My rating: 4 of 5 stars (8/10)
Read: 3-3-11 to 8-3-11
This book ended up being a bit up and down, but overall I really liked it.
It stared off well, then seemed to slow a bit (although not in a bad way) when Athena got to Eden. At that point, I could see it turning into SF Romance, and while I don't mind that at all, it wasn't exactly what I had been expecting.
But I was wrong. While the romance is there, it's nicely done and not dwelled upon on its own account too much. Instead, the SF plot begins to build up, tying in a lot of threads that I had thought were only background world-building, into a generally satisfying whole.
I did especially enjoy the parts back on Earth where Thena began to put all the pieces together and work out what was really going on. I did think she was a little slow on the uptake, as I'd worked out the basics (although I admit, not the specifics) back when she was on Eden, but I can also kind of see how they were pieces her back brain probably didn't want to put together, so I'll forgive it.
However, after all that excellent third quarter or more, it all seemed to resolve very easily and suddenly. I was reading the ebook and keeping a mild eye on my progress through the book. I had seen that part three started at something like chapter 46, with another 6 or 7 chapters to go to get to the end. That meant I was very surprised to find I was at over 90% of the book when I was still in the early 40s, chapter wise and in the middle of the action on Earth. I was wondering how Ms Hoyt was going to tie everything up and get them rescued and home again in the short space left.
Very quickly, turned out to be the answer. Suddenly escape becomes easy, the villain is dealt with with surprising speed (and really, very little action on the part of the main protagonists) and they're off home, to end on an ironic note, rather than a satisfying one.
Yes, finishing with the same officious controller was clever, but I wanted to see the family's reaction to having them back, and Doc Bartholomeu's response to all they had learned. Not to mention, whatever the heck is happening back on Earth and where the other Mules might have gone.
If this is the beginning of a series, hopefully I'll still learn those things, but for a standalone, the ending didn't work for me.
All the same, I really enjoyed myself reading this one. I loved the world Ms Hoyt created (and in a way, I'm not sure why) and the characters (well, I had a love/hate relationship with Thena, but I loved Kit and I want to see how they both live beyond the parental legacies they were given). I'll happily read more books by her, but next time, I really would like a more satisfying ending please.
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