When I was little, my dad read books aloud to my sister and me before bedtime. One of the first series I can remember him reading was The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black. We borrowed the set from a friend while it was still in the self-published format and I loved it all. I was engrossed in every sword fight, intrigued by the Prince, and quickly made Tess, the valiant lady heroine of the first two books, my role model.
Since then, I have bought and devoured every one of Mr. Black's books as they were released, from his medieval Knight's of Arrethtrae, to his Wars of the Realm trilogy. Nova, Episode One of the Starlore Legacy, was no exception. I read the entire book in one afternoon.
- The Synopsis -
"Daeson Lockridge was born of Royal blood, and all of his plans are falling into place now that his performance flying the legendary Starcraft at the academy places him as the second-ranking cadet in his class. Only his cousin, Prince Linden Lockridge, ranks higher. But a chance encounter with a lowly Starcraft mechanic shatters his perfect plan. The mysterious Raviel intersects his life and everything he thought he knew about himself, his family, his planet, and his galaxy seems a lie. Exposed as a fraud and with no one to trust he must flee the mighty Jyptonian fleet and search for the truth... a truth that will change his life and the future of the galaxy forever, for the Immortals are watching."
- The Plot-
Science Fiction has never been one of my go-to genres, and certainly not when it includes futuristic worlds set in a totally different galaxy. So I was surprised when I found myself actually enjoying Nova from the very first chapter. The Biblical allegory was easy to pinpoint, yet despite the fact that I already know the basic storyline, I loved the fresh and unique style! The narrative and constant thread of mystery kept me on the edge of my seat. Yet, it isn't just an adventure meant to keep you begging for more - it's a story meant to challenge you, to inspire you, and to bring a new perspective to the Gospel story.
- The Characters -
From the moment of his entrance in Chapter One, I liked Daeson. True to Mr. Black's style in crafting his main characters, Daeson is a young man with uncanny skills and strong determination, though still humble and irresistibly kind with a good dose of internal conflict. Thus far, his character arc has been gripping as I watch him go from confident and sure of his path, to broken and questioning what is really true. Isn't that itself such an essential part of the Gospel - being broken to the point where we know we aren't enough?
When Raviel stepped onto the scene, I knew I had found another very satisfying character to engage my imagination. I love how even though she is highly skilled as a mechanic and zealous for her cause, the narrative doesn't forget to portray a stroke of her feminine side. Yes, there is such a thing as young women who are strong, confident, and yet graceful and embrace their femininity. Thus far, she has played more the role of strength and conviction in Daeson's journey, but something tells me that she could pull off "damsel in distress" with a grace and style that leaves you admiring her womanhood.
As for my favorite character... without spoiling it for those who have yet to read Nova, all I will say is that my favorite character thus far is Rivet. Endearing, loyal, mysterious.... you'll have to read to find out just what I mean.
- Overall -
Nova left me impressed. Allegory flows parallel to imagination, the setting is other-worldly without being absurd, and both prologue and epilogue deepened the plot in a way that such chapters rarely do these days. The end left me with more questions than answers, but what do you expect from the first in a twelve book series?
My favorite part of Mr. Black's books, however, has always been the fact that anyone can read them. The story is engaging enough for young kids, and the themes are deep enough to inspire adults.
I especially love how perfectly geared it is toward boys. I have spoken with several authors in the last year whose books were turned down by publishing agents because there isn't a market for pre-teen/teenage boys. In my house, that couldn't be farther from the truth! I have two teen brothers who literally devour books, and Nova is one that I can hand over to them knowing that they will be engrossed in the adventure and inspired by Ell Yon. No magic. No profanity. No negative influences. For those of you who haven't already guessed, there is a good dose of romance in Nova, as in most of Mr. Black's books. I personally enjoy it as it remains pure and respectful and contributes to the plot rather than distracting from it.
Episode One of the StarLore Legacy has me duly impressed and anxious for more. Are you convinced yet? If so, then you have an opportunity to read Nova yourself....
Enter my giveaway to win a SIGNED Hardcover copy of Nova!
Make sure to enter and keep your eyes open for an email next week when I announce the winner!
I can't wait to hear what you think of Nova, the sci-fi genre, or simply of books in general. Drop me a comment below and be sure to enter for your chance to win Nova!
Until then, blessings!