Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt

Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 370
Date Published: January 2010
Publisher: Baen
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb from the back cover:
A girl's best friend is a high powered weapon...
Athena Hera Sinistra has survived reformatories, madhouses and ballet schools. But nothing prepared her for waking up in her father's space cruiser with a stranger looming over her bed.
Facing mutiny armed only with a torn nightgown and her wits, Athena has no choice but to escape into space--and to confront singlehanded the darkships that have terrorized Earth's power collectors for centuries.
If she survives, space will never be the same again.
As I've mentioned a few times on the blog, I like a pretty wide variety of genres. Today I'm showcasing a genre I have enjoyed in the past but not read a lot of recently--science fiction. As you can tell by the high rating, Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt is a great example of the kind of science fiction I really enjoy. The first thing I loved about this book was the main character, Athena. She's a strong female character--tough, no-nonsense, and not afraid to kick some butt when necessary.

The second thing that pulled me in was the world-building. The world that Ms. Hoyt has created is one set in Earth's distant future, a future that isn't so terribly impossible to imagine. A period of genetic engineering was replaced by a society that opposes any sort of "bio-modifications" on people. People who had been modified escaped from Earth on ships and went into hiding several generations earlier. Athena meets a member of the hidden community of Eden after she escapes from her father's ship. Even though she first sees him through prejudicial eyes, she grows to understand and feel at home with the people living in Eden. While Earth has become autocratic, Eden is more libertarian, which is an interesting juxtaposition. Eventually, she also begins to uncover some unexpected truths about her father and his friends. It all comes together in an exciting way that I wasn't expecting.

This is not just exciting science fiction, though--it also is a romance. Athena falls in love with the man who rescues/captures her after she escapes her father's ship. But it's not your ordinary romance--one of the first things she does is try to kill him. Once they get to know each other better, the two have an unusual connection that they find hard to explain. In the end, their connection turns out to be much more interesting than I (and they) had imagined. And although there is romance in the story, anything more intense than kissing happens behind closed doors.

I know I've read a good book when it sticks in my head for days afterward. I was still stuck in the universe created by this book long after I had turned the last page. I know Ms. Hoyt has written at least one shorter story that fits in the Darkship Thieves universe (Neptune's Orphans) and that she hopes that this will be the first book in a series. I really hope that happens--I loved the characters and the world they were creating by the end of the book. I want to return to that world someday soon!

About the author (from Amazon):
Sarah A. Hoyt has sold a dozen novels in various genres, including her new Musketeers Mysteries series, starting with Death of a Musketeer, and her acclaimed Shakespearean fantasy series, which started with the Mythopoeic award finalist, Ill Met by Moonlight. An avid history buff and longtime reader of sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries Sarah has published over three dozen short stories in esteemed magazines such as Asimov's, Analog, Amazing and Weird Tales, as well as several anthologies. Residing in Colorado with her husband, two teen boys and a pride of cats, Sarah is hard at work on her next dozen novels.
You can check out Sarah A. Hoyt's blog, Sarah's Stories, here. Click here to visit her website. And you can follow her on twitter @SarahAHoyt.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in a twitter giveaway. Thank you Sarah!**

Reading Challenges:  Speculative Fiction Challenge



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