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Darthanil 'Dart' Black's life on the colonized planet of Sylas's World is pretty good. Quick with a joke, quicker with a blade, he doesn't take life too seriously. But when he's accused of murder and forced to hide out in a deadly alien forest, it isn’t long before the only friend he has left is a symbiotic plant.

Not the easiest of starts for a reluctant revolution...


Keep your friends close, your enemies closer--and the ones you’re not too sure about closer still.


Kindle Edition

First published March 2, 2019

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About the author

Dale Renton

2 books22 followers
Dale Renton lives with his family in a pleasant suburb of Melbourne, where he is often seen walking in the company of a large, hairy dog called Xena.

Dale's latest novel is "DART" - (SF Action/Adventure with more than a touch of humor). You can find it as an eBook in all popular formats. It can also be ordered as a paperback or hardcover through Amazon.

Half Moon (Epic Fantasy, again with a touch of humor) - second edition - is available as an eBook from all the major outlets and as a paperback from Amazon. In response to reader feedback, this new edition features a map of the lands where Half Moon is set (drawn by Dale) and a complete list of characters for ease of reference.

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Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for A_ bookbound _soul.
185 reviews42 followers
February 14, 2020
4.5 Stars!

I recieved an e-review copy from Booksirens and I'm leaving this review voluntarily.

"Ever have one of those days when just about everyone you meet tries to kill you?"

This was so much fun! A book that keeps you on the edge of the chair while also giving you a good laugh.

I wouldn't say it's a typical post colonial book. The best part about it was the wry humour and dialogues. Dart's sense of humour was amazing! The plot was fast paced with a lots of twists and cliffhangers executed very cleverly. The story is set in highly creative planet called Sylas where humans have come to settle centuries ago. The author managed to combine the Fantasy and Sci-fi elements perfectly.

Renton also did a great job with the characters. Dart, the protagonist, is witty, sharp and charming. His use of sarcastic humour was certainly the highlight of the book. The other characters also seemed deep and well developed.

"If necessity is the mother of invention, fear might be the father of improvisation..."

The concept of AIs wanting to take over the planet was quite intriguing. It may seem like horrific idea machines administrating the humans, but after giving it a thought the "AI government system" does sound efficient with low chances of corruption. But who knows when the AIs will turn evil.

I also think the book could use a better cover. I think it's unable to convey the theme of the book. I know that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover but this book deserves a better one.
[Edit: the author is working with an artist for a new cover. You can visit his website for sneak peeks.]

Overall, I enjoyed the book right from the first page. I'd recommend Dart to anyone who loves an action-packed Sci-fi thriller with quite unique plot and funny sarcastic comments.

"I'm too old to die young."
Profile Image for R Randall .
22 reviews10 followers
January 31, 2021
From the moment you begin reading, Dart pulls you into a world full of an adrenalin packed ride, complete with action and ongoing drama. Darts character is exciting and fascinating enough to keep the reader interested in finding out what’s going to happen next.

Darts adventures were so action packed that I found I just wanted to keep on reading to find out what was next in store for his character.

Though well written, the middle and towards the end, some of the story became a little confusing for me with some characters and the plot.

When I finished the book I was a little disappointed by the swiftness of the ending, and that one particular storyline with the character Amarth wasn’t closed up and completed.
It left me wondering why the relationship between Dart and Amarth was included in the story in the first place if it was left unfinished.

Overall though I gave it 4 stars, it was a good read and I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Matt McAvoy.
Author 7 books67 followers
July 13, 2019
At first sight this sci-fi action fantasy hybrid seems to be similar to many others, but in reality it is quite a distance better than the average. Set on a terraformed planet, 600 years from now, “Dart” has not only the very current cautionary messages about the environment and the fears of mass migration, it also handles, rather intelligently, the growing concerns about potential dangers of A.I. in future, taking a more “HAL” approach to it, than “Terminator”. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a touch of the James Cameron about this, as much of this tale bears notable similarities to “Avatar”.

In the new colonized world, the migrant human population has segregated into two groups: the Sylph and the Formers. The first have evolved by embracing symbiosis with the planet’s predominantly flora life, living almost as though they were indigenous, whilst the Formers cling to the human way of life, little knowing the extent of their control by the A.I. systems they entrust with their future; that they are called “Formers” is a reference to their being entirely tarred with the same destructive brush as their ancestors (as in “terraformers”), despite the fact that three centuries have passed and most are simply attempting to live their lives. The interesting aspect of this appears to be that those who have accepted a more indigenous way of life appear to have evolved to life on their planet better than those who seek progress. The dismay the Sylphs feel at the plasteen (one would assume an advanced form of concrete or resin) the Formers have covered the forest with is one we can very much relate to (particularly those of us who live in England’s Home Counties).

But it isn’t all moral virtue – Dale has crafted an intelligent and clever storyline; his writing is fantastic. The book looks good, and its proofing is spot on. The dialogue is sharp and sophisticated, and while it is true that Dart’s relentless wisecracking does wear thin at times, the author acknowledges this, and it is actually an intentional aspect of the character’s personality, which annoys all around him; in Dart’s defence, some of the wisecracks are actually genuinely pretty amusing, too. All in all, the characters are likeable enough to engage the reader. Whilst there is a good balance between its sharp dialogue and its storyline, and whilst the action is generally pretty rousing, with good setpieces, I did feel that on occasion there is perhaps just too much going on, which distracts a little from the story. At about midway, the action really kicks up a gear, and from then on it becomes a little more difficult to enjoy the cleverness of this intelligently woven cross-genre tale. Although, thankfully, it avoids going overly complex, as many in this category do.

“Dart” is gripping and interesting, and I found it very difficult to put down; although not the world’s biggest sci-fi or fantasy fan, I read the whole thing in two sittings. I like Dale Renton’s writing a lot.
Profile Image for Grant Leishman.
Author 15 books145 followers
July 22, 2019
Reviewed For Readers' Favorite by Grant Leishman

New Hope, was in many ways, an anachronism. The settlers of New Hope had left Earth centuries earlier yet as soon as they landed, a schism appeared between the two groups of settlers. In DART by Dale Renton we meet Darthanil Black, a Former and previously First Blade to the ruler of New Hope, Analine Wills. Now, framed for a murder he didn’t commit, Dart is on the run and that running takes him straight into the arms of the second group of settlers, those known as the Sylth. The Sylth have rejected the Former’s embrace of Artificial Intelligence and have instead made their lives as an integral and symbiotic part of the plant and animal life of the planet. Living close to the core of an active volcano, they are protected from attack by the Former’s. When Dart’s life is saved, sort of, by the beautiful and enticing, Sylth maiden, Amarth, Dart knows he is entering a battle for control of their planet. Everything lies in finding the two keys that will give ultimate power to the possessor.

I do like a good science fiction story with a moral message and DART by Dale Renton, is exactly that – a good science fiction tale that embodies a strong moral message for us. I liked the idea that even leaving Earth and settling on a new planet didn’t change the basic philosophical split between the two groups of settlers – one group wanting to use the Artificial Intelligence to terraform their new planet into a carbon copy of the world they’d left behind, with the other group, innately suspicious of AI and wanting to adapt to the environment of the planet they’d arrived on. The slide back into “middle ages” technology because of the separation of the two keys was what made the story even more interesting. I loved the relaxed, easy style of the writing of the author, plus the constant conflict and struggle between those that want to preserve and those that want to mould their new world with technology. The concept of AI and the potential it has to go “rogue” is something we are at the point of addressing currently and that’s one of the reasons I found this such an enjoyable read. The hatred between the two groups on Sylas was palpable and it wasn’t hard to draw some corollaries with happenings today. The scintillating wit of Dart was definitely a highlight of the read and I commend the author for his clever use of sarcasm and scorn to get his point across. I thoroughly enjoyed this witty, clever, and action-packed science fiction romance and can highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Bender.
427 reviews39 followers
July 5, 2020
Overall: +7

Got a free copy from booksirens.com in exchange for review. glad that I picked this up. A entertaining read featuring a irreverent protagonist who makes good bad jokes in awkward situations. Light and fun read. Has some pacing issues, but overall I enjoyed it. I was debating between 3 or 4 stars and will settle of 3.5.

Writing/Plot/Pace: +7

The books starts off small time and rapidly escalates into a planet-wide plot. The plot unravels organically and we are taken for a ride with the protagonist as the plot thickens, cast expands and stakes get bigger. I reckon this could be made into a good movie! The world building is interesting and as the plot unfolds the intentions of characters also does so realistically.

The writing style is filled with humour, mostly bad quips by the protagonist, but still kept a smile on me. They were the good kind of bad jokes, if you get my meaning. This keeps the flow light and refreshing.

What keeps this from making my favorites list are the pacing issues. The author has a flow but he rarely sustains it during sequences. A couple of paragraphs of flora/fauna description kills the buzz of a good fight scene. At least early on (first 40-50%) of the book, the pacing made me struggle to hold my interest, but I kinda knew this would get better and it did. the first half just sets the scene which could have been smaller/crisper in hindsight.

Characters: +7

Dart(hanil Black) comes across as a John McLane'esque character who can crack bad jokes in face of death. He's quite likeable and easy to get behind and we kind of feel for him floundering as the scope gets wider and bigger despite all his expectations. He gets into reckless situations which works out well (obviously). If I had to nitpick, I'd say there are no elements of grim/reality, but that workds well for this book in my opinion.
Profile Image for Billy Buttons.
Author 19 books112 followers
September 25, 2020
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: DART
Author: Dale Renton

Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 19
Editing: 8/10
Writing Style: 8/10
Content: 9/10
Cover: 7/10
Of the 19 readers:
17 would read another book by this author.
16 thought the cover was good or excellent.
19 felt it was easy to follow.
18 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
Of all the readers, 11 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’.
Of all the readers, 8 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’.
19 felt the pacing was good or excellent.
17 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.

Readers’ Comments
‘I loved the plot and I loved the fast pacing. Excellent adventure story.’ Male reader, aged 43
‘A fast-paced sci-fi adventure with a good dollop of humor. The characters develop well and the plot kept on surprising me.’ Male reader, aged 50
‘Dart is a bit of a ‘lad’; I suspect male readers will relate to him better than female. The planet is cleverly described and the two different ways of living there brings a number of high-octane dilemmas for Dart to sort out. The fighting, particularly at the end, was excellently handled and described. An interesting premise with solid writing skills.’ Female reader, aged 49
‘A very enjoyable, light read. The author’s not trying to change the world, just entertain. And he succeeds!’ Male reader, aged 32

To Sum It Up:
‘A fast-paced, thrill-a-minute sci-fi adventure. A FINALIST and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Profile Image for Wild.
46 reviews1 follower
April 26, 2022
Dart, the Swashbuckling Rascal

I enjoyed the adventure story of Dart. He is a sword welding rogue, with a questionable sense of humour and at times a loud mouth, that sees him into all sorts of troublesome situations.

Set on another world, after an arc of humans that left earth, quite some time prior. Dart, a master swordsman, gets caught between two fighting factions of humans, one in sync with nature, the other very reliant on machines and technology that is hell bent on totally ruling it's human creators.

The whole situation gets thrust upon his shoulders to sort out, amongst twisted politics and long time friends that end up not entirely who they seemed to once be.

It's a light hearted tale, with some predictable moments, as well as a couple of unexpected twists, that keeps your interest going. All in all a nice chill-out read session.
Profile Image for Cass Morrison.
131 reviews4 followers
May 24, 2020
I like sassy protagonists and Dart is a sassy guy!

This is an unusual spin on a colonization tale; 2 disparate groups of humans and AIs. The details of the colonization story are really well integrated into the story. No "history lesson" needed for the reader to learn context. The pacing was really good; I never felt the need to skip ahead. There isn't' a lot of details to all the characters but that didn't decrease the enjoyment.

If you're looking for a fun adventure story, pick this up.

I received a free review copy but my opinions are my own. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for T.S..
93 reviews
May 14, 2019
The razor-sharp dialogues, wry humor ( “When you’re drowning in a river full of razorfins, do you hold your breath?”), and unpredictable twists that not only thicken the plot but also proliferate it build the foundation of this speedy, fun sci-fi novel by Dale Renton. Darthanil ‘Dart’ Black, the undefeated First Blade of Sylas’ World, gets caught up in a tangle of difficult situations that soon start to have implications for the safety of thousands of settlers frozen in the Mother Ship’s cryobanks and the future of the planet. When a group of super intelligent machines decide to take over the planet, things get even more complicated and uncertain. Caught between a rock and a hard place, it’s up to Dart now to take command of the situation and get things settled.

There are plenty of characters, but it is Dart who shines through and through. He is sharp, funny, and genuinely charming. Renton’s sketching of Dart makes him an intriguing and sympathetic character who enthrals the reader with his wit and charm while pushing the boundaries of his own resilience. While Dart dominates, other characters are by no means underdeveloped; they are able to hold on their own.

The pace of the story is brisk, the concept and the execution of the plot is well realized, and the witty quotes (Dart’s thoughts) before each chapter are certain to keep readers entertained to the end. While Renton’s action-based narrative makes pages of technological background go by quickly, a hoard of quick happenings demands a slow reading on the reader’s part.

The plotting is excellent though a little complicated at times and completely entertaining as the big picture emerges. The concept of a lengthy novel (Or just a few extra pages) would have done good to the backstory in the plot that seems too brief for certain situations - the setting needs more framework for it to appear more distinct.

Dart’s humorous one-liners throughout the book are too funny for words and give the story the vim and vigour it deserves. Readers will welcome a series featuring Dart. Renton expertly mixes humor with science fiction and delivers a thrilling book.
Author 2 books
September 7, 2019
I really enjoyed reading Dart. I thought the idea of the Syl was brilliant. I did literally "laugh out loud" at the character Dart's constant quips.
Some/most of the quips were so retro that they would have been met with a blank "huh" by anyone 300 years in the future. Also, why would a group of colonists include black ops helicopters on board their futuristic spaceship? That still run 300 years in the future without rust and apparently plenty of fossil fuels on this new planet? Even though they now use swords and guns are rare?
Maybe I'm just a romantic, but would it be too much to ask for, or too cliché to have a happier ending? I mean really, for heaven's sake: The hot tub and the sister comment was just too much. True to Dart's character, I suppose, but just one quip too many for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
249 reviews2 followers
October 2, 2019
A sword and sci-fi mashup

I have rarely come across as entertaining a sci-fi novel as this. The premise of a colonization from earth that reverts to semi feudal is reminiscent of Bradley's Darkover stories. The inclusion of Clarke and Asimov themes as well as references to late 20th and early 21 century pop culture made the read quite enjoyable. The protagonist is snarky and funny. The storyline is complex, involving plenty of character development, action, deceit, treachery and AI. And of course, there is the love interest. But is the hero rescuing the damsel, or is the damsel rescuing the hero from his predicaments?

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
132 reviews3 followers
April 26, 2019
Not your average Post-Colonial Sci Fi story

Good characters, lots of action, plot has twists that have implications for those of us stuck on Earth today. A solid, enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Terry.
434 reviews92 followers
December 20, 2019
A fast moving plot with twists and turns, great characters and dialogue, and a hero I adored thanks to his wit and sarcastic sense of humor!
It's categorized as Sci Fi, but don't let that scare you. It's overall a great book and a lot of fun to read.
Highly recommend!
I received a free copy of this book to review, but have done so willingly and gladly.
Profile Image for Michael.
330 reviews23 followers
December 6, 2019
(Thanks to the author for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)

I will always enjoy a well-written sci-fi adventure. There is just something that will always be really enjoyable about that genre for me. Maybe it's the mixture of the bigger thematic ideas often found in science fiction with some of the sillier elements of an adventure story, but there's just something about sci-fi adventures that I really enjoy. Dale Renton's Dart fits perfectly in with any number of sci-fi adventures. It's exactly what you'd expect it to be stylistically while still packing in some surprises and a fair amount of enjoyment. It's a well-written and enjoyable read.

The key to a good sci-fi/adventure novel is a perfect combination of engaging characters and plot. You need both to succeed, or you'll lose the audience. For the most part, Dart has both of these elements, though I'd argue that its plot is more engaging than its characters. As the book starts out, you're introduced to what feels like a fairly normal adventure plotline. Dart is tasked by someone to kill a high-ranking official in his society. But things very quickly take a turn into unexpected territory and from there, they never veer back into the expected. It's a lot of fun to not really know where you're going in a story like this. I wouldn't go so far as to say there's a mystery in the book, but it was really enjoyable to see how the plot ended up unfolding in ways that both adhered to the usual elements of an adventure story and rebelled against them. Couple that plot with some pretty solid world-building that gets explained to the audience at just the right times, and you have an adventure that's pretty fun to go on. I will say that the book has a very slow beginning; it definitely takes a while for it to get started, but once it does you'll be swept away. I also should say that I'm not in love with the book's ending. I think the climax was super fun, but the actual ending left something to be desired. Overall, however, the book has a super fun, fairly unexpected plot and it's quite enjoyable to read.

On the flip side, the characters aren't quite as intriguing. While most of the side characters are as decently developed as you could expect them to be in a story like this, the problem lies with the main character. Dart is your typical action-adventure hero. He doesn't seem to take anything seriously, cracks really annoying quips at all the worst times, but ends up having a heart that leans closer to gold than coal. The problem for me is that I really don't enjoy these kinds of characters. It's not that Dart is written poorly or that Renton hasn't made the character sympathetic enough, it's just that there's some part of me that really just doesn't identify with characters like Dart. And, to be fair, much of what I don't like about Dart seems intentionally placed by Renton - Dart isn't half as funny as he thinks he is, he's braggadocious to a fault, and he's just all-around annoying. All of these traits are probably things other characters in the novel would say, so it's clear that Renton intends for Dart to come off this way. The problem is that, for me, it makes it hard to get invested in Dart's story because every fiber of my being is annoyed by him and wants him to shut up. I don't want to get inside his head because being there annoys me. Like I said, this isn't a fault of Renton's per se, as it seems to be his intention to make Dart annoying (and comment on it through other characters) but Dart's characterization did make it slightly difficult to get into the book at times.

Luckily, the rest of the characters make up for Dart's unlikability. The other Formers we meet - both friend and foe of Dart's - all feel like well-rounded characters, each of them bringing a distinct personality to the table, alongside identifiable wants and needs. The same is true for the Sylth characters, though to a slightly lesser extent simply due to their more limited page-time. Unfortunately, the main two Sylth characters are subject to some of Dart's less... endearing quips, but their actual characters are still fairly well-developed and engaging. They often get the better of Dart, and it's fun seeing characters like them in stories like this. While the cast of side characters are all super enjoyable, most of these characters don't get a huge amount of development as most of our focus is spent on Dart's arc and journey. However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't love some of these side characters all the same. I especially liked seeing how the characters tied in with the greater world-building that Renton was doing throughout the story. Having such well-realized characters helped bring into focus exactly why the Formers and the Sylth have been in conflict for so long. It's a really interesting world Renton has created here, and he did an excellent job at populating it with characters that you want to get to know - and I'd love to get to know more of these characters at some point.

This book is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, there's some excellent world-building mixed with a pretty solid action/adventure plot and a colorful cast of characters. On the other hand, the main character is so annoying that there were numerous times I wanted to reach through the screen of my tablet and punch him in the face and the book has a few noticeable pacing issues. The question becomes: do the good elements outweigh the bad ones? I'd say that, on the whole, they do. I really dislike Dart as a person, but I think that I'm supposed to dislike him. And the rest of the plot mostly makes up for the displeasure I felt towards the character. The book moves along at such a brisk pace, that it becomes fairly easy to get lost in the story anyway. The writing is top-notch with a perfect balance of action and description, but not so much that it distracts from the story being told. I wish the ending was a bit stronger than it was, but that's not enough to really undercut the book. At the end of the day, Dart is an enjoyable read if you're just looking for a fun sci-fi adventure.
Profile Image for Happy Booker.
1,283 reviews77 followers
July 9, 2019
Dart is an action-adventure novel. It is the second novel written after ‘Half Moon.’ The story is about Dart, who continually faces people who wish to kill him. There is a war between the Formers and Sylth which he has to stop, and if that was not enough, he also has to prevent a group of machines that are trying to take over the world.

There are many obstacles that Dart needs to overcome. His love is in danger, people are frozen in cryobanks, and his best friend is a plant.

I found the chapters to be short and ending in such a way that it would sway you towards wanting to read the next chapter. The content contained many humorous dialogues. The fantasy world was created with many science fiction factors that made it easy to visualize.

I believe anyone who likes to read science fiction novels and stories that are funny and at the same time filled with adventure, would enjoy this book.

Profile Image for David Morris.
149 reviews1 follower
April 14, 2020
I really didnt know what to expect when I first started to read this book. The is action from the first sentence. The action does not let up until the end.

We have people living on a planet. Two groups of them, actually. They have been there a while and dont much care for each other. Through a lot of mistrust and double dealing of sorts, our hero who is a little more than obnoxious, finally gets the chance to show why he is the best swordsman in the land. Lucky for him there is a vine that helps him along the way.
Profile Image for Pat Eroh.
2,597 reviews27 followers
September 30, 2019
This is a fast-paced action that will pull you into this compelling story until the conclusion! Dart is an awesome protagonist and the rest of the characters are wonderful and well-developed. I highly recommend this book.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
7 reviews
August 17, 2019
A science fiction/action book with a dash of romance. A book filled with great characters and plot twists to keep you guessing until the end. Even those who are not science fiction or action fans can't help but love Dart with his humor and sarcasm. A fun read!
Profile Image for Jeff Thomas.
627 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2021
A bit stilted, and cliche'd. But still an original story, and fairly complete characters.
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