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Merchants and Maji: Two Tales of the Dissolutionverse (Dissolution Cycle) Kindle Edition
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This book was very enjoyable to read. It has a steampunk sci-fi feel to it so anyone who liked the Firefly/Serenity series/movie and/or liked Brandon Sanderson's books on the Allow of Law will most likely greatly enjoy this book.
It is not a long read, which is the only reason I rate this one as a four rather than a five star. The book is broken up into two parts of a story. The first part follows one set of individuals which makes me think of a Firefly episode, while the second part then goes into a few years after the first and the problems which are still arising from certain events. While this is fine for the most part, I feel a little cheated about learning and meeting these characters in the first section and then never finding out what exactly did happen to them. In the second section I did not even realize years had passed until half to 3/4th of the way through it when the original incident was even mentioned.
I truly hope the author comes out with another book from this world and makes it a bit longer with sticking with all the same characters, but besides that it was a very enjoyable read. Thank you Mr. Tracy for allowing me the opportunity to read and review your book.
I’m a big fan of worldbuilding, and I thought the world of these stories was pretty interesting. I don’t read a lot of science fantasy, so I’m always fascinated by secondary worlds that have both magic and a modern-ish level of technology (I guess urban fantasy does that too, but that ends up being too close to our world, so I don’t find it as interesting.) The Dissolutionverse is a set of ten planets inhabited by different sentient species that are linked together by magical portals. Among other things, the maji are the only people capable of creating these portals, so they’re integral to economy and trade.
The first story, Last Delivery, follows a group of ragtag merchants who accept a particularly shady assignment out of desperation. Once they figure out what they’re dealing with, they have to figure out what (if anything) they want to do about it. I enjoyed this story, the crew of the trading vessel (I don’t think I can call it a spaceship since it doesn’t actually fly) was well fleshed out, and I would read more of their adventures gladly. It isn’t just a simple adventure story either, it ends up tying into the politics of the world, and it gives the protagonist, Prot (I couldn’t help but imagine him as Kevin Spacey in K-PAX because of his name) a solid growth arc as well.
The second story, The First Majus in Space, is about the first known attempt to launch people into space the traditional way. We find out more about the magic system in this story because the spaceship is designed to require a maji’s power to fuel it. When the launch goes wrong and the original majus assigned to the ship is injured, veteran majus Origon Cyrysi must replace him at the last minute. Nothing goes according to plan during the mission, though, and it reveals deeper forces working against the maji. I liked this story too, I liked learning more about the larger world and how the maji fit into things. Origon is somewhat of a curmudgeon, but a likeable one. My main frustration with this story was that it seemed like setup for a larger story, so it didn’t feel as complete as Last Delivery, there are a couple of unanswered questions at the end. Also, the antagonists’ plot didn’t make as much sense, I feel like it was a little bit too convoluted and there were too many variables for it to succeed.
Overall, I’d recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for something that feels like old school sci-fi but is still modern. The author is also working on a novel set in this universe, which I think will be great since it will have the room to explore the world and politics more.
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