Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: StarScout Rising by Gary Darby

I'm excited to have my husband be a guest blogger today!

StarScout Rising: First Trail (Volume One)
Book Review by Joey Smith

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase the Kindle version

Please visit the author's blog

Before the muscular viper could recoil to thrust again, Del flung his tall, lean frame backward out of the wispy golden-green fronds where he had just knelt. The mushy soil bordering the tropical waterway softened his landing but not enough to prevent an “umph!” when he landed on his backside in the streams’ wet muck...

I don't make much time anymore for sitting down and reading a book just for fun - not much time seems to be left for reading something just to enjoy it anymore. So, when it came, I leapt at the opportunity to review this book.

The book starts right off in the middle of an action sequence that plays really well, and serves to introduce the reader to the organization of the StarScouts and the universe the author has envisioned. The setting is a future that is close enough to us that culturally not much has changed, but far enough away that mankind has developed faster-than-light travel and has begun to explore the Universe. Most of the characters are part of the eponymous “StarScouts”, which seem to combine college, Boy Scouts, and military Basic Training into one comprehensive program.

Mr. Darby's 20 years of experience in the US Military show through in his vivid depictions of the training exercises and dangerous missions deep into unknown regions of space. The tension the characters felt in times of stress was palpable, and I found myself holding my breath on a number of occasions, unable to turn the pages fast enough to satisfy my curiosity at what would happen next. Even when the book was predictable, it was a positive experience - that the reader could clearly see events from a more removed perspective; allowing us to appreciate the double meanings behind the events that were unfolding while the characters had to slog through it in real-time.

I found the situations and characters believable for the universe I was presented with, and really enjoyed the depiction of the risks inherent in the role of being a "StarScout" - mapping, exploring, and documenting the untold reaches of space and all of its biological diversity. Many of the passages caused me to reflect back on my own time in the Boy Scouts; I could see the characters growing from their experiences in the same ways that my adventures had taught me.

Unfortunately, this well-written book appears to have run into a number of technical problems on the publishing end - layout, spelling and grammatical errors hampered the suspension of disbelief that this story deserves. If you are willing to lay those issues aside you will find an incredibly fun book that reads like a “summer blockbuster”. For my part, this was an exciting read and I am already waiting anxiously for the next installment.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for review, but this did not influence my opinion.

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Gary Darby said...

Joey, many thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to review my first novel. I deeply appreciate your comments. I apologize for the technical errors (thought we had corrected all before printing but apparently not) - but am glad that you still enjoyed the read.


Gary Darby

The Bec-ster said...

Nice review! Glad you took the time to read it and share your thoughts.