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Starburst (Stealing the Sun) (Volume 2) Paperback – December 12, 2016
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About the Author
Ron Collins is an Amazon best-selling Dark Fantasy author who writes across the spectrum of speculative fiction. His fantasy series Saga of the God-Touched Mage reached #1 on Amazon’s bestselling dark fantasy list in the UK and #2 in the US. His short fiction has received a Writers of the Future prize and a CompuServe HOMer Award, and his short story “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. He has contributed a hundred or so short stories to Analog, Asimov’s, Fiction River Anthology Series, and several other professional magazines and anthologies. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has worked to develop avionics systems, electronics, and information technology before chucking it all to write full-time—which he now does from his home at the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Ron’s website is: typosphere.com Follow Ron on Twitter: @roncollins13 Sign up for his newsletter to get free stuff! http://typosphere.com/newsletter
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The book starts off by expanding on the fictional world that Collins so deftly created in the first installment, taking us back in time before the events that transpired in Book 1, allowing us to learn more about the political structure and politics in play in his well-crafted universe.
Collins shows here that he has a real talent for world-building -- not only does he bring us well-rounded characters that are anything but one-dimensional, he places them in a world that is alive and teeming with life. The characters themselves are portrayed with a depth and thoughtfulness that reflects the author's care and craft.
The Starfall universe expands considerably in this installment, with the introduction of several new characters, including a pair of hot-shot fighter pilots who resonate with a "Top Gun" vibe while successfully remaining far above the "cariciature" bar. The scenes with this duo add a healthy dose of space-faring action to world-expanding mix that Collins brings to the table. Combine that with the behnd-the-scenes political intrigue, and the result is a very satisfying read.
Speaking of political intrigue, Collins does an admirable job here of fleshing-out a very plausible, believable political sphere for his fledgling universe -- we learn more about the origins of the Universe Three (U3) organization, and the grievances that they have with the standing United Government (UG). The U3 backstory will will leave most readers pondering the difference between a "terrorist organization," "Rebel Alliances," and "Independent Factions -- and Collins leaves us with plenty of food for thought.
This installment represented a fairly large shift in focus from the first book, and we see very little of the Everguard from Book 1, and there's no sign at all of Evergard's Commander Torrance. The new characters more than make up for this, and I didn't find myself left with a sense of abandonment because I suspect that we may see more of Commander Torrance and the rest of his crew in future installments, as the various story threads that Collins is laying-down come together later on.
All in all, as with the first book, this installment did not fail to deliver, although like the first book it did leave me wanting "MOAR." and I eagerly await Book 3 to see where the author takes us next.
Just as in book one, this is a fast read that paints a more complex picture of U3 rather than the radical, terrorist organization one might infer from their appearance in the first book.
We find that in this book -- as in life -- what motivates people to act is varied and complex and is usually more than it seems on the surface.