This book is about those who have and those who don’t. The native population of this planet are enslaved. The conquerors are basically a military society. Those that live in slave camps are forced to work in caverns collecting eggs from strange blobs called Shriekers. The eggs, once processed, have the ability to give a person unbelievable intelligence, as long as they continue to ingest them. One fearful aspect of these slaves’ lives is that if they do it long enough they lose their minds.
The slaves are constantly harassed by the guards – from the moment they get up until they go to sleep. Many of them are broken people, knowing they will die in the mines, for no one is ever released and no one ever escapes. Although, there are a few with stubborn hearts and minds, whose goal is to fool the military machines and escape. Of course, the story is about some of those brave individuals.
It is also about one of the territories in the wilderness that is home for some of the people who are able to avoid the military in every way possible – afraid for their lives, their families and friends, and the small villages they live in. Often these homes and the people are totally demolished if a team of soldiers find them. Everyone knows a rebellion is on the slow burner and it won’t take much for one to begin.
This book is a great read. There are several characters who strive to survive and, if possible, improve their lives. They have horrendous interactions with the enemy, and they rescue and protect each other. There are times where the story is actually somewhat light-hearted in the midst of the daily challenges having to be met. I will admit that they didn’t seem to take place among the enslaved.
My reading experience was challenged by some disbelief in one chapter when a naked woman climbed down a steep cliff to find a gun. There was no way to protect herself or to carry this gun back up the cliff. Being a woman, I could not quite get past the image of a naked lady scaling a cliff. Another interesting note was the mechanical soldier. The pilot of this machine kept referring to it as “the soldier”. I continually watched for a person and wondered where was this soldier he was talking about. It is a strange-looking thing, standing on two appendages, well-armored, two arms, and various weapons arrayed upon it. The top half opens and the bottom half is filled with gelatinous goop. The naked human sits down in the soup and proceeds to hook up to the machine by various portals in his body. Soon, the top closes and the human begins to breathe goop and function as a part of the mechanical soldier. As I contemplate this, my response is “Eww”. However, I am totally impressed with an author who can think up such a soldier, but not so much by the naked woman clinging to the mountainside.
I did not find this to be a sweet, easy read, but a fascinating sci-if without being so far out I had to slog through to the end. I was disappointed when the book ended and wanted to go straight into the next. I decided not to focus on individual characters, because this is truly a fantastic read – higher reader involvement on every level. I read this in four days, even though it is a staggering page count of over six hundred pages.
- Genre and general reading age – I decided to label it science fiction, but there are probably several other genres that it could fit into. The age is more adult, just because of the length and involvement of the story.
- Level of sexuality – There are some flirtatious innuendo, but overall there is not much action.
- Is there graphic language? Some, but it did not distract me.
- Did I cry? No, but I felt sadness at certain times.
- Did I laugh? A bit. There were scenes that deserved it.
- Is this part of a series? Yes, the Outer Bounds series.
- Level of character development – It was interesting to see the characters develop. I did find that there was believable maturing in many.
Since I was intrigued by the story and totally entertained by the characters in one way or another, I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ shiny stars.