Monday, November 12, 2012

Kindle Spotlight -- Sliding Void

Stephen Hunt recently made the first book in his space series, Sliding Void, free on Kindle. Since I particularly enjoyed his Jackelian series, picking this up was a no-brainer, and so here we are.

Prince Calder Durk is having a pretty rough week. Betrayed by those closest to him, he finds himself on the run from an enemy army. A disreputable sorcerer, however, gives him one option for salvation: Exile. As it turns out, exile lies in a world previously unknown to Calder--as crew member on the starship Gravity Rose, captained by the foul-mouthed Lana Fiveworlds. For those of you who--like me--had only read Hunt's Jackelian series, this book may be a shock to you. In space, no one can hear you scream, but they can sure hear you swear, something the characters in this book do a lot of. Unlike the Jackelian books, the Sliding Void series was written for an audience of adult sci-fi fans. Aliens, robots and technical jargon abound, ensuring trekkies will feel right at home. The massive, city-sized Gravity Rose, along with the funny yet cute robots, reminded me especially of the old sci-fi series Red Dwarf (no smeg-heads here, sadly).

There isn't a whole lot of plot progression in the first volume, as it focuses more on character development. We get to meet the characters and feel them out, especially Calder. In the world of Sliding Void, learning is done via VR headsets which download information into people's minds Matrix-style. Once this is done to Calder, it's interesting to watch his newfound technological prowess clash with his medieval upbringing.

Sliding Void has an engaging narrative (barring the occasional formatting issue) and likable characters. That being said, I still prefer the Jackelian series, at least at this point. That steampunk world overflows with magic and wonder, while Sliding Void is pure science fiction. I guess it just depends on your personal preferences, really.

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