Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Stars Down Under by Sandra McDonald - review

The Stars Down Under
Sandra McDonald
Cover - I like this cover - although the space suit is a bit misleading....but the whole atmosphere - the feel of the cover is there. It's mystical, Australian legends, songlines, it's represented here.
The Stars Down Under is a wonderful blend of Australian Legend, fantasy and SciFi. There are aliens, Australian legends in the form of songlines and Aboriginal beliefs. There are many worlds being visited with strange creatures and differing dangers, and of course the intricate plots of a government or military trying to get it's people to run missions without telling them enough. I enjoyed this second in a trilogy just as much as I enjoyed the first. In fact, I think that there is a bit more of the fantasy and SciFi elements than there were in the first novel.

Jodenny and her man, Myell have married - they have a bit of an scandulous marriage - officer with enlisted. Frowned upon in the military - or at least in this military. Never the less, they are trying to make a go of their marriage, and pretty quickly things get very complicated. For one thing, they barely really know each other. For another Myell has this thing about not sharing his troubles. He is tricked into taking part in using the transports that have been discovered (explained in book one), to help find some missing explorers and scientists. But of course things aren't that simple. The military isn't the only people who want something from Myell.
There is a being - not quite human, of legendary status that wants Myell to take over the helm....there is a wondrous space ship, with plants, streams, moving rooms (or cabins) that is an important part of the transport system the military is trying to explore.
There is also a threat to Earth and in future, to the other worlds that have been inhabited by humans over time. Aliens, with lizard like features are looking for something, and are waiting near Earth while many troops of these dangerous aliens are looking for something important to them...
There is a lot going on here. There are new characters introduced, returning characters and a few different subplots all weaved into a magnificent story that was very entertaining to read. There is not a happy ending, although thereis the promise of more to come, some possibility of a happy future for some of the characters.
If you enjoy Sci Fi and fantasy you'll enjoy this novel. Sandra McDonald has woven a hell of a story using legends and scientific knowledge. I'm impressed with this and looking forward to reading the third and final installment of this trilogy - The Stars Blue Yonder. First novel is The Outback Stars. This woman can certainly put together a complex story. Wow.

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