on Feb. 6, 2016 :
Full disclosure: Kevin is my cousin! With that being said, I recognized some of the references he made in the book, which was entertaining in itself. As I read this book, I couldn't help but to admit that there is no way I could do something like this on my first attempt, so BRAVO ZULU to Kevin. Kevin often talks fondly of his time in the US Navy and the many life lessons that he'd garnered while he was enlisted. He has clearly been able to draw from that to enrich the character development in Crisis On the Rim. As he progresses in the Star Alliance Chronicles, I hope that he does more to develop the characters of the villains - make us hate them more or emphasize with their struggles. I look at the Star Alliance Chronicles as similar to the Star Wars series. This book was a set up for the rest of the series, and there should be at least 2 more books. So Kevin has had a great first effort to build off of and I am looking forward to reading the next installment!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Sep. 13, 2013 :
The experience of reading “The Star Chronicles – Crisis at the Rim” is a lot of fun sometimes and drudgery at other times. The novel is a space opera, and once the story gets into space and the antimatter torpedoes and disruptor cannons start flying, all is well – in fact, all is better than well. The writing then is moving and tense, active and up close; the dialogue is terse and controlled, and while we share the small battles and the individual fears and dangers and heroics, we never lose sight of how the larger battle they’re a part of is faring. This is where the reader’s most entertainment is to be found and it is a fun ride. The book definitely does interstellar battles well.
Unfortunately, not even space operas get to stay in the stars all the time. The book stumbles most when it’s on the ground, and it falls flat trying to handle romance. In those scenes the dialogue is bookish and emotionally disconnected; little of what’s said and how it’s said rings true. Emotionally, everything comes across as a high school crush masquerading as something deeper and more durable. Still, the characters themselves remain very likable and the reader is caught wanting the interactions to be more real, and disappointed that they aren’t.
After the introduction (which gives away too much of the plot) the first sections of the novel remain within the mind of the main character, and so everything that’s supposed to be exciting, feels passive. This continues in the very next chapter when his parents arrive. Now the reader is stuck listening to the main character talk extensively about key actions that happened some time in the past. It is tough to generate much excitement in the reader at the start of the story when you are two steps removed from the action described.
However, what remains even more curious to me is that the single, implacably negative, driving force for the entire story is the father of the main character’s first love, but this character is left off screen forever. He is the hinge plate of the entire plot, the main character’s ultimate foe, and yet we never meet him, never see him, never hear him, never really understand him, and yet there he is supposedly driving every scene, causing every twist, negating every triumph – always in the background. Honestly, I don’t know what to think of this.
Once the main character arrived at his assignment, I felt the book finally hit its stride. The writing became much more confident. I appreciated that the minor characters took on some additional complexities and nuance and proved to be far better than the flat, stock types they appeared to be at first blush. All of that helped and the pages began to finally fly by.
That brings me to the very end of the story. I have to say it was suddenly odd and strangely condensed. The situation was not credible and everything about the moment felt rushed, including the writing. What was the writer’s need for speed here? I know there are other books to follow in the series but surely it would be better to end this one with grace and not a hatchet.
So, overall, it was an enjoyable read – mostly. It seems to me that space operas require two key elements – sweeping space adventure with several wild battles and fascinating characters caught up in complex emotional situations. “The Star Chronicles – Crisis at the Rim” delivers the goods on the first but remains a bit wanting on the second.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on June 15, 2013 :
Great story line. It was a fun and easy read. The author was able to vividly paint pictures with his words making you feel as if you're at the movies. There was enough character development, so you can feel and connect with the characters. It also teaches you some great life lessons such as it is not the cards you're dealt with, but how you
play it. Got my money's worth. If you're only going to read one book this summer, can't go wrong with this one. It was well written. Thank you.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Dec. 28, 2012 :
Very nice classic space opera. Good writing and dialog, interesting and defined characters albeit stereotypes are impossible to avoid in these kinds of story's. A bit slower paced than I like, but in an introductory book spending more time on characters and motivations is quite normal. All around a good read, nothing negative beyond a few awkward dialogs here and there. I look forward to a sequel and perhaps a bit more action. Great debut novel..
(reviewed the day of purchase)