Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review - The Birth of the Dread Remora

Summary (via Nathaniel Demming is a midshipman aboard the HMES Remora, the very first ship to go beyond their world's waters and out into the ether. He and the rest of the crew are ready for adventure, eager to explore the unknown and chart a new course for the rest of their world to follow. But what they find out there will change their lives, and their perspective, forever. The ether is not empty at all, but teeming with life--including vicious marauders waiting to prey upon the hapless Remora. Can Demming help his friends and fellow officers through the crises that await? Can they survive the dangers all around them? And can he convince them to transform their ship and themselves into the antithesis of everything they trained for, while still holding true to everything they believe in?

Birth of the Dread Remora is the first tale of the epic Scattered Earth saga, and the first in a series of swashbuckling adventures about the space-pirate ship the Dread Remora!

This book has a really unique premise. In a future era of the human race, people live underwater. Knowledge of the universe has been lost since our time, but the people here know that above the water is air, and above the air is ether, but what's in the ether? When a strange, new light appears to be coming from beyond the air, a mission is formed to learn more. The story begins on the maiden voyage of Remora, the first ship to travel into the ether.

The ether is nothing like they expected. The main conflict in this book centers not on the mysterious light (which is forgotten fairly quickly) but rather around tension between the ranks and encounters with aliens who lurk in the ether and attack the Remora. The officers must find a way to protect themselves from dangers they weren’t prepared for.

This is book one of the Scattered Earth series, which I was interested to learn is / will be written by three separate authors. While this book followed Demming and his crew, the Scattered Earth series promises three worlds, three storylines, all ultimately connected.

There were several times throughout the book where I had a "wait, what??" moment, reading something that I wished had been explained better. Like, the underwater galley being stocked with soup and crackers, a girl sheened in sweat after a workout (still underwater), aliens who speak English. And at one point they mentioned seeing a burning globe like the sun, but much larger--what was that supposed to be? Unless I got their travel-time/speed wrong, the whole story took place within the solar system. Maybe there are good explanations for these things, but the idea of an aquatic race eating soup & crackers still puzzles me.

I liked the characters in this book. Our main character, Demming, is so eager to be a part of this mission. In his hopes to make the cut, Demming takes stock of each of the character's strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and it is from this perspective that we meet the rest of the crew.

Despite the "what, what?" moments, I did enjoy this story. It was an interesting premise (really, how often do you get to take a ship filled to the brim with water and explore outer-space & meet aquatic characters who are neither mermaids nor clown fish?), and I'm curious to see where the next installments of the series takes the story.

* This book was supplied by the publisher for review.

Lit Snit Rating: C+

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