The place and time
Deep space and on the jungle resort type planet Dantaralon. I imagine it’s in the far future in our timeline, but it could be an alternate universe.
The suspension of disbelief
Interstellar travel exists! Humans and other races are in space, and some aliens are at war with humans.
Meg Antille is working on a cruise ship, and Simon “Red” Thomsill, recently retired soldier, has gotten a job aboard it to get to know her better. During a stopover on a nature preserve planet, things go ill. The ranger station is deserted, the big dangerous wild animals aren’t being kept away as they should, and then the ships take off without their passengers. Simon, Meg, and the other passengers get pursued through the jungle by pirates and have to find a way to get off-planet safely. During the journey, Meg and Red develop a mutual respect to go with their mutual attraction.
Meg and Red are reasonable likable people, and the obstacles to their involvement aren’t contrived. The planet comes alive with vivid infills of flora and fauna. Some of the bad guys get what’s coming to them. An early scene where Meg rescues the party from the baddies is a breath of fresh air.
There’s a cool subplot about some secret research on the planet that I wanted to know more about. It ties in with the fast-paced escape sequence at the end, but it begs for its own story. I also enjoyed learning a bit more about the universe with its alien races and the political situation surrounding the characters, so I’ll explore the rest of the universe with Scott’s other Sectors books.
For the first half of the book I’ve no idea what Red finds so compelling about Meg. It seemed rather radical of him to change his career so blatantly to cozy up to a lady who he saw once and has never given him the slightest encouragement. He doesn’t seem impulsive, so it felt at odds with his character. I learned more later, but sprinkling that information in might have sold me more on his joining the cruise crew.
The secondary characters feel somewhat shallow, especially Peter. I can’t remember anything about him other than his job and who he’s married to.
Read if you
- Like Man vs. Nature conflict
- Want to spend an afternoon on a jungle adventure
- Love multi-talented soldiers with cool tattoos
Skip if you
- Dislike named characters dying during a story
- Often have nightmares about giant poisonous snakes
- Think people should stop vilifying bug aliens already and cannot support this defamation of their compound eyes
I received a copy of this book in a raffle, but review it unsolicited. It’s a short read for a dollar. I like the bones of the story and think it could have gotten a little more flesh, or it could use a sequel where we get to know more than was hinted at about our protagonists’ backgrounds.
Author website: veronicascott.wordpress.com