Review: The Starfarer by Petra Landon

starfarer

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Author: Petra Landon
Series: The Araloka Chronicles #2
Pages: 363

scifi_romspace_operaaliens2soldiersweakzzz

A powerful entity readies to join the brutal war in Sector Araloka. The Ur’quay’s return to their old stomping grounds will have repercussions for the sector — affecting the present, changing the future and shining more light on the past.

Sila
Sila Gatherer hides a deadly secret on a rural planet. Until an accidental encounter with an alien starship changes her life. Threatened, exiled and adrift, Sila must survive far from home and everything familiar, as an unlikely guardian angel helps pave her way.

Zh’hir
Star Captain Zh’hir Mu’raat is Ur’quay – legendary starfarers renowned across the galaxy. On a desperate mission to a distant corner of the galaxy, his world collides with Sila’s. Thrust together, the starfarer and his accidental captive forge an extraordinary bond.

The farmer & the starfarer
Drawn to each other against all odds, Sila and the Star Captain must fight for a future together as the war, her ability, Ur’quay tradition and a complicated legacy test their faith. When a powerful foe threatens their new coalition, they race against time to unravel a centuries-old secret. With the fate of Sector Araloka and the Ur’quay at stake, can the starfarer follow his heart or will history repeat itself again…

This is one of those books I want to update the mark to make it lower after a second thought, but I want to be honest with my first impression after ending the book. As the author claims, this was meant to be a short story that evolved into something else. The same way I prefer a Pikachu to a Raichu, I would also have prefered that this story would have remained in the short size. This second part of The Araloka Chronicles is clearly inferior to its older sister, but it still has some bite. Let’s jump to the Henia to start this new journey!

This time we follow Zh’hir, a mysterious Ur’quay starfarer who is the new secret face of the peculiar treaty between the Ur’quay and the Alliance. His homeworld needs a natural resource to survive and some of the Alliance planets have plenty to offer. One of them is Terra 5, where Sila is just a farmer leading a very simple life. By accident, the ship where Zh’hir is First Commander kidnaps her when taking some samples. The starfarer makes his own quest to deliver her to safety, a task that puts him way closer to her than expected. Sadly, the accidental kidnap has stirred some dangerous waters and Zh’hir doesn’t leave Silas as safe and sound as he thinks. Will the alien run to her help or will he leave the poor terran to her own devices? If you pick the second option, you should really read more Romance books…

The main enemy of this book is its own size. Let’s be honest, the story doesn’t have enough weight to properly fulfill almost 400 pages. It should have been half of that size, because most parts of the books are just endless loops or repetitions that get us nowhere. The cadence chosen for this story is as follows: one good chapter with a good pace followed by two or three chapters that are slower than a lazy snail. I’m not a quitter as a reader, but this time I have struggled with myself in order not to give up and just forget about it. The lively parts were good, but sadly not that good as to make me forgive the densely narrated chunks were almost anything happened. Or worse, what happens was already told in the first book.

When there is action and danger and space ships involved, this book gets entertaining. Yes, one of those scenes is rather similar to one we read in the first book; but at least we have some fire to warm us before the long winter. When this book gets a plot of its own, the author show us her easiness at building complex galactic conflicts and filling them with plenty of cultures to last a lifetime. All the lore pills we have to ingest leave a very pleasant aftertaste and feel like a reward after the more boring scenes of the book. One thing I must admit is that the Araloka System could be a caulddron for hundreds of stories and I don’t imagine myself getting bored of them. The distilled version of this second story is Space Opera at its best! I’m actually suprised about the epilogue, though. I do not like that something that big gets such a tiny portion. I don’t think it is an ending of the saga, but it cheates us from a good and hugely important space battle.

The story was good, but too slow. Sadly, the characters are mostly sleep-inducing ones. The main ones are so plain, that is hard to mention something about them. Sila is just the classic good girl of the Romance genre. A bit naive, but with enough punch for modern standards. Zh’hir is just the big alien, who is good at figthning and that falls in love almost at first sight. Neither of them have any distinguishable personality trait to make them mildly interesting. That made the romantic aspect of the story a very unremarkable one and a part I could discard without blinking twice. Their relationship is terse most of the book, with stiff dialogs where both of them were incapable of using first names and akward moments were I couldn’t tell if they were about to kiss or butt heads. I’m usually a defender of relationships that follow all the logical steps to true love, but this time I would have just prefered a hormonal fest to aliviate my boredom.

I was expecting something more of this book. Actually, the story has almost everything I want (except an enjoyable romance), but it is buried under dozens of pages that suffocate it. But I really like the setting and its unending opportunities, so if a third book is ever published I have no doubt I will read it.

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2020 – Book Gallery

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One thing I have learned with this book is that aliens talk fancy. So many words were unknown to me that I have plenty of candidates for this section. The chosen one is possibly not the most useful one, but it sounds funny, so…

hullabaloo: a large or great noise or disturbance

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