Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kindle Spotlight -- Helios

A while back I reviewed N.J. Tanger's novel Chimera ( Well, now this writing trio is back with their follow-up: Helios. Is it as good as the first? Let's find out.
The story takes place not too long after the events of the first book. Theo Puck and his friends are training to crew the colony ship Chimera which needs to be woken after centuries of dormancy at Stephen's Point. Only the so-called Jubilee Children can crew the ship, so the task falls to them. Their mission is to use the Chimera to return to Earth and find out just what the hell is going on back there. This stems from the fact Earth has just sent them a resupply ship full of corpses, an unsettling turn of events to say the least.
The person in charge of the mission, Director Moorland, is testing the children to see who's best suited for each role on the Chimera. Theo is testing off the charts as a navigator, so it seems the job will fall to either him or antisocial newcomer Selena Samuelson. The take-charge Marcus Locke is being eyed as a potential captain, but very few people know he's actually a murderer, and Theo isn't sure if he can trust him.
As the cadets get used to their new routine, each of them begins feeling out one another. Theo gets off to a rocky start with Selena who is distrustful by nature. Making things more complicated is the possibility they'll have to work together to finally wake the Chimera, an unappealing prospect for Selena. Furthermore, Marcus despises her because she doesn't fit into his carefully planned agenda.
Eventually, Moorland has to make a decision as to who should crew the ship. It seems Marcus will lead the mission, but his increasingly sinister behavior has those around him questioning his ethics. Just what is he after, and what (or who) is he willing to sacrifice to get it? Will Moorland take the ultimate risk by putting him in charge? And who will Theo ultimately side with? The answer may surprise you.
Helios is a page-turner from start to finish. It has an incredibly engaging story that will keep you hooked until the end. I dare say it may even be better than the first book. A few typos crop up here and there, but they don't bring down the experience.
The best aspect of this story is the characterization. The three writers expertly build a roster of compelling protagonists (and at least one antagonist). Marcus in particular is a deep character; you never know if you should hate him or sympathize with him (or both). While you may not like his personality or methods, you can't deny he makes some good points about their perilous mission.
Finally, the white-knuckle climax has me waiting eagerly for the next book in the series, as the fate of several characters is left up in the air, and one very big problem for our species still needs to be solved.

Bottom line: Go read Helios. Now.

No comments:

Post a Comment