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Jake's Last Mission Paperback – March 25, 2014
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In terms of storytelling, there is no real tension and there are no twists and turns. It is very much episodic writing. An incident happens and is dealt with efficiently; en route, another potential incident arises and is dealt with efficiently too, war is averted and the hero returns. From my point of view I would have liked to see more descriptive prose. I want to know what Mugdarans really look like; other than they are fierce warriors with fangs who wear leather I am pretty much in the dark. (My imagination says somewhere between Star Trek’s Klingons and Fangtooths from Dragons of Atlantis). I would love the author to share her vision more so I can see things in this alien world of her making.
Equally, I did not like the odd words, especially those relating to time. I know this is common with the space fantasy genres but I really don’t understand if a “saen” is equivalent to a “terran second” why Shannon Haddock doesn’t just say "second". After all, alien world or not, most other words are in English. It seems to me that descriptive prose in general is “out” in genre fiction these days so the only acceptable way of conveying “otherness” is to make up new alien words. I felt excluded by so many alien words in such a short space of time.
For me, as a reader, I need sensual and experiential writing. I want to be transported to this alien world. I am reading as a reader, not a writer, and would far rather look out of the porthole and see the alien ship or alien world in the eye of the author and be transported by new sights and sounds to a totally different place of her vivid imagination. Also, having said that, more attention to settings and the different alien species would lengthen the story to novella length which I feel would be more satisfying.
An interesting thing for me was the licensing of this story as Creative Commons. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I have never seen this before and the author does something I find interesting and generous by allowing non-commercial fan-fiction based on her characters. It will be interesting to see how she grows her ideas in future. Basically this is an easy read that space opera fans will enjoy.
The book begins with two spaceships in a standoff which quickly degenerates into a pitched battle. The book's hero, one of the captains, Jake Kavaliro, is called to account for his actions by the Mugdaran Emperor. Jake is a likable character despite his belligerent tendencies, and his charming personality holds the book together.
There are lot of coined words. Several are explained in notes (which worked for me). Others are explained in appendices, but I only discovered this when I got to the end of the book.
The book could really do with more description, particularly at the start. I found it hard to visualise what a Mugdaran or a Sweytzian looked like.
Kristark's Coronation is a bonus piece. It isn't really a short story. It feels like a piece that was edited out of the main story. For me, it neither added to nor subtracted from Jake's Last Mission.
I received a copy of the book for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
Jake’s Last Mission is a sci-fi short story that has some interesting...Read more