By M.A. Kropp
Reviewed by SA
When I picked up this book, I admittedly had no idea what to expect. But I was quickly hooked: Science Fiction AND magic? I’m being spoiled here! Circle Unbroken is an awesome mix of two genres, masterfully woven together into a strong story. Intrigue, plots, and schemes? Sign me up!
When your family runs the mining operation on a planet that supplies a long-depleted Earth with needed resources, there are bound to be those who would like to see you fail After five years away with the Interstellar Security Corps, Kaili is coming home after the death of her grandmother as a key participant in the ceremony to install her sister as head of the company and the ruling planetary council. She and her partner land in the middle of old resentments and new threats.
Like all of her people, Kaili is gifted with psi abilities developed over generations living in close harmony with their world- what outsiders see as magic. The ceremony investing her sister with her new positions will be a formal ritual, and Kaili, as her sister’s closest relative, will complete the binding Circle.
Accidents and unrest are growing in the mine operations, and Kaili and her partner, Jeff, uncover evidence that her sister will be formally challenged at the ceremony. When Kaili goes missing right before the ceremony, and returns with no apparent memory of the past few days, Jeff knows something is not right. He will need to use a little magic of his own to make sure Kaili is ready to face the family’s enemies. If not, it could mean both sisters’ lives.
I really loved bringing magic into the mix of a science-fiction driven universe. It somehow doesn’t seem out of place: we know little about where these abilities come from, just as the characters still haven’t solved this mystery. Jeff, the captain of the Slingshot and Kaili’s ISC partner, is awkward in a magic-driven society, but he doesn’t write it off as hocus-pocus when he sees what people can do. And for the people of Geb, living with magic on the one hand and a thriving mining industry on the other is just everyday life for them. It was interesting to see what an advanced, space faring civilization could do with magic on their side.
Kaili is caught between two worlds, the world she was brought up in, with magic and ceremonies, and the world she has chosen to live in, the world of the ISC, where things are driven by technology and work. She’s smart and determined, even working on scientific research to try and figure out why the psi abilities of her planet will not work in hyperspace. Even when worse comes to worst, she keeps her head up and doesn’t stop fighting. A great protagonist in this universe.
I did really like the characters: Jeff and his space-captain attitude, Humfrid and his cheerful fatherly demeanor. The mystery revolving around who could be trying to sabotage the ceremony makes you watch everyone incredibly intently, and the depth that was shown demonstrated the author’s fantastic writing skills.
The mystery itself is slow growing – is there a plot, or are they paranoid? Who is involved if it is? I honestly did not see the ending coming, or at least, I didn’t see the full scope of it until very late. It was a great amount of suspense.
However, with the story revolving around this slow mystery, it made the plot a little slow itself. I was wondering when some great incident would come rippling through their lives, and was surprised then there wasn’t some huge intergalactic event. Not to say that the mystery wasn’t compelling, only that it threw the pacing a little off.
Circle Unbroken is a fun and enjoyable book, set in a universe I’d quite like to see more of. Hopefully we’ll get to hear more from Kaili and Jeff in the future!
The novel is set to come out on August 18th, but the author is hosting a pre-sale event: if you purchase the novel anytime between August 2nd and 17th, you will receive a free download of TWO other books by the same author!
Find it on Smashwords. Enjoy!