March 30, 2017
Shiplord, by Felix R. Savage
As the alien vessel once known as the MOAD turns its deadly sights towards Earth, the survivors of the first human mission to Europa face their greatest trial yet. Stranded, and under constant attack, acting commander Jack Kildare is determined to return the Spirit of Destiny safely to Earth. But when his desperate warnings go unheeded at home, Jack is forced to confront the reality that he and his crew will have no place to return to if the alien ship arrives at Earth unchallenged. Forgotten, alone and left to die without any assistance from Earth, Jack and his surviving crewmates have no choice. Embarking on a life-or-death pursuit of the alien behemoth that now has Earth in its crosshairs, they find help in the oddest of places… a group of dissident aliens brought on board the Spirit of Destiny. Unfortunately for the crew, the alien passengers dangerously overload the ship’s life-support capacity, and Jack must fight off challenges to his authority from the very people he’s trying to save. With the heavily burdened Spirit of Destiny launched into a perilous homewards trajectory, the chase is on. Can Jack and his ragtag crew manage to beat the impossible odds of catching up to the alien planet-killer? Or will his ship and crew’s survival be imperiled by his generous decision to help the refugees? The future of humanity depends on the Spirit of Destiny … if it can reach Earth in time … and if there’s anyone left alive on board when it gets there.
Of the three books thus far in the quartet, I feel Shiplord is a step in the wrong direction. It felt as if the story was written, and it was too short, so a bunch of odd sex scenes were shoehorned in. There’s some great action in Shiplord, and you pretty much have to read it to keep up with the story, but I just didn’t care for it.
That’s not to say that the rest of the writing isn’t excellent – it is. Like books one and two, there is a lot of cool hard science fiction that’s no too in-your-face. No one will nerd out or anything. Whereas in Freefall and Lifeboat, there is a constant political undercurrent that interests me specifically, in Shiplord, the politicking seems to not follow the established canon from books one and two. The characterization established in books one and two seems to fall apart where Hannah was concerned. She seemed to be acting contrary to how I’d expect her to act. Finally, you all know I’m not a fan of cliffhangers, and Shiplord is the cliffhanger-y of them all.
If I had to sum up what I don’t like about Shiplord in a single word, that word would have to be “rushed.” Now of course, Felix R. Savage’s “worst” book in this series is still better than a lot of science fiction out there. And despite my quibbles with book three, I’d still recommend the entire series to any sci-fi fan, especially since the books are all in Kindle Unlimited.
I’m awarding Shiplord only four stars, and I cannot wait to read Killshot when it’s “published soon.”
You might say Felix R. Savage has a long history associated with rebellion. He was born in the 1970s, a decade of American youth rebelling against the safe culture of their parents. He is married to a wonderful woman and they have a beautiful daughter. Together the three of them live in Tokyo serving their cat overlord and benevolent protector. Felix writes Science Fiction and Fantasy while not translating, delighting in his family, or catering to the whims of the family’s cat. He never stops watching out for any sign the lizard people have found him.