Okay guys, listen up. I want to tell you about a book. I know I tell you about a book every other week, but this one is special. So stop what you’re doing and listen. Ready? *cracks knuckles* *pulls up chair* *takes a sip of chai tea* Let’s go.
You may remember that I reviewed the novel Embassy, book 1 of the Recovery series by S. Alex Martin, a couple months ago. Well, the author sent me an advanced reader’s copy of the second book in the series, Resonance. Yeah. Free book for Hannah. Doesn’t get much better than that.
While I did have high expectations for this book, I was not prepared for the level of awesomeness wrapped up in this gorgeous, 530 page, indie published novel:
While the people of the Embassy universe struggle to keep the planet Belvun from dying, Arman Lance must fight his own battles lightyears away from home.
As Head Archivist, Arman is commissioned to develop the most comprehensive planetary database in the Embassy universe. Not only does this mean that Arman must pull together his own team for the job, but he must travel to the planet Daliona to compile information.
Which is very exciting, since Daliona is a planet that everyone wants to go to. However, Arman isn’t much of a leader, so he doesn’t relish having to pick team members or establish himself as their boss. He just not good at that kind of stuff.
This becomes painfully evident when Rand joins the team. A pushy, loud-mouthed environmentalist, Rand seems bent on knocking Arman out of his shell.
With his girlfriend Glacia there to support him, Arman and his team travel to Daliona, a planet unlike anything he has seen. It has both tropical and arctic islands, all of them teeming with life, new technologies, and hard-core sports.
On Daliona, with the help of both Rand and Glacia, Arman challenges himself to push his limits. He travels to places he’s never dreamed of visiting, tries sports that he would have never considered engaging in only years ago, and makes friends with the most unlikely of people. He experiences the diversity and courage of those around him and discovers strength in himself that he never knew he had.
But, most importantly, Arman learns a valuable lesson: living life to its fullest is impossible while you still hold onto your fears. A person can always learn to be better than they are, can always learn to push through their troubles, if they remember to count down and whisper a simple phrase: Three, two, one. No fear.
This book is twice as good as Embassy, which is saying a lot, since I thought Embassy was a good read. Not only is Resonance a well-written story with amazing characters, but its message was one that I think we all need to be reminded of. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you’re dealing with. You can always work to better yourself. The only person standing in the way is yourself. This message is carried out not only by the characters in Resonance, but is also magnified through the world-building.
Arman, with his fight to overcome his self-conscious and tense nature, is very easy to relate to. I wanted to cheer him on every time he overcame a new obstacle, as well as curl up in ball and cry whenever he relapsed. As always, the tiny, feisty Glacia Haverns is amazing. She’s currently my favorite female character to appear in a sci-fi novel. Her thrill-seeking personality, especially paired with Arman’s my-girlfriend-is-forcing-me attitude, makes for a fun read.
Rand is also a very interesting character. Okay, so he can be a bit of a jerk, and his tendency to tear Arman down gets very irritating. But, after a while, we see that he’s actually trying to help Arman by giving him a good kick in the pants.
The world-building in this novel was beyond impressive. Each planet and city Arman travels to is unique and intriguing. My favorite planet was Daliona, which you can explore through this website: http://www.experiencedaliona.com/ Kudos to S. Alex Martin for creating one of the world’s coolest, most creative book websites.
Daliona's gravity runs, a dangerous, high-tech version of the luge, was particularly thrilling to read about. Of course Glacia was excited to give it a whirl, as was Rand. Through their united interest in gravity runs, these two adrenaline junkies helped Arman learn the idea behind “No fear,” a motto that Rand passes on to him.
The cyclo suits were also pretty cool. They’re kind of like an Iron Man suit, only they’re made of fabric and don’t have weapons or an obnoxious playboy inside. So, really, not like an Iron Man suit at all, but that’s as close as I can come to describing them. Teams of cyclo suit-wearers play a sport akin to a futuristic version of Quidditch. This little nod to J.K. Rowling made me one of the happiest readers on earth.
Another pretty cool bit of world-building took place with the politics surrounding Belvun’s destruction. There are clashing ideas as to what caused Belvun to reject terraformation, and even more arguments as to what to do about it. It’s an interesting side-story that will probably become more prevalent in book 3 of the Recovery series. It also helped add an element of realism to the universe that S. Alex Martin has created.
My critiques? I actually only have one, it being that italics were slightly overused in this book. Does it really matter? No, because the story and writing-style was still amazing. It’s just a pet peeve of mine. I’m racking my brains for any other critiques, but honestly can’t think of any.
The writing-style is exceptional and the present-tense perfectly executed. The characters are inspiring and believable, the pacing of the story is seamless, and the new technologies and sports are beyond cool. The worlds in Resonance are so life-like that I have no problem believing that they could be worlds sometime in the future. This believability is a rare element in many futuristic novels, so major points for that.
Anyone can become better than they are, just as long as they’re willing to work for it. Sure, you’re going to need some good friends, just like Arman had Glacia and the rest of his team. And yes, it’s going to be scary, just like Arman was scared to death to try new activities, such as the gravity runs and the cyclo suits.
But it is possible. Sometimes you just need to look up at the stars, realize how big the world is and how much there is to do. Close your eyes and whisper, “Three, two, one. No fear.” Then get out there and chase after your dreams.
Resonance is a book that means something. I don’t come across many of those anymore, so, when I do, I get excited. Really, really excited.
So, if you’re looking for a story to make you excited again, not only about its characters, writing, and world-building, but about the message behind it, then Resonance is for you. You can find it on Amazon, and, while you are not obligated to read it, you're going to have to listen to me nag you about it until you do.
There are two (possibly three) more books coming in this series. I am very much looking forward to them, especially since Resonance ended on a major cliff hanger and I now have to wait to see what happens. Not cool, man. Not cool.
Until then, I’ll be stalking following S. Alex Martin’s progress. He’s a super cool guy with great ideas and is definitely an indie author to watch. You can find him on pinterest, tumblr, twitter, and probably a higher plane where only awesome writers are allowed.
Have you read Embassy or Resonance? When was the last time you read a story that really meant something? Leave your comments below!
Hannah Heath - aspiring author and bookworm