Last weekend a long-term nearly four-year relationship came to an end. I should not have been shocked; all the warning signs were there. Maybe I should start from the beginning before the pain to a happier time. Early one spring morning in 2012 I caught a glimpse of something wonderful and pursued it without hesitation… I purchased Episode 1 “Aurora: CV-01” of Ryk
Brown’s The Frontiers Saga.
Like all love stories told after the fact reality is somewhat less romantic. The truth was in 2012 I was deep in many different series in the Space Opera genre, and one of them featured a ship named Aurora. Lucky for Ryk Brown, and you the reader. I can not remember that series. I remember thinking to title the books with the episode was cheesy and the cover art was uninteresting. I passed over these books for almost a year.
One area of my dramatized open was true; it was April 2012 when I finally took the plunge. To give you an idea
of how much I liked these books, I bought books 1, 2 and three all on April 11th. I would bet money that I spent the weekend reading these three books in a row. I am going to dive into the story and the characters in a few minutes. I do want to mention one thing regarding the episode name in the title of the book. It turns out this is a genius move. When a series has 12 books, and there are gaps between releases it is hard to remember what book you left off. In many series, I have to search my kindle library for the names, and if I rented them, I end up buying them anyway by accident trying to figure out if I read it.
Naming the episodes solves this issue. It is easy to remember I am waiting for book 10, for example.
On to the story. Like many books in this genre, it borrows ideas from Sci-fi fandom. After all, it is nearly impossible to think up anything new at the maturity level of Space Opera. So insert -young officer gets thrust into command by extraordinary circumstances and ends up being bad ass – queue original story. The protagonist of the story is Nathan Scott, rich kid son of a politician. The antagonists are mostly the Jung, isolationist humans who are hell-bent on ruling the galaxy. Wait… I said queue original story! The Aurora is the first ship the fleet with an experimental jump drive and is sent out to test it for the first time.
Before you fill up the comments about the originality, you should know that this kick ass method of faster than light (FTL) travel came from a data ark uncovered from a time when humans were more technologically advanced. Sometime in the past humanity encountered a bio-digital plague which not only wiped out all technology but killed people because of their reliance on this technology. Earth and the Jung lost contact during this time along with possibly hundreds of other human-inhabited worlds. Humanity saved as much stuff as they could and jammed it into a data ark. Humanity recovers-ish, finds the data ark, and BAM Jump Drive.
Back to the jump drive test… During the test, there are a series of mishaps that land Nathan in command and 1000 light years from earth in the Pentaurus Cluster. While in the Pentaurus Cluster Nathan and crew make some friends and some enemies. The events in the Pentaurus Cluster help forge the plots and story arcs for the next 11 books while Nathan attempts to protect his crew, Earth, and his friends in the Pentaurus Cluster.
A 12 book series is a significant commitment. The good news is the books are the perfect length. I would estimate about 8 hours of reading per book. If we were talking 12 Lord of the Rings length books then forget it, that’s just crazy talk. Ryk Brown wrote these books to feel like a tv show. Each book has a well-defined story ark while contributing to the overall agenda of the series. Whether that was his intention or not, it works.
To end this lengthy fan girlish droll allow me to sharpen the audience. If you are looking for super technical, these are not your books. If you are looking for B movie crazy alien sex… nope. If you are looking for space battles, YES! Crazy ground forces that kill everything in their path? YES! There is minimal hanky-panky and cursing, but I would not call these books young adult. I am a fan of being entertained, and these books certainly did the trick for many years. I anxiously await more from Ryk Brown and the Frontiers universe.