Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Earthrise(Her Instruments book 1)by M.C.A. Hogarth
I've read a few of M.C.A. Hogarth's shorts and her Spots the Space Marine and I've come to enjoy her as having a unique perspective from which to view her far future. Earthrise is no exception; though the character development is quite exceptional. I’ve definitely put her on my to-read list. But this might not be the fare for everyone; though I’d recommend that you try at least one of her novels and this would be a good one to start with.
This novel takes place in the universe of the Alliance and the Pelted. The Pelted seem to be some sort of designer sentient species that are [well] furry in nature. They each have their own subculture and that helps define how their personal moral characteristics might appear and when you add in the standard elements of good bad and in between [black, white and shades of grey] you have some rather complex characters.
In this story we have the captain, Theresa [Reese] Eddings,of TMS Earthrise who is a simple dark human female who was raised on Mars in a culture that at one time lost all its male population and used other means to proliferate and a subculture of that, which now exists, excludes men: while designing all offspring to be women. Her family is in that subgroup and she's the rebellious one who is not sure she wants to live that life. Of course she instead is a space merchant who reads a lot of romance fiction and has managed to keep to herself when it comes to personal relationships. That might all change since she started taking on crew: all from out of the Pelted races.
TMS Earthrise has a number of interesting crew.
Kis’eh’t, is a centauroid type of the Glaseahn and seems to have feathers and wings along with four legs and two arms. Information about them can be found at a couple web sites.
Next we have Bryer, a Phoenix; a giant birdlike creature with metallic plumage. And the twins Irine and Sascha are of the felinoid Harat-Shar who wear as few clothing as they can get by with. And then there is the more subdued but equally as strange Flitzbe named Allacazam [ a furball] that might be similar to Tribbles [out of Star Trek]; with an ability to be telepathic plus to emote in color: on its outer fur.
We join the story as Reese, who has been long indebted to a mysterious patron who long ago funded her continuation in her mercantile endeavors, finding out that her patron wants to collect on that debt. They want her to retrieve Hirianthial Sarel Jisiensire, an Eldrich, who has been arrested on a planet that might have some affiliations with slave trade. And as thing work out it seems that her patron is the Queen of the Eldrich and her assignment might be of noble birth. Eldriches are somewhat xenophobic and don't get around much and as a result there are plenty of strange myths surrounding their alleged magical nature.
Predictably this all follows a rather trope-ic path from a rescue to possibly acquiring a new crew member who actually does have some pretty strange abilities; but is mostly a pain because some piratical slavers want the Eldrich; and Reese wants to get rid of it [him]. Since her debt to the Queen forbids her from letting the pirate slavers have him back [well] we can see where it is all going.
What made this a great read for me was the character development and the interaction as a team that sometimes seems quite dysfunctional. So although in some ways there are parts that seem predictable; it's how the characters get to the end that makes this a story worth reading.
This is a well written story in a universe full of possibilities that have definite rules that stand to get in the path of the heroes and sometimes help the unsavory elements.
This is great SFF for the fan who isn't focused on the more mundane part of science [Simon Pure] and of course the few furry fans out there. Although as furry stories go this one has quite exceptional with thoughtful development as to how these beings all fit together in this universe.
With such a myriad of creatures in space; were bound to see some fur fly.
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