1 out of 4 stars
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The Crew of the HST DARČEK by Robert Marsolais is a science fiction novel that describes the journey of the converted military freighter HST (High Speed Transport) Darček and its captain, Jadrenko Korošek. Thanks to an alien interface linked to his brain, Captain Korošek had been able to control the ship’s functions and pilot the vessel with only the help of some robots. However, an infection in his brain disables this interface and obliges him to hire a human crew for his next journey. Just before leaving for his next destination, Captain Korošek is forced to take a container with suspicious content on board. Will this container be dangerous to the ship and its crew? Will the HST Darček arrive safely to its destination?
Science fiction is my favorite genre, and this book looked promising. The book cover has a spectacular image. Unfortunately, that is the only positive thing I can mention about this book. As the title suggests, an important part of the story is about the crew. I found it difficult to keep track of all the crew members as names, surnames and nicknames were randomly interchanged. The character development is superficial, which makes it difficult to sympathize with the characters. Some situations were hard to believe, such as the passage in which somebody threatens to shoot the captain, hits him with the weapon, and immediately afterwards starts tending to the wound. On page 173, First Officer Bryon suddenly uses a superpower of which the reader has not been informed previously, nor is explained how he obtained this power. Additionally, I felt that the book did not have enough science fiction elements in it. Although it is clear that the journey goes through space, I found that many of the descriptions were just as applicable to a normal container ship than to an interstellar spaceship.
I felt uncomfortable with the author’s writing style. The author uses short, superficial sentences. According to the information about the author, Robert Marsolais used to write manuals before becoming an author. Maybe that explains his preference for short, concise phrases. He merely informs the reader about the events that happen instead of describing them with imaginative descriptions. I am unsure what the target audience of this book is, but the vocabulary appears to be more suitable for teenagers than adults. Occasionally, I felt that the book had been translated from a different language.
I suspect that the book has not been professionally edited. Within the first 20 pages I already found more than 10 errors. Some errors were consistent throughout the book, such as the use of “though” instead of “thought.” Because of all the reasons I have stated, I give this book 1 out of 4 stars. I am sure that the author put a great effort into writing this book and am sorry for not being able to give a higher rate.
Unfortunately, in its current state, I cannot recommend this book to anybody. Especially science fiction lovers would feel disappointed after reading this book. I would recommend another round of thorough editing, some rewriting, and adding more background information to make the characters come alive.
The crew of the HST DARČEK
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