Darkness (Book #1 of the Oortian Wars) by Iain Richmond


Darkness, Book One of the Oortian Wars by Iain Richmond

Published by Lore Mountain Productions/Rogue Planet Publishing

Published on the 1st January 2019

458 Pages

Science Fiction

Book #1 in the Oortian Wars Series

Purchase from Amazon AU/ Amazon US/ Amazon UK/ Fishpond AU/ Book Depository/ Booktopia/ Dymocks
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Lore Mountain Productions/Rogue Planet Publishing, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lieutenant Jack Falco said goodbye to his wife and daughter, three hours later, they, along with half the world’s population were dead. Jack struggles through the days, weeks and months that come after, trying to cope with a loss that he feels responsible for, when the day finally comes that he has decided to end it all and join his family, he is stopped in the nick of time by an old friend. This old friend offers him an alternative to his dark ending, become a Captain on a long haul space craft and head out to Station Pluto. He accepts.
After five years of travel, Falco and his crew arrive at Station Pluto, their task is to look for anomalies surrounding the station and find out what’s causing them. What no one expects is for the crew to stumble upon an ancient civilisation who collect worlds and expand in a cloud of black. This may be the war of all wars, the biggest one humanity has had to face, will they survive?

I loved the sound of this story. The strange civilisation that is found living in a black cloud that spans the vast majority of unexplored space, just tingled my creep vibe so much that I just HAD to request it. I did enjoy this story, but I found that for the most part, it is extremely long winded, though while I was reading, I was wondering whether or not I would have felt I had enough information had chunks been edited out.

This is a slow burn science fiction and it does have it’s charm. It’s a third person narrative that switches view between a few of the human characters, namely following Captain Jack Falco though, and it also switches to the view of the Oortian’s, the alien civilisation that we encounter. I found this to be an incredibly interesting tactic as for me, the alien movies and stories that I know and love (Alien and Predator franchises, I’m looking at you!), I think part of the ‘horror’ of these stories is that, we have no idea what the alien’s want. We don’t know what their goals are, what their lives are like, what they are all about. And this creates some of the unrest and terror in the audience (in my opinion anyway). So I found it super interesting that Richmond gives us a look into the Oortian’s, we hear their thoughts, their feelings, we learn of their history. At first, I didn’t think I liked it and felt that the book would have been better had these chapters just been left out, but as I journeyed through the story and reached the end, I feel like I actually enjoyed reading things from the defenders point of view. Because that’s what they are, we learn this very early on, they’re defending their territory against the invaders with the big metal carapaces. Overall, I was rooting for the humans of course, because I became quite endeared to Holts, Falco, Shar’ran, Wallace and the rest, they’re interesting characters with enough backstory for me to see them as real, and enjoy their stories.

Having the sympathy for the alien side was a great addition to this story and I feel like it really rounded the world out. In no way are we influenced on who’s side we should take, it’s purely the reader’s decision. I actually felt sorry for the Krells, for the young Prox, and for the last LOR that was named. They’re doing what they’ve been raised to do, battling the invaders and hoping to go into the Realm of Warriors. And at certain points, when you look at it, the humans are the same.

I’ve read a few reviews who either DNF’d this book, or finished it and gave it a poor rating based on the SCIENCE part of the story. I’m interested in science, I always have been, I’m not well versed in Physics, though it really does interest me, and I feel like this actually served me well. It allowed me to enjoy the story for what it was, science FICTION, instead of getting hung up on the physical impossibilities because, you know, PHYSICS. I get the annoyance when things aren’t inherently following specific rules of existence, I get it, but this is science fiction, it does not give the impression that everything in this story will stay true to the physics side of things, it’s purely for enjoyment. And in a fictional world, anything is possible. So if you’re science minded and are well versed in the laws of physics and such, try and go into this book with an open mind, try not to get hung up on the small things that aren’t possible, please just enjoy it as it was intended. You may find you really enjoy the story in the end.

One things that I didn’t quite understand, the beginning of the book is where we first meet Falco, his wife, and their daughter. This whole big thing goes down and half the world dies. It honestly didn’t have any driving force for the story, it didn’t seem like an important plot point other than being the reason that Falco was about to kill himself when he was visited and given the ultimatum to go to Station Pluto. Yes, he thinks about his wife and daughter a lot, and they are mentioned, the incident that took down half the world is mentioned and his guilt for it is to. I just didn’t see the point of that whole part of the story though, to me, it didn’t explain or round out his character in any specific way, I feel like we still would have had the same character had his wife and daughter not existed. I feel like he could have been approached to take this mission on in another way through another situation, but that’s just me.

I loved the descriptions of the Oortian’s. Some of them are just downright disturbing and I loved it. I love the parallels that we see with creatures known to humans later on in the story, and I loved reading about them and their thoughts and such, I did however get a bit tired of reading ‘Realm of Warriors’, it’s mentioned a lot at the start.

Overall the writing was good, though I found that my ARC copy had a lot of grammatical errors which I’m hoping were fixed up prior to the official release of this story. All in all, the story ends well enough, but is obviously still left open for the continuation of the series, I believe I will be continuing with this as I’m super curious to see where it ends up.

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