Review by Btowntheatregal -- Solaris Seethes (Solaris Sa...

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Review by Btowntheatregal -- Solaris Seethes (Solaris Sa...

Post by Btowntheatregal » 11 Sep 2017, 13:34

[Following is a volunteer review of "Solaris Seethes (Solaris Saga book 1)" by Janet McNulty.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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I very much wanted to like Solaris Seethes. I love a good science fiction novel that can transport me to another place. This novel is the first of the The Solaris Saga trilogy and follows the start of main character Rynah’s quest to save her planet. Guided by the research of her dead grandfather and the sentient ship, Solaris, that he built to protect her, Rynah sets out to retrieve the items needed to restore her planet. Pursued by Klanor, who seeks to use the same items for darker purposes, Solaris brings four strangers from Earth aboard to aid in their journey.

As an adult reader, I can only give this book 2 out of 4 stars. I might have assigned a lower rating, but recognize that this could be an exciting read for a younger audience. It lacked the sophistication and depth I need as a seasoned science fiction reader. There are three primary reasons that this book did not receive a higher rating. First, the characters and world are left largely underdeveloped; the plot felt formulaic and at specific points unrealistic, even for science fiction; and finally, the overuse of parentheses and dashes significantly affected the flow of the novel.

I always look to make a connection with the characters and time/place of a book. I want to know why I should care about what happens to the characters. The world of Lanyr remains largely a mystery throughout this book. Aside from knowing the color of the people’s skin and hair and the color of their grass, we know very little before the adventure begins. While the reader learns bits and pieces of the world’s mythology and Rynah’s backstory, I didn’t feel connected enough to be invested in the quest. The characters who join Rynah and Solaris are equally as mysterious and their roles are only loosely explained. Greater time on character and place development would make the adventure far more adventurous.

Rynah and her companions make a number of stops on their journey and sadly, I found that I was able to easily predict the "what comes next" each time a challenge was faced. I longed to feel the suspense that I am sure was the author's intention. My connection to the book was further severed when I found events happening in an unrealistic way, even for the science fiction realm. Avoiding specific spoilers, it is difficult to believe that a small, handheld weapon would have any impact on a creature described as "big as two buses". This is just one example the led to my separation from the reality on the page.

My final challenge with Solaris Seethes involves a specific writing choice made in the book. I find extensive use of parentheses and dashes to be burdensome when reading. Only a couple chapters into the book I found myself skipping anything in parentheses because it affected the flow of my reading so much. For example, one section reads, "...a place at the heart of the Twelve Sectors, one that many visited because of its rich blues and unique wildlife (it was home to the Wingabur, a rare species that was somewhere between a bear and a pigeon) and flowing rivers of water the color of sunset orange. Perhaps (as thoughts of how she would punish him, torture him, percolated through her mind) she would find him there". The parentheses felt like someone tapping me on the shoulder as I tried to move forward with the story.

I do believe that a younger audience might find greater engagement in this book.  I had difficulty making it through and even a cliffhanger ending will not push me to pick up the second book in this trilogy.

Solaris Seethes (Solaris Saga book 1)
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