Star Nomad - a decent start to the Fallen Empire series

Posted by Lore on Fri, 01/20/2023 - 00:37

The war is over and the Empire has surrendered, but that doesn't mean things are going well for everyone, especially on the mining planet of Duster. Fighter pilot Alisa Marchenko has finally recovered from injuries sustained in a crash during the final battle of the war only to discover that she has been left behind on this mostly lawless planet. She has no money and no way to return home to Perun where her daughter is, so she hatches a plan to fix up the dilapidated freighter that she grew up on, which has been rotting in a local scrapyard for the last 6 years. She enlists the help of Mica, the pessimistic engineer from her old ship, who also wants to get off of Duster and they set out to fix up the Nomad. Of course things don't go according to plan and they wind up with a few other interesting individuals they have to deal with in order to leave, including the enemy cyborg who happens to have taken up residence in the freighter now.

There is Beck, the security officer that Alisa hires after he gets his ass kicked trying to stick up for her, Alejandro the combo monk-doctor with a mysterious item in his possession, Yumi the quirky teacher who is into the metaphysical but also owns a bunch of chickens, and Leonidas the cyborg, who is more physically capable than any of them but carrying some dark secrets around that might get them all killed. This eclectic group each winds up having to play a role in this makeshift "crew" as Alisa's not so direct route to Perun runs into many life threatening issues along the way.

Although the circumstances that bring everyone together on board the Star Nomad felt rather contrived to me, the characters were interesting enough for me to look the other way and just embrace the story as it unfolded. I did not feel that the writing was very strong at the start, but it did get better and it left me wanting to know more about what happens, both in the bigger picture and to the individual characters. They don't have the charm of the crew of the Firefly, but they have their own appeal that is worth exploring further.

The audiobook version is expertly voiced by Kate Reading, veteran narrator of many fantasy series including The Wheel of Time and The Stormlight Archive.