23 June 2012

An interlude in the long war

Science Fiction | Catrina Taylor

Below the Surface is a novelette in the Xenonian universe. It's in the same universe as the longer Xarrok: Birth of an Empire (which I have yet to read; dam this stupid tendency to hit every series in the middle!), and explains how Henessa meets Merx, and how Kala got drawn into the whole war.

It's a sweet little story, with the challenges being supplied by the war, loss and separation, but it remains at all times, sweet. I was greatly disappointed at reaching the end, and tried to click forward to find some more. I guess I'll have to go check out the other books now. Because I really need to know why Yatrell and Kala are at loggerheads, and what really happened with Henessa's father. And what's with the two hearts. And why the Ven are such villains. And... but I have another series to complete first, again one that I hit in the wrong order (and this time all my fault since I had both books, but picked the wrong one first). What a nice problem to have! :)

It has good, clean writing, characters that are fully brought out in merely 30 pages, very little exposition, yet enough hints thrown in to intrigue you: two hearts, how do they grow stuff in caves, what on Beta are the Ven, and why?

But you never actually meet the villains, so it's a bit too sweet in places. Normally, I'd expect more tension added from the situations in such a case, even if it's an introductory interlude. I don't necessarily want to read a science fiction story and find myself with a sappy smile on my face on several pages. ;)

Like The Queen of Death, it's a story with good people, and easy to suspend your disbelief as you read. Even if you anticipate some scenes, it's satisfying. Hopeful.

Currently, discounted infinitely heavily at Amazon (at the time of posting).

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