I enjoyed this.... Ichabod reminded me of a young Han Solo.
Lots of action, enough characterization to make them seem like people instead of cardboard cutouts....
All in all, a good time.
I guess the first thing to note about this book is that I very nearly gave up on page 97, but a fight and an interesting development in one of the character's backgrounds saved the book at the last minute. For a sci-fi set in space surprisingly little happened. The previous 96 pages had all been exposition and 'get to know you' dialogue, I was quite bored and with a pile of books 17 books tall (that's just physical and just counting the library books) I felt quite justified in saying that I refused to waste my time any further on this book. One line saved Dark Run from the DNF pile "Hey! Mongrel!". When I read that I thought "Ooh! What's found Apirana and what are they going to do about their discovery?" and then when Jenna revealed some mysterious skills I became even more interested and no longer felt like DNFing. So, my message to anyone who finds the first 97 pages boring, it does get better if you can make it to page 98.
On page 117 I noticed this strange bit of writing - "...laden with enough sulkiness to float a battleship." I don't get that metaphor at all. How does sulkiness float anything? The way that phrase is used it sounds like a bad thing, but isn't floating what you want your battleship to be doing? It's better than sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Very ill-considered metaphor.
Brooks seems to like using an almost apologetic writing technique. Throughout the story, no matter whose point of view we're reading from, characters defend their choices over and over, even more minor choices that really don't need to be defended. All this defending is unnecessary, there's no court judging the characters on their bravery, or lack thereof.
Later on page 251 - '"You alright there?" Rourke asked over her shoulder. Jenna nodded, but the rain-slicked strands of red-blonde hair sticking to her face suggested otherwise.' Why doe her hair being stuck to her face indicate she's not alright? If she was alright would the rain not have stuck her hair to her face? Would being alright make her hair impervious to the rain? This sentence makes no sense.
Page 316 - 'She gave Jenna a smile which might have been made of spun sugar judging by how fragile it appeared.' That is another silly metaphor. I think Brooks is just trying too hard. The way he describes is way too flowery for the type of book he's writing, plus he's not consistent. The descriptions are mostly normal and then out of the blue he'll toss in a phrase that would sit better in a contemporary literature novel than a sci-fi.
According to the accolades on the back of the book Luke Scull says 'Dark Run is a thrill-ride of non-stop action, wise-crackery and adventure' and Stephen Deas says this is 'A fast and wry SF adventure full of the deviousness and wit of Firefly'. I'm sorry, but in my opinion none of that is true. It could be some of those things with some work on the dialogue and phrasing, and more careful editing, but as it is now it's thrill-free, wisecrack-free, and despite all Brooks' attempts only resembles Firefly in the most basic of ways. Brooks is no Joss Whedon.
Dark Run isn't a bad book, but it is only average thanks to everything I've already mentioned, plus the lovely little message Brooks left us in the acknowledgements. He says "If you didn't buy it, (the book) but you enjoyed it, maybe consider buying the next one? Cat food and pre-frozen rodents don't grow on trees, you know, and I have mouths to feed." That pissed me off, just a tad. I feel like he's intimating that if I didn't buy it I must have acquired it illegally. Maybe that's not what he was trying to say, but that's how it comes across. Should I put that down as another editing error?
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