Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here are me honest musings . . .
skeen’s leap (Jo Clayton)
Title: skeen’s leap
Author: Jo Clayton
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Publication Date: August 9, 2016 (e-book)
Okay as usual, the cover with a bad-ass woman led me to take a closer look at the novel and read the blurb. The cover:
The main character, Skeen, is described as a tough thief of artifacts – in space. So, yes, I was interested. I like to think of her as sort of an Indiana Jones and space pirate combined. Arrrr! She gets stranded on a planet with no money and no ship. A rumor leads her towards a set of ruins where she hopes to get enough artifacts to raise capital to get off planet. Instead she goes through a portal to another dimension.
The author was new to me. Apparently the author is known for her “complex, beautifully realized societies set it exotic worlds and stories inhabited by compelling heroines.” She unfortunately passed away in 1998 due to multiple myeloma. This publisher is reissuing the Skeen trilogy as e-books.
I gave this one a read. Complex societies. Check. Compelling heroines. Check.
Things I loved (in no particular order)
- Lots of strong female characters!
- Skeen – a tough, crafty, intelligent woman who is just plain awesome. I could certainly learn a new trick or two from this accomplished thief.
- Shapeshifters! Hooray!
- Alien / Different cultures. The description of the 8 waves of people are fun. The book doesn’t not really get into the nitty gritty of the other cultures but the peeks into them are super fun.
- The rag-tag bunch of people that end of being in Skeen’s traveling party. They are all oddly endearing in their own ways. I like them all.
- Sea Captain Maggi. She and I are kindred spirits. Arrrrr!
- Women are in charge of their own sexual lives.
- Victorian Era sounding chapters titles like “A Day, A Night, Another Day of Dull Travel. We’ll Skip all That and Get Right to the Next Exciting Bit.”
- Flowery Descriptions.
Things I didn’t like (in no particular order):
- Slow pacing.
- Flowery descriptions.
- Those three things tie together. There is a lot of traveling. Like the whole book. Lots of descriptions of land being traveled through, food being eaten, and sleeping places. I would say this book is a lot of showing interspersed with some actions scenes.
- Some sex scenes where there is guilt involved even though the two parties are consenting adults. Not sure what the point of the scenes were. Maybe it gets explained in later books?
This book to me was more fantasy then sci-fi due to the setting and feel of the novel. Some of the weapons were sci-fi and space-like but much more were rather primitive bow and arrow kinda things. It didn’t really feel like sci-fi because the other dimension seemed more magical – like do ye usually see shapeshifters in space? Of course, that could be awesome. But that is for another story another day. This novel is an unique little book that is somewhat hard to classify but I definitely want to read the rest of the series! Plus the e-book is currently on Amazon for $1.99 so ye might want to give it a shot.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Open Road Integrated Media!
The publisher’s website has this to say about the novel:
This fast-paced, gritty space adventure introduces the unforgettable Skeen, a hard-edged heroine and intergalactic thief trapped in an unknown universe.
Jo Clayton, creator of the popular Diadem Saga, introduces a delightfully unforgettable new character—a tough, sexy, futuristic tomb raider Lara Croft with issues—and sets her loose in a wild and woolly galaxy of dastardly villains, alien shape-shifters, and all manner of strange sentient life-forms.
Skeen is a bandit and a rogue, a master thief wanted throughout myriad solar systems for plundering the rare antiquities of countless alien civilizations while always keeping one rocket ship–length ahead of the intergalactic law. A “rooner” with a dark past, she now finds herself penniless and abandoned on a miserable backwater planet, at the tail end of a string of very bad luck, with no option except to follow unreliable rumors to a supposed fortune in gems hidden among ancient ruins. What she finds instead is a gateway into another world—and a universe of trouble.
Now, trapped in a strange new reality with no way out, Skeen must find the key to reopening the portal, and that will entail making contact with the mysterious aliens who created the interdimensional passageway. But the enigmatic Ykx vanished eons ago, and finding representatives of a highly advanced and possibly extinct extraterrestrial race is not going to be easy for the silver-tongued lone wolf outlaw. It doesn’t help that Skeen’s entourage keeps expanding by leaps and bounds with unwanted hangers-on whose interference could end up damning her to an eternity in nowhere.
The first book in a thrilling trilogy featuring the inimitable Skeen, Skeen’s Leap cements Clayton’s well-deserved reputation as one of the premier purveyors of science fantasy, alongside Andre Norton, C. J. Cherryh, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Wry, witty, and wondrously inventive, featuring a colorful cast of delightful and deliciously weird alien types, it is a space opera romp guaranteed to transport genre aficionados to new and wondrous worlds.
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