I suppose the first thing you noticed is that I’ve decided to give a title to my reviews. Why not? Diane has her Anvil Reviews. My title does have some significance though. I tend to be hyper-critical when reviewing. It’s a mixture of OCD, perfectionism, and honesty. I’ve been that way for years…and I don’t really mean to be hyper-critical. It just comes out. I’m working on that. Especially now that my book’s about to be out to the world for other reviewers like me to chew up and spit out.
And so, I’ve dubbed my reviews the Thumbscrew Reviews, in honor of a humorously named medieval torture device.
Now, for the review. It shouldn’t be too torturous.
A Star Curiously Singing, by Kerry Nietz
Very. Cool. This book is not only stunning and thought provoking, but it is also intense and sometimes scary. I flew through the digital pages of my Kindle. This book is like Wall-E meets Event Horizon meets The Mummy meets the Matrix. Seriously, if you’ve read it that’ll make complete sense to you. And if you haven’t read it, but like those movies…then you’re sure to like this book. Well done, Mr. Nietz. The sequel is on my “to read” list
There’s much to praise about this book. This is the story of Sandfly, an indentured servant of sorts who gets an assignment to investigate the destruction of a robot on a state-of-the-art starship. The plot is skillfully constructed and artfully paced, taking you places you don’t expect and putting you on the edge of your seat. The characters are vivid and believable, both lovable and slapable. Descriptors are perfectly timed and do not take away from the story flow. And there’s a detail to the cultural changes one might expect in a future setting, but are often neglected in favor of transporting our own culture to another time…such as future catch phrases and lingo. This detail gives it the small nudge to push this book away from other sci-fi wanna-be’s.
Now for the critique. There really isn’t much to be critiqued here, but a few nit-picky things should be mentioned just so potential readers will know what they’re getting into. First, you should know that this book is written in first person present tense. Whereas Kerry weaves this POV perfectly, it’s not a POV I’m comfortable reading. I got over though, because Kerry uses this POV like butter. He succeeds where many people fall flat on their faces. But it’s still not a POV I prefer.
Lastly, there’s the issue of the Muslim/Sharia Law content. I didn’t have a problem with it, but I can see where others might. This story takes place in a future world won over and dominated by Muslim society. It’s a unique “what if” spin on a futuristic sci-fi. But I’m sure many politically correct fanatics would blow steam from their ears over this. There is some legitimacy to the complaint. The story could have been told without the Muslim content. Kerry could have just made up some fictional pagan society and the story wouldn’t have suffered. Why take a chance on alienating so many potential readers? But like I said, this really doesn’t bother me. However, if you’re reading this and you consider yourself sympathetic to the Muslim belief system…don’t read the book.
This book is sci-fi greatness. Every word transports you to the future, and even the POV style separates you from our temporal normalcy. I highly recommend it to any sci-fi or thriller fan. Thank you Kerry for giving me a great read while I was on vacation.
And I hope the thumbscrews weren’t too tight.
Also on NAF…
- Buy A Star Curiously Singing on Amazon.com.
- Kerry Nietz guest blogs.
- Diane Graham reviews A Star Curiously Singing.
- Diane Graham reviews The Superlative Stream (sequal to A Star Curiously Singing.)
- Author Interview with Kerry Nietz, by Diane Graham.
- Character interview with Sandfly and HardCandy, by Diane Graham.