Published Feb 17, 2012
Trade paperback, 304 pages
This novel is the second book in the Trophy Saga, an action-packed sci-fi story that I enjoyed just as much as I did Trophy, the first book in this series.
The story continues from where the first one left off. The setting takes place 500 years in the future, where mankind is under the authority of the New Victorian Empire, with ten women Guardians who are the custodians of CENTRAL—a massive computer government that rules the Earth and the colonized Solar System. However, mankind is on the brink of extinction because of a genetic mutation and the only solution is to travel back in time through the Keyhole to transport genetically sound humans from the past. But the New Victorian Empire is not the only one interested in going back to the past, so is an underground rebel organization bent on eliminating the Empire's rule.
Once again, as in the first book, the author has a vivid imagination and he succeeds in transporting me with his brilliant world-building. I could easily picture the futuristic space crafts, the Solar stations such as Europa Plus, Io Station and Mars, the Montana mountains, forests, and fauna back on the Earth, and the powerful and fascinating human mind to animal link. The author's love for animals shines through, and I thought this combination of both Earth scenes and space ones was a great balance that made the story and setting believable and exciting to me. The scenes involving the mission in the Montana region and the confrontation with the grizzly bear were heart-pounding!
The villains from the first book don't play a big role in this book, but Lieutenant Janet Rogerton, Pilot Kolanna, Star-Commander Abigail VanDevere, and the androids Martin and Panther are back in the action. I loved the plot twists, and especially the scenes with Martin and Panther. New characters are introduced, such as Doctor Eng and Marco Sanchez, who I liked immediately. I hope to see more of him in the next book. Sometimes it was hard to keep track of all the characters (two of them have dual names and personas). The Guardians have no names but are identified as numbers, and they all sounded alike, except for Guardian I, who had the features and disposition of a wise American-Indian, and Guardian V who plays a crucial role in the rescue mission.
The editing was much better in this book, allowing the author's storytelling skills to come through in a well-paced, and well-written story. Some of the dialogue is still awkward, though, because it's still used as a means to explain the story and action. This could be resolved with the use of inner dialogue and backstory, cutting redundant dialogue and building more tension.
The first book hinted at a love interest between Janet and Martin, but nothing romantic happens in this book, not even a longing glance, so that the dilemma Janet mentions to Kolanna about her and Martin didn't seem realistic to me. I hope the author chooses to explore this in the next book (Marco Sanchez could very well demonstrate it!) as it would add the missing element of life in the Victorian Empire—eros love and family life.
If you like sci-fi stories, I suggest you start with the first book. The ending to this one is very open and the third book should prove even more interesting, as much more is at stake. I can't wait to see where the author takes the story, and I look forward to reading it!
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Time Travel Reading Challenge
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Galactic Publishers for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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