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Mark Oetjens was born in 1971. He grew up in suburban Chicago. As a child he was diagnosed with Dystonia, a debilitating neuromuscular disorder. Though there is no cure for Dystonia, surgeries and rehabilitation allowed him to walk with only a slight limp by the time he started high school. He received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Anthropology, both from Northern Illinois University. As an adult a brain tumor, completely unrelated to his Dystonia, threatened to disable him a second time. Thanks to radiation therapy the tumor has disappeared. Mark currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.
on Nov. 19, 2011 :
The Staff of Rahgorra
I just finished reading Mark Oetjens’s The Staff of Rahgorra. This is a science-fiction novel that follows the story an evil overlord named Thrull and his quest to secure a weapon called The Staff of Rahgorra and wield its power to control the galaxy. Along the way, Cam Del Rey- the hero of the story-, an ex-GSB agent is recruited to help secure the staff that was lost hundreds f years ago. On his quest, he meets up with a young GSB agent named Koya, who has a hidden past. Both possess a power known as “Jai”, similar to the force. It allows a person to become hyper sensitive to the world around them. They can move faster than normal and ‘sense’ when someone else who has this power is close by. She accompanies Cam and he decides to teach her how to control her Jai, in order to help him overthrow Thrull. As any good book would, there are segments if intrigue, drama, and deception.
I don’t want to give away a lot of the story, but Staff is a science fiction novel for the science junky. Mark litters the book with very cool and interesting science facts, such as String Theory, to educate and capture the interests of the reader, while weaving it into Rahgorra lore. Mark writes with a very smooth style, that carries the story long well. He knows how to capture the essence of science-fiction and evenly lace the story with technology and action, while keeping the reader engaged.
My only gripe with the story is that it is very familiar to me. I am a huge Star Wars junky, and this tale almost parallels it with similar themes of good versus evil and the power of Jai is somewhat like the Force. It was like reading a story within the Lucas world. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not something that I would call original. For science-fiction aficionados, it is a good read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Aug. 05, 2011 :
This book was a sweet surprise. I haven't read any sci-fi for quite a while so I wasn't sure about picking it up, but I'm glad I did. In some ways it reminded me of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. If the author chooses to, he certainly can turn this into a living and breathing galactic history series full of twists and turns. The book is well-written and not only does it have galactic battles, the characters are well-defined and have depth. The story is engrossing, and although it stands alone, it is set up for a sequel. I can't wait for the next one!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on March 21, 2011 :
I am not usually a fan of sci fi novels but like most people I had seen Star Wars and had always wanted to get in to sci fi. This was a great book that kept me interested. It was the first one by this author so I didn't have to worry about not reading previous stories in a series and the way this book ended, I believe the author was hinting that there is more to come. Great read, highly recommended.
(reviewed long after purchase)