4 out of 4 stars
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In times of war nations look to build the strongest, most effective weapons and soldiers possible. In Harule Stokes’ novel Fallen Sun, the Northern Alliance, at war with their southern neighbors the Keynosians, has turned people into weapons. Volunteers are made stronger, faster, and more resilient through a process of genetic manipulation. Jocelyn is one such volunteer. Prior to the war, she had been a teacher, but now she has become a warrior referred to as a Finger of God (FOG). Together with her sisters in arms, Ophelia (another FOG) and Patricia (a “normal”),Jocelyn fights for her nation.
There are some downsides to being a FOG. Over time, many of the FOGs find themselves losing touch with reality. They must then be put into stasis and given anti-psychotics for a time in order to recover. Although all FOGs recognize that this madness will eventually happen (and Ophelia has already experienced it several times), it is something that Jocelyn fears. Jocelyn also worries about what may happen to the FOGs after the battle is won.
Fallen Sun takes place towards the end of the war. The Northern Alliance believes that they are close to winning, but the Keynosians keep fighting using their own genetically modified soldiers - the Guardsmen. Although the Guardsmen lack the strength and healing powers of the FOGs, the Keynosians are also developing new weaponry, and the soldiers on both sides soon realize that these final battles may be much more difficult than they had expected. This realization leads the Alliance to make some desperate, ill-advised decisions.
The characters in Fallen Sun are not one dimensional; we can understand them and love them as they love one another. From the very beginning I cared about the characters and wanted to know what would become of them. The sisterhood between Ophelia, Joceyln and Patricia is touching. Their relationship always feels genuine; I never felt myself question the friendship or love that these women had for one another. I laughed as well as cried with them.
This is a great science-fiction novel. Fallen Sun is written very beautifully, with an interesting plot, some great actions scenes, and striking imagery. It also makes the reader consider all the perspectives of the combatants fighting in the war by presenting the enemy sympathetically. Along the way Jocelyn begins thinking about this war and what it really means to all of those involved. I give Fallen Sun 4 out of 4 stars. I think that it would be an enjoyable read for anybody who enjoys dystopian fiction.
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