Book Review: Starshatter, by Black Knight
Starshatter is the first book of a new, vibrant and exciting space opera series inspired by 80's Sci-fi. It is the year 2018 by Earth's calendar.
The Terran Imperial Minarchy faces enemies on all sides and has but a few precious allies. Its small, decimated by a previous pirate invasion population, is now strengthened by a multitude of uplifted animal species. The humans and their newly created brothers in sentience chose to colonize Fringe Space - a large expanse rife with piracy, slavery and a multitude of other dangers. Ruled by arrogant Pirate Lords and drug running Cartels, its current masters are poised to permanently deal with the uppity, freedom-loving Terrans. Especially those in the employ of the mighty Taz'aran Empire.
By way of critique, we first must acknowledge that Black Knight took the time and effort to learn English in order to publish these books, which is very admirable. Overall the language is clear, the grammar acceptable, and the copy pretty clean, but you will notice in places that aspect of thoughts having been translated. This isn’t a criticism of course, but merely a note that the texture of the prose reflects this, and that’s something to be aware of as a prospective reader.
Our story follows disparate citizens of the galaxy as they escape their current situations, destined to converge as the crew of the titular spaceship Starshatter.
The ship isn’t a place they’re trying to get, but it’s clearly where they belong.
I say ‘the story’, but this book’s structure is kinda more like that of a short story collection. Each character receives a chapter-length episode of their own that adds to the world-building, fleshes out the focus character, and points to the potential for adventures in the future.
It took me a bit to get into the groove of this, having expected a typical novel structure, but I can appreciate that with this many characters, it was a different, and probably better, way of introducing everyone vs. ‘telling’ about them later, or having flashback chapters.
Each chapter is tight and fast-paced, and no one character’s story feels like fluff.
The characters themselves are distinct and delightful, coming from several different races with important characteristics that I’m sure will come into play as they work increasingly as a team.
Both character and world are suffused with imagination, and the overall picture of Starshatter’s world is colorful and vibrant.
In among all that artistry is a clear depiction of horror and evil, and Black Knight does not shy away from describing the violence our heroes suffer and inflict.
My favorite of the bunch was probably Kera, a brutally captured laboratory subject confined, limbless, to a vat and hooked up to myriad sensors and computer components. Her only hope is to develop her own psychic powers, a’la The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, as it seems that no one else is coming to save her…
It was a bit risky to make her as powerful as she gets, alongside a potential companion who is also extremely powerful, but I trust that the author will be able to make crafty use of their superpowers in future installments.
So if you’re interested in a fun space-opera setup by a very passionate author, give Starshatter a try today!