I think I mentioned in a previous post that I started doing a lot of reading for self published books? Well one series that I came across recently is called a Galaxy Unknown and is by Thomas DePrima. Now this series isn’t necessarily the best or most riveting but I have to admit it suited my frame of mind just fine and was a nice, easy and engaging read. While I think DePrima was cribbing a bit from David Weber and his Honor Harrington series (another series with a female protagonist who starts out as a lowly ensign and eventually grows to become an Admiral) its a cheap and good read in and off itself.
BOOK 1 – A GALAXY UNKNOWN
OK as the first book in a series, this could have been written easier, but the concept is fairly simple and straightforward:
A life-pod containing a young ensign, missed by rescuers following a shipboard explosion a decade earlier, is discovered adrift in deep space. Awakened from a long stasis sleep, her personal knowledge of the past makes the seriousness of the current situation seem all the more horrific. But before Jenetta Carver can rejoin SC, she’s captured by pirates. At first she fears for her life, but when she’s indelibly marked as a pleasure slave, she gets mad; fighting mad. And when they tamper with her DNA to make her appear sultrier, she gets even madder; killing mad.
Jenatta Carver eventually finds a life pod and manages to escape her ships destruction, but is left floating in space for decades before she’s eventually discovered by a passing trader. The universe in which she awakens is a much more hostile and dangerous place than the one she fell asleep in and while Jenatta might have been meek and timid in her previous life – that sort of attitude will only get you dead now!
This book sets you up for all the rest to follow as Jenatta’s “enhancements” are provided to her by the Raiders. These enhancements (improved healing time, lack of aging, enhanced strength and beautiful body) while provided for nefarious reasons come to be an underlying principle throughout the series and while they seem somewhat unnecessary at this time, they do come into effect in later books.
Jenatta doesn’t do well in her Academy education as while she’s a genius, she’s timid and unsure of herself. She gets assigned a role as a science office on a ship which is the best she can hope for even though she would have loved to have a command role. Her ship explodes and her escape pod is sent hurtling into space – with no hope of rescue, Jenatta puts herself into stasis (after playing a strategy game over and over and over) and sleeps for a decade before eventually being rescued.
The universe in which she awakens is a changed place from the one in which she fell asleep and Jenatta is stunned to discover that Pirates are prevalent throughout the sector. Jenatta takes over as Captain of the ship that rescued her after the previous Captain is killed in a Raider attack on the ship. Managing to successfully defeat another attack, she then takes her ship to the defense of a fleet of merchant vessels also under attack by Raiders and is again successful.
Jenatta then decides that she can infiltrate the Raider base to gain vital information about the organization but is subsequently captured and tortured by having her DNA re-written to make her an immortal sex slave. Managing to escape, she blows up the Raider base but on the way steals two of the largest Warships ever built which the Raiders had previously stolen from Space Command. She eventually makes her way to the local starbase.
One big complaint about this book and in fact all of the others, is some of the words. DePrima seems to like having you guess what you are reading at times (or have you check a dictionary) as he often uses very long and confusing words when simpler sentences and phrases would have sufficed.
The second major complaint is the stupid villain syndrome, in which pirates are repeatedly defeated because of their own stupidity. The evil pirate leader and mastermind has quite a lair for himself and has managed to discover the secret of immortality but he decides to gift this to one of his enemies as a punishment so that he can have an immortal slave girl? What’s the point of that really – it just doesn’t make any sense … why not just keep it for himself and outlast everyone else and just kill his enemy?
There are other negatives but the underlying fact is that there is enough fun stuff in here to keep you engaged. While I wouldn’t rate it with any of the greats, if you’re stuck for a read and have nothing better to do – give it a try.