Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jewels of the Sky --by Catherine E. McLean

Fiction / Science/Fantasy
342 pages
5 Stars

Jewels of the Sky is a great space opera. One of the best I've read in a long time. The author combined Mayan and Native American myths with her own imagination and spun a yarn of sparkling silk that wove through what we know, what we don't know, and what is yet to come.

Darq, also known as Raven, is a fighter pilot of renown. She comes from a people who are facing extinction, and will without a miracle, die out. Darq is a Wysoti, from a space-faring tribe who came to Earth in centuries past and committed heinous sins, and because of that, the whole tribe was cursed. She has no idea that she holds the key to dissolving that curse. She is a Skeptic, with a capital 'S' and does not believe in miracles or the gods who grant them.

All Darq knows is that the Doyon, a race of lizard people, are hell bent for leather on destroying the Wysoti, and she is equally set against them doing so.

Ms. McLean is a master world builder. Although she used a few too many abbreviations that I had no idea what them meant, I just kept reading, and the story was not lost. The worlds she built and populated were space stations and ships, and infinitely more interesting than the usual mundane planets.

She built worlds, and presented them full-blown, and accepted, populated by na ka ta (a sentient robot), humans, culture, religion (based on Maya beliefs and her imagination), Doyon, and others.

The battle sequences were well written and thought out, and interestingly presented. There were no transporters ala Star Trek, so one had to fly for hours to get where one needed to be. How they reacted after these hours on their butts was realistic. This is not a rework of Star Trek or Babylon 5, this is an original story and well worth the read. It has everything a space opera needs: heroes, villains, dog-fights among the stars, love, death, and a suitable and satisfying ending. Job well done, Ms. McLean, I look forward to reading more of your books.

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