The Stars Will Rise by Kay Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you can imagine a space cadet academy that runs like a trade school with characters that are a lite version of cocky Kirk, a sexually ambiguous engineer who is held back because of race and his orientation (alien and asexual), and a cat girl who refuses to be pigeonholed, then you've pretty much nailed this quick novel.
To be perfectly honest, I was kinda taken aback by how many fish sticks and holo-monopoly the novel focused on. Or clubbing, getting drunk, or hooking up. Large stretches dealt with life not even remotely SF. It might as well be early dorm life with short punctuations of intense battle and inexplicably easy stints of stealing spacecraft, impersonating a captain, or just happening to come up with that brilliant idea that saves everyone's butts without quite having to work for it.
Indeed, a lot of the book lacks conflict other than rebuffing sexual contact or working through issues of childhood. The actual space conflict scenes generally have no build-up or depth. They just happen with an almost cartoonish ease. And are resolved as quickly.
The first half of the novel was slightly difficult to get through because the whole space academy bit was mostly "I want to be a captain" and the rest was hanging out. It did pick up nicely for the last half, however, and it was a very light read.
I would totally recommend this for new readers or anyone who doesn't want to work very hard with their tales. Fluff, basically. :)
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