Book Review – Quantum Series: Quantum Space

Book Review – Quantum Series: Quantum Space

Book: Quantum Space
Series: Quantum Series (Book 1)
Author
: Douglas Phillips
Published: 2017

Synopsis:

Dr. Daniel Rice is a government science investigator, brought in on a mission to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Soyuz, a capsule transporting astronauts from the International Space Station, back down to earth.

With his partner, Marie Kendrick, a NASA operations analyst, Daniel begins an investigation that has them pondering the very real existence of additional quantum dimensions. What they discover will have consequences not only for the lost astronauts, but for the entire human race.

Review:

Quantum Space is a mind-bending ride; one that demands just as much from its reader as it gives – and that’s a good thing. Phillips begins the book solidly in the real world (though many might not realize it), incorporating scientific concepts such as the standard model, string theory, and particle acceleration.

With the aid of a few helpful illustrations, Phillips does a fairly good job explaining these concepts in a way that a standard non-scientist can understand. That said, there were certainly chapters that required pause for consideration, and took some time to sink in.

Adding balance to the scientific elements of the story, Phillips includes interesting personal relationships that allow characters to play off of each other, both personally, and professionally. Overall, their interactions were satisfying and believable, though there were a few brief moments of dialogue where I found myself questioning whether the character would ‘actually say that.’ This, and the occasional point of view confusion are the only reasons I deducted one-half a star. The interactions between Dr. Daniel Rice and Nala Pasquier—another scientist Dr. Rice is led to investigate—were by far the most interesting human elements to the story.

Quantum Space is above all, a sci-fi mystery, rife with insightful discoveries, and delightful surprises. It takes a few chapters to build momentum, but once it does, it grabs you and does not let go.  Phillips expounds on provable and theoretical scientific concepts, then takes them to the next level, bringing readers to a world that puts the galaxy at their doorstep. It may require a bit more mental energy than a purely pleasure novel, but those who put in the effort will be greatly rewarded with a believable sense of awe and wonder.

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Book Review – The Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight

Book Review – The Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers

Book: The Dragonriders of Pern – Dragonflight
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Published: 1968

Synopsis:

Dragonflight is the story of a fierce, resourceful young girl of high bloodLessa, whose hold is brutally conquered by a ruthless, morally bereft antagonistLord Fax. For ten turns (in Pern, years are referred to as turns), she poses as a lowly drudge, covered in grime, slowly biding her time while subtly sabotaging Fax’s tenuous rule.

Lessa’s problems are soon put into perspective when she is swept up into a world of dragons, dragonriders, and the deadly threads that fall from Pern’s skies, threatening to annihilate every last scrap of life on the planet. Normally the dragonriders would stand against this threat, burning the threads from the skies with fire, but there’s just one problem: Nearly all the dragons and their riders have been missing for hundreds of turns. Now Lessa, and the dragonrider F’lar must figure out how they will stop the threads from reaching Pern’s soil, turning it into a barren wasteland.

Review:

The first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series is most definitely a memorable one. I have encountered other reviews of this book criticizing its prose, claiming that it was early in Anne McCaffrey’s career, and therefore her writing was less refined. I tend to disagree with this assessment. I found her prose to be quite fitting for the story, and there were more than a few moments where I found myself searching the definition of a word she’d used.

The storyline itself was interesting, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was more to it than simply a tale of becoming a dragonrider. It included sci-fi elements that went beyond the setting (a planet in a distant solar system), delving into the paradoxical nature of time travel.

The characters were unique, well thought out, and for the most part, believable, and the ending resolved any lingering questions I had. On that note, I felt there could have been a little more mystery to pull me along to the next book.

My one big gripe with this book has to do with how the female protagonistLessais portrayed. There is a bizarre sense of incongruence arising from her interactions with the main male protagonistF’lar. Lessa’s actions and dialogue lead you to believe she is a powerful, independent woman, untamed and destined to lead. Despite this, she is cowed by F’lar, and there are multiple instances in the story where he grabs her by the shoulders and “shakes” her. Toward the end she is so afraid of his “shaking” punishments, that she is hesitant to return home for fear of his admonition. All this, and she still returns his affection, and I get the impression they are meant to be falling in love with each other.

I understand that this book was published in 1968, but this kind of male/female dynamic made it really hard for me to actually like F’lar. In addition, it made it harder for me to buy into Lessa being as strong as McCaffrey would have me believe.

Despite these issues, I still find myself regularly thinking back to the world of Pern. It’s such a masterfully crafted, well thought out universe, that it became real for me. I truly enjoyed Dragonflight, and I look forward to returning to the world of Pern in the next book, Dragonquest.

Review – C.L. Schneider’s Nite Fire

Flash Point (Nite Fire, #1)Flash Point by C.L. Schneider
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nite Fire is the first C.L. Schneider book I’ve picked up, and I must say – I am impressed! The writing is professional and tight, the characters are interesting and full of depth, and the story keeps you guessing.
It begins with Dahlia, a tough as nails, no B.S. half human half dragon lyrriken living in Sentinel city. The first half of the novel reads much like a murder mystery, with a dash of supernatural half-dragon badassery. As it progresses, C.L. introduces a great depth of world building that had been lying in wait, just below the surface. She masterfully weaves the supernatural into our own world, creating a plausible framework in which the story plays out.
If you’re a fan of mystery, page-turning action, ass-kicking female protagonists, and characters you actually care about, this book is for you.

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