Friday, December 21, 2012

Wolfwing (Ruby Andrews)

(The Lycanthra Chronicles, Book 1)
Ruby Andrews
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, Sci-Fi
**+ (Bad/Okay)

DESCRIPTION: Once, Audacia was a hero in the gladiator rings of the New Roman Empire, known throughout the stars. But her mixed Lycanthran blood, coupled with an affair with a high-ranking general, doomed her. Convicted for violating the Empire's laws against interspecies relations, she was sent to a remote penal colony, there to waste away in obscurity... or so it was hoped.
Audacia managed to escape, with some unexpected help from two unlikely allies. Antonius, an illiterate con man from the streets of New Rome, and Marius, a high-ranked nobleman sentenced for treasonous associations and anti-imperial sentiments, were themselves prisoners aboard a transport ship until disaster gave them their own shot at freedom. The uneasy trio only thought to stick together so long as need dictated - until they stumble across a plot that cuts straight to the core of the corrupt New Roman Empire, one that may threaten the peace of the entire known galaxy.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: This story starts on a great, highly imaginative note, establishing an interstellar Roman Empire that has absorbed entire star systems and species. With high action and an old-school space opera/adventure feel, I enjoyed the ride. Unfortunately, that momentum sputtered out. Characters tend to sudden shifts in mood and motivation, often pausing to explain things in ways that derail the story. Their actions feel stilted, the dialog often unnatural and forced. The story itself starts unraveling at about the halfway point, with coincidences and leaps of logic that, even given the wild space-opera premise, just left me rolling my eyes more than once. By the end, I could no longer care: with both danger and salvation falling out of the starlit void into the characters' laps, what was the point of worrying over the climax? I found the universe here intriguing, and I saw glimmers of promise, but - with heroes that degenerated into caricatured puppets and a plot that just plain made no sense - I couldn't quite muster the interest for even a solid Okay rating.

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