I am a Science Fiction nut. Really. I just did a quick review of the last 100 books that I’ve read – 59 of them were Sci-fi…and I hate to admit that I’ve been trying to make sure to add other genres into the mix. That being said, I’m extremely excited about my first Sci-fi review for my new site: Chimera the first book in the upcoming Universe Eventual series. I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy of N. J. Tanger’s debut novel, and I can’t wait for you to be able to get a copy of your own!
The Stephen’s Point colony is on the edge of collapse. Its only hope rests in a new generation who hold the genetic key to a return to Earth. To survive they must struggle with the riddles of a madman’s prophecy and unlock the imprisoned mind of an ancient ship – Chimera.
Fittingly, this novel follows two complementary stories. The first is about Theo Puck: a good-hearted teen who has skirted the colony’s rules in order to make life better for his family. The second follows Selena Samuelson: a space miner’s daughter who is just trying to help her dad get one big score. The dual story lines – one male, one female; one on planet, one in space – drive the plot with a pace that keeps the pages turning. The characters are full of the life and vigor of youth, and even while they struggle under great pressures and responsibilities, they are not mired in the depression and angst that most young adult fiction substitutes for depth. Theo and Selena have real depth; the kind that connects you to their lives.
Reminiscent of Orson Scott Card’s early work, especially Treason and Ender’s Game, the storytelling has been well crafted – inviting the reader into a new world that is fresh and deep yet utterly recognizable. N. J. Tanger (actually a pseudonym for the writing team of Nathan Beauchamp, Joshua Russell, and Rachael Tanger) skillfully pulls from the best ideas of the genre. In lesser hands, this quest for survival in deep space would become a cliché, but they write like seasoned veterans – clean and crisp. The tempo starts high with the discovery of a murder and does not let up until the last page. The end of each chapter says, “You have time for one more.” I can attest, you do.
When I try to introduce the Sci-fi pantheon to my reading friends, I don’t throw them into to the deep end right away. Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, Banks are top shelf, but they can be a hard slog for someone unaccustomed to the style. Until now, I have started with the almost unavoidable classic of Ender’s Game; however, I now have a great alternative. This is the book to get people interested in science fiction.
Chimera is a bold start into the Universe Eventual trilogy. There is a lot of promise for what is yet to come. With the expectation met in the first installment, I believe it will be a promise kept.
8.5 out of 10 stars
I was lucky enough to get to interview N. J. Tanger about this book! Please check out my interview here: Into Chimera – N. J. Tanger Interview
Please check out these links for more info on the Universe Eventual series:
Concept art by Yong Yi Lee