Book Review: Neptune Crossing (The Chaos Chronicles Book 1) by Jeffrey A. Carver

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Spoiler Free review of Neptune Crossing (The Chaos Chronicles Book 1) by Jeffrey A. Carver.

Review

Rating:

  • Harlequin level: n/a
  • Plot/action/story: 5
  • Solid conclusion: 5
  • SciFi thrill: 4
  • Fantasy thrill: n/a
  • Part of a series but doesn’t skimp (as applicable to this book): 5

Overall thoughts about the book

I’ve decided that for this year, I will endeavor to do quick reviews that are spoiler free.

If there’s one thing that has allowed me to read a ton of books (as in 10-15 books) last year it was my purchase of the Kindle Voyage.  The reading quality and compactness of this device has been amazing.

Before I talk about Neptune Crossing I should mention a couple of things.  First of all, I found out about it through BookBub.  I used to get many of the free books that BookBub suggested.  However, after reading a few duds, I’ve become more careful about my choices.  These days I look at the reviews (especially the negative ones) to see if it’s worth reading.  It certainly has become more difficult to find good books from new authors (just like app selection on the App Store).

My first introduction to Jeffrey A. Carver was Panglor which I got through BookBub (Neptune Crossing came through the same route).  I really tried to read this Panglor but the character was so exhaustingly trite and without any redeeming qualities that I gave up on the book fairly quickly.  If I need whining, I need to look no further than real life humans.  Why would I spend delicious reading time on whining?

I was in between books in terms of the Kindle Owner’s Library (once per month you can borrow a book), when I decided to read Neptune Crossing since it was in my Kindle library.  Thankfully, Neptune Crossing was nothing like Panglor.  I should also say that I had no background about the author when I read both books (not that this really matters…if a story is bad, then it’s bad regardless of the author’s fame and other books).

It was slow going initially (first 70 pages or so) and I didn’t like John Bandicut, the main character.  But John was sufficiently ‘real’ to see me through the first part.  The other thing that bugged me about the first part is that the initial alien is rewritten after the first 70 pages or so which really bugged me.  In the afterward, Carver mentions that he changed point of view when writing the book and had to rewrite the whole beginning.  This may be why the beginning was disappointing.

The other thing is that Carver seems to be obsessed with the phrase “hooked his thumb”.  He uses this throughout the book and it actually took me out of the story because it’s somewhat of an unusual phrase for me.  I recognize that it’s a minor nit picky thing to mention but it was a minor thing that made an impact on the book’s readability for me.

So the first third sucked a little bit.  But the last two thirds of the book took off just like the spaceship that is described in that part of the book.  I couldn’t put down the last part of the book even if the last few pages took a weird “2001 A Space Odyssey” (http://amzn.to/1RvFr9O) turn where everything became odd and weird and a setup for the second book.

The writing was very good and very descriptive.  No minor editorial errors to take you out of the story.  While the character is not fully likable, he is ‘real’ which is what redeems him.  To be truthful, I really don’t like John Bandicut through the whole book, but he plays the role of the reluctant hero well.  He is a regular guy with regular abilities.  Heck, he’s a regular guy with some short-circuited regular abilities.

The story ended up being pretty good with a good mixture of solid scifi technology, chaos theory and lots of action.  The last 20 pages were kick ass and I couldn’t help but finish the book.

Lastly, the book stands on its own regardless of other books, so kudos on that.  I certainly didn’t feel the need to read any more of The Chaos Chronicles books to feel a sense of closure and satisfaction with this book.

Some nicely described sentences/phrases from the book (a few among many):

Before he could ask, he felt a sudden sense of memories falling into place like the tumblers of a lock…

The solar system was a vast, cold, dark, and lonely place and he had just set course for himself across its enormous emptiness.

He imagined the planets gathered around, watching and applauding as he smashed straight into the ___, and he wanted to look right for the event.

…but his thoughts were like chunks of ice in a packed floe, vibrating with energy, but too jammed together to move.

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