Titanborn by Rhett C. Bruno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
By the time I got to the end of the novel, I had Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" playing in my head. It really sums up the fantastic end perfectly.
I honestly had some weird ideas about what I was going to expect in this novel, from other's reviews, mainly, but in the end, I was very, very happy with what I got.
It began with the feel of a MilSF novel, changed well into a bounty-hunter novel with burgeoning buddy-fic written all over it, and then, surprisingly, it became a character study without a single stitch of purple prose or fluff anywhere to be seen.
I was quite happy to see such a lean and trim tale, let me tell you. Every piece was necessary and played to one hell of a fantastic end.
Mind you, this is NOT a flashy SF thriller. There are thrilling aspects. I wouldn't say this is a world-building masterpiece, either, but what develops is an extremely well thought-out and detailed solar system.
Mal and Zhaff really grew on me, slowly, solidly, through each mission, whether alone with Mal or together to the end. I saw some really nice comparisons to early PKD with Zhaff being "almost" a simulacra in all but the synthetics, and it doesn't overpower the tale. It doesn't hurt that Zhaff's story is just as interesting as Mal's.
I found myself wanting more. I actually thought to myself, before the end, that I'd really enjoy a long series including these two.
Suffice to say, I'm definitely keeping my eye out for more. The story never stalls. Real progression is the novel's strongest resource, and when the hammer hits, it hits hardest in our hearts.
Thanks goes to the author and Netgalley for a copy of this very fine novel!
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