4 out of 4 stars
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Solaris Seethes, by Janet McNulty, book one of the Solaris Saga, was not at all what I expected. When introducing myself to the book, it seemed like it might be more heavily science fiction than I enjoy, but I figured it was worth trying. The cover art drew me in, looking like a ship running from trouble. Solaris Seethes is a fantastic first book for the Solaris Saga. It brings you right to a whole new planet in a new solar system and introduces a lot of new technology, drawing the reader into a great sci-fi universe.
The main character, Rynah, is described in great detail and you can easily imagine her alien looks. She’s a fierce officer on her planet, working in a high security facility, protecting her entire world. Throughout the book, Rynah is all business, immediately going into problem solving mode as soon as a situation arises. Watching her grow as a character is one of the great delights of this book. It’s also interesting to find that many of the main characters in Solaris Seethes are not introduced right away and the way they come into the story is not quite how you’d expect. To avoid spoilers, let me just say that once the team is assembled, you won’t want to stop reading. It’s hard to describe the plot without giving too much away, this book is full of surprises, but I’ll say this: There are all the elements of a good story. Rynah has to overcome challenges, find a way to save her world and basically her whole universe, and she couldn’t do it without some unusual side kicks, including a ship with a life of it’s own.
From the first page I was intrigued, but the first chapter felt slow and was difficult to get through. My least favorite part of the book was those first few pages. I wish the set up was different. This is saved by the fact that there is a mystery to be solved. Rynah goes through a lot of changes in the very beginning of the book and finds out a lot about her family and her past. As this happens fairly quickly and unexpectedly, it helps get the reader past the initial set up.
Overall, I ate this book up! There were so many elements that really hit the mark for me, a great spaceship, unknown locations, fun characters, and a little bit of time travel. Even better, these elements reminded me of other favorite sci-fi media, without feeling like this was just another version of those stories. Rynah and her comrades have some typical characteristics, but they all had little surprises and developed beautifully throughout the story. They’re like-able, but not too much so, each with their own fatal flaws to make them seem tremendously real. The only character who seemed like cliche was the main antagonist, which almost seemed appropriate as all of our lovable main crew often had a hard time believing how horrible he acted.
While there were a couple elements that I feel could be stronger, I enthusiastically rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. I think any sci-fi fan would thoroughly enjoy this Solaris Seethes. It was clearly edited carefully and transitioned smoothly from one scene to the next. The characters were well-developed, the universe had enough detail to bring you into the setting, the plot was perfect for the first book in a series, and the ending left me waiting for the next book without leaving too many loose ends. I felt satisfied after the last page and I look forward to more from this author.
Solaris Seethes (Solaris Saga book 1)
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