- Series: GAF Mainframe
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: StarkLight Press; 1 edition (December 31, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0993697046
- ISBN-13: 978-0993697043
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
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Dalton's Daughter: The Autobiography of Sasha Wheaton (GAF Mainframe) Paperback – December 31, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Virginia Carraway Stark is head writer for Canada's third largest publisher, StarkLight Press. She is an accomplished screenwriter with two full length, Hollywood features under her belt as well as a plethora of technical writing on biochemistry. This is her first published novel.
Top customer reviews
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Dalton's daughter was a science fiction story set in space, but it dealt with universal and timeless topics such as child abuse, rape, rejection, and sex. Sasha faces each painful experience and obstacle head on, in an honest and straightforward manner. I loved this book. I became emotionally involved in Sasha's life early on. I cared for whoever she cared for, and hated whom she hated. The characterization was just that strong. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
The only way to get off-world (at least in her tax bracket) is to join the military. She soon ends up on an orbital station for training.
Hollywood formula would dictate at this point that the book ends with her leading a brigade to defeat some epic enemy stronghold. Well, stuff that notion. The meat and potatoes of Dalton's Daughter is the training itself. Getting through, not breaking down, learning some of the little political garbage that she'd never been exposed to. There's a point where she can stop and think, and really look at the path she had to take to get so far. And she realizes that it was messy, and a little horrifying at points.
The girl we started with is now a mature woman, left with a lot on her plate, and adventures ahead.
This brings me to a point of caution- She is a character from a literary world that has well established entities and organizations. The preface reflects this; so much so that when I started the book, the preface intimidated me with many ideas and acronyms which I was entirely ignorant of. “Hoo boy, I'm going to have to learn all this stuff by figuring out in context through the book, and that sounds irritating.” But no. After the preface (which admittedly made a lot more sense after I finished the book) the story begins from a fresh perspective, a relative naïve protagonist, who learns most of this stuff with us.
If the preface turns you off, finish it knowing that it doesn't end with a quiz. Skim, or skip if you're so inclined. A wonderful story awaits. Early on I was expecting an eventual massive fire-fight, but I what I got was some pretty gripping drama, played both on, and off the varied training environments simulated on the station.
Oh, and if anyone asks, and I need to raise money for functioning weaponry, my vote is for the bake sale.
What I know is this: Dalton's Daughter is the story of a woman escaping from the resource planet she was born on through the most convenient way possible--the military. If you're not super into sci-fi, a resource planet is basically what is says on the tin: a place intended to be strip-mined until it's given all it's got of value. They're traditionally not...nice places. Dalton's not any different, and Sasha's life there is more than horrible enough to make you understand why she wants to leave.
Disclaimer the Second: Normally I'm not a fan of 'trigger warnings' for reasons that aren't relevant to this review so I'll keep them to myself. That being said, if you have trouble with depictions of sexual abuse you should be prepared for that. And maybe give the first couple of chapters a skip.
Things I Liked:
There were parts of this book, particularly around the middle, that reminded me very much of John Scalzi's Old Man's War, which is one of my favorite books of all time. Generally I'm not so hot on Military Fic, but apparently I really like Boot Camp Fic, and Dalton's Daughter delivered plenty of that.
Stark's characterization, not just of Sasha but of most of the characters, was surprisingly deft in a short amount of space. I got a good feel for people and people-like-things pretty quickly, and honestly through Sasha's eyes and in a way that fit someone with her cracked life experiences.
Stark is utterly and completely unafraid to go the dark, uneasy places. Generally that's not actually a thing I like, but for this book it works. Sasha has to struggle with some seriously icky places in her own mind, and in her past, and she doesn't necessarily do it in ways I like or agree with but she does it.
Things I Wasn't So Fond Of:
In the early chapters I had a little trouble with Sasha's voice. She's a complex person, but she's not always clear and it took a while to find my feet with that. Initially the narrative felt like I was spending time with a ten-year-old so when I did the math and realized she's seventeen or eighteen it was a little jarring. She's pretty extremely emotionally stunted though, and given the fact you get a front seat for most of why that is it makes sense.
There were a couple of places where the time skips--which obviously have to happen in any book, because otherwise it'd be like 1200 pages long--felt a little rushed. Like I started the chapter expecting us to spend time in one place, but we very quickly wound up someplace else.
Rating, Because Everybody Likes a Scale:
So here's the thing. If you read hard space-opera-y science fiction a lot and you absolutely love it and the concept of a website all about this universe's Encyclopedia Galatica makes you shiver with glee, then I'd tell you this book got a full 4 stars. Because most of the thing's I'd have docked it for wouldn't matter to you anyway.
If you don't read that kind of science fiction, or just don't generally read science fiction I'd tell you it got somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars. It's worth reading, even if you aren't a fan of the genre. Sasha Wheaton is real, even when she's a mess, and it's an interesting trip in her head.