Showing posts with label Sara Creasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sara Creasy. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Featuring SFR Review: Children of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus 2) by Sara Creasy

Edie Sha'nim believes she and her bodyguard lover, Finn, could find refuge from the tyranny of the Crib empire by fleeing to the Fringe worlds. But Edie's extraordinary cypherteck ability to manipulate the ecology of evolving planets makes her far too valuable for the empire to lose. Recaptured and forced to cooperate - or else she will watch Finn die - Edie is shocked to discover the Crib's new breed of cypherteck: children. She cannot stand by while the oppressors enslave the innocent, nor can she resist the lure of Scarabaeus, the first world she tried to save, when researchers discover what appears to be an evolving intelligence.

But escape - for Edie, for Finn, and for the exploited young - will require the ultimate sacrifice...and a shocking act of rebellion.
Children of Scarabaeus picks up where Song of Scarabaeus left off, with Edie in need of neurotoxin and the Crib fast on their heels. Edie and Finn are captured again, except this time it's the Crib and Natesa that take them and some of the same problems previously faced by these two are reprised. The Crib uses Finn's leash against Edie and she will do anything to keep him alive, even if she has to give up her dreams of freedom.

Natesa is working on Project Andra and soon Edie discovers that the Crib is using children from her home planet of Talin to work on the project. But as this project begins to falter and other massive scientific failures throughout the galaxy come to light, Scarabaeus once again becomes the focus for the Crib and Edie and Finn find themselves on their way to that planet.

The repetition of events, the capture and the way Finn is used against Edie, was disappointing to me. That whole story line just felt too familiar, too soon, even though the events take place on a different ship and this time it's the Crib instead of rovers that do the torturing.

Slavery is a thread in this story, as Finn, Edie, the children and even Natesa are portrayed as nothing more than slaves to the Crib in one way or another. Of the children I loved Galeon, a 7 year-old boy who steals every scene where he appears. Even though he's brilliant, he acts like a child and humanizes this story and in the process does the same for both Edie and Finn. This little boy manages to touch Edie and even the too practical Finn.

I still loved the planet Scarabaeus and how it evolved by the time our protagonists' return, and of course the creepy-crawlies that still abound there. The sci-fi details are carried through in this installment from the last book and the world building continues at a slower pace. The romance does permeate this story more so than in the first installment, although again it is slow going and more on the realistic side of things. I liked that the romance doesn't take the focus away from the sci-fi storyline and yet the connection between Edie and Finn can be felt throughout.

The final resolution takes place in the planet of Scarabaeus and it's both exciting and climactic. I liked the way Ms. Creasy works all the world building and character details into the ending. Although again as in Song of Scarabaeus, the secondary characters don't have the depth I prefer to encounter in such stories, the main characters do make up for that flaw. There are sci-fi and plotting details galore in this book, however the plot meanders a bit and is not as well defined as that first book.

Children of Scarabaeus is definitely worth reading, there are no plot holes, the world building is tight and all ends on a satisfying note, even though there's also a feeling of deja vu at that point. The romance aspect of the book is well integrated into this story, as Ms. Creasy uses a combination of sensual tension, yearning and a realistic touch to build on the already established relationship. This is another solid science fiction romance installment by Ms. Creasy and, although I wish the end of this two-book series had been more exciting for me, I definitely look forward to reading her future works.

Category: Science Fiction Romance
Series: Scarabaeus #2
Published/Released Date: Harper Collins, March 29, 2011- Kindle Edition
Grade: B

Visit Sara Creasy here.

Song of Scarabaeus, Book 1
Children of Scarabaeus, Book 2

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Featuring SFR Review: Song of Scarabaeus (Book 1) by Sara Creasy

Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie's mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she's not entirely sure it's a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn's side, he dies. If she doesn't cooperate, the pirates will kill them both. But Edie's abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she'll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.
Song for Scarabaeus is Sara Creasy's debut novel and the first of two books that follows the exciting space adventures of cypherteck Edie and her bodyguard Finn. I love the "kick-ass Captain" as the female protagonist just as much as the next reader, but that's not Edie. No, Edie is a geek and I loved that about her. Now, don't think that because she's technologically brilliant Edie doesn't kick ass. Technologically speaking, she does.

Edie is a half-breed and she grew up as an outcast in the backwater planet Talas. At age 10 she was picked up by the Crib for what they saw as her potential abilities to work with biocyph (biological and cypher technology). By way of computer chips implanted in her brain and body parts, Edie is able to program and decipher complex computer (dry teck) and biological (wet teck) technologies.  Her abilities are rare and valued throughout the universe and she's kept under wraps and well guarded by the Crib. But rovers (space pirates) kidnap her with the aid of serfs who have been promised freedom in return. Finn is one of those serfs.

Finn's serf or slave status doesn't change when they reach the rover's ship, the Hoi-Polloi. The rovers place a boundary chip or leash on him that ties him to Edie. In other words, he can't stray away from her or the explosives implanted on his brain kill him instantly. Also if she dies... he dies, so he has no choice but to guard her with his life, as they are both forced to carry on with the rovers' mission. The mission takes them on to Scarabaeus, a planet that the Crib attempted to terraform years earlier and Edie's secret obsession.

Song of Scarabaeus is not heavy sci-fi. Instead it's an engaging, well-written story with the main focus on those sci-fi details and a touch of romance. I enjoyed Ms. Creasy's sci-fi world building including the space terms that differ a bit from others I've read, but are easy to follow. The action and pacing are excellent. The story begins with action, slows down to build on the plot and picks up to an action-packed finish. I was never distracted from the story and finished the book in two sittings. Some of my favorite scenes take place on the planet, Scarabaeus. There are creepy, eerie as well as action-packed and intense moments. There's nothing like space creepy-crawlies to light my fire when I'm reading sci-fi, lol!

The plot is quite interesting with the overall storyarc detailing how the powerful Crib empire creates a monopoly out of terraforming new planets, populating them and then enslaving Fringe worlds through their dependency on technology. Yet, there are many grey areas presented by the author through Edie's own personal conflicts about the different entities involved, the technology itself and how it's used, as well as characters introduced. Are they good or evil, or are they a bit of both depending on their agenda?

The characterization is well done, especially for a first book where some characters are highlighted more than others. Edie is well developed and a thoroughly likable character. Although not a physical threat, Edie uses her technical abilities, but better than that she also makes great use of instincts by exhibiting good insight and judgment. I love her humanity and the way she chooses to become independent and to go against the odds to achieve her goal. Enough is revealed about Finn for this story's purposes, but he is still a mystery by the end. He's definitely the most intriguing character so far. The other secondary characters are interesting for their "grey" areas with some better drawn than others.

There is a touch of romance and I enjoyed the way that developed. It's not too fast or too blatant, instead the emotional connection and building chemistry between the characters seems like a natural progression. As it turns out, there is a cliffhanger at the end of this book and those usually bother me. However although you can tell there's a continuation coming, the story is not cut off at an awkward moment and it ends well enough. Having said that, I'm glad I don't have to wait long to read the next book, Children of Scarabaeus, Book 2.

The best recommendation I can give Song of Scarabaeus? I couldn't stop reading the book and couldn't wait to finish it. I recommend it to readers who love sci-fi and sci-fi/romance. I think this is an excellent debut novel for Ms. Creasy and will definitely look for her books in the future.

Sci-Fi Romance
February Read
Category: Science Fiction/Romance
Series: Scarabaeous
Published: Harper Collins; April 27, 2010-Kindle Edition
Grade: B

Song of Scarabaeus, Book 1
Children of Scarabaeus, Book 2 - Releasing March 29, 2011

Visit Sara Creasy here.