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Ardulum: First Don


3.89  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardul
ebook, 248 pages
Published February 27th 2017 by NineStar Press (first published February 22nd 2017)
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Lex Kent
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m a sci-fi fan and this was just a really good sci-fi adventure. It had that real space opera feel. I thought the writing was excellent and found myself absolutely engrossed in the ships, planets and aliens. This is straight up sci-fi at its best.

I originally grabbed this because of the lesbian fiction tag. There is no romance or sex in this book; nothing that would give you a clue this is lesfic. But there are two women forming a really intense bond and I have hope for some romance in the nex

This book is May's Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature.

I'm a few days late but still here.

Space opera is not something I read often so I don’t have much comparison and this is why I’ll keep it short.

I had a hard start with this one. I’ve been reading just one chapter at a time at first - partially because of my book slump and partially because I needed some time to get used to all those species, their history, relations, ect. Once I got through that though, it was hard to put thi
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was provided for free as the May 2018's Sapphic Book Club read hosted by sapphicbookclub.

This was a solid sci fi story.
I think the worldbuilding is definitely on the strong side for this one. The creation of the Neek and Ardulum alone is just really cool.

I don't have any major critique points, but I still didn't fully connect to the story tbh.

What was really weird for me was the very beginning, Emn's past.
I understand what was happening there NOW of course and why it was written like
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was read for Sapphic Book Club, hosted by sapphicliterature.

This was definitely a sci-fi book, and I genuinely liked it. I haven't actually read too much sci-fi that has lots of space stuff, aliens and all that kinda fun, so this wasn't my usual genre. In general it was a good story, it was written really well and I loved all the effort the author had put in with worldbuilding. Sometimes there was too much information at once, but otherwise the work was done well. The plot was interest
The Novel Approach Reviews
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars ~ Ardulum: First Don does great things for diversity in this sweeping space opera. Firstly, we have our protagonist, a neek called Neek. If her name sounds unoriginal, it’s because it’s supposed to be degrading. Neek has been exiled from her homeworld, a planet with deep religious views, because of her faithlessness (and also probably her violent tendencies, but that’s just my opinion). One of the species the neek worship as gods are the ardulans, long thought to have vanished with the ...more
This book was May 2018's Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicbookclub.

Note: I wrote this review in January 2018, I'm just reposting it for the book club.


I received a copy through NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Read on my blog.

Ardulum is truly a sci-fi story - not just humans vaguely in space, but many developed alien species. For me, the strongest aspect of the book was worldbuilding, especially the different aliens. I loved how they didn't have the same bin
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqia, sci-fi
I LOVED IT! Launches to my all-time sci-fi faves. I read this book two months ago and I still think about it almost every single day. I can't wait for the next. Is August here yet??? Full review to come.


What do I love most about this book? People, it's so hard to choose! Maybe it's the gorgeous writing? Stunning settings? (I still can't get the planet Neek and the golden light filtering through the trees out of my mind ). The characters that grab you and won't let you go? Or maybe it's the m
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was this month's read for Sapphic Book Club.

I tend to be very picky about my scifi, preferring things to be just right - I shy away from "hard" science fiction, while "soft" scifi doesn't offer me enough science. Ardulum: First Don strikes that middle point perfectly; it presents a technology that doesn't exist in our world as the foundation for the miraculous things that can be done, but that technology exists according to rules that, even if we don't know all of them, clearly exist i
Betty BoomBa
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ff-sf
I really enjoyed this. The FF is very light, and no romance at all. Good so far. The world building is excellent, the races created for this story are complex and interesting, each has its own agenda. The Neek, driven by a quasi-religious agenda. Neek, herself driven, in part to dispute that religious agenda. The Risalians, who are both good guys and bad guys, the Mmnuggls are fascinating.
At times I felt that details were not explained enough, so when the necessary information came I had to fli
Jenn Polish
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy wow -- I knew I needed space lesbians and casually nonbinary folks, but I didn't know I needed them quite this badly.

If you want bio-nerd scifi and fully developed characters with palpable chemistry and deep relationships and unlikely but powerful friendships, this is for you!

That said, heads up (and the book does give a trigger warning in the beginning pages!) for graphic violence, particularly of a speciesist type that bears horrific resemblance to this-world racist and ableist and spec
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it

Publisher: Ninestar Press

Publishing Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9781945952647

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with the
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it

This was the May Sapphic book of the month for the Sapphic book club.

This was a fantastic sci-fi adventure romp, with engaging characters and fascinating diverse worldbuilding and species creation that makes me want a whole encyclopedia for it. I highly recommend it, with the only caveat/criticism being despite its upbeat plucky heros tone, things do not necessarily end well for everyone. I remember one moment specifically where a fairly central character essentially died off page, and there was
Ruby Cooper-Karl
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok so I loved the concept but the follow through failed me a bit. Some parts were really well written and made me want to stay up reading it but others just fell flat. What frustrated me the most probably was that I bought the book at a booth for books with LGBTQ+ characters and the author did no more than hint at it. It was a good book but definitely not a great book.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always looking for good sci fi or fantasy books. This fits the bill for sci fi. Lots of action, good characterization, interesting plot, aliens and their worlds, and a decrepit spaceship. Interestingly, Fields doesn't really describe what is different about Neek until the next book. I was curious how she differed from humans other than the stuk. Other than that. it's a fascinating read.
E.M. Hamill
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read it in one night - it kept my interest and truly hit that space-opera loving side of me!

Neek is a cool character, the only one of her species to be currently exiled from her planet, so EVERYBODY in the universe knows that she screwed up, much to her chagrin. Her crime: questioning the quasi-scientific religion followed by everyone on Neek (the name of her planet, and and also every adult being on the planet so no one gets uppity and thinks they're better than anyone else). Neek is a pilot
William Tracy
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm very excited for this book, and for the eventual series! This is a fun space opera, where Earth is a small (and backward) part of the Chartered Systems. There are humans to draw us into the story, but the main character is an exiled alien, who must come to terms with discovering the gods of the religion she refused to believe. The species in this story are not only unique and strange, but believable, as is the technology. There are not only different genders, but different ways of growth, le ...more
L.M. Pierce
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating is 3.5, but I bumped up my star rating

Almost Exclusively Plot

Neek makes a living piloting a claptrap transport ship, the Mercy’s Pledge, smuggling not so legal good, across peaceful systems. Barely making ends meet she is burdened with a strange child that reminds her of the traveler planet, Ardulum. The Ardulans visited her home world long ago gifting Neek’s people with technology, art and agriculture.
Sara Codair
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
I originally picked this book up because I wanted to study how the author used gender-neutral pronouns. Once I sunk my teeth it, I was so engrossed in the plot that I kept forgetting to pay attention to pronouns. NineStar Press’ editor really have a knack for acquiring good science fiction, as this is the second space opera series that’s really impressed me.

At first, the plot of Ardulum reminded me of Firefly: a ragged crew doing semi-legal transport on an antique ship picks up a stasis chamber
L. A. Ashton
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is another “holy shit” book. And by “holy shit” book, I mean “holy God guys, read this immediately.”


Ardulum is beautifully paced, charming as hell, and delivers mounting excitement throughout.

The first scene is strange, delivering the narrative in a way that’s a bit unconventional, but easy to follow. I balked when I first began, but as I read on I became deeply entrenched in the moment. The reader’s next scene is with Neek, and she immediately makes you feel at home. The Firefly vibes
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
this is a 3 1/2 star rating
This book starts of slow , because you don't really know if a man or woman is the main character . Because the POV is unfamiliar . But as you start reading you find out that it is NEEK an exile working on an old trading ship . Along with the Captain Yoden and a young traveler named Nicholas . By chance they end up getting involved with a young girl and an interstellar conflict.
The characters are written ok , sometimes you get confused on genders and they seem just a
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, okay. This is going to be a weird review. This is not well-written, it's choppy with pieces missing. Like all of a sudden the character is complaining that her back hurts from bending over and what? But four paragraphs previously there is a small mention that the space ship is meant for much smaller creatures so the roof is really low. Like, that's such a cool and amazing detail but was just oddly written so easily skipped over.

And also? There is zero character development or motivation. Th
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was this month's Sapphic Book Club read.

I really enjoyed the worldbuilding of this book for the different species. It felt really thought out and in depth in terms of gender and belief systems, particularly with planet Neek. It was interesting seeing their religion based around the mysterious travelling planet of Ardulum.

I was riveted in trying to figure out the origins of the Ardulan girl Emn. I also liked the developing relationship between Emn and Neek.

At the same time, some of the
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a decent read. A few parts that felt a little thin or a little awkward. I didn't really feel like there was a good reason for all these people to all be so obsessed with one race of people, even given the powers they showed. I would have liked more development of the why's of the reactions among the neeks, risalians, and mmnnuggls that were all so extreme and so uniform across each entire race.

Shows promise though, and if the world gets less stark black and white as it goes, and starts
Samantha Lundergn
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book started out slow and lost me at first because the beginning was a little confusing, but I had decided to read more to give it a chance. I am really glad I did as it picked up its pace and it started to make more sense to me as it went along. Over all it was a pretty interesting read once I was able to get into it. I am really glad I kept reading past the beginning of this book. I am looking forward to reading book 2 to see where we go next.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a unique, entertaining sci-fi novel. I hadn't read any novels with the use of gender-neutral pronouns along with gendered pronouns, but it worked well. I will say there was a lot of history to sift through, but since this story is setting up a much larger story I understood.

I am very curious to learn what will happen in the next book.
Jay Quietnight
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fields creates a Star Trek-like universe with one major difference: Humans (and a similar species of alien, called neek) are fairly low-ranking in this galactic ecosystem. But when a purported space god is in danger, she quickly finds that her human and neek friends will do anything to protect her from powerful baddies. A lot of fun!
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, scifi, review-copies
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

3.5 stars

“Ardulum: First Don” is a very hard book for me to rate. I guess I just had the wrong kind of expectations. It just wasn’t for me.

I really liked Neek and her crew. They’re quite an interesting band of people. It was fun to watch them interact.

It does get a bit violent at times, so beware. I didn’t mind, as it didn’t get too gory. There was lots of action and you certainly never find yourself bored.

The publisher has this tagged as a FF pairing.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, world, and characters

I bought this book on the recommendation of an author I like and I'm really glad I did. Great sci-fi book. Interesting characters. A really unique world/universe where the good guys/bad guys are hard to pin down. Just bought the second book.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some lovely, diverse, feminist, found-family space opera.
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Other books in the series

Ardulum (3 books)
  • Ardulum: Second Don
  • Ardulum: Third Don