Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book Review: The Price of the Stars [1992]

I decided to put a hold on The Price of the Stars, written by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald, after reading this article on swashbuckling science fiction heroes from the past 100 years. I mean, just look at that cover! She is wearing a red eye-patch! Anyway, reading this book was definitely one of the better decisions (reading-related or otherwise) I've made recently; it was the perfect combination of action, adventure, romance, humor, magic, and techno-geekery to help me celebrate the turning of the year.

Beka Rosselin-Metadi is the youngest child of a powerful politician and the head of the galaxy's military forces, both of whom were responsible for essentially saving the universe at some point predating The Price of the Stars. Given the weight of all that prestige, and the fact that she is slated to inherit her mother's title as ruler of a now-dead planet, it's little surprise that Beka left town as soon as possible to become a freewheeling starship pilot. However, after her mother is assassinated on the Senate floor, her father tracks her down and offers her a bargain: his prized ship Warhammer for the names of those responsible. With the assistance of a mysterious stranger, she assumes the alternate personality of a ruthless (male) gunslinger with a reputation for violence and begins her hunt, uncovering in the process the shape of a much larger conspiracy that may stretch into the sinister Mageworlds themselves.

Doyle and MacDonald present the story from five primary points of view: Beka, her equally talented brother Ari, the urbane medic Jessan (himself secret royalty), the Adept Llannat, and the much put-upon Commander Gil, aide to General Metadi himself. The characters are engaging, and the plot--well, here is the best recommendation I can give it (and I am aware that this will immediately date me): The Price of the Stars reminded me of the original Star Wars, except the female characters were infinitely more kick-ass, the dialogue was better, and the worldbuilding felt like it had the weight of serious thought behind it. And I am a big Star Wars fan. Also, the fight scenes were awesome.

A delicious romp through space! Bring on the next book in the series.

Grade: A

ETA: I'm sure this book has its share of flaws, but I was too busy being entertained to notice them.

Dead Mother: Y