Book two in the The Jupiter Chronicles, The Ice Orphan of Ganymede kicks off with a bang. The Jovians are free from Phobos, but there’s still a lot of cleanup to be done and a civil war that is threatening to erupt. First Petros’ popularity has taken a hit and one of the Jovian General is advocating for his replacement.
But that’s not all, Ian back on Earth is sick and getting sicker. Nothing on Earth is able to help him, so Callie tries to take him back to Jupiter to see if they can cure him. What they find is a mess of a situation and a possible lead in the Book of Ganymede. Except the Book of Ganymede is missing so Ian and Callie have to go off to find it first. In doing so, they find much more than just something to help Ian.
The second book in this series ably builds on the framework set up by the first novel and opens up more the intriguing universe set up by the author. We learn more about Jupiter and its inner workings and the plot twists are delightful. I can hardly wait to see where the next book takes us.
One of the great things about conventions is that occasionally people hand you things once they know that you a) read and b) review things. This was the case with this book, the author and I have floated around similar circles for a while, both being writers and local to the Nashville area. So I was handed this novel and wow what a ride it’s been.
Picture a world where a super serum transforms three college students into heroes. Superheroes that took to the street and fought crime and racked up a body count that the mobs could only dream of. What if you had someone who was dedicated to ending this experiment by any means possible, to wiping out anyone tainted with the serum permanently.
The titular character of this book is such a person. And I will tell you that this book is gripping and well-written. Alan’s craft is solid and good, the imagery is incredibly vivid. This character, however, this Bishop who’s alternate persona of a goodly local priest… Eric Raven is a horrible human being.
Because this book, this series of interconnected short vignettes, is about the rise and eventual fall of Father Eric Raven, The Bishop of Port Victoria. A man who hates the supers so much that he will murder babies in their sleep to prevent the super bloodline from propagating. He is the worst kind of human and just like a horrific car crash happening in front of you on the freeway, once you pick this up, you’ll have a hard time looking away.
It’s not an easy read by any means, and it hits especially hard, given the current climate of fear and hatred that permeates our country at the moment. Father Raven is the embodiment of the darker uglier sides that exist in this country. I was not sorry to see how he eventually winds up.
If you like darker fiction and the gritty pulp styles of writing, give this a try. If you are at all sensitive to racial/religious violence and/or violence against women, I’d stay away from it. It can get triggery in places.
So this past weekend, I was at a convention. Hypericon 2017, which is the localest of local cons to me and one that I will likely attend in the future as well. I mention this because I had the honor and pleasure to meet Leonardo Ramirez while I was there.
Hearing him speak about his works was honestly inspiring and he has a series that involves Jupiter (and later on, Mars, I am given to understand) and I was increasingly intrigued by that, so I picked them up while I was there.
I was delighted by the first book in the Jupiter Chronicles. It is a Young Adult book, specifically targeted for young chapter readers, so parents don’t be afraid to hand this one to your kids.
The Secret of the Great Red Spot was engaging and I loved the way it read. It was simple to understand without feeling patronizing or like it was being dumbed down for kids. I wish I had had something like this when I was smaller.
The two main characters, (Callie and Ian Castillo) were deeply amusing and I could clearly picture them and their antics in my head. The book also lends itself well to being read aloud, which is pretty awesome. There are fantastic space battles, awesome hijinks, and a farting robot.
It’s not often that I find myself saying this, but I really hope this gets picked up by a kids network and made into a show or movie. I think it would lend itself really well to that kind of medium as well.
This is a great first book and I’m looking forward to where this series goes next.