DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PUBLICATION: October 24th, 2016 - Rebellion Publishing
A few years ago my mother asked me to stop by my local bookstore and pick up a few books that she would take from me, wrap, and present to me on Christmas morning. This was mostly done due to the fact that my mother has no idea what interests me other than reading and sci-fi and to avoid the potential gift I already own, this method has worked well for years.
So I began walking up and down the sci-fi/fantasy aisle at my local bookstore and I stumbled across a book with an interesting name: The Devil's Nebula. A quick Google search told me it was published by some British sci-fi company I had never heard of and was supposed to spark a whole new sci-fi world that would later allow authors to come in and expand upon. This was a bold yet interesting concept so I picked it up, gave it to my mother, who in turn gave it to me.
I had no idea at the time that book would change my literary life forever.
I devoured the novel and wanted more. The plot was original, the writing was flawless, and I've raved about the book to anyone who will listen. When the sequel came out, Satan's Reach, I snatched it up and consumed it as quickly as my little myopic eyes could read.
I later began reviewing books and got to know that little British sci-fi giant, Rebellion Publishing, and have been honored to read many things from their extensive and brilliant catalog. Last year, I was blessed to have been chosen to read book three in the Weird Space series, The Baba Yaga, and like the first two, it was read in a matter of days.
So here I sit, on my computer on my lunch break, having just finished the fourth book, Star of the Sea, and I am not disappointed in the least.
Stella Maris is a planet rumored to have a Weird portal in which Delia Walker jumped through at the end of the book three. Everyone is living in peace until a stranger approaches and claims to be the Walker's daughter, warning of impending danger to their peaceful settlement. A group of characters, some you may recall from the previous book, plan their escape on the Baba Yaga and begin a journey across the universe in an attempt to save their settlement and families. But the question that starts to seep through the pages is: exactly who are they trying to save it from?
Initially, one of my first thoughts about this book during the first two chapters was that it had a very different tone than the first three. It started off reading more like a mystery than a sci-fi novel. Sure, this book had less action than before, but this book was brilliant. McCormack does a magnificent job at setting up this series to really go to the next level. She has taken the previous three novel’s story arc and given it such depth, danger, and despair that the whole series feels richer and more substantial. Any author can throw flashy battle scenes at the reader but after a while, these grow tiring and trite. McCormack has taken a good story and made it great.
But I will give you a warning: the book jumps right in so if you haven't read the first three, do so. You will be utterly lost and confused.
The story moves along at a good pace all leading and building to something, though for most of the book the reader is unsure of exactly what. The bad guys we’ve come to know, fear, and love, the Weird, are back but this time things are a little “different” (though I won’t explain exactly how - why ruin this for you, right?), but it is a little murky as to how they fit into this story. Unlike the previous books where the Weird had a prominent place, they sit quietly and idly in the background here. Until the ending, where all hell breaks loose.
McCormack really grabs the reader’s attention by giving slight, subtle twists in the action, keeping the reader guessing for most of the book, but by the end, I was left with a strong sense of satisfaction. Her strength is obvious after reading this book. She does a tremendous job at character development, making the characters jump off the page with such vivid descriptions, dialog, and an overall dimensionality that is unrivaled in this field.
I really want to commend Eric Brown, Rebellion Publishing, and Una McCormack for taking an off-the-wall story line and breathing fresh air into a genre that had started to grow old and stale. I can honestly say I have never read anything like this before and I genuinely look forward to the new release in this series every year.
So be like me, run to your bookstore, grab a copy of The Devil’s Nebula, and get to know a wonderful cast, an incredible story, and some imaginative sci-fi that will leave you wanting more.
Now, when is book five coming out...
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.