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Tracing The Stars

I read mostly science fiction and romance, and often a combination of the two.

The Circuit: Executor Rising - Rhett C. Bruno

The Circuit, I believe, has a little bit of something for every science fiction reader. Although there are a few hiccups, mostly with over-description, I could find no true negatives while reading this book. It offers 'massive world building done right', an exploration of human nature, the development of artificial life, politics, social conflicts and a fully fleshed-out, believable future. The characters within The Circuit are unique and three dimensional, and most have no black or white lines drawn - offering instead a gray concept of justice and injustice that all depends on how you, the reader, relate to the characters and their motivations.


For the author’s ability to allow the reader choice when it comes to deciding who is right or wrong, although I dare say that is a highly blurred line in this book, I give The Circuit five stars.

At some point in the future, we humans finally decimate Earth enough so that it becomes inhabitable. Established colonies on Mars, asteroids, the Moon, Jupiter’s moon Titan and several other places within our solar system's reach vie for power and control, not only of the displaced citizens, but of the uninhabitable Earth. A new religion forms to replace the old ones, in which the hope is to return to the mother Earth and see her bountiful homeland restored. At the head of this new faith sits The NET (New Earth Tribunal), run by four Executors. At its opposition sits The Ceresians, rebels who lost the civil war in which The NET claimed ownership of the derelict Earth.


Thus sets the stage for a book full of history, a new set of cultures, political maneuvering, social inequalities, and everything you would expect from today’s human society spread out across the solar system and connected via the NET-controlled trade Circuit. Whomever controls The Circuit and its ships, controls the resources and the colonies. Ex-Tribune Cassius believes that needs to change.


Cassius is a complex character in a book full of complex characters. Is he a villain with personal vendettas, or is he the anti-hero with personal goals that have far-reaching consequences? Will his motivations lead to positive changes, chaos, or both? Adding to this is his relationship with ADIM, an android who he created and eventually calls son - a Creator giving life to a being and deeming it the future. This defines Cassius as a mad-genius; the kind of character I love because they tend to have you questioning everything about them and the universe in which they live.


ADIM himself is an interesting character that asks and seeks answers to what constitutes a living being, a human, a son. His purpose is to follow the will of his Creator without question, and he does this within the first pages of the book, opening with a violent sequence of events. When morals and choice are removed and the Creator's will becomes 'all', ADIM becomes a killer removed from the act of murder.


Sage, at least for me, represented an interesting mirror of ADIM. She is human and has choice or free will, but her free will is highly motivated or controlled by the NET’s dogma. While she does have choice, her choices are skewed by how the NET has become her 'Creator' & her 'all'.


Lastly, there is Talon - a representation of a familiar human archetype. He's a miner for the Ceresians, trying to make an honest living for his daughter while his body is being ravaged by the Blue Death, a side effect of mining Gravetonian.


All four of these lives are explored through p.o.v. chapters until they collide. I'm not a huge fan of books where the storyline/ and third-person p.o.v. jumps so heavily from chapter to chapter, but this was done well and I can’t fault the book for my own style preferences. There are some points in which over-description becomes a problem, but I am admittedly a dialogue reader. My little quirks aside, this book is highly recommended and I am looking forward to the next!