Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Harmony by C.F. Bentley

I consider myself pretty well-read when it comes to fantasy. The same, however, cannot be said when it comes to science fiction. In fact I would go as far as to say I haven’t read one sci-fi book in my adult life. That is until recently. I was lucky enough to win a copy of Engima by C.F. Bentley the sequel to Harmony so I thought I’d give Harmony a go.

Sissy is a member of the worker caste on the planet Harmony. When a massive earthquake strikes the capital she is able to calm the planet and prevent further damage. That leads to the high priest Gregor taking an active interest in her and when it is revealed that she has all seven caste marks as well as the ability of prophecy she is made high priestess. Major Jake Hannigan of the Confederated Star System Fleet is a man with nothing to lose. His entire family was wiped out in a maril, avian-like aliens, attack. The war between the two species is getting set to hot up but with dwindling supplies of badger metal, something only produced on the reclusive planet of harmony, both sides are hesitant to make the next move. When the opportunity arises to take part in a spy mission attempting to retrieve the formula of badger metal Jake takes it. Needles to say the two protagonists’ paths soon cross and Sissy comes to learn that a few truths she had taken for granted might not be so true after all.

The story is told through the eyes of three characters; Sissy, Jake and Guilliam a high ranking temple official. The biggest strength of the novel is the two main protagonists who are interesting and well realized and really steal the show. I found the beginning to be quite slow and throughout the novel had a minor issue on pacing that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Also I found the first scene with Sissy, predominately with her thinking, strange when it is revealed later how she talks. These could have been better integrated.

Aside from a few minor issues I did enjoy my first foray into sci-fi. The first book does a good job in setting the scene and I look forward to reading how the story progresses from here. 7/10

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