The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Do you like your future solar system full of high-tech iron domination that nears but doesn't quite cross over into religious nuttery? Yeah? So do I. This is Space-Opera! Not Sparta. Space. Opera. :)
There's fighting, sure, but it's not really war. It's free zones and oppression and great Earthly tragedy and a long economic spiral of an old trope of Reliance On Special Substance. In this case, it happens to be only harvested on Earth, but none of this is what makes this novel special. This is setting, and SF really loves its setting. It's all good, of course.
For those expecting something very similar to the author's Titanborn, think again, unless you mean a similar visiting of father/daughter themes, a very special planet named Titan or a planetoid named Ceres, or a handful of other things that never get in the way of enjoying the novel. Indeed, it only enhances it. You can expect a lot more tech, a lot more glam, and probably a bit more action.
But honestly, I think I loved the characters in Titanborn just a bit more, or at least that's what I thought until I finally realized that no one was really quite what they appeared. I got this weird idea that I knew who the bad peeps were and who were the good, eventually settling into the idea that they were all just people, instead, with all the mix, but then I was handed a zinger near the end.
Could I have wished to know whether or not there are actual villains, or precisely WHO is the villain? Hmmm... maybe? I don't know! When all of the main character arcs played themselves out, I was satisfied with everyone's changes, and some were rather more impressive than others, while the rest were a perfect setup for grand sequels. By the end of the book, I'm rearing to go. The author is pretty damn smooth when it comes to that trick. I'm hooked.
So what characters do I love? And is it *really* like Firefly as per the blurb? Well, I'll answer the second one first: No. Not really. These peeps are pretty much their own people.
Cassius probably surprised me the most and became my favorite character by the end, but Sage had the strongest personal development. Talon is good for sympathy, through and through, and I have fallen into that trap completely.
I suppose the real breakout character is one that some of my friends will appreciate the most: ADIM. I mean, come on? WHO DOESN'T LOVE HUMANIFORM ANDROIDS? Amiright? Right?
We've already been discussing a certain character from Titanborn and how much we love him, but now we've got his original template right here, to a rather offset degree, anyway, but it's hard not to make the connections.
This *IS* the author's first novel, but don't worry. It's quite fun and a very solid read that doesn't betray the reader's trust at all. :) I can honestly say I'm looking forward to following all the novels, including the third in this series which is Coming Soon. :) Woo! Woo!
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