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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book Review: Jabin & the Space Pirates by Bev Allen

This is a surprising story that is thoroughly engaging and rich in character.
Jabin and the Space Pirates
by Bev Allen

  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 295 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477578919
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Taylor Street Publishing (May 31, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0087UYNI0
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating 5.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: May 31, 2012
In the space colony of New Wales, the pirate attacks are both relentless and merciless.

Having lost both his parents, Jabin has been adopted by his austere and spiteful uncle and aunt who live in the space colony of New Wales which is riven with religious and political rivalry, and prey to the vicious maraudings of pirates whose cruelty and greed are beyond all imagination.

When Jabin volunteers to surrender himself to a pirate raiding party to save a friend, he does so believing that nothing can be worse than his current suffering.

However, he is soon to discover that things can always get worse when the stakes are high, the rewards are vast and slave labour is there for the taking.

When the King of New Wales is assassinated, the colony threatens to collapse into total anarchy, leaving the pirates free reign to mutilate, kill and profit as they will, but the forces of law and order sent out from Earth are getting ready to fight back, and Jabin could have a vital part to play in the ensuing war if he can only stay alive.

I was drawn to read this book although I can’t say why. I like sci fi and space opera but the cover made me a little uncertain what to suspect. I got much more than I would have guessed!

The story follows the life struggles of young Jabin, an orphaned boy who feels rejected by everyone. He lives with a stingy, excessively pious Aunt who barely allows him one small meal a day. He can only hope to be sheltered and not go hungry but otherwise he accepts the drudgery of life.

When raiding space pirates come to his village, Jabin volunteers to take the place of a younger boy.  Jabin feels he doesn’t belong anywhere so one place won’t be much different than another. He becomes the personal server for the leader of the pirates and gets to eat leftovers on the days he pleases his master. He becomes friends with the man’s mistress, Antonia, who was sold into slavery by her first love and is also trapped with no hope of escape.

One day a chance for escape does come and Jabin gets Antonia to sneak away while the pirates pack to flee before the Earth forces attack. When Antonia is shot Jabin slips back to his duties in despair. But Jabin sees enemies meeting with the pirate and he has an important role to play in protecting other endangered children.

While following Jabin's struggles on one line, another line of the story follows the political upheaval of the space colony. The country is torn between factions of traditional Church and Chapel believers.  There is much unrest and it isn’t clear which is the greater danger: the pirate raiders or civil war. 

Earth forces are brought in to handle the space pirates. Colonel Mike Eveson is a wise, tough commander, who has learned when and how to discipline. Eveson is close friends with one of the Royal Princes, General Gethin.  The king has been assassinated and there are rivals who pose a danger to the new child King. Eveson and Gethin are called in and have to determine who can be trusted in the royal household. Ultimately Eveson and Jabin’s paths meet and a fragile relationship develops.

I was really surprised by the depth of thought provoking themes shared by Ms. Allen in this remarkable story. The plight of Jabin is touching as you ache for him as a lost child.  There are engaging political and ecumenical intrigues. There are interesting comments on many topics such as soldiers and parenting, abandoned children, officers who gain their position through prestige and have to learn and earn respect, self-worth and much more.

The characters have wonderful depth that drew me into their emotions. Eveson is a wonderful character with great relationships with his men and a beautiful protective attitude toward the brutalized Jabin. He recognizes the bravery in young Jabin who chooses to do the right things even through his fears.

I highly recommend this story for the wealth of character and life-lessons that are woven into engaging entertainment.
Eveson explains to a young officer that if the army took control of the government it would lead to military dictatorship.
“If you want to rule civilians, resign and become a politician. If you want to defend them, stay a soldier.”  Location 1905.
Jabin hated the heavy ID tag in his ear but when it is removed he feels a loss:
...but it marked him for what he was, what he had become. Without it he was nothing, no-one’s slave, no-one’s child, and he had no place in anyone’s life. Location 4307.
I received this for review as part of Bewitching Blog Tour.

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  1. Great review for a wonderfully written novel.

  2. Fantastic review and well deserved its a great book. One of my favourite YA novels.

  3. Insightful review - does justice to an excellent book. I hope it encourages loads of people to read this book and get it the widespread acclaim it deserves.


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