Lex Talionis by RSA Garcia
I was so thrilled to read Lex Talionis in print, as I first came across early draft chapters of this story on the Online Writing Workshop many years ago, when both the author & I were members. I knew it would only be a matter of time until it was published as a Real Book. Even in an early state, the story was intriguing, the settings imaginative, the characters compelling. And here it is! When I got to the end I got all the warm fuzzies from being thanked in the credits. I totally believed in this book from the start, yo!
The story starts with a young woman waking up in a spaceport hospital with no memory of who she is, or how she came by her terrible injuries. All she remembers is ‘lex talionis’ – the law of revenge. We follow her journey as she slowly pieces together what happened to her, and finds out who she really is.
I loved the characters with multiple POVs threading the story together, the moments of pure suspense, the space opera-esque scale, the mystery that slowly unfolds in front of you. The aliens, the tech, the settings – this is a world that feels fully realised and is beautifully pictured on the page. I just love books where I can vividly picture the scene and this is one. A highly recommended read, please check it out!
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I found out about The Long Way… from a post on io9. The author finished this book thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, and self-published, and it was subsequently picked up by Hodder & Stoughton. One of the reviews I read called this a ‘cosy space opera’ and it so is! There’s a wonderful cast of characters including the newbie who gets to explore the world for us, there’s interesting aliens, there’s a patchwork hyperspace-tunneling ship hurtling through space. It’s kind of Firefly-esque with less western & more aliens.
I absolutely love character-driven science fiction and this is precisely that. The science and the setting is the background to a story that is about people, but without it being too hand-wavey on the science front either. It’s a fun enjoyable read. Highly recommended as well!