The author offered me an ecopy of this novella length story (about 176 pages in my ereader) to review last month.
The Premise: Captain Renolds Osiris is a first time captain after 15 years at a desk job, his second in command, Marcus Collingway, was a resistance fighter responsible for the deaths of thousands, his security chief Telsia is another cold-blooded killer, and the rest of his crew is mostly inexperienced. To top all that off, their ship, the Vigilant may be newly overhauled, but it has a gruesome past. It’s the site where the previous crew went mad and killed each other. Only one survivor made it. And that’s just the beginning because on their maiden voyage, barely a day in space, they’re attacked by an alien race called the Soulites.
My Thoughts: The author has created a cast of gray characters – they aren’t always doing the right things, people don’t like each other, they believe things about one another that may be untrue, but somehow they have to learn to work together. There is no one main character that is the focus. The third person narration shifts between members the Vigilante crew, particularly the senior crew. The story draws you in by making you curious about the characters and their individual mysterious pasts, and about what they are fighting. As the story goes on, it’s revealed that some people know more than they say they do, and discoveries are slowly revealed like layers of an onion. What are the Soulites? Why did they attack Earth? How much did NAVA, the ruling organization of Earth, know about them? One answer seems to bring about five more questions.
There’s a very high paced plot to this story as the crew is knocked from one disaster to another in rapid succession. I like a high paced story, but in War of the Soulites, this is where I had a problem. Disaster seems to be the only thing that moves the plot forward. There is almost no downtime and the narration jumps from scene to scene, cutting away at the very height of the action to another scene. After a while I started to get mentally exhausted by all the cliffhangers, and I found myself needing breaks. It was difficult not to get disconnected from the story not only because of the jumping around but because it became hard to believe that so many disasters could befall this group.
The story ends in a good place but without a resolution to the problem with the Soulites, which leaves things open for the second book in the trilogy.
Overall: Despite the horrible cover, the story isn’t bad. It has an interesting plot and characters. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep up with the forced continuous action, which brought down the story’s overall appeal.