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A Dark of Endless Days (Volume 2) Paperback – August 26, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
A worthy addition to the sci-fi genre and certainly one for readers who enjoy following serial compilations. --John Reinhard Dizon, Author In the vein of old science fiction literature this story could end up as another classic. It's original, with all the components, technology, other world and races, and a contact with Earth. It also has tension and conflict, though mostly emotional and interpersonal, not ray guns. --Amazon Reviewer Written in a technically proficient yet engaging style this book is sure to captivate science fiction lovers of all ages! --Donna McGarry, Author the "Zodiacts" series The descriptions of Earthlings and our society sent me into fits of laughter. A couple new characters drop in on this volume, a bnolar and Win, a friend of Dirck's, to make this story an ever increasingly interesting read. Fox once again does an exceptional job building character and making her created universe a reality. --Elle Klass, Author of "Eilida's Tragedy" and the "Baby Girl" series --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Author
When I finished "Beyond the Hidden Sky" it was apparent that the story wasn't over yet. I didn't initially plan it that way, but that's what happens when your characters come alive, have a past that's catching up with them, and as they say, "the plot thickens."
This book presented a significant challenge to write as I designed Cyraria. It's been said that fantasy stories take place in "worlds" and science fiction takes place on "planets". I wanted it to be different, not just another planet in a binary system that orbits both stars at once. Thus, I set it up so the planet orbited the two stars separately, in a figure-8 pattern, and as if that wasn't enough of a challenge, I turned its axis of rotation on its side, similar to Uranus in our solar system. This set the stage for some extreme weather conditions that the Brightstars have to deal with on top of all their other troubles, like being targeted by devious high government officials.
My physics training certainly was essential to figuring the seasons out and various other details, such as the distance the planet would be from the stars, etc. I have an entire notebook with the calculations, which was actually some of the most fun I had writing this installment of the story. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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Fox once again does an exceptional job building character and making her created universe a reality. I canâ€™t turn a page without picturing the story in my mind and visualizing each character. With each novel in this series I read I find myself cringing on the edge of my seat, laughing out loud, and worried for each character. She gives the reader a bang for their buck.
A well written book that will not disappoint.
Two generations of Brightstars play off each other in sharp contrast and they approach life's problems in different ways. The older, or experienced, generation consists of Laren and Sharra. Laren, the patriarch of the family, is the linchpin that holds them all together and he sets the bar high for his children. To me, Laren is the most interesting character in the book. He is the exhausted yet tireless hero-in-chief and the wisest among men. I want to know more about his life and his extraordinary gifts and skills. If Laren has any weakness, it's for his darling wife, Sharra. From the reader's prospective, Laren appears to protect her from the harsher realities of their situation and I wonder why. Sharra is the silent martyr in the story; she is ever present, yet reserved or distant and unknowable. I would like to see Sharra's character developed a bit more. She certainly deserves a breakthrough moment where she feels her strength.
The younger, or untested, generation consists of the teenagers, Creena and Dirk Brightstar. Creena seems the antithesis of her mother. Creena is direct, rebellious, opinionated and highly evolved and Dirk is petty and somewhat of a bully. While Creena's spaceship lands on our favorite, familiar planet, the rest of the Brightstars are stranded on the toxic planet of Cyraria and doing their best to stay alive.
Dirk, Laren's older son, takes on a larger role in this book. Abrupt changes in the family dynamics leaves Dirk feeling unprepared when he realizes his commitment to family has put him into a position of caring for his mother and little brother, Deven. When crisis after crisis strike, Dirk struggles to fill his father's shoes, but Dirk's optimism shrivels to hopelessness as their technology fails to serve them.
Despite Dirk's lack of confidence, he is the only family member that questions his father's motives. If Dirk is the young hero of this story, he must question the assumptions of the previous generation and find better ways of coping with the problems at hand. It's not that Dirk mistrusts or dislikes his father, if anything Dirk is in complete awe of the great Laren Brightstar. The trial of questioning our assumptions and motives of the past takes great courage and is a crucial test along the hero's journey. Adulthood usually comes in drips and dabs, yet defining moments arise when the hero realizes the future is upon him and he must act. "Hold onto 16 as long as you can, changes come around real soon, make us women and men."* (*John Mellencamp). With adulthood come new powers, but the powers are useless until the hero takes responsibility for his actions. When the hero learns to weigh his intentions, it will define the parameters of his integrity and he will own his power. Despite all the hurdles the Brightstars face, the challenge of gaining their power and using it properly will decide all their fates.
This is a story for our times, about what endures when technology fails, the climate turns toxic, and we are out of luck. Despite the injustices suffered, despite the petty differences between Creena and Dirk and the light years separating the Brightstars, their loyalty to family never wavers. They are sustained by the belief that, "No problem is insurmountable as long as long as they are together." No human animal thrives alone. Our connections are not always obvious, because the spirit of community is deep within our entwined roots.
The irony in the Brightstar family becomes apparent as the family reacts to their immediate struggles. Their definition of family must burgeon to encompass more than genetic similarities. When help is needed, humans make friends and learn the meaning of trust. Some of these friends don't look like us and have beliefs different from our own, but family is intangible and made of more than genetic material. Family is made of commitment and loyalty to life.
Marcha Fox has a nice writing style and she sneaks little science lessons into her stories. Although her audience is "young adult," there is nothing childish in her books and they are enjoyable to a wide spectrum of adult readers too. I thoroughly recommend the Star Trail Tetralogy. What a great read for these cold winter nights!
Out of all the characters’ story arcs, I enjoyed Creena’s the most as she is without a doubt the most fully realised and sympathetic character in the story - her pain at the separation from her family felt very real and honest. Being aimed at younger readers, the story concentrates mainly on the younger characters as you might expect, meaning the adults are very much demoted to background characters, and there perhaps lies the only downside for me as I would have liked to have learned a little more about Creena’s parents. Perhaps this will be addressed in later books.
Even though the book is primarily aimed at younger readers and is therefore ‘clean’ and free of graphic violence, there is enough story depth and characterisation to appeal to sci-fi fans of all ages - I am fifty myself. So if you would like to lose yourself in a fascinating otherworldly adventure, I can heartily recommend this book. Well done.