“Author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science. The world she creates in the Star Trails Tetralogy is genius, so well thought out and crafted. As the Brightstar youngsters observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling, but when they break old habits and open their minds in order to survive the hostile planet they must now call home, these children achieve the incredible. Quite beautiful.” Ceri London.
A discovery that links two dimensions of time. . .A prison ship’s dirty little secret. . .Esheron has answers but will they arrive before it’s too late?
"Refractions of Frozen Time" finds the Brightstars, your favorite space-faring family, more separated than ever before. Laren is in the process of being exiled to the galaxy's ultimate security prison onboard an automated spacecraft. Creena, her little brother, Deven, and her mother, Sharra, remain in the Caverns, while Dirck and Win report to the Clique base at Apoca Canyon.
Deven discovers a new crystal which, combined with cristobalite, unlocks the portal between Local and Universal time, offering the potential Creena has been looking for to reunite the family at last. There's one problem, however. Teleporting results in the correct location but the arrival time seems to be random, which has risky implications. Before she can unravel the mystery, however, Integrator commandos find their underground hideout, forcing a harrowing escape loaded with unexpected consequences. Believing they're permanently lost, the dark and lonely days that follow change Dirck forever as fate plays out a hand dealt on Earth years before, ultimately revealing the crystals' incredible secret.
Onboard the Bezarna Express, Laren's efforts to exploit the ship's dirty little secret backfire, putting him more at risk than ever before, his survival dependent on ground intervention. Little does he know that the solution has been with him all along, quietly lurking in a device that operates strictly on the principle "If you don't ask, you don't get." Meanwhile, Augustus Troy, Laren's long-time nemesis, gains more power than ever before coupled with being armed with a weapon capable of wiping out anyone opposed to his despotic goals.
Do the Brightstars have what it takes to survive much less prevail at their final confrontation with the Integrator and his evil proponents? Or will the family’s longed-for reunion take place in another dimension of time and space? Find out in this suspense-laden conclusion to the Star Trails Tetralogy.
Marcha Fox is a former NASA engineer based at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas so she really does know her science, but she has also written an amazing science-fiction series Star Trails Tetralogy and I was thrilled to get the opportunity to beta read this final volume: Refractions of Frozen Times.
Naturally, I have got to know Marcha through our mutual writing endeavours and so I am delighted to publish my advance review on the day she releases her work.
The Star Trails Tetralogy is the classic story of good versus evil seen through one family’s struggle to reunite, an endeavour that draws in a number of lonely souls along the way. The three Brightstar siblings are the young heroes of this story and, as they observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling. It’s when they break old habits in order to survive the hostile planet they must now call home that they open their minds and hearts to the mysteries of the universe and achieve the incredible.
This is a beautifully written story, developing themes of loyalty, tolerance, understanding, and patient study. As I have alluded to in reviews of the preceding stories, the thoughtful pace is broken up by moments of intense excitement, but the narrative has to be savoured and enjoyed for gems like this, “…a vast and abrupt precipice, the sheer sides a trickle of motion…” Each character makes a discovery, about themselves and their friends and family, except for maybe Deven, the little boy, who intuits everything in the most lovely and unassuming manner. I so want to see what he gets up to when he’s older. The more alien characters are equally fascinating and the subtle hints of their background cultures enrich the story with depth and colour.
Finally, author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science in an interesting and original way. The detailed world she creates is genius, so well thought out and crafted and sci-fi fans who love properly developed cultures backed up by hard and well understood science will devour these stories. The quiet thread of an entity stronger than either individual or corporation runs throughout this series and I believe reflects many faith systems once semantics are put aside with its impact only fully understood in the uniquely fitting and uplifting climax.
I highly recommend this series for adults and young adults.
(I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
I made time over the holiday season to read the second book in this wonderful series. The family is still torn apart, Creena is on Terra, desperate to return to her family and completely bewildered by the backward humans living on planet Earth (loved all the references to UFOs and aliens), while the rest of her family is surviving life on a hostile planet passing between two suns.
The heat ramps up as does the drama as Dirck is forced to take on Laren Brightstar’s design for an AC system that might keep the family alive during the hot season while Troy (baddie) plots how to manipulate Laren into doing his bidding.
I am in awe of the world author Marcha Fox has created. She has populated our galaxy with human colonies and aliens, enriching the story with intricate detail covering solar systems, seasons, geology, politics, anthropological, fauna, eco-commerce, technological, and spiritual beliefs that are unveiled layer upon layer as the story progresses.
The children are learning so much and (as I mentioned in my review for the first book) the reader learns right along with them. These kids face an epic struggle for survival and I felt their joy with each small success and their despair when everything they’ve worked for begins to fall apart on them. The characterisation is beautifully carried throughout and you witness the children’s emotional growth. Deven is still one to watch! I think leaving Mira was the best thing that could have happened to them. I shudder to think how their lives might have turned out if their biggest trial to face had been boredom and compliance in a system designed to perpetuate the ordinary. Not on Cyraria. Here, Marcha Fox has created something extraordinary.
Take your time reading this book as this is not a fast-paced read although it certainly has its heart-thumping moments. However, the pace encouraged me to slow down, savour the rich detail, and get inside the heads of these children. A thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m very much looking forward to Book 3!
( I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.)
A joy to read. Imaginative hard sci-fi with real-life characters
Imagine growing up in a regimented, well-ordered, pristine bubble. Then imagine you burst that bubble accidentally and your new playground suddenly opens up to include the galaxy, but you’re on your own, your family is travelling farther and farther away, you’re trapped in this escape pod, and there’s a virtual nanny telling you what to do. Imagine you’re a natural rebel.
Creena Brightstar is a rebel.
Dirck is her brother. Dirck is dutiful, compliant, and loves to drive his non-conforming sister crazy. This time he went too far. Now he’s with his father and on a mission to find Creena, only the big, bad world outside is nothing like the bubble he’s raved about all his life, and his dad has some rapid education to do.
This is such a fun, fascinating read. Marcha Fox knows her science, and the Brightstar children rapidly need to learn all this stuff about space travel, warp drive, and time bumps, and so the reader learns right along with them. Anyone who loves hard science will lap this book up. However, that and the wonderful world-building is the bonus.
The real joy in this story (the start of a bigger, complex, political sci-fi thriller chock-full of mysterious baddies) is Creena and Dirck’s development. Adversity tests, tries, and changes their outlook on life. In Marcha Fox’s world, never mistake inexperience for incompetence. She expects much from her young characters, and yet intuitively understands and empathises with them.
Oh, and there’s a robot I swear would drive C-3PO insane.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for both young and old and I will be gradually devouring the rest of this series.