The Secret King: Lethao

by Dawn Chapman
Reviewed by SA

It’s another self published Saturday! This week I’ve had the pleasure to read an amazing science fiction novel that needs to be in your hands immediately. It’s fast, gripping, complex, and reads like a season (yes, an entire season) of Battlestar Galactica. So if you want some brilliant science fiction, this is the book for you: now let me tell you why.

Summary26220955

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with who to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.

Their world is dying, and the Aonise must evacuate their planet, heading to the stars in massive ships in hope of finding a new world. But their journey is not without its threats: they are hunted by the Zefron, an ancient enemy who seem hell-bent on trying to destroy them, as well as whispers of treason from within. Kendro. the king of the Aonise and their hope for the future, must protect himself while trying to save his people, not to mention his wife and unborn son. The risks are great, and the journey ahead is not an easy one…

The first thing that hit me about this novel was just how gripping it was. Much like in “The Martian” (Andy Weir), the second the Aonise think they are safe, as soon as one problem has been solved, they are thrown head first into another life or death situation. There is never a dull moment or a lull in the plot. They must work together to save their species, or none will survive. Because of this constant action, the book is incredibly difficult to put down and is addicting as heck.

There are multiple characters to follow, which makes the book read a lot like a show. This brings you to different parts of the ship, and introduces you to many aspects of their culture and customs. They’re humanoid, but in many ways they differ completely from us humans, showing the quality of the author’s world building. For example, every Aonise is born with a birthmark, which differs from person to person and across the houses. Their life forces, if you will, contain actual power: Croex. It runs through their veins and has tremendous potential. It lights their birthmark with raw emotion, meaning their feelings are always on display. This, and the croex itself, binds the people together, the king connected to every single one of his people, feeling their pain and anguish as his own. It’s incredibly how the author has managed to make this aspect of their lives seem so natural to the reader when we have nothing like it here on earth.

It’s a space saga of epic proportions. Not only is there the military aspect, but the life of these characters is studied, we share in their loss and their loves and their joys. We are following in their darkest times and their greatest hopes. It gives us surprising emotion, for a science fiction novel. You can’t help but cheer for Kendro, whose faith in his people is remarkable, even when he knows there are those who wish him dead. Some of the storylines are a little more difficult, darker, like Octav’s for example: he has difficult decisions, with his home life falling apart and his own emotions in turmoil. Life on the run, trying to keep your people safe, is not easy.

All in all, as a Sci Fi fan, I got my fill with this fantastic beginning of an awesome saga. With brilliant world building, tough characters, and great writing, I’m hooked and I can’t wait for more. Hopefully we’ll get the sequel soon!

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