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Ithaka Rising: Halcyone Space, book 2 (Volume 2) Paperback – June 16, 2015
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In this book Ro and Barre struggle once again with the crippled AI of Halcyone, an aged spaceship dating to the war between the Commonwealth and the rebel colonies. This time our heroes set out to find Barre's brother Jem, who has recklessly left Daedelus station without permission in order to seek a neural implant to fix his damaged brain. With the support of Nomi and under close supervision of the station's top brass, they must solve both the mystery of Jem's location and of Halcyone's "brain."
By far my favorite part of this novel are the characters. None of them are perfect, but that's part of the charm. It's nice to meet complex, human, individuals who learn and grow in the course of their adventures. I really appreciate that the characters don't have sudden "aha!" development moments but instead change incrementally and realistically. And because they are so well-drawn, I found myself truly caring for their various predicaments and cheering each of them on. Of course, the story is amazing, too. Cohen writes good hard science fiction -- the computer talk isn't just babble, the neuroscience is based in medicine -- and that grounds the action, making it feel more immediate and realistic.
The only good thing about having waited this long to read this novel is that the next one -- Dreadnought and Shuttle -- is now available. Excuse me while I go start reading it.
And I like them. I want to know them. I want them all to be okay. I'm invested in their future damn it.
And I didn't want to reach out and slap them for doing stupid things for no reason. Oh, they did things I didn't agree with but they had reasons. Justifiable and legitimate reasons for them. Ro is impetuous and hyperfocused on her work, so she doesn't think twice about taking a massive risk with her (and the others) live. And it made sense for her to. Because that was who she is.
And that is something rare and wonderful in a story. To find characters that have legitimate reasons and justifications for their actions, no matter how much the reader may disagree. Even the actions of the secondary and tertiary characters made sense when taken into context.
Regardless of whether Cohen is able to sustain this level or writing and story telling, this book will stand above the others for me.
Now I need to go back and re-read them over from the beginning.
Summary -- well written, original, you might like it, or not ... but it won't be over poor writing or good story telling. I think it is worth a try and read all three (with the implication of more). If you want something different than the normal YA/ Sci-Fi, Space Opera, whatever ... this is it.
We find Berre and Ro still trying to get the unruly Halcyone AI to behave. We also find Jem desperate to overcome the lingering effects of his head injury. His possible savior lay in doctors that don't exist on a planet that doesn't exist with a network of agents that don't exist. When Jem finds these agents he believes a cure could be at hand and runs off. Berre and Ro, with permission this time, run off to find Jem. The trail of Ro's father is still alive.
If the above hints at the story aren't enough to hook you then consider the solid writing style of Cohen, the protagonist being female, Easter eggs hidden about the story, musical linguistics, holographic technology, conspiracy, and a healthy dose of who should trust who.
Would I recommend Ithaka Rising? No I wouldn't. I'd recommend the whole Halycone Space series. While Ithaka Rising stands on its own Derelict will help you understand some of the more subtle story lines.
Once again, we join talented author LJ Cohen's misfit band of teens as they head off to a new adventure on main character, engineer Ro Maldanado's battered-up old spaceship, Halcyone. This time, they're chasing after Ro's friend, the young boy, Jem, who suffered a terrible head injury in book one. Without a neural brain implant, Jem will sadly never recover his sight or genius-level skills.
Though Cohen's book is rocket-paced and edge-of-your-seat action-packed, it's the incredible empathy she engenders in her flawed characters which will keep you reading throughout the night!