Last month I reviewed a romance. This month's book is sci-fi. I must admit, that's more in line with what I typically like to read, but it is nonetheless as full 180 degree turn from my last indie book of the month. I like that. I want variety on my website.
My Reasons For Choosing This Book
The motivations behind my choice were also different. Last month I was determined not to review a romance, and I really tried not to like Under Winter Lights, but all the rich detail kept pulling me in. It was a book I truly did not want to put down.
This month my reason was different. Not that I didn't enjoy the book on a subjective level. I absolutely did. But I chose this book because I finally found what I have been looking for in the indie publishing world: A book that plays by the rules. A book by an author who actually understands English grammar. A book with relatively few typos (though I did find a few). A book where words are used correctly (though I think I did find one misused homophone, but that could have just been a typo). The only newbie "mistake" I saw in the book was a considerable amount of head-hopping, but that's something I can easily forgive. After all, there is head-hopping in The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, and I don't think anyone could call her a "newbie author". So while head-hopping can be distracting, especially if it's not clear whose head you're currently in, I'm generally not too quick to call it a "mistake". I think it's quite often done on purpose. Was it intentional in this book? I don't know, but it didn't diminish the book's quality in my eyes.
Milijun by Clayton Graham. This is a sci-fi novel about humanity's first contact with an alien race. The switching POVs allow the reader to see the discovery of the aliens from a multitude of perspectives. We have a miner working on the moon. We have military officials concerned with the possible threat the discovery poses to earth and its inhabitants. Then we have a mother and son who are inadvertently drawn into the center of it all. There is also a mysterious compound in the desert where secret experiments are being performed that may or may not have some connection to the aliens. Kind of creepy. I like creepy.
The world-building is often what pulls me into the books I read. Even the contemporary romance I reviewed last month was rich with...well...maybe world-building, exactly, but certainly vivid descriptions of the world in which it takes place. This book is no different. It's one of the things I love most about sci-fi, especially futuristic sci-fi: finding out the author's vision of where our world is heading. And then you bring aliens into the mix and you've got their world to build, and I love every minute of it.
One thing about this book that I liked was that it takes place in Australia. We Americans are of course surrounded by American movies, television shows, and books. A vast quantity of us are also shameless anglophiles, importing juicy stories from our mother country across the pond. Downton Abbey, anyone? A thing that has frustrated me for years, however, is that most of us remain ignorant of the amazing things coming out of Australia and Canada. To the point that many Americans don't even know their favorite Australian actors are, in fact, Australian. Think of how many people got their start on Home and Away before coming here to begin their career in Hollywood. Then go out and ask a typical American if he has even heard of Home and Away. Chances are good the answer will be "no". So I am very exciting to be featuring a high-quality indie book from Australia on my blog this month. There's some amazing talent over there, and I want to help bring that talent to the world.
Of course, the Australia in this book is not the Australia of today, but that just increased my interest. I wanted to know more about the war that is mentioned over and over in the book. I wanted to know what life was like in Northern Australia. The characters keep talking about it, but they never actually go there, so I'm still curious. I believe this book is part of a series (correct me if I've got that wrong), so maybe I'll find out some of those things in future installments. I hope so. It sounds fascinating.
The Buy Links
If you like futuristic sci-fi which deals with human/alien interaction, go out and buy this book. Definitely worth your time.