Okay, to start things off I have to say that I am a mere ONE of SIX judges on Team Tar Vol On. https://www.tarvolon.com/
When I post full reviews for books I’ve read for SPSFC I will specify whether it’s just my opinion, or if I’m sharing a group written review from the team as a whole (or I’ll provide a link to Jay’s site). Today this is just my opinion.
I have to admit that this may not have been one I picked up on my own. I’ve never felt particularly drawn to westerns or southern way of life (and therefor books written about those topics), despite having lots of family residing in the south. All of that said, I found this to be engaging right off the bat.
This is a story about us vs. them. Humanity has already reached out and started colonizing other planets and C’dar is one of the backwater planets only the rejects of humanity inhabit. They are mutants and not well liked, but usually left alone to their own devices so long as they don’t steal anything too valuable and catch the attention of the authorities. The “hillbillies” as it were, steal things from time to time and I’ve heard this be described as similar to moonshiners back in the days of prohibition — and I can see that. Well, it looks like war is brewing when things start to take a turn for the serious. The colonizers have decided they don’t want these mutants around anymore, they’re a nuisance to be rid of.
All of the POVs are part of the same family, the Caldwell family. I think my favorite character was “Appetite” even though his name was arguably the one that took me the longest to get accustomed to. All of the characters have nicknames like they do in X-men, and some of the names just rubbed me wrong, like Appetite. However, I liked Appetite’s slow methodical outlook he had on everything. He thinks things through and move carefully which contrasts starkly with some of the other family members. I like when “larger” characters are more than just brawn and show a bit of intellect. He’s also a devoted father and an all around pretty decent person which I think is why I was drawn to him. He’s also one of the least exaggerated personality types, sometimes larger than life characters can overwhelm me and take me out of the moment, but having some more toned down personality types to reign in some of the more outlandish plot points and character types helped ground this in reality and keep me interested.
It started off a little slow, but it did pick up the pace and become feverish by the end. There are lots of fast paced battles and tense moments that had me worried for the outcome.
I thought the prose was well done, particularly the dialogue. It’s very easy to overwork a southern accent when writing and make it burdensome and difficult to read. A little dab will do you, and I think there was just enough southern spice to give it flavor but not overdone.
All in all I thought this was a solid entry and I really enjoyed my time with it.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Writing: 12/15
- Pacing: 11/15
- Originality: 12.5/15
- Enjoyment: 7.5/10
Final Score: 78/100 or 4/5 stars on Goodreads