October Releases

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Indie Book Review: The Ripple in Space-Time (The Free City #1) by S. F. Chapman

Author: S. F. Chapman
Series: The Free City
Number in Series: 1
Format: ARC Paperback
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Pages: 260
Publisher: Striped Cat Press
Genre: Science Fiction

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Synopsis from Goodreads

When the huge lunar Ultra Energy Laboratory is destroyed by a mysterious blast, Inspector Ryo Trop of the Free City Inquisitor's Office is called in to sort out who is responsible for the disaster.

Early reports imply that rogue moon miners are to blame but Ryo quickly discovers that a far more complex and sinister scheme is afoot.

With the help of a promising young Liaison Agent and a faltering Grad student, Ryo searches for clues and culprits in the corrupt and moldering feudal fiefdoms of the Warlords that dominate human affairs in 2445.

Ryo’s longtime friend, Biology Professor turned spy Malcolm Evans, suggests that the wave of space piracy that has recently vexed the Solar System could be connected to the obliteration of the lunar lab.

But why would reckless and marauding space raiders have an interest in a research facility?


      The Ripple in Space Time is a story that takes in the year 2445. A lab has been destroyed and hundreds have lost their lives including lead scientist Dr. Jana Fesai. So an inspector named Ryo has been sent on the case. To join him on the investigation is Jana's son Lev and an officer named Keira. The three take a journey across the universe to find the people responsible. But they soon find out that an explosion is the least of their problems and must act quickly before an even bigger disaster takes place.

      This was an interesting read for me. I love my science fiction and that is why I wanted to read this. The story was interesting. From the get go we are thrown into quite the story. It starts off with an obituary and kicks off from there. I love where the book takes us. The threat of a dictator who pretty much takes over the universe. That is no easy feat. It was scary as hell to think about. I like the mystery that was thrown in which I can't spoil but I didn't see coming. The best thing about the story for me was the introduction of CRAMP. That was one interesting group I would love to have seen more of in this book. The characters have a nice dynamic we get to see a bit of and they were sneaky and well put together. I also enjoyed our main group Ryo, Lev and Keira. I especially liked Ryo. He had a nice fatherly presence in the book and just knew the kind of man he was. I don't know he sort of gave off a nice quiet confidence that I liked.

      But I had problems with this book. Boy did I have issues with this book. Biggest problem; character development or lack thereof. Whatever we know of the characters are either told to us in one paragraph or not told at all. I didn't like that when I was done with this I still didn't know who these characters were. I have a little connection to Ryo, but that was it. Lev is promiscuous, but insanely brilliant. Keira was smart from the few scenes we get and had the hots for Lev, but then what? There was a romance brewing between Lev and Keira, but we barely get the chance to see it. There are scenes where Keira is mad at Lev for something and doesn't talk to him for weeks. But do we ever find out why? No, we don't. Was he staring at another girl? Did he say something he shouldn't have? I mean, what was it? Then I didn't understand why Keira put up with Lev's crap. She says if they are together, he will only have eyes for her. He responds, “I'll try my best.” What?! That better had been a joke. He is obviously not 100% ready to settle down. Run for the hills, woman! I felt like I was on the outside looking in a few times when reading this. I want to be put in the tension, not just told about it. 

     Same thing for the villains in this book, specifically the dictator. He is vicious and says mean things, but he doesn't do anything horrible (except one major horrible thing later on in the book). Knowing my villains are just as important to me as knowing my good guys. I have no idea what made this guy tick. Why did he feel the need to have so much power? Why did he hate his half-brother who was also a ruler but not nearly as cruel? Well that is what we are told anyway. We don't actually meet him in this book.

      Another issue I had with this book was the overall world. I love the idea of this being set into the future. It sounds like an interesting world. But how did it get to this point? Where exactly is Free City? Why the hell is there so much war going on in Dublin? What about New Rome? None of this is explained and I was curious as hell especially the New Rome thing. That sounds really interesting. So not only do we get a lack of character development, there is also a lack of worldbuilding as well. I understand this is the future and all, but we the audience aren't in that future. Paint us a picture or leave us bread crumbs to get us to this point.

      Another issue; convenience and/or no tension. There were times in this book where it would builds up to something and we don't see the ending result of how it happened. Or something would happen that was just so convenient for the character. For instance, a main character in the book (can't tell you who) is always being sat down in the cockpit with one of the bad guys. Why? Absolutely no reason. But something happens just so that character can send a message for help or to do something else they would get in trouble for. We also get a part where the same character is forced to help the bad guys and does something that will save them all in the end. But we don't see this play out. Why? It would have been a great action scene if played out right.

      Also I want to talk about the title. Why exactly is it called The Ripple in Space-Time? The ripples are mentioned maybe twice in the book, but don't play a role in the scheme of things, well at least not with our characters anyway. Again, why? It would have been awesome. Ever watched Star Trek (Abrams')? Remember what happened to the Romulan ship in the end? Yeah, I was expecting something like that. I know it wouldn't be exactly the same since a black hole and space-time aren't the same. But still, why not use that to your advantage somehow. Again, that would have been amazing. But what we got was a bit anticlimactic for my taste. And there were a few scenes like that. Where the buildup was great, but the ending result just didn't satisfy quite like they should have. The only real tension for me came from the CRAMP group. But even when they are done, we don't see the ending result, we are just told about it. Why?! I would have loved to have been in the room when that had taken place. Come on!

      Overall, this was an okay read for me. I want to love it because it has all the right elements. But those elements need to flow and they need to be developed. I felt a bit detached from this at times. Not to mention that detachment was a little amplified when I finished the book and found the appendix at the end. I got more info about the characters in the appendix at the end than I did in the actual book. Something isn't quite right about that. Although I will say I would like to check out the next book in this series because I want to see where else could this go. The very last chapter especially needs an explanation.


*This book belongs to the following challenge*
BCC's 100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2013!   

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