Review: The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald

This is a book by two new-to-me authors and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

» » » » » »

price-of-the-starsThe Price of the Stars
by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald
Series: The Mageworlds, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction (Space Opera)
Published by Tor, 1992
E-book, Purchased
449 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Blockaded, restricted, and forgotten–the Mageworlds would never threaten the Republic again.

A broken and drifting ship, it’s long-dead captain still strapped in the command seat: that’s what free-spacers call a starpilot’s grave.  When one of these derelict craft appears in the Net, the artificial barrier zone separating the Republic from the Mageworlds, the discovery is no accident.  It’s a sign, a warning that the Mageworlds have not forgotten the Republic–and the Magelords make long plans.
But the Magelords weren’t planning on Beka Rosselin-Metadi.
Beka has unfinished business to take care of, and his name is Ebenra D’Caer: the man who arranged her mother’s murder.  D’Caer is safe–he thinks–hidden among the Mages on the far side of the Net.  Flying under a false name and false colors, Beka penetrates the Magezone and finds more than anyone expected: the Magelords have discovered a fatal weakness in the Republic’s defenses, and are poised to wreak their vengeance on the hated enemy.
The Mages are too strong.  They must prevail.
Unless one woman in one ship can do the impossible.

» » » » » »

My thoughts: I downloaded this book over a year ago and it probably would have continued to sit in my vast pile of ebooks I haven’t read! I want to thank Li from Me and My Books for reviewing this book and making it sound like one I should read. When I search Amazon for the book I discovered I’d already bought the book…lol! Check out Li’s review, too.

I like how this book starts years after a war–the magewar–ended. There’s a lot of history here, but the authors let us gradually learn things as we need to know them. That’s one of the things I like about well-written fantasy and science fiction. The world building gradually shows us part of the story. The reader is treated as an intelligent person who can figure things out from the  clues given. It’s like being a sleuth!

The other thing this book does well is switch between storylines. The main focus is on Beka Rosselin-Metadi, but we meet other family members–her father General Jos Metadi, her oldest brother Lieutenant Ari Rosselin-Metadi, her younger brother Owen Rosselin-Metadi. They all factor into this story so we find out who they are, too, and since they are often very distant from each other the story switches between them and a few other characters in the book. We see various aspects of the story from five or six points of view. Normally books which switch between characters and their story irritate me, but I was equally fascinated with all the characters and enjoyed hearing more about them, their stories and who they were. I hope we hear more about them all as the books continue.

The book is pretty much non-stop action. That’s one of the things I like about space opera–the adventures and action. Many times there’s a story of good vs. evil which is the case in this story. Beka’s mother is assassinated and Beka’s father asks her to try to find out who was behind the assassination. Everything which follows is linked to the assassination and Beka and her family trying to discover who was behind it. What they discover is much more complex than they had originally thought. Soon assassins are also targeting Beka and other members of her family.

This is a fun story and the great thing about it is there are at least seven more books in the series starpilots-graveand maybe more coming! It sounds like the books follow different characters…kind of like Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe series. This book reminded me a little of those books since they also follow a family, are space opera, have some romance in them and cover a number of years…even generations. Also Lee and Miller started publishing these books in the 1980’s and this book by Doyle and MacDonald was first published in 1992. If you like this series I think you would like the Liaden Universe books and vice versa.

I think Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald’s original series was a trilogy which they expanded. Both these series have gotten a new lease on life within the last ten years at least partly because of e-books. I’ve downloaded the second book in the series–Starpilot’s Grave–and hope to read it soon!