Tuesday, November 01, 2011
REVIEW: The Price of the Stars
Title: The Price of the Stars, Book One of the Mageworlds
Author: Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald
Genre: science fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
I’ve heard of James MacDonald, half of the dynamic writing duo Doyle and MacDonald, through the blog Making Light, where he’s one of the co-bloggers. But I had never read any of his fiction, so when he announced that he was e-publishing his backlist, I decided to give his stuff a shot. I’m glad I did.
The Price of the Stars is your basic space opera. Humans are zipping across the galaxy on faster-than-light ships, cracking wise with alien beings, and shooting blasters at each other whenever the mood strikes them.
And damn if it isn’t a cracking good read! I mean, who wouldn’t want to crack wise with an alien, or zip from star to star with the same ease as flying to Pittsburgh for a shoe salesman’s convention? (If you wouldn’t want to do the above, you can stop reading now.)
In this space opera, some thirty years ago, humans had fought a knock-down-drag-out war with the Mage Lords, a separate group of humans. This was a nasty war, with planets melted down to bare rock and biological weapons deployed. The good guys, the humans of the Republic, won, and a somewhat uneasy peace has settled onto the galaxy. Beka Rosselin-Metadi, co-pilot of a starship, is happy with that peace.
Then she discovers that somebody has assassinated her mother, the Domina of Entibor, in a very public way. Besides making her the new Domina, a political post that she despises, it also proves to have put a massive target on her back. She also has decided to go off on a private vendetta to figure out who pulled the trigger on her mother and why. This being space opera, the answers are neither simple nor immediately forthcoming.
Now, space opera tends to get a bad rap because of cardboard characters who seemingly never get hurt. In Price of the Stars, there is no cardboard, and people are not bulletproof. Everybody has a past, and that is reflected in what they do now. Price of the Stars is a fast paced romp through an interesting world.