Yeah, I've been a bit busy lately. This morning, I finished reading Starfire by Stuart Vaughn Stockton. This is the first book I've read from Marcher Lord Press's second list.
I've been very excited to read this book. I first met Stuart at the ACFW National convention in Dallas two and a half years ago. He's been "fighting the good fight" for Christian speculative fiction longer than I have and has held the banner high. So when I learned that he was finally getting his book published, I was thrilled. No offense to the other authors on Marcher Lord's second list, but this is the book I was looking forward to reading the most.
The book centers around a warrior named Rathe. Rathe is a Saurian, a reptillian alien, who fights for the Karn Empire. Rathe has a lot of obstacles to overcome, most notably his low status thanks to when he was born. But against all odds, he fights his way up and joins the light infantry of the Karnian Empire.
On what should be a routine mission, an ancient artificial intelligence called Karey Or imprints on him as its protector. Rathe and his companions now find themselves on a deadly race against their enemies, the Herians, to help Karey Or fulfill her original programming. But there are many obstacles along the way. The dreaded jerkranaks oppose him and betrayal lurks within Rathe's friends. Will he help Karey Or unleash the power of the Starfire?
Stuart has created an incredibly rich and detailed world for his saurians to inhabit. The history, the technology, the vivid imagery that he weaves into the story are incredible. It almost gets overwhelming at times. There's a lot of new terminology to assimilate in a very short order. Not only that, but the different saurian "clans" can get overwhelming at times. There are dozens of them. What helped me was the fact that most of these clans names seem based on dinosaur names and the description of the clans match the names.
The story itself was pretty straightforward. Lots of action as Rathe and his compatriots did his best to escort Karey Or to safety. The ending genuinely surprised me. I didn't totally expect it and that's a good thing. It makes me wonder what's going to happen next (which, like I said, is good since this is the first book in a series).
So if you're a Christian sci-fi fan, rejoice! We have another worthy entry in a long-neglected genre!