STAR SCOUT RISING First Trail vol 1 by Gary Darby
This book was interesting to say the least so I'll start at the beginning and tell you first impressions. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by the cover, but I had mixed feelings about it. I loved the top half, but the creature depicted on the cover really bothered me. I had to actually cover it with my hands to ignore the awful animal. But then, I couldn't keep my eyes off it trying to figure out what it was.
Once inside the book, it got much better.
Some things I noticed as I read it. There was a strong relationship to the way the Boy Scout program, and this Junior StarScout program, the main character Del Baldura was a member of, work. There were also hints and references to some events hundreds of years into our past.
Del is a Jr. StarScout team leader over a group of five Jr. StarScouts doing one of their final field exams before they are sent on their no notice final exam in a remote area of Earth in the year 2433. Del joined the StarScouts to try to find out what had happened to his father who had mysteriously disappeared on a mission and was thought to have turned traitor, though Del doesn't believe it.
There are good guys, bad guys, bad guys pretending to be part of the good guys, and so on. At first it was hard to keep track of who was what, but at the end, it becomes clear. (you'll have to read it to know)
The weird creature on the cover? Well it does come in to play. It is the creature the Jr. StarScouts are supposed to track on their field assignment, but come to find out, it sure packs a punch and those fangs are dangerous. As they are tracking it, and almost come close to capturing it, a band of Extra Terrestrial Poachers nab the creature, and kidnap one of the Jr. StarScouts who had been recording it. The other Jr. StarScouts sneak on board the ship to try to rescue her before it takes off and end up captives as well.
They travel around the galaxy, doing things the poachers want them to do in order to earn their freedom and learn a lot about themselves and how their training in the StarScout program has helped them manage what comes at them. There is even one place where Del has the chance to leave the poachers behind and save himself, but he remembers the oaths he took as a StarScout and saves them, even though it means he's still under their control.
Interspersed through the story is a back story and information about Del's missing father, his Uncle Jak who is a decorated StarScout himself and a group called the Gadion Faction who are an organized crime group headed by one mean and ruthless man who just wants more power, though he's considered the most powerful man in all the galaxies.
At times this back story confused me since I was just getting into the flow of the story, especially during some really action packed sequences, then the author did a few flashbacks to explain, throwing me off for a moment until I realized what had happened.
Mr. Darby has great story telling skills, got me really involved in the story, got me to care about Del and really want to know what happened to his father, though I still don't know for sure. There is some comic relief, a little bit of romance, some danger and intrigue, and life defining moments. Though it isn't resolved in this first book, he did a fantastic job making me want to know what comes next. The end of this book isn't the end, just a pausing spot and I'm a little irritated I have to wait for the rest, but I've felt that way about many books in series. It is science fiction, and not what I normally read, but I don't regret the time I spent on this book and look forward to what comes next.
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If you prefer the kindle, click here.
The authors blog is here where you can see other reviews of this book.
Hope you enjoy it.