Rings of Polaris: Geekbotchery’s first foray into book reviews
Typically, we focus on games and geeky debauchery (duh), but this trilogy caught us right in the geek feels. We met author Paul Alan at one of the local comic conventions in our hometown. Forest City Comic Con, otherwise known as FC3, was last held in May and featured a film festival, cosplay contest, LARP demonstrations, and a host of local creators of games, books, and comics. At first I was very reluctant to write a book review at all, but after reading this series I decided I had to give this a shot.
The first book of the series, Rebel Lexis, reminded me of a space opera along the lines of the Firefly series, but with a dystopian cyber-future feel more like AI. This book kept me enthralled throughout, and I honestly could not put it down. While the feel of the book vibes with some of sci-fi’s most beloved cult favorites, the characters, and their stories are refreshingly unique. Finally, a story that isn’t just regurgitated from older themes!
If I had to describe this book as a deadly sin, I’d compare it to gluttony. Reading it was like curling up with an entire package of chocolate chip cookies. You know you should probably set them down and do something healthy to make up for your sinning, but you just can’t stop yourself. Captain Jason Bjorn has a mission and the unlikely advantage of having “upgraded” his DNA for longevity. Unfortunately, space can be lonely for the crafty, quick-thinking employee of a galactic mega-corporation. Fighting to stay alive amidst treachery and a host of compelling encounters, he finds himself equally tangled up in affairs of the flesh with a tricky free willed synth named Lexus. His ship’s on board AI computer system, SOFIA, making sexual advances as well doesn’t help matters for our hero, but it certainly does make things interesting for us readers.
When I got into book two, Giants of Mars, it was a whirlwind of both events and emotions. When I finished this one, I felt as if I had eaten that whole package of cookies all over again -and still, I wanted more. Despite the firm foundation in true science fiction that Rebel Lexis sets for the series, this second book in the trilogy delivers more romance and complex emotional relationship drama than you might expect. The tantalizingly attractive synth Lexis has seduced our courageous space captain and leads him (and the reader) on a journey from eager exploration to utter desperation.
The story also left me with many unanswered questions, however. Mainly, I wondered why Caption Jason Bjorn always gets himself into these messes. I ended up answering some of those questions in my head by relating Alan’s characters to my own gaming alter-egos. You see, when I end up role-playing in a table top game, I always get into a pickle that requires serious creativity to get out of. There is a reason why I go by the name Chick Who Botches; I do not always get to be the hero because I am often too busy digging myself out of a jam.
Finishing book two made me want to grab up book three immediately, so of course I succumbed to temptation. Star Child, the third in the series, made me both sad and angry at the same time. This is in part because, unfortunately, at the time of this review the fourth book is not yet available.
In this third book in the saga, our two lovers have been separated in a Shakespearean twist of star-crossed calamity. Our augmented human main character is fighting his way free from a tangled web of intrigue and a host of hostile forces, all the while believing his synthetic beloved has been destroyed. Lexus, absolutely not destroyed, has developed human emotions and an even more staggeringly unexpected ability -she has conceived a human life. Faced with dangerous choices and a force of deadly giants, our pregnant synth is fighting for the life of her child and her missing lover in a desperate battle that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
You see, there was no shortage of story and plenty of excitement. Sadly, it was a major cliffhanger. The book was filled with twists and turns around every corner, and I reached the end without feeling the satisfaction of every loose end being neatly tied up. I felt empty when I finished this book; I was left once again wanting there to be just a bit more story. I have been assured that Mr. Paul Alan is writing another volume of the epic tale of Rebel Lexis and Captain Jason Bjorn. I hope that he answers all of our hopes, dreams, and (of course) questions in the upcoming fourth installment of the Rings of Polaris.
I have tried to leave out as much of the intricate detail as possible, in hopes that you will read this series for yourself. They are wonderfully done, regardless of the unanswered questions (to be answered in book four).
To be frank, I believe all books leave us with questions at the end. The entire Rings of Polaris Saga Collection is available on Amazon, for your convenience, and with Kindle Unlimited you can read them for free. Even if you aren’t a subscriber, the whole trilogy is currently less than the cost of a Starbucks Grande Mocha so cost is no barrier to reading these books. As an added note, in the near future there will be a comic book as well, so stay tuned!
Rebel Lexis is also available as an audiobook, through audible.com. Watch your Geekbotchery feed for part two of this review, when we’ll interview the audiobook’s narrator, Valerie Gilbert!