Orion Connection: The Legends Trilogy (The Orion Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 394 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The husband-and-wife team who wrote this book may not have gotten the science absolutely right - I'm not a rocket scientist so I don't know if they did or did not - but as both an author and a reader I can say that they were absolutely spot on when it came to getting the characters right.
And, let's be honest here, isn't that really all that matters when you're writing a novel? I mean, if you're writing a treatise on astrophysics or a technical manual on the care and maintenance of faster-than-light engines then characters don't really matter much. However, if you're writing fiction - science or otherwise - it's the characters that make or break the book. Readers have to feel an emotional connection with them, even the villains. When they do feel that connection, readers are drawn into the narrative.
The DeGiorgios have done that in "Orion Connection." They've given us heroic characters, aliens, treacherous spies, lovers, friends, and comrades in arms. They've put their characters through the wringer; forcing them to deal with life-threatening situations, betrayals, romance, and loss.
And they've done it well in the course of a fast-paced narrative that has sufficient detail to put the reader "in the moment" without lapsing into so much technobabble that your eyes glaze over.
The authors, in addition to giving readers some really interesting characters, have done an impressive job of world building. Their descriptions of a depleted Earth - stripped nearly bare of resources by greedy corporations and a population that can't see past the next weekend - is well done. Their descriptions of life aboard Orion and of Mars itself are also well done. The plot is straightforward with a couple of really nice twists to keep it interesting.
All in all, a very nice read complete with topical subject matter: 5 stars.
There was no explanation why *minor spoiler* they had to stop the Orion halfway to Mars in order to repair their communications antenna. Maybe they thought the suited crewmen might be... swept away by the slipstream of space? When they finally reach Mars, they do make repairs, even though the Orion is still moving around 17,000 MPH, even though it is in a geosynchronous orbit.
When they arrive on the surface *slight spoiler* they find Egyptians who had been asleep for 5000 years.
I was okay with the ideas of ruins resembling Egyptian ruins on Mars, but live Egyptians? Beyond my limit of credibility. Sorry.
The writing is above average but the story lacks clarity until around the 10th chapter or so. After that, I had a difficult time keeping the characters sorted out, since everyone is referred to by their last name. It was confusing.
I quit when I did because it just didn't seem to be going anywhere, especially with the problems mentioned above. It would have been a great plot for a Flash Gordon comic book of the 40s but not for a modern Science Fiction story of modern times.
The Chinese are hot on the heels of the launch of the U.S. spaceship Orion, wanting to claim Mars for themselves. Killing vital personnel and attempting to assassinate other crucial Orion crewmembers is how the Chinese plan to get their spacecraft to Mars first. A trusted friend and engineer onboard is also sabotaging the Orion from within. But who is it in this tight-knit group that has worked together and trained together for years? Commander Lawson, on his last trip into space before retirement, has some tough problems to deal with from the moment he finds out his dearest friend and pilot for the Orion has been murdered the morning before the scheduled launch.
Enough spoilers...suffice it to say, this action-packed beginning can in no way prepare you for the incredible revelations to follow...the artifacts and fossils of an ancient alien race that once called earth home is to be studied. Those studies leave the reader and the crew of the Orion whirling in Outer space when worlds collide.
DeGiorgia is a good storyteller, whose realism in the research of spacecraft and future innovations carries the plot in a steady stream of predictability until about a little over halfway through the book...then the anticipated, no-surprises action is left in Martian dust on a planet so unlike earth. Definitely worth the read, so hang in there through the well-written, yet predictable, first half to find the explosive, unexpected ending.
Set up well to proceed with a sequel/trilogy. I would have tacked on another star if there hadn't been such an abrupt change in pace.
I highly recommend this book, and I suspect the 5th star will be forthcoming on the next book(s) in the series. S. DeGiorgia is a voice of the future, both in genre and in literary achievement. I look forward to more of his work.
That said, I thought there was room for improvement. In the best writing the writing itself is invisible and we get absorbed in the story and the characters. Too often with The Orion Connection I became aware I was being told a story. And a few times there were events and actions that I found jarring, that could have benefited from additional prior development to fit more smoothly in the story.
All in all though this was an enjoyable read and I look forward to future books in the series.