About the Book
For Shanna, joining the Scout Corps had been a dream come true. The Scouts were charged with expanding their knowledge of Frontier, a hostile planet their ancestors had crashlanded on 300 years before. As the youngest in her class, Shanna struggles to find acceptance and respect amongst her older peers – a task made more difficult by the fact that she has not just one, but two of the colonists’ huge feline companions, their starcats.
On a routine patrol, she and the other cadets are swept up in the greatest challenge yet to be faced by the settlers of Frontier. Now they find themselves on the very frontline of a war they knew nothing about, and possibly the Federation of Race’s last chance against the hostile Garsal. Suddenly their world has changed, and in ways never dreamed of by Shanna and her fellow scouts.
I am not usually a reader of sci-fi/fantasy so I am not the regular ‘target market’ for this book. Nor am I a young adult (thirty-something).. but I must say that I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I couldn’t get my nose out of it, devouring it like any of the most enjoyable fiction I’ve read. I think this novel will especially appeal to the reader who loves animals.
The Frontier landscape, flora and fauna is intriguing and the author carefully unravels its mystery throughout the adventure, always avoiding heavy over-description which I have found can plague fantasy novels. The characters are accessible, and empathetic and there is a pragmatism to their interactions that makes them very believable. In fact, the story itself is very believable as it draws you convincingly and thoroughly into the Frontier world.
The pacing of the novel is essentially perfect and from about a third of the way through I found myself sneaking every chance I could get to read it in order to get to the next bit and the next… the author built tension and climax skillfully…. It is just as any good fiction book really should be.
As I said at the beginning, there is a very special empathy for the animal characters in the novel, and because of this I would recommend it to people who love animals, and perhaps wouldn’t normally look to sci-fi/fantasy novels. There are notes of dry humour, sorrow and a truly great adventure in this novel.
As an end note: For any parents considering purchasing this for their young adults to read, this novel sits squarely and safely in the young adult novel category. There is appropriate language and themes at all times (not even any romance – a bit of a relief really), examples of competent men and women equally represented, and the recognition of nobility and good values (without preachy-ness) in this enjoyable adventure story. I would think this would be suitable for competent readers from 12 upwards.
Looking forward to book 2 and more from this author.
Available at Amazon.com