Tense, moving and expertly executed… Un-put-downable.
Pickering’s second installment in the highly acclaimed Star Children Saga is a fantastic mix of apocalyptic fiction, magical fantasy, and mythology that pits Cassidy and Torr against sinister enemies seeking their magical powers. Trying to forget her horrendous experience, Cassidy is concentrating on honing her shamanic powers. Torr is also struggling but gaining a new perspective about his own magical abilities. Ridge, on the other hand, is stuck between the sadistic Balthazar and the desire to find his own place in the world. With Balthazar on the trail of Cassidy and Torr, Ridge must decide whose side he is on. Meanwhile, Turya is almost at the brink of destruction, and its inhabitants’ only hope is the arrival of Star Children. The siblings must find a way to reach the Star People if they want to save them from complete annihilation. In this genre hybrid, which seamlessly fuses elements of science fiction, mythology, and fantasy, the compelling storytelling is an obvious strength. Pickering’s vision of a post-apocalyptic society struggling to survive on the moon is exceptionally well realized: this world is unsettlingly chilling—all the more so for its plausibility. In contrast to this bleak world, Pickering’s prose is crisp, intelligent, and deeply descriptive. Along with the genre elements and deeply immersive storyline, the expert pacing and momentum help create a wildly immersive read. A compelling plot, powered by a rising sense of tension and hope in the face of increasing hopelessness, will keep readers engrossed to the very end. The story features quite a bit of violence, with rape and physical abuse that turn bloody and unsettlingly torturous. However, the relentless plot twists make for a satisfyingly unpredictable read: readers will be kept off balance throughout. Additionally, Pickering deftly creates layered, emotionally astute characters. Cassidy and Torr are deeply and insightfully portrayed, and so are numerous secondary characters, like Jasper, who is struggling to deal with his own demons, Kai, and Ridge. Balthazar makes for an especially effective villain. Despite the novel’s vast scope, many of the finest moments are small ones, especially those that depict Cassidy’s struggle with her trauma. Thoughtful social critique, romance, friendship, and individual trauma play out among the intriguing cast of characters. By portraying the apocalyptic vision of the future, the novel challenges readers to rethink the nature of earth’s resources we take as a given. It also shines a light on freedom of thought and expression, survival, social acceptance, and equality. Vast, sweeping, absorbing, and intriguing, a true page-turner.
(Star Children Saga Book 2)
Pub date March 1, 2022
Price $29.95 (USD) Paperback, $3.00 Kindle edition