Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Shadow of a Dead Star

Title: Shadow of a Dead Star
Author: Michael Shean
Genre: Science Fiction, Cyber Punk, Crime

Seattle, 2078. The future hasn't been kind to the spirit of humanity; commercial obsession and technological fetishism rules the day, religion and belief has died screaming in the fires of war, and what remains is moral decrepitude. Cities of glass and exotic metals reach toward the poisoned sky, and every night sees a host of sins played out under glittering neon. Life in the future is hard on the soul.

As an agent of the Industrial Security Bureau, Thomas Walken knows that better than anyone. His job is to keep the worst kind of black-market technology out of the hands of citizens, technology born out of the shadowy nation nicknamed Wonderland. But the kind of fantasies that come out of that place aren't for the good people of the world, only nightmares made from sequenced proteins and printed circuits. Wonderland technology is like black magic in the flesh.

Walken's newest assignment, intercepting a trio of girls-turned-sex dolls smuggled into the country from Wonderland, starts out simply. But when the girls are hijacked from federal custody and Walken gives chase, he finds a trail of bodies in their wake as he tries to recover them. And the mysteries don't stop there; before he's through Walken will find himself confronted with not only the truth behind Wonderland but the truth behind the rest of his sick and cynical world. The revelations he pursues will answer every question that the troubled lawman has ever had about himself and the world he lives in - but his mind and soul may not survive it. --

I was provided a copy for review by publicity personnel affiliated with the author. This does not affect or influence my opinion in any way.

Shadow of a Dead Star shocked me. Not in a way that it was bad, but good. I didn’t know what to expect going into it really, and soon found myself reading a cyber-punk science fiction piece. This is a genre I don’t think I’ve ever really dived into, but may perhaps have to start looking at a bit more often now because it was entertaining.

Honestly, I’ve never been real attracted to the whole technological science fiction genres (space, futuristic/weird, robotic, etc.) and have always found my science fiction liking to be more geared toward steampunk, dystopian sub-genres, and general styles that don’t involve as much science perhaps. (Irony maybe that they’re classified in Sci-Fi but not as much “science” within the text?)

Michael Shean probably changed my mind a bit, though. I may have to start looking around and see if I can perhaps pick up some more of these types of reading materials in the distant future because I thoroughly enjoyed this. The world he created was fascinating and the story was fast-paced and action packed. I loved the technology and the twists and turns that were presented throughout. It started out a bit slow, to be honest, but once I got over the small hump and got into it, I read through it rather quickly. What I also liked about this was that it was a crime thriller and detective story. The reader, if you highly enjoy cyber-punk and science fiction- as well as crime stories, will get the best of both worlds when reading Shadow of a Dead Star. So, while it was one of my first forays into cyber-punk, it was an easy transition due to the crime story as a backdrop, I believe. The thing is, though, if you look at the bigger picture of the story, I feel that it’s more focused on humanity rather than technology. The future of the world Shean created for Shadow of a Dead Star is a dark one- certainly one I hope to never see.

The characters are well-crafted and details done just right enough for good visuals throughout.

This isn’t your everyday science fiction, either way. I enjoyed it- and that’s a bonus for sure because it’s hard to get me to truly enjoy a hardcore Sci-Fi. Ha.

Original, compelling, and one not to be missed.

I recommend it to all lovers of Science Fiction, Cyber-Punk, and Crime Thrillers/Mystery.

4.5 stars!



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