I’ve not been reading much science fiction lately because so much of what I see is cliche, derivative, and too often targeted at narrow audiences such as action for young men or teen-romantic for the YA audience. I expected to read the first of this tetralogy and fall out, but after reading a novella by the same author, I started the series with fresh enthusiasm. Marcha Fox surprised me with a great story that carried a series of arcs all the way through, not just one conflict for the entire plot.
I’m old enough to like many of the classic sci-fi conventions, and Marcha Fox proves she is well versed in those great traditions while bringing many new approaches to the genre. Her complex and intimate characterization reminds me of Robert A Heinlein. Her seamless integration of real science with an eye toward plausibility reminds me of Asimov. Her big-picture themes made me stop and think in ways Arthur C. Clarke could. Best, I think, is that like great classic sci-fi writers (think Sturgeon, Pohl, Anderson, et al) she sees the entire story and sets up every plot twist so it all meshes.
I love this kind of writing. I don’t like revealing plot details in reviews, preferring instead to say what I liked or didn’t, whether the writer is skilled or not, and if the story delivers. I don’t award five stars lightly, but this series earned them easily. If you like simple plots and basic arcs with cliche conflicts and obstacles like Maze Runner and its ilk, this material might prove too mature for you. If you like to immerse in worlds where paying attention to all the details pays off, I highly recommend this tetralogy. I’m a fan of Marcha Fox.