Outer Diverse -- The Splintered Universe Book 1
by Nina Munteanu
Starfire World Syndicate
~ 583 MB
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 0f 5.0
Outer Diverse is the first book of the Splintered Universe Trilogy, set in and around the Milky Way Galaxy. The first book begins as Galactic Guardian Rhea Hawke intestigates the massacre of an entire religious sect, catapulting her into a treacherous storm of politics, conspiracy and self-discovery. Her quest for justice leads her into the heart of a universal struggle and toward an unbearable truth she’s hidden from herself since she murdered an innocent man.
Rhea Hawke is some tough cookie... well - I guess you wouldn’t call a Galactic Guardian Enforcer, a “cookie”. Rhea has a strong sense of justice and is prepared to kill in the line of duty. The problem is that she killed an innocent man by accident when she was just a child and that still haunts her. That event has shaped her life, leading her to become the only human law enforcement officer on the Eosian force. Now it is the reason she is on leave from her job and has enemies hunting her out of fear and for revenge.
Rhea has kickin' weapons, including a Guardian Great Coat that is a shield, weapon cache and healing cover. But her most significant weapon is the ‘MEC” (Magnetic-Eelectro Concussion) pistol that she designed herself. The gun is technically outlawed but it is being sought by many because it is so powerful. She has created it so it can’t be dismantled and copied and the only design schismatics are in her head.
Rhea is frustrated that her Eosian boss doesn’t believe her arguments that the Vos, a brutal alien race that attacked Earth, pose a real terrorist threat to the galaxy. She continues the investigation on her own and with the help of another Guardian, Basileus, she steals Bennie, her beloved little ship, (saving him from the junk heap) and heads off to face more danger.
Whew- this one takes some concentration. I had a little confusion getting the characters, races, friends - well mostly foes - sorted out. There is wonderful world building with fascinating aliens and planets, along with detailed weapons, missions, errors, and blunders. I was a bit frustrated about a third into the book when Rhea falls in lust with a stranger and begins a heavy romantic relationship. Although Serge seems loving and caring it puzzled me that Rhea totally failed to use her police smarts in getting involved with this handsome guy. Is he safe or not; lover or the worst sort of enemy?
Rhea faces one perilous situation after another. Some she is led into and others she plunges head long into. There are ideological twists and parallel world theories at the root of the terrorist threat that Rhea seeks to thwart. As her investigation proceeds the issues become even more complex. This isn’t a light read but it sure kept my attention as I listened to see who was really a foe or a friend and what Rhea’s ultimate fate might be. This is the first book of the Splintered Universe Trilogy. I hope the next book will be available soon so I can continue to follow Rhea and Bennie on their dangerous adventures.
Ms. Harvey did a superb job with the narration. She manages to enthuse the personality of the characters into each voice. The wise, gentle Caw has a soft, strong sound that reminds you of a wise old bird. Shlsh Shle She, a slippery, slimy creature has a slurry, garbled voice like a mouthful of mushy, wet food. Dawn's reading conveys the loneliness in Rhea, the sexiness of Serge, the frustrated, friendliness of Bas, and the faithful, coziness of Bennie. She is able to bring emphasis to the action or romance, weariness or fear elements of the story. The narration never takes over the story but rather enhances it.
Thought words jotted while listening:
Harsh, lonely, intense, complex, naive, betrayal, secrets. Some sexual content.
A good description of Rhea by wise Caw:
You are presumptuous, Rhea. You speak half truths. You are a paradox, so out of tune; a jumble of discord yet surprisingly open for one so closed. You are very cynical for one so naive, so young; but also incredibly naive for one so cynical. Track 21.