by Mannah Pierce
Print Length: 451 pages
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (May 8, 2015)
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Adventure
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Cast Adrift is the first part of a science fiction saga set in an interstellar world of the far future where Earth is merely a myth. Ean is queen of the Willow, a small ship with a Traditional crew who live in space and trade between the stars. Suddenly Tre, the laid back crew enforcer, is demanding that they dash to one system to pick up cabin boys and then divert to another to recruit an adolescent who is utterly unsuited to spacer life. Who is Jax? What is Rae? Why is the most powerful individual in Known Space interested in Kip? Most importantly, what is Tre up to?
Jax is a young boy of twelve who has arrived at an age, as well as a circumstance, that requires him to sign on as crew for a spaceship and train to become a 'spacer' who can defend himself. His wealthy family made arrangements so there should be a Traditional crew that will bid for him or accept him. The difference between a “Traditional” crew and one that is not, is important. Traditional crews consist of all males but they have strict rules of integrity that protect the young unlike other ships. Plus, the right ship for Jax has an agent on board who knows Jax’s true identity. Jax gets the signal from “Tres” the enforcer on the Willow. Jax brings along another young street rat, Rae, who is a hybrid 'cat' with an unknown defect.
Now Jax and Rae are cabin boys on the crew of the Willow. The queen on the ship is Ean who has the perfect, caring personality and organizational skills to manage a successful crew. Jax is a quick learner with an educated background and incentive to train. Rae is a fast, street smart scamp who is surprised and thrilled to have the first friend of his life. The crew adds a medico friend of Tres and also collects a fourteen-year-old boy, Kip. The other members of the crew do not understand why Tres, who clearly has his own secrets, has encouraged them to pick up Kip. But Tres has information that this boy is special too.
Danger waits as there are those who are seeking Jax and many who will sell him out. And that may include betrayers within the crew once they learn who he is. As the crew tries to dodge danger, it stalks them...and finally catches up.
Ms. Pierce has a gift for world building and I found this writing wonderfully creative and remarkable. The plot is well laid out and consistent in the details and growth. There are also some subtle double meanings and twists that added to the overall package. Granted, I was not thrilled about the homosexual nature of the crews but I understand how it is an important element of the dynamics among the characters. The issue was handled with dignity and not in a prurient way.
I couldn’t help being rather enthralled with the story. I feel vested with the characters and I don’t think I can resist reading the next book and finding out what happens. I certainly recommend this to readers who love unique and well written science fiction.
I received this title through Publishing Push and the author. Don't miss the author's interesting guest post that will give you some background on her writing and her story development!
Biography of Mannah Pierce
Mannah Pierce has been building her imaginary interstellar world of the far future, story by story, for four decades. At the age of fifty she decided to try sharing it with readers online and then, five years later, spurred by the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, she wrote and had published Cast Adrift, her first fiction book.
In the everyday world, Mannah Pierce was a scientist and teacher but now works for a charity. She has been married for over thirty years and, predictably, likes cats.
Read more about her journey as an author: http://www.mannahpierce.com/blog.html.