Book Review: First Contact (In Her Name: The Last War #1) by Michael R. Hicks

First Contact
First Contact by Michael R. Hicks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:   Terran survey ship Aurora finds two habitable planets in an uncharted star system. But Aurora is disabled by gigantic alien warships and boarded by blue-skin females with fangs and claws. The warriors slaughter the crew in ritual one-on-one combat. The sole survivor is returned to Earth. This Messenger bears a real-time globe device that counts down to an impending attack. 

That is the way of the Kreelan Empire. For centuries before man have they waged war, seeking a prophesied savior. Soon to be extinct, the ancient species wages their last war, hoping for redemption of sins long past.

This is the first installment in the In Her Name Trilogy & wider space saga. I came into this one knowing nothing but the summary description about the story. I've jumped into another lengthy scifi saga & will have to add this one to my series rotation. I liked it but I found there were a few problems in the beginning. First, early on, it's a but repetitive in some ways. There would be a paragraph given about the Kreelan from their POV & then following would be the same information as the humans speculated or surmised it. Also, by the book summary, we know that there's only one survivor of the Aurora & pretty much who it is before we even get into depths of the story. For this reason, when I began reading, I was thinking that we would get to the survivor returning home to tell the story of what happened on the fateful meeting far sooner. Because that is not how the story plays out, I spent most of my time anticipating that actuality instead of being deeply riveted to what was unfolding in the moment. The summary information really takes away a lot of what could be great suspense in the battles because you know the humans aren't going to be victorious. The majority of the human characters were fairly pale in comparison to the Kreelan. As they were being dispatched at a pretty good clip, I didn't really get too attached to them. About 25% in, we're through all that & the story picks up & soars.

I'm a sucker for all the political drama you have to have in wide sweeping interstellar space stories, so I quite enjoyed all of that. I found it believable & was simply impressed with the number of characters that were juggled. Even though I didn't feel terribly deeply for any individual in particular (except Patty Coyle, she was my favorite character) I did feel for humanity as they embarked on this struggle. As main characters go, Ichiro Sato & Steph were not terribly interesting or at least not in any way that they overshadowed others. There are long enough stretches where they don't appear & when they popped back up it sometimes felt a bit abrupt. Also, one of them had some Mary Sue luck & when they wondered how & why they survived it, I wondered as well because it really made no sense other than the way the story ends needed them to survive. There was also some awkward moment after the main of the battle, where a soldier recognizes Steph but not because she's the famed reporter who framed Ichiro's story, no. Because Steph & Ichiro had been dating before the battle. This didn't make sense to me as it is clearly established earlier in the story that though they had been close for months leading up to the battle, they were "just friends" hence the tentativeness when the kiss lead to the hook up mere days before the battle began. That's not "dating" & I don't think Steph broadcast that via news feed & Ichiro isn't the sort to be chatty, so I don't know where that bit came from at all. By Steph's own words, she didn't know what she & Ichiro were or would be or what she even wanted in the relationship department as she was heading to cover the battle!

The Kreelans were very interesting & something to get used to. The lens through which they view life & the universe is most explained through Tesh-Dar. She's a supreme warrior priestess & sister to the sainted Empress, for whom all this warring & Bloodsong seeking goes on. The Kreelans were glorious, vicious & arrogant. I'm still not sure how I feel about them. I need to know more.

The one thing that I simply did not like at all was that the whole story is about fighting the Kreelans to protect Keran & in the end, the battle is done, the military pulls out & leaves abandoning the planet & the remaining survivors to the Kreelans to basically hunt & slaughter. WTH?! I wasn't expecting that & admit to having some hard feelings toward the rest of humanity for that one. I want some sort of retribution for that. I'll read the next in the series because I'm interested to know where this is going.

View all my reviews

No comments