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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.
Jem has not recovered from his head trauma and is in fact getting worse. He wants to get a neural implant but he is too young at 12 and must wait at least three years. Jem can not wait the three years and arranges to have an illegal neural implant with the nefarious blackmarket Underworld.
Ro and Barre finally get the jump drive working and head out after Jem. And so their new adventure begins. As the book progresses there are some interesting revelations about the Commonwealth and the war it fought with the rebels some forty years earlier.
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!
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.