The Kindle version of A STAR CURIOUSLY SINGING is currently free on Amazon.com!
Sandfly is a debugger, his life limited to finding and fixing malfunctions in the equipment of the Abduls. Any thought outside approved ranges results in instant pain for Sandfly. When he is sent to debug a robot on the mysterious space vessel known as DarkTrench, he unearths few answers, but many questions. What did the robot encounter near the star Betelguese that made it disassemble itself? What is the crew of DarkTrench hiding from him? And what was in the powerful, unearthly transmission that Sandfly begins to hear?
My Overall Opinion
I expected to pick through this story, and finish it at a leisurely pace, as I do with most books these days. But the book snatched me away and whirled me into the mystery of DarkTrench. I found myself racing through the story with Sandfly, and, honestly, when the final revelation and climax arrived, I got goosebumps. With only a few very minor weaknesses, this story ranks high on my list of favorite YA sci-fi books.
At one point, a major antagonist monologues as he prepares to harm Sandfly. This cliché plot device is redeemed somewhat by the fact that the information he gives is very useful to the story, and helps provide some context.
Language, Sex, and Violence
There are no bad words in this story, unless you count substitute swear words like “rail.” There is also no sex, for reasons that are actually quite important to the story and Sandfly’s culture. That said, it is evident that Sandfly would like to deepen a particular relationship (romantically, not necessarily sexually), but is prevented from doing so.
There is violence, but it is not gory. There are hints that a man beats his wife, and, most disturbing, Sandfly’s internal “monitor” tweaks him or crushes him with pain whenever his thoughts stray into “illegal” directions. The intense climactic scene also includes some deaths.
I really liked the writing style. Sandfly’s narration is not very emotional on the surface, but readers can infer a deep undercurrent of emotion running through his words. Because of this style, Sandfly’s struggle between his humanity and his status as human property is all the more potent.
The story is written from a Christian worldview, but has none of the cliché evangelistic bent of most modern Christian fiction. The Biblical references and undertones are more of the numinous type: the awe and dread of something “other.”
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