Thrilling and enjoyable…
Soehn’s engrossing SF debut, the first in The Gatlin series delivers atmospheric setting, fast action, and intergalactic intrigue. Alexia Harmon, a young mother and wife, is barely trudging through life, with anxiety and depression as her constant companions. When an unfortunate incident tears Alexia away from her family and her home on earth, leaving her stranded on Gatlin, an alien planet in the far-away galaxy, Alexia has one thing on her mind: to escape the planet and get back to earth. But an ancient prophecy points out Alexia has a bigger role to play on Gatlin. The planet is on the verge of destruction, owing to a prophetic doom that was set in motion thousands of years ago. Alexia must overcome her fears and insecurities and learn to appreciate her inner strength and work together with inhabitants of Gatlin to save it from immediate annihilation. Soehn eases readers into the narrative with a well- defined cast and interlocking subplots. Though the novel consists of a vast cast of characters, Soehn mainly focuses on a few specific characters: Alexia, the endearing protagonist who revels in strength after a lifetime of doubting her own abilities; Rick, a Gatlin resident working to thwart the antagonist’s sinister plan; Brookstone, the intimidating villain who would go to any length to realize his evil motive. The storyline is driven by whether Alexia and Rick will be able to foil Brookstone’s plans, making way for Alexia’s return to earth. The book’s tone is frequently a sober one, but it is all lighthearted, fast-paced space drama with a major self-realization agenda. The story, set almost entirely on Gatlin, lingers on the environment, showing the planet’s unique atmosphere and hues in various shades. Elements of fantasy (looming prophecies) play a major role in the plot, as do individual struggles, depression, anxiety, self-discovery, family, and friendship. The pacing is slow initially, but readers who can look past the slow beginning will be rewarded by interstellar puzzles and relentless twists. There’s resolution as well, even as the open-ended climax leaves some questions unanswered (Will Dru escapes? Will Alexia be left alone to live her life on earth with her family?), teasing the second installment in the planned four-part series. A rich backstory that explores the Stone Sets’ backstory and Gatlin’s place in intergalactic add welcome texture. This is a quick read with a timely premise.
The Gatlin Series #1
by Larissa Soehn
Pub date November 13, 2021
Price $24.99 (USD) Paperback, $15.95 Paperback, $3.12 Kindle edition