2 out of 4 stars
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The planet is dying. Those in power are looking to build ships to find another world to inhabit. Technologically advanced and cruel, this elite race rules with an iron fist and intends to leave everyone else to die. Underground lives a community who spends their time mining for ore for their aboveground masters. They are regarded as inferior and are given just enough scraps and water to survive. For many years they have endured oppression, but with a prophesy foretelling a savior, they find hope. Some identify Stylar, a genetically engineered male with qualities more like an animal, as the one foretold. Stylar and another race called the Brethren, join with the community in winning their freedom and getting off the planet. Can emancipation be won? And if so, at what cost?
Stylar’s Quest For Freedom Part 2 by Craig Archibald, lives up to the adage of “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. I initially hesitated in taking on this endeavor. The cover lacked curb appeal, and after glancing at the first page, my trepidation increased even more when I saw how many grammatical errors it had. I quickly realized though that this book is like a gold nugget that just needs the dirt washed off. The pace was perfect, and there are so many interesting dynamics in it that hold your attention till the end. When cleaned up, I think many science fiction lovers will be drawn to it.
There are a few characters that really shine in the story. Stylar reminded me of Wolverine in the X-Men series in some ways. He was forced to undergo experiments by a maniacal race to increase his efficiency in serving them. He is enigmatic with his extraordinary strength, smell, sight, and telepathic abilities. In the beginning I wasn’t particularly crazy about him, as he appeared reckless and overconfident when going into battles. However, as the story progressed, I saw him mature through his experiences, and I could see why others would want to follow him. Barla, one of the Brethren, made me laugh throughout the narrative. His surly personality was offset by his trying to work on his sense of humor.
My most favorite part was how Archibald infused in his story the themes of persecution and equality. How the mentality of thinking one race is better than another affects everyone, including those who call themselves superior, was the most striking. The depth of emotions was realistically portrayed, and I could feel them through his characters. Dianer, a member of the underground community, wonders what will happen to them if they gain freedom. There was an odd comfort in knowing what their designated purpose was in their enslavement and having all their basic needs met. Could the community handle the uncertainty of being out on their own?
The biggest negative for this book is that it needs extensive editing. There were run-on sentences without any punctuation marks. Chapters and distinct transitions into the next scenes were nonexistent. Sometimes it was hard to discern who was speaking. Along with all of that, there was a myriad of misspellings and misusage of words like “heel” instead of “heal”. Also, some characters were given a generic name like "the commander", even though they played a significant part throughout the story; the planet‘s name was never mentioned, and I never figured out what the elite race called themselves. I would have preferred more clarity on those issues. A smaller negative for me also was the causal way sex was used in the narrative.
I wish I could give this book a higher score, but with all the errors in it, I must give it a 2 out of 4 stars. I did not give a lower score because, despite it having major flaws, I still enjoyed it. This is the second book in the trilogy, and it is best to read the first one to understand fully what is going on. I missed parts of the storyline because I have not read the previous book. There are scenes with violence and a few with sexual content, so this book would be best for mature audiences. Anyone who loves action-packed science fiction would enjoy this work.
Stylars quest for freedom part 2
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