed with the plot and moral issues. The only way to know for certain is to read the next one.

It is a shame to see some people have left reviews saying they couldn't finish the book, I didn't find it to be bad enough to throw it down and not finish.

J.L. Dobias

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