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Darkship Thieves (Baen Science Fiction) Mass Market Paperback – November 30, 2010
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About the Author
Sarah A. Hoyt has sold a dozen novels in various genres, including her new Musketeers Mysteries series, starting with Death of a Musketeer, and her acclaimed Shakespearean fantasy series, which started with the Mythopoeic award finalist, Ill Met by Moonlight. An avid history buff and longtime reader of sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries Sarah has published over three dozen short stories in esteemed magazines such as Asimov's, Analog, Amazing and Weird Tales, as well as several anthologies. Residing in
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The idea of this story is very intriguing. In Earth’s future, humans developed bio-engineering that created engineered people, Mules, who were far superior to the average human. They ruled Earth under an iron grip until a rebellion overthrew them and they fled into space. This happened so long ago that the only real proof of these people’s existence are recorded memories and myths. Of course, Athena stumbles upon an ancestor of these escaped people and is taken to their world. From there she learns the truth of the Mules and the real story behind her family and Earth’s history.
Unfortunately, the writing in this book did not live up to the idea. Athena is a bad-ass fighter who is faster than anyone alive. She’s never experienced fear and people cower from her wherever she goes. She’s escaped from or destroyed all institutes and schools that she has ever been forced into. She is rebellious and has a terrible temper. Beyond that there isn’t much to her. There’s not much reason given for her personality or for her history of violence. She is grating and rather obnoxious in her arrogance. She doesn’t grow as a character at all throughout the book. Once she meets the love interest, she does a nearly 180 and begins to calm down, want to settle down, and gets all lovey-dovey. This wasn’t really worked up to, though, and doesn’t feel like a realistic growth of character. Athena is very flat and one-dimensional.
The world building left a bit to be desired, I was most interested in the Mules and Earth’s history but we don’t learn much about that until the very end. The ending, without giving away the twists, was rushed and didn’t make all that much sense. I felt that the plot twists and big reveals could have worked if they’d been more gradual and explained a bit more.
There were good aspects to DarkShip Thieves. While I didn’t like Athena, I did enjoy Kit, the love interest. He felt like a real, fleshed out character. He had his shortcomings but they worked and they built up to a believable personality. Some of the side characters were interesting as well. The world that Athena is taken to after escaping her father’s ship is the best part of the book. After the Mules and their bio-engineered servants escaped Earth, they settled on an asteroid and, obviously, grew to develop a society that’s quite different from Earth. I loved the descriptions of the asteroid and how they lived there, what technology had become for their society, and how their beliefs differed from those back on Earth.
Overall, this book wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t that great. It was fun and action-packed. Unfortunately, it lacked the depth of story and character development that I was hoping for.
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Overall I enjoyed this book enough that I would recommend it to sci-fi fans who want an interesting but easy read.
There's a continuum between "world building" and "eyes glazing". Hoyt does not always get that mix right, but generally does a good job.
There's lots of detail in the beginning, and then the ending seems a bit rushed. I've read more than a few novels that have this characteristic.
Over all, though, I'd say this one is definitely worth reading.
So why only 4 stars? Well, being a page turner isn't everything.
In the book, the author explores possible political organizing principles for human societies such as anarchy and totalitarianism. Unfortunately, even though a lot of pages were dedicated to these themes, I don't feel that the author painted plausible pictures of these possibilities. I don't mind suspending disbelief when reading this sort of book, but the magnitude of suspension coupled with the sheer number of pages dedicated to these topics makes it only a 4-star read as far as I'm concerned.
Most recent customer reviews
This difference brought my rating down a notch.
I enjoy the author's stile and recommend this to anyone.