Ahoy there me mateys! I discovered this novel when the author asked me if I was interested in readin’ this one in exchange for me honest musings. The premise sounded fascinating and so I said yes. Those of me crew that have been reading me log these last several days have seen that I had to abandon ship on me last two reads. I was feelin’ rather disheartened and didn’t want to be fighting off the dreaded readin’ slump. So I finally deemed that it was time to read this book and hopefully keep the slump at bay. And it worked! Arrrrr!
I found this book to be an excellent read that was gripping, fun, and certainly lightened me mood considerably. While technically the second book in a series, Matey Bruno assured me it could be read as a standalone and I am so very glad he convinced me. I absolutely loved the world of the Ringers!
The Ringers are descendants from a starship that left Earth to settle on Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) in the face of an asteroid destined to hit Earth. They worked hard and slowly adjusted over the centuries both genetically and culturally. However, some Earth-folk survived and eventually make their way to Titan to co-exist. However Earth disease runs rampant among the immune systems of the Ringers which lead to the Earthers taking over the moon and the Ringers becoming second-class citizens.
In this novel, a Ringer named Kale is struggling to get by. He used to be a small-time thief until he got caught. His mom helped him get a legitimate job aboard a gas harvester. But then his mom gets sick and Kale needs a lot more money to help her survive. Much more than his small salary provides. A seemingly to0-good-to-be-true opportunity comes along which may solve his problems. But what happens if he takes it? A wonderful story that’s what.
Now do not get me wrong, I loved the plot and the characters. I thought Kale was a fantastic protagonist. There were lots of plot twists that I did not see coming. Some of which kinda broke this grizzled Captain’s salty heart. It was a seemingly simple story that has greater depths. But it was the juxtaposition between the Earthers and the Ringers that made the book for me.
Ye see the Ringers have adapted to life on Titan which makes them tall, like extremely cold temperatures, and need lower gravity. The problem is their immune systems are so bad that they go dressed in decontamination suits at all times. Any direct contact with an Earther can be fatal. The Earthers need heat, are immensely strong in comparison to the Ringers, and of course prefer Earth gravity. But they need Ringers to help maintain Titan and their lifestyles. So in situations like cleaning of the gas harvester, the two groups have to work together. But when they clash, and clash they do, it is fascinating to watch them interact.
I really can’t do justice to the world-building in this post. It just felt so real and plausible. The space ships, the jobs, the technology, the relationships are all gritty in many ways. Yet underneath that grit is determination to survive. Kale himself seems to encapsulate love for those in his life and even understanding and compassion for some of the Earthers. Watching his journey was wonderful.
The only small flaw for me was the epilogue which had a character that I didn’t know. But I got the gist and so it was no big deal.
Much thanks to Matey Bruno and I certainly will read the first book in the series at some point. Arrrrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Kale Drayton knows his place. As a Ringer, he’s used to keeping his head down and his mouth shut—no matter how much the Earthers abuse him or his own kind berate him. So when he’s caught stealing from a wealthy merchant, he’s lucky to be sentenced to low-paying maintenance work on a gas-harvesting ship instead of life in a cell . . . or worse.
But when his mother is quarantined, Kale finds himself backed into a corner. To pay for her medicine, he needs money—the kind of money he’ll never make sweeping floors and cleaning ships. So when he receives a mysterious offer asking him to do a simple job in exchange for his mother’s treatment, Kale takes a chance once more. All he has to do is upload a program onto his employer’s ship and all of his problems will disappear.
What starts as a straightforward smuggling gig soon reveals its shattering repercussions. The people who hired Kale are more dangerous than he suspected—and he’s more important to them than he ever could have imagined.
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