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Song of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus Series) Mass Market Paperback – April 27, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Scarabaeus Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This brilliantly conceived debut heralds a significant new talent. The secretive interstellar government called the Crib unleashed its biocyph terraforming technology on the planet Scarabaeus, but something went very wrong. Only sensitive, talented Edie Sha'nim, an orphan raised by the Crib and taught to program biocyph seeds, knows what happened. Rebel Fringe colonies, determined to escape the Crib's clutches, send freedom fighters to kidnap Edie, telepathically link her to handsome thug Finn, and promise her liberty if she shows them how to prevent the biocyph seeds' annual deactivation. Edie wants to trust Finn and help the rebels, but she doesn't dare explain her part in Scarabaeus's transformation into a planet of horrifying death. Creasy's convincing scientific speculation, appealing characterizations, and eerie alien landscapes make this science fiction romance deeply satisfying. (May)
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Review

“This brilliantly conceived debut heralds a significant new talent....Creasy’s convincing scientific speculation, appealing characterizations, and eerie alien landscapes make this science fiction romance deeply satisfying.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Traditionally, readers of fantasy are looking for well-developed characters while SF fans want plot and action. Song of Scarabaeus definitely has both going for it.” (Robin Hobb)

“The tension never lets up, both in the action and between the characters, from the first page to the last.” (Trudi Canavan, New York Times bestselling author)

“A powerful debut…gripping characterization, non-stop action, fascinating biological speculation, and a dash of romance. Don’t miss it!” (Linnea Sinclair)

“A writer to watch. … The biological speculation rings with truth and possibility, the terraforming-gone-wrong creates an environment of delicious creepiness, and Creasy’s imaginatively-constructed universe draws the reader in.” (Vonda N. McIntyre)
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Product Details

  • Series: Scarabaeus Series (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061934739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061934735
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,873,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sara Creasy grew up in a tumbling-down Victorian house in the Midlands, UK, where she tapped out her first stories on a tiny blue typewriter. After moving to southeastern Australia as a teenager, her love of all things fantastical hooked her on science fiction. Then she grew up -- but she still plays with words. Marriage to an American (author M.C. Planck) resulted in a second intercontinental move, and she lived in Arizona for five years. She now lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and daughter.

She writes SF adventure stories with a touch of romance. Song of Scarabaeus (2010) was nominated for the 2010 Philip K. Dick Award and the 2010 Aurealis Award for Best SF Novel. The sequel is Children of Scarabaeus (2011).

http://www.saracreasy.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Prodigy Edie Sha'nim was trained at a young age to program technology called biocyph. But when she is kidnapped by mercenaries wanting to exploit her gift, she is given a taste of actual freedom away from the forced labor of the Crib government. Edie is assigned a bodyguard, Finn, who has no choice in the matter. But the two must work together to fight for their freedom against the mercenaries and the Crib.

Creasy has created a fascinating universe of advanced technology with debatable repercussions. Edie and Finn have great chemistry and are a bit of an "odd couple," being complete opposites. Edie is naturally submissive and highly emotional. Whereas, Finn is stoic and rebellious. With subtle description, the characters and landscapes jump off the page. And within the first few chapters, I was pulled into the story.

This was a highly impressive science fiction novel from a promising new author. The technology was described enough to seem believable, yet not enough to get bogged down in explanation. And its blend of technology and moral ethics was surprisingly fresh. With plenty of mystery, danger, suspense, intrigue, and alien life - fans of the genre will definitely enjoy this exciting debut. Ending in a mild cliffhanger, readers like me will be eager for a sequel.
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Other reviewers have summarized the plot, so I'll content myself with saying Song of Scarabaeus is a thoughtful, well-written book that manages to combine immensely appealing lead characters (Edie, the strong-willed but generous kidnapped cypherteck) and Finn (her bitter but intensely moral bodyguard) with great science and quite a bit of believable fast-paced action.

The plot--and here I give no quarter--stands up to 99% of scrutiny (with just a little fudging over data storage in the resolution). All in all, Song of Scarabaeus is of the best SF books I've read in years. Can't wait for Sara Creasy's next book!

Note: The book has a very cool trailer posted on a well-known video-upload site that I'm apparently not supposed to link to <g>.
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I wanted to like this; I really did. But I didn't. It was very tiring emotionally - nobody in the story was good. The heroine (Edie) was kind of OK; the hero... maybe. Everybody else was immoral and venal and wicked. Everybody. The race that she grew up with (the Talasi) were horrible and abused her and removed the tongues of children for talking. The woman that took her away from there was selfish and evil. The company she worked for was greedy and evil. The people that kidnapped her were evil and greedy. Every single person on the ship was selfish and betrayed them. The "fringe" worlds that they wanted to help had betrayed the hero. There were no good people here. And people died right and left, so you ended up being glad that you hadn't ever liked them.

Yet somehow we were supposed to believe that the heroine was inspired to do what was right by the tired people that she almost escaped with. Why should they be any different than anybody else? Where would the heroine have even acquired a conscience? Certainly not from anybody around her. I think that the author took too much to heart the idea that you should always make things worse for the characters. Nothing ever went right. It was exhausting. I wanted a little relief from the endless bad news and never got it. Out of emotional exhaustion I stopped caring and started skimming.

Had a hard time believing in the "romance". Why would these people bother caring? Everybody was bound to betray you sooner or later. That seemed to be the message, anyway. It's not like there was anything special between the heroine and hero. They were forced to be together because the hero would die if he went too far away. And the pat little sacrifice at the end was just too much.

There was interesting technical stuff.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Meet Edie. She's a cypherteck who works
with terraforming seeds called BRATs (a brand
of bio-engineered sci-bomb which jerks
a planet's ecosystem into shape and
preps it for new colonists). She's kidnapped
by rovers (space pirates) who need her aid
in fixing dying Fringe worlds. Since her apt-
itude is rare and vauled, Finn is made
into her bodyguard--can't leave her or
he'll die. Tension ensues. Now Edie must
survive assassinations, restore
planet Scarabaeus, and earn Finn's trust.
Romantic subplot's swwet and feels legit--
I only wish that there were more of it."

I picked up this book because I was looking for another read like Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series--modern, mostly positive, science fiction written with a female audience in mind. I'm a big fan of science fiction, but I've mostly read very guy-centric SF, like cyberpunk, and I've recently grown more interested in SF stories that feel like a counterpoint to urban fantasy--action, intrigue, some humor, and no Big Messages about how We Are All Doomed, like a lot of dystopian SF has delivered in the past. Well, author Sara Creasy sure knows her science fiction, because Song of Scarabaeus is both brilliantly imagined and deeply entertaining.

Edie's abilities are interesting and well-rendered, and she's also a very believable character. She grew up as an outcast on her primitive backwater world, but now she has skills that are vauled throughout the galaxy. But she doesn't let pride get to her. When Finn, a slave who was incarcerated for fighting on the wrong side during a galactic war, is assigned to her as a bodyguard, she thinks of his wellbeing, though everyone else treats him like an intelligent animal.
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