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Starfire #1

A Red Peace

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A Red Peace, first in Spencer Ellsworth's Starfire trilogy, is an action-packed space opera in a universe where the oppressed half-Jorian crosses have risen up to supplant humanity and dominate the galaxy.

Half-breed human star navigator Jaqi, working the edges of human-settled space on contract to whoever will hire her, stumbles into possession of an artifact that the leader of the Resistance wants desperately enough to send his personal guard after. An interstellar empire and the fate of the remnant of humanity hang in the balance.

Spencer Ellsworth has written a classic space opera, with space battles between giant bugs, sun-sized spiders, planets of cyborgs and a heroine with enough grit to bring down the galaxy's newest warlord.

210 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 22, 2017

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About the author

Spencer Ellsworth

29 books77 followers
Spencer Ellsworth lives in Bellingham, WA, teaches at a tribal college, plays in too many bands, and writes his little brain out. He is the author of The Great Faerie Strike from Broken Eye Books, about a plucky union leader gnome and young investigative report vampire, who join forces to take on the alchemists and sorcerers industrializing the Otherworld.

He is also the author of the space opera Starfire Trilogy from Tor, and his short work has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Tor.com, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Michael Moorcock's New Worlds Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and a whole bunch of anthologies and little markets, and been recommended by Locus and other venues. You can find more about him at spencerellsworth.com

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5 stars
122 (25%)
4 stars
185 (38%)
3 stars
120 (24%)
2 stars
37 (7%)
1 star
20 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 105 reviews
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,240 reviews219 followers
September 6, 2017
An interesting space opera in a familiar style that pits a victorious force of vat-grown clone warriors against their former masters, the human race.

Fleeing from the evil Empire Resistance is young Luke Jaqi who is of the same human/alien hybrid stock as the clones and can use the rare ability of the Force the Starfire. She is pursued by the minions of the Emperor John Starfire led by Stormtroopers the Vanguard who all wield light sabres soulswords.

It's all actually a lot more complex than that, and it's far from a direct ripoff of Star Wars, but the parallels just jumped off the page at me. I will say that like the material it feels so similar to, it's a rollicking adventure story with an engaging set of characters. Jaqi is a delight throughout and the other characters feel rich as well, particularly the drug-addicted and war-weary Araskar.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,103 reviews294 followers
September 12, 2017
An book that starts out fast and a little bit confusing, but quickly falls into place and grows into its own. The combination of interesting characters and creative, layered storytelling have me looking forward to the next installment, Shadow Sun Seven, due to be published in November 2017.
Profile Image for Scott.
1,134 reviews107 followers
November 23, 2017
I really liked this book.

It is space opera cranked all the way up to 11.

I would be remiss if I also didn't point out things that might seem "Star Wars-esque" - we've got our young hero Jaqi (Luke) fleeing the evil Resistance (Empire) while she grapples with her rare ability to use the Starfire (Force). Of course she's pursued by the troops of John Starfire (the Emperor). The elite troops, the Vanguard (Stormtroopers) are armed with their soulswords (lightsabers).

For about the first 130 pages (remember it's only 204 pages long) I was confused as hell as to what this book was about and why I was spending my time reading it but around page 130 it all started to come together (the confusion factor is why this is a 4 star book and not a 5 star book).

If you've read any of my other sci-fi book reviews you know that I'm actually not a huge sci-fi fan and in order for me to enjoy the genre we've got to have reallly great characters and dialogue and this book has them. There are two main POV characters, very different but both equally captivating.

Too much more about the plot and we'll enter spoiler territory so let me just say this was a fun, kick-ass space opera. If you love the original Star Wars trilogy then you will love this book. There are similarities w/ Star Wars but it really doesn't take away from the book.

I will definitely be continuing with this series.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,067 reviews222 followers
September 6, 2017
Tor.Com novellas are becoming one of my favorite things. This one is an excellent addition to a growing number of first rate novellas.

There is a lot packed into these pages. I found it a bit confusing at first and it's not for the faint of heart but if you just go with it it's a good ride.
Profile Image for Michael Britt.
171 reviews1,997 followers
August 9, 2017
This is a pretty good book for only being 3 stars. It actually would've been higher if I was more into hard sci-fi (that's the equivalent to high fantasy, right?). Anyways, fans of sci-fi would enjoy this so much more than I did.

ARC graciously provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full review to come when I get more time to write one.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,434 reviews180 followers
September 18, 2017
3.5 stars. A bit confusing, as the author throws you into a large conflict. Interesting and weird, the tale switches between two PoVs, Jaqi and Alaskar, one a navigator on leave, the other a vat-grown soldier. There are a variety of aliens in this story with one type, Jorian, having been bred years earlier with some humans to form soldiers, led in this story by John Starfire, Alaskar's leader.
There is an earthiness to the imagery in this story, and a mystery regarding a number of star systems in the Dark Zone. And music's important. And tomatoes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
October 31, 2017
Some cool concepts and ideas but the confusing plot doesnt belp much
Profile Image for Jurica Ranj.
Author 15 books18 followers
November 15, 2017
Space opera sa weird/hard SF elementima i zanimljivim likovima. Veoma zabavno štivo koje se brzo čita i za jednu space operu galaktičkih razmjera iznenađujuće kratko. U romanu ima svega: zaboravljena galaktička carstva i tehnologije, fanatični klonirani ratnici, likovi svih vrsta, skupina moralno osviještenih junaka i zlo koje je uvijek u blizini. A tu su i mačevi koji se usijaju kad ih se poprska krvlju i mogu ti isisati dušu :)
474 reviews34 followers
October 2, 2019
The overwhelming feeling I received from reading this was that it was merely set-up for the next book(s) in the trilogy.

In spite of all the running and gunning, the chase between the stars, and a brush with what may have been a literal manifestation of evil, it sadly didn't feel like anything of consequence happened in this story. Even the deaths along the way, and there were more than a few, failed to get any response from me other than an "oh! ... Who were they again?"

None of the events were fleshed out or given time to really settle in the mind before I was being yanked on to the next, the characters were barely more than plot contrivances with an archetype stretched over them. Jaqi was The Inexperienced Chosen One, Araskar the War Weary Veteran , Z is The Last Guardian of Ancient Knowledge, and the 5 and 10 year olds spoke like cynical adults who were just there to carry the plot MacGuffin.

While I feel there was an interesting outline for a story here it feels rushed and as if it could have done with a few more rewrites to bulk everything out a bit, give the words room to breath and come alive a little.

Overall this was not awful, or even necessarily bad, just a bit bareboned and disappointing. A missed opportunity to be something greater than the sum of its parts.
Profile Image for Jeremy Szal.
Author 34 books250 followers
December 22, 2017
The first installation in the Starfire series is a space opera that's bursting with squicky biotech, funky worlds and rich story-telling that almost manages to be supercharged and surprisingly character-driven. New ideas are tossed out on every other page like so much candy, but the story never loses focus of the fact that the characters are the beating heart of this story. The jargon and made-up vernacular could have been cut back a bit, and the opening chapters could have swapped it's relentless pace to explain the world and it's factions a bit better, although things become clearer once you get a good third of the way in.

Tor is going excellent work with their new line-up of voices, and Spencer Ellsworth is definitely on the top end of that range. If you like space opera (and you *should*), then this bundle of gory bug action is required reading.
Profile Image for T.J. Berry.
Author 3 books103 followers
October 13, 2017
Starfire: A Red Peace does exactly what it sets out to do. It’s a rollicking, fun adventure with a group of relatable three-dimensional characters against the backdrop of a unique and enthralling universe. This is a quick read and a great introduction to the worlds of the Starfire series. There are unique bits of eye candy like soulswords, moth carapaces used as vehicles, and planet-sized spiders. And even though the book is fast and full of adventure, the story also delves into tough topics like loss and addiction. Definitely worth picking up!
Profile Image for Liezl Ruiz.
114 reviews14 followers
August 12, 2017
Starfire: A Red Peace is an intense read set in outer space with a plethora of characters that will either surprise you with their hidden badassery or shock you with their sudden demise. This isn't for the faint-hearted which is surprising when compared to other grimdark books.

Starting off this book, I was lost. And then just when I think the young female protagonist got good things going (she met a boy), everything goes suddenly dark. Turns out, there's no romance after all. If Starfire were a film, it would be film noir. As the book that it is, this is totally grimdark.

This review is posted on zirev.com

As disorienting this book was, I was able to keep my attention by remembering the feelings I had when watching the anime Cowboy Bebop when I was 13. I could not remember the plot (and especially the plot twist that shookt me on the last three episodes) but I could vaguely remember the feeling. Each episode comes up once a week so the feeling of awe and wonder lasted for months. That's what was happening as I was remembering all that in reading this book, I made the feeling last. Well, that was intentional when I started; finishing the book was quite a different experience altogether.

Why Cowboy Bebop? This book is also set in outer space. The original Earth civilization died (the solar system itself, if not the galaxy, has gone kaput). Humans thrive across the whole galaxy (or perhaps, intergalactic system as it's possible for people to travel at light speed) along with other celestial beings or aliens. For Starfire, a sinister celestial entity eats a whole star system called the Shir, like Dormammu in Doctor Strange (until it probably has eaten an entire galaxy) and what once was a beautiful galaxy (or whatever, the whole damage was not determined) turned into a Dark Zone.

The Shir... I could remember that evil thing inside the Ways in The Wheel of Time series.

There's three trillion of humans scattered across the empire. There used to be aliens called Jorians, who could jump from one galaxy to the next using nodes (let's just say Einstein's wormhole) and they could access Starfire, the believed to be this energy that connects souls and having a touch of it could possibly bring back the dead.

I easily noticed the reason why I find this book hard to follow. The author has used different terms to denote words that we normally use. I like how he uses a bit of realism. Language changes as time progresses. Of course, characters would use different words that are apt for their time and not because Starfire is a fantastical science fiction book.

Starfire: A Red Peace is a colorful book. As you fly from one setting to the next, the scenery changes, so does the characters. It also reminds me of those steam punk Japanese anime films with giant robots during the '80s.

I can't help but think of the game, Fate II. The first game, Fate, was basically medieval fantasy, having that middle ages culture laced with magic. By Fate II, it's still magical but then suddenly, aliens from outer space (not just one kind but many) came into the picture. The author has this nice way of describing the characters without you actually paying attention to their physique. Color and size don't matter, skill does.

I was actually struggling in reading this book. I just couldn't catch on the world-building initially. Plenty of things happen here and there as if you're grasping for straws or picking up up scraps of something and trying to put it back together. 70% into the book, I finally got a hold on how things run in this book. Needless to say, I got used to the narration and that's when I only started appreciating the book.

I really got nothing to say about the characters, they're all pretty dynamic. The main voice, the female protagonist Jaqi, is this special person that needs to eventually spread her wings and soar high. Meanwhile, Araskar, the male protagonist, needs to realize his full potential. I would love their character development in the next books of the series.

Like I said about feelings, there's always something about the image of space that will creep on me even in my sleep. After reading the book, some of the plot visited me in my dreams. What's more? When I woke up, it's all I think about. I couldn't believe that the story would linger in my head. Starfire: A Red Peace sneaks on my subconscious and whatever it elicits on me lasted. This is one of those books that you thought you wouldn't really give a care the moment you open it but will stay with you long after you close it. Simply put, the story was surprisingly exceptional.
Profile Image for Liz (Quirky Cat).
4,034 reviews60 followers
August 21, 2017
Disclaimer: I received A Red Peace from Net Galley in exchange for a fair an honest review.

A Red Peace is the first in the Starfire Trilogy written by Spencer Ellsworth, and along with an interesting plot (more on that in a minute) it comes with an utterly stunning cover. Please take a minute to appreciate the artwork, detail and color palette of the cover. I’m in love with it. As far as the plot is concerned, it’s a bit like space opera meets the Wild West. It’s full of aliens, giant space bugs (who doesn’t love giant space bugs?) and psychic weapons galore.



For more reviews, check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
Profile Image for Jen.
1,433 reviews120 followers
May 25, 2018
I really loved this story. It's told primarily from two points of view, Jaqi's and Araskar's, with only the prelude or opening or whatever (it's the "Overture") being told from John Starfire's POV. Interestingly, I think John Starfire (the Starfire of the series name?) is the antagonist in this series. All three POV characters are what's known as a Jorian Cross. Araskar came from a vat, while Jaqi was born to her parents, who were vat aberrations that escaped before they could be re-assimilated for a new batch of crosses. (A Cross is like a clone. There are only a few templates and so Araskar lost his batch-mates only to have new "copies" of them crop up under his command.)

When the book opens, we learn that John Starfire and the Resistance have won their war against the blueblooded humans. He tells his Vanguard that now the real work - Directive Zero - can begin: I think he might be the series antagonist because while Araskar makes this observance. I liked Araskar, even though he was a Secondblade for the Vanguard. When the mission comes down to find children, Araskar is the only one who does NOT plan to

Regarding the memory thing, crosses have soulswords. They can set their swords alight by cutting themselves and swiping them through their own blood, and then when they plunge the burning soulsword into someone, they draw out their victims' memories while they're draining their lives.

Jaqi meets the children when an acquaintance of hers goes to them for food for her. She

The children are wanted for a black box that the middle child carries with them. It turns out later that . And so the hunt for the children begins.

Soon after we meet Jaqi, she . I really liked Zaragathora. And there was at least one line in this book that surprised a laugh out of me and it involved Z:
Look at this hidden depth to Zaragathora, Eater of Flesh. Kills---and does other things!

lol Jaqi has quite the sense of humor. I'm pretty sure I laughed at a later line, but I no longer remember where that later line was in the book. The line I shared is at the beginning of Chapter 7, on page 68, and comes after Jaqi notes that Z "knows his way around a cockpit." :-)

I almost cried at the end. It was a fabulous way to end this first trilogy book and it was beautiful. I won't share that line. Instead, I'll say that if you're at all interested, you should read this book! :-)

Have I told you yet that I am planning to buy the other two books in this trilogy? Because I am. :-)

To close my review, here is a photo I took of A Red Peace once I finished it on May 23rd and shared it to my Instagram:
Max with A Red Peace by Spencer Ellsworth
:-)
Profile Image for Emily.
4 reviews
Read
April 22, 2018
This book was hella fun. Violent and sometimes dark, but fun nonetheless.

The characters are one of the high points. Jaqi is awesome. She's also a type of character that I haven't seen much of, because she's...not very smart. She's brave and worth rooting for, but she'll only think a step ahead. It's refreshing in a genre with a lot of "canny" or analytical protagonists.
The book also manages to have small children as main characters who felt real but weren't annoying, which is hard! I was less interested in Araskar--he knows a lot more of the plot than Jaqi, so his scenes tend to be higher on information, but I always wanted to get back to her. I couldn't connect with his romance subplot--in a novella you can't spend time on everything, and that was one of the things that didn't get elaborated on enough for me.

Most of the book is told through either Jaqi or Araskar's point of view, which I thought worked well. Jaqi especially has a distinctive "slang-y" voice, which makes her come alive. Seeing the same scene from two perspectives keeps the tension high.
The action scenes are particularly well done. They're well described enough to be legible, but the pace never suffers for it.

I did find myself a bit confused about characters' plans at a few points. For example, the scene that ends with Jaqi meeting the kids: Why is Jaqi following Palthaz in the first place? Where does she think he's going, and why would following him help? The scene was obviously written to lead Jaqi to the kids, but it could have been less clumsy about it. There were a couple of other moments where I lost what characters believed and why they were doing what they were doing, though not so much that it hurt my enjoyment.

I do recommend this book--as a novella it's only 200 pages, but it manages to pack fun characters and cool action (and space bugs!) into it. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Ana.
123 reviews1 follower
October 6, 2017
I haven't read a lot of sci fi books so at first I was worried I would not understand. however, the action and intruguing characters sucked me in and I found myself finishing the book quickly and finishing the book with an audible "awh".
Ellsworth knows his characters through and through and I felt like it added a lot to the story.
Profile Image for Bonnie McDaniel.
682 reviews29 followers
December 26, 2017
This first book in the Starfire Trilogy is either a short novel or a really long novella. It feels like a throwback to the pulp age: we have a galaxy-spanning war, lots of oft-squicky biotech, a horror aside that absolutely gave me the shivers (seriously, that brief sojourn into the Dark Zone, with its planet-sized telepathic spiders consuming all life, is enough to give anyone nightmares), soulswords that vacuum up their victims' memories, one vat-grown supersoldier with PTSD, and a half-human half-alien pilot who gets thrown willy-nilly into the middle of a mystery that spans thousands of years and extends into another galaxy. This is a fast-paced adventure with some interesting things to say about addiction and the cost of war.

Since this book is only fifty-some-thousands words, there is not a great deal of room for character development. The author actually does a fairly good job within his length constraints, on the supersoldier Araskar in particular. The next book, Shadow Sun Seven, is easily twice the length of this one, and I hope Ellsworth will be able to take a deeper dive into his characters. But this is still a promising start.
Profile Image for Donna.
254 reviews
July 15, 2018
I saw this title on an issue of the Barnes and Noble sci-fi and fantasy blog and I thought it would be a good chance to read an author I had never read before. I like space opera, but often I balk at delving into a lot of titles as some can be quite long and extensive, and while this one is a trilogy, each book is manageable. This one was only 210 pages, so it was an easy read and very enjoyable. Looking forward to starting the second one when I get back from Comic-Con.
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,413 reviews302 followers
Want to read
September 13, 2017
Publisher's Weekly review:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-...

"Elsworth’s debut is a capable, if familiar, take on revolution in space and what comes after an empire falls. ... This first volume primarily sets up the narrative that is to come, and leaves too many threads dangling for the conclusion to be satisfying. "

So, probably not for me. Cool cover art, though.
Profile Image for Teresa.
229 reviews22 followers
April 13, 2018
Me gusta. Voy a por el resto de la trilogía.
Profile Image for Matt Dovey.
Author 16 books5 followers
September 22, 2017
Technically, at 50k, this book is a short novel. But it's not, not really: it's a long novella. It has the focus, the energy and the freedom of weirdness that Tor.com novellas excel at. It's a novel with the padding stripped out, and a novella with the awesomeness given space to run.

It's a space opera with soulswords, with giant bugs as spaceships, with light devouring spiders the size of suns, creepy cyborg human/millipedes and half-human crosses and weird aliens and everything your 12-year self would have thought of in a rush of excitement. And it all moves so fast, and collides constantly, and rattles on a breathless race of activity.

It makes me wish I had a Starfire playset so I could sit cross legged on my living room carpet and play pretend, EVIL JOHN STARFIRE trying his best to stop our plucky action figure heroes before being knocked off the TV stand to land in the dusty corner. This book has that child-like joy of "but wouldn't it be cool IF", and it's infectious.

But underneath all that it still has real emotion, and struggle, and a desire to tell a story of justice and fairness and family. It carries all the excitement on serious foundations: never enough to slow it down, but enough to give it the structure and meaning to stand up.

It's a book you'll finish quickly; not just because it's been pared down to only the good bits, and doesn't waste your time with boring intermissions, but because it's engaging and fun and the escapism you want and need from space opera.
Profile Image for Jess.
547 reviews22 followers
August 26, 2017
This book was fantastic and fast paced and if you enjoy reading science fiction with flavors of Star Wars and Ender's Game you will really love this book, as I did. It was a lot of fun, intense, with memorable characters that I can't wait to see what happens to them.

Likes: Jaqui is awesome. Actually so is Z and Araskar. I loved these characters, they were funny and very cool. The world building was well done and interesting, I'd like more details. The ideas on gender and the nature of creation and sentience were also interesting. It reminded me a bit of Ursula K LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness. All in all, it left me really wanting more.

Dislikes: Bugs are super gross. But to quote the book: "'Are you afraid of something?' Z asked. 'Think of what you've seen.' 'It don't make no sense,' I say, 'but a girls gets to be afraid of a bug now and then.'"
Profile Image for Lucille.
994 reviews198 followers
May 24, 2017
More like 4,5/5 maybe! That was super fun and I'm very excited about what's going to happen next. I loved the characters!!
Will write a longer review closer to release date :)
Profile Image for Powerschnute.
245 reviews21 followers
May 17, 2018
Spencer Ellsworth ist ein mir völlig unbekannter Autor, aber der Roman hatte mich im Bloggerportal so angesprochen, dass ich ein Rezensionsexemplar anfordern musste. Neues Scifi ist schließlich immer toll. Das Cover gefällt mir einfach wahnsinnig gut und der Klappentext hat sein übriges getan.

Die Geschichte folgt der 18jährigen Jaqi, die halb Jorianerin und halb Mensch ist. Sie kann nicht lesen, was ihr irgendwie peinlich ist, und noch am Anfang der Geschichte freut sie sich, dass die Revolutionsbewegung um John Starfire herum gesiegt und das alte Imperium zerschlagen hat. Sie freut sich darauf, sich als gleichberechtigter Bürger endlich frei bewegen zu dürfen. Dass es so natürlich nicht kommen wird, sollte eigentlich schon klar sein. Wir erleben die Geschichte durch Jaqis Augen in der 1. Person Präsens. Eigentlich ist das nicht unbedingt meine bevorzugte Erzählperspektive, also dabei besonders der Präsens, aber es funktioniert für das Buch sehr gut und zieht sich sauber durch alle 300 Seiten durch. Jaqi wechselt sich dabei im Erzählen mit Araskar ab, einem Gardisten der Revolutionsbewegung. Anfangs fand ich das etwas verwirrend und wusste grad so gar nicht, was passiert, aber dann hat es bei mir doch noch geschnackelt. Ellsworth erschafft eine interessante Welt. So interessant, dass mir vieles zu unbeleuchtet bleibt. Man könnte damit argumentieren, dass sowohl Jaqi als auch Araskar nur ein begrenztes Wissen haben, aber ich glaube, hier fehlt einfach das Worldbuilding komplett. Dabei ist diese Welt sowas von reizvoll, dass ich als begeisterter Peter F. Hamilton-Fan absolut zu kurz komme. Der Erzählstil wird dabei sehr schnell und die Geschichte fliegt regelrecht an einem vorbei. DAS fand ich äußerst schade. Sowohl Jaqi als auch Araskar sind für mich sympathische Figuren, über die ich beide gern noch sehr viel mehr erfahren hätte. Aber auch die Nebencharaktere sind absolut interessant und fallen durch die schnelle Erzählweise viel zu blass aus. Meine Güte, das hätte alles soviel Potential gehabt, ein richtig geniales Werk zu werden. Versteht mich nicht falsch, es ist kein schlechtes Buch, aber ich bin nicht zufrieden damit. Hätte Ellsworth hier mehr Worldbuilding betrieben und sich noch viel mehr Zeit gelassen, seine Geschichte zu erzählen, es wäre absolut brilliant geworden.

Man ahnt schon so einiges, aber so richtig sicher ist man sich nicht. Das Jaqi die Heldin einer Prophezeiung sein soll, kann ich grad so verkraften. Das kennen wir ja aus tausend anderen Werken. Ihre Reaktion auf diese Aussage jedoch fand ich äußerst erfrischend und da es noch Folgebände gibt, hoffe ich, dass hier auch weiter vom typischen Prophezeiungstrope abgewichen wird. Die Folgebände werde ich lesen müssen. Das Buch war einfach zu unterhaltsam und hat soviel Potential, dass es, glaub ich, sehr schade wäre, den nachfolgenden Bänden der Reihe keine Chance zu geben, besser zu sein.

Sowohl Jaqi als auch Araskar haben eine sehr lockere Art, den Leser durch die Geschichte zu führen, gespickt mit viel trockenem Humor und vorlauten Sprüchen (und Gedanken). Leider ähneln sich beide Erzählweisen so stark, dass es etwas verwirrend ist, besonders am Anfang. Trotzdem großes Plus dafür, dass Jaqi ein Mädel ist, und dass Verpartnerungen (ob für immer oder nur für vorübergehend) hier völlig geschlechtsunabhängig sind, sprich jeder kann jeden lieben und/oder zusammen Spaß haben. Sowas find ich ja immer gut. Freie Liebe für alle!

Fazit
Es ist absolut empfehlenswert als Lesesnack für zwischendurch, allerdings ist es teilweise verwirrend und viel zu schnell erzählt mit nicht ausreichend Informationen über die erschaffene Welt. Trotzdem es hat definitiv das Zeug dazu, eine unterhaltsame, farbenfrohe und bunt gemischte Weltraumoper zu werden und ich bin super gespannt auf Teil 2.
Profile Image for Robert Collins.
94 reviews2 followers
April 28, 2019
A Red Peace is the first volume in the Starfire trilogy. A Space Opera that is both familiar in its themes but has a major difference in the positioning of the protagonists.
The main 'good guys' in this battle for supremacy are the Human/Jorian crossbreeds. Known colloquially as Crosses.

"Like all his troops, he’d been grown in a vat, yanked out slimy and febrile by mechanized arms, given a data dump to serve as his memories, given a number without a name, and loaded onto a drop ship to be another casualty in an unwinnable war. They had called them cannon fodder. Ugly, but necessary."

The enemy these cross troops are fighting are the human dynastic Royal Empire. The leader of this revolution is John Starfire whom we meet in the Overture/Prologue. It is here we also learn of his determination after the successful revolution.

“I’m thinking,” he said. “I think we can finally do it.”
“Do it?” His Vanguard looked between themselves, clearly wondering what was left to do.
“You know the order,” he said.
“The order?” one of them asked.
“Directive zero.”
They stared back blankly.
“It’s time,” he said, “to kill every human in this galaxy.”

So this is a twist, humans are now the bad guys.

The other two main characters are also crosses, although with a difference.
Jaqi is a natural born cross and has what appears to be a unique feeling for navigating the Nodes (wormholes) the Jurian planted throughout the galaxy to aid in navigation.
Araskar is a vat grown warrior elite known as the Vanguard.

"If you’re like me, your vat batch is your family. And my batch mates, my battalion, all my best friends, died the moment they boarded our first Imperial vessel, turned to blood and meat by shard-fire. Only I, last out of the burrowing pod, survived.
Then I killed half that ship with my own vat-grown hands. Got the Resistance’s highest medal for it. Irony’s a cold bitch, ai?

So begins this fast paced Space Opera populated with a wide variety of alien beings ("'The people here are a mix of races. Zarra. Rorgs. Tall, bony, thin-faced, fanged Grevans. Keekuks, the “crickets,” on their segmented, springing legs.") and Science which you have to take on face values as it isn't explained in any detail.

The pace is swift , the characters are believable and their various scrapes and skin of their teeth escapes are not implausible.
Profile Image for Jared Adams.
Author 12 books1 follower
November 6, 2017
"A Red Peace" does Star Wars better than Star Wars.

It's what I longed for when I watched "The Force Awakens." I so wanted to see a Stormtrooper fighting his upbringing, having an attachment with his fellow soldiers that kept him from, say, killing a planet-full of his compatriots. I also hoped to see an original story (ie not involving a death star). "A Red Peace" delivers on all of these things in a way that hits all the adventure beats of a Star Wars movie, while also presenting something unique.

The book braids together two storylines. The first follows a scrappy, illiterate orphan girl named Jaqi who makes her way in the universe through gumption and her special navigation skills. Jaqi falls in with a trio of children fleeing Imperial assassins and accidentally finds herself enmeshed in their struggles.

The second follows Araskar, one of the new Empire's vat-grown soldiers who is increasingly uncomfortable with carrying out the bloodthirsty orders he is given. Unlike Finn in "The Force Awakens," however, the thought of turning against all of his fellows is unthinkable. As an officer, he is fiercely loyal to those under his command, calling them "his slugs." In fact, it is out of his loyalty that his discontent springs. He feels these new orders are putting his squad at risk unnecessarily, that they are dying for nothing. Because he was made to be a soldier, though, because that's all he's known, his feelings rub up against the very core of his identity. He self-medicates with drugs while hoping to get through to a time when he can retire, resign, or even die.

On top of the unforgettable characters, there are cool spaceships, a universe full of different alien species and exotic locales, and an honest look at both how war can corrupt even the most righteous intentions and also how there are things worth fighting for.

An excellent space opera. I can't wait for the second book.
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595 reviews67 followers
September 26, 2021
This is a competent and entertaining space fantasy novella in the vein of Star Wars. It's brevity (barely over 200 pages) harks back to the pulps and serials of yesteryear (like Buck Rogers) that the space fantasy genre was built on. That alone is a welcome change from the usual 500-600-and-more page monsters that have come to dominate the SF/F genre. I mean, I love The Expanse but of the 3 books I've read in it so far, the shortest is 539 pages.

“It doesn’t do much good to get scared out here, I think. Everything is scary. You have to get used to it.”


This doesn't really do anything super-groundbreaking. An orphan with a secret lineage who turns out to be The Chosen One of Destiny and have special powers. Rogues with hearts of gold. An evil empire with a clone army they are on the run from. Etc etc. Like I said, it is very much Star Warsy. Not a ripoff but certainly many parallels. Not that that's entirely a bad thing; sometimes novelty is overrated and we just want a fun comfort read that hits all the familiar notes. And this does that.

“I—I died.”
“Not enough blood and honor,” I say, and it’s hard to talk around that big thing in my throat. “Had to bring you back.”


It packs a lot into its 200 pages. An cage death match, a space fight, a gunfight, escapes, and more. One reason for its brevity is that it confines itself to just two POVs: Jaqi and Araskar. Jaqi is the one on the run the Araskar is the Evil Empire soldier tasked with tracking her down -- but he's beginning to have doubts, he never signed up for an Evil empire and his character is the real highlight of the series.
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