http://www.TracingTheStars.com was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I haven't read a true science fiction adventure story in a long time. The start of a new series, Book 1 : Awakenings does not disappoint. It has all the elements I desire in a good space adventure story - a reluctant hero fumbling his/her way through new alien space, interesting and unique aliens, exciting twists and turns, a good overall plot and a whole lot of fun.
When Nick, the main character, is introduced, two words immediately came to mind - Dennis Quaid. Nick has that same goofy humanism while at the same time being a smart scientist, just like most of the characters Dennis Quaid portrays in Sci-Fi movies (Enemy Mine, Day After Tomorrow, Innerspace, etc). It makes him lovable, easy to understand and easy to relate to. The way Nick reacts to things after being thrown through hyperspace and into far off spot in the galaxy is believable and pretty much the way I picture myself reacting.
The introduction of Nick to things like translation nanites, turbo-lifts, force-fields and alien species is both entertaining and educational without tossing a bunch of info-dumps at the reader. This book is not entirely info-dump free and could stand a touch from an editor for some paragraph breaking and content flow issues. These infractions were minor, however, and didn't take away from the fun read.
This book is fun. There is an overall plot of Nick trying to find a way to fix his hyperspace module to get back home and deal with the two warring alien factions who have stolen incomplete schematics. Nick finds himself on ship full of aliens, who actually look like aliens, who are more refugees than rebels. The two warring factions, the Dragoran and the Mok'tu, have been ravaging other planets, but Nick's hyperdrive technology changes the playing field.
Carrying this plot forward are mini side plots that feel like episodes from the original Star Trek mixed with the antics of Galaxy Quest. There are away missions (no red shirts), mysterious alien objects, a spy on board, alien-culture learning plots, and more running through the corridors than Into Darkness. Sometimes, these plots can meander a little bit and leave you wondering what happened to the main plot of the book, but it always finds its way back to Nick's hyperdrive and the two warring factions.
Although there are a few stumbles, the book delivers on the important things when it comes to classic Space Adventure. It's fun and entertaining. There is never a dull moment or long break between action and adventure scenes. Aliens who look and act like aliens instead of slightly modified humans. Exploration, character development, spies, technology, gun fights, space battles, and an Admiral that looks like a frog.
So, I am right on board the Hyperspace wagon, eagerly awaiting book 2, which means book 1 gets the OMGMOAR 5 star award from Tracing The Stars. This book is recommended for anyone with a sense of adventure, a sense of humor and a belief that humans are by far not the most or only intelligent life in the universe.