Today’s post is a day late…but that’s because I only just finished reading this book yesterday!
Today I’m reviewing Shield of Drani by Melonie Purcell, a science fiction novel filled with different planets and aliens, spiced with plenty of action, intrigue…and telepathic/telekinetic characters. Here’s the blurb:
One planet rich in fuel. Two psychic talents are required to mine it. Three species seeking control.
Like most Arleles, Taymar is telekinetic, violent and deadly. She is also the first of her kind to be telepathic as well, making her an intolerable threat to the ruling Dran. They want to control her. To tame her. She just wants to be free.
A cruel twist of fate has Nevvis tasked with managing Taymar when he is supposed to be managing a planet on the verge of war. But, she is hard to ignore and impossible to forget.
When the Shreet attack, Taymar jumps at the chance to escape. Nevvis would love nothing better than to let her go, but he can’t. If he is to save Drani from the invading Shreet, he must twist her into a weapon and somehow convince her to help save a planet that has only ever tried to destroy her.
I love science fiction, especially when it’s set on other worlds, with species not quite like our own (one of the reasons I love The Chanur Saga so much.) Shield of Drani definitely delivered–I just gave it four stars on Goodreads.
This book definitely earned those four stars. It was an intriguing tale, set on strange worlds in an age of space travel. The main characters, especially Taymar, were strong-willed and determined to succeed with their goals…
Taymar. I could probably write an entire review on her alone, but for brevity’s sake, let me just say how much I loved this character. She has her flaws (especially that temper, which is related to her species–the Arleles are quite temperamental/violent), but at the same time she’s not afraid to fight for what she wants. Seeing her claw her way back up every time she’s knocked down (mentally, physically, and emotionally) was amazing, and I spent the entire book cheering her on.
Taymar is an Arlele, as I said, which is another bipedal species similar and dissimilar to humans. Like the rest of her kind, she’s governed by the Drani, a telepathic species that uses their abilities to control the Arleles. Most Arleles are telekinetic, though a few are telepathic. Taymar is the only one who is both–at least as far as she knows. For that reason, she is considered extremely dangerous and must be carefully controlled–in other words, kept imprisoned.
Nevvis is the Drani who is basically Taymar’s watcher. He’s responsible for her, and punishes her (sometimes quite severely) when she disobeys. When I first started reading, I had hoped he might be kind, but as the story progressed I came to dislike him more and more, especially for how he treats Taymar.
The other characters in the cast are all interesting and varied–from the human spaceship captain Sean to an extremely beautiful telepath (who projects full thoughts, rather than words, because her species once did not use vocal speech at all!) to a very large, very dangerous alien who offers Taymar support when she most needs it. Many of the characters I like and hope to see more of in future books–some I’d like to see punished for what they’ve done, either to Taymar or to others in the worlds.
Speaking of the worlds… Though not too much time is spent on world-building, in favor of keeping the action moving, the worlds are very real, with a variety of different species who are all described in great detail in order to make visualizing them easy. And the terminology they use is always given in a manner that makes it easy to understand the new word.
As for the Shreet, who are portrayed as the bad guys in this book’s blurb…well, I can’t really comment on them yet, as most of what I saw of them was through the eyes of the other species, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book.