This is the second book in the trilogy (I think it’s a trilogy) by Sandra McDonald. Book 1, The Outback Stars I reviewed over here: LJ | wordpress . It’s got multicultural characters, military fiction, and indigenous Australian mythology all mixed up with space opera. I was pretty blown away by the first book – a lovely science fiction romance where the romance was slow moving, which is my type of thing. As soon as I saw that book 2 was in paperback in the store I bought it.
Also: I LOVE LOVE LOVE these covers. So pretty and convey that it is science fiction, and the portal in the pictures must represent an ouroboros. The artwork is by Donato Giancola.
*** There may be mild spoilers for book 1 from this point ***
The Premise: It’s soon after the events of The Outback Stars and our hero and heroine Jodenny Scott and Terry Myell are settling into their new jobs. Terry had decided to not volunteer for chef’s initiation, which means he’s getting flack for that at work. The both of them decided not to get involved with the Wondjina Transport System, but they’ve recently been approached by people asking for their help – the system stopped working and a team of six who were using it are now missing.
My Thoughts: The writing is much the same as the last book, which means I had no problems with the pacing and could read quickly for stretches of 100 pages at a time without feeling like it was a chore. What is different though is that Terry and Jodenny are apart for a lot of this book. They each have their own separate story arcs, which I didn’t really like because I love them together, but it did keep me reading, wanting their stories to intersect again. Unfortunately we don’t get to see them very happy because of forces beyond their control.
There’s also more focus on the Wondjina Transport System and Terry’s strange mystic connection with it. This was there in the first book as well, but this time the theme is expanded. At times the book got really out there, especially in the second half of the book. I couldn’t tell if I was reading some out of body experience or something that was really happening.
There’s hints about the ending of this book right in the prologue. It made my heart drop and so the closer to the end of the book I got, the slower I read. I was just afraid to get there. In my mind what we have is a cliffhanger. I’m hoping things turn out okay for Jodenny and Terry in the conclusion of this series, and I kind of think they will, but in the meantime I’m thankful I read this book when book three is also out. I also have a warning: DO NOT read the blurb for book three because it pretty much spoils this book!!! You can read it AFTER reading this book, but don’t do it before.
Overall: Still loving this series, but this one goes some places I didn’t really like, so I really have to read book three, The Stars Blue Yonder now.