THE LAST FRAGMENTS OF THE HUMAN RACE ARE FORCED TO ADAPT TO A DANGEROUS NEW WORLD OR FACE EXTINCTION.
When starship mechanic, Denton Castus, is caught in the destructive path of a devastating war, he abandons his home and seeks refuge on a distant planet. However, this new safe haven has undiscovered threats of its own. Eliana Veston, a scout preparing the planet for the refugees, struggles with a deadly pandemic that is killing off colonists. The hunt for a cure unleashes a new threat to humanity—the Sirens—mysterious beings with incredible powers and a deep hatred for invaders.
T. A. Bruno grew up in a suburb south of Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. Since then, he has brought stories to life for over a decade as a previsualization artist. At home, he is the proud father of two boys and a husband to a wonderful wife.
So flipping amazing! Among the best books I've ever read!
In the Orbit of Sirens just received the B.A.A.G Medallion Honoree Award, and it is so very well deserved. This novel ranks among the best I have ever read - It just blew me away! Not only is it an amazing Sci-Fi story that brims with action, but it also includes a great cast of characters to get invested in as they develop over time and additionally, Bruno’s imaginative settings are otherworldly stunning and most vividly descriptive.
Humanity is in danger. After leaving Mars behind due to an imminent threat, the people of Ganymede are experiencing a déjà vu as the Undriel network is threatening to absorb what is left of humanity. Told in alternating timelines of three hundred years apart, we meet our main characters, first separated by space and time.
Present Day on Kamaria:
Eliana Veston, aka Elly, a young doctor of 26, is part of the Telemachus project with a team of other scientists, with her father being the lead engineer and a small settlement of civilians. Their ship has departed half a decade prior to scout out Kamaria for further settlement and the team she is with has practically raised her. John (her father and lead engineer), George Tanaka (biologist), Marie Viray (chemist), Cpt. Roelin and his wife Faye (geologist) and Elly, are racing to find a cure for a condition that presents fatal lunglock in humans from airborne bacteria. With an expected influx of 10,000 more colonists in the near future, they have to find a cure fast for their settlement.
300 Years ago on Ganymede:
Denton Castus, 30, and his two brothers work at the family machine shop that’s been around for generations. Besides working all day and tooling around afterward, there isn’t much to do on this grey and rocky planet ever since the promise of more funding for the colony failed and left them to fear the apocalypse by the Undriel.
As the imminent threat of disaster becomes clear in a sudden turn of events, Denton and his family will have to risk their lives to attain safety and leave the planet sooner than ever expected along with thousands of other refugees. A bumpy ride and teamwork are their saving grace, but not everyone is so lucky. (On page 46 in the novel, Bruno ends that scene with a great juxtaposition to illustrate the point and it was one of the most cleverly written and favorite moments of mine in the book.)
In the meantime, Elly and her team make contact with the Auk’nai, a bird-like race that inhabits the area, and a cure for the lunglock is traded that will allow for better living. However, here too, events take unforeseen turns for the worst. When Elly’s father gets murdered within their small community, Cpt Roelin, combat soldier, disappears.
A few years later, Denton and Elly’s timelines meet and intersperse, when the Castus family and the refugees arrive on Kamaria. A new machine shop is set up for the mechanical engineering family, but Denton’s future changes after meeting Elly and the opportunity arises to become a scout with her team.
Bruno takes his time during these parts of the novel to develop the characters and create a storyline within the story that gives us a good idea of what everyone is made of. Though there are nuances of romance going on, the integrity of the characters does not suffer as they become more relatable and their strengths and vulnerabilities are enhanced. It’s all the good stuff that garners a reader’s investment into a character’s whole being like their thoughts, funny or sad moments, family ties, and friendships.
In the meantime, a third timeline perspective enters the storyline, and it is one of my favorite parts. Cpt. Roalin has undergone grueling times since that fateful day he disappeared. He is that mess of a character, that underdog I love in novels. His story is grueling and wretched and yet he is so likable and one to root for. Think of Tom Hanks stranded in Cast Away, not in control of his surroundings and without prospects of rescue. I’m not giving away more on his part, but I definitely looked forward to reading about him and was on the edge about the breadcrumbs and little cliffhangers his story left each time.
While Denton is going through the process and trials of becoming a scout, we learn more about Kamaria, the incredible landscapes of flora and fauna, the many creatures that inhabit unexplored areas, and the native bird man leader Mag’Ro. The lore that surrounds these birdmen isn’t fully worked out yet to the humans, but a show of dominance by their species drives the plot in unexpected directions and dangers.
When the parties become involved in new events, an action-packed climax catapults all the storylines into a racing, raging ending as the real test for the colony crashes every scenario imagined. In jaw-dropping fashion, Bruno just relinquished the floor beneath me while I was reading these heart-pumping scenes. I’m not going to lie, but this big ol’ tear just hung on to dear life above my right cheek while I was reading the last 15 pages or so and finally released when I closed the book, overwhelmed and moved. (So, yeah, this is crazy. I haven’t read a book like that, but I heard of such reactions in readers and they just seemed over the top to me…until this book came along!)
This novel was phenomenal and the artwork on the cover, the binding, and between chapters is ridiculously amazing. I can’t get over how great of a story this was. The writing was superb and I loved many of the characters. One, that I haven’t mentioned was Major Volkov of Russian descent. Every good sci-fi story should have a character like him in it (I know many do). In my mind, his story played out with that accent as I envisioned him, and he was that all-around great character and great support role to Denton. Others I enjoyed were Homer, the AI of the scouting system, and definitely the Castus family and dynamic. That isn’t to say that Elly wasn’t a great character, but I think even though she was one of the mc’s she shone a light on those around her. A great quality to have and it was well portrayed in this novel.
The world Bruno imagined was immensely vivid and inventive, and there are parts I haven’t given away about, like the lore of the sirens. I just don’t want to tell it all, but it fit in so well and made for the scarier and more elusive parts. Never was there a dull moment in this story and though all parties had their own backstories, it never became confusing or fleshed out.
I do not read a ton of sci-fi, which could be a detriment or a blessing in this case of giving you my opinion. Often I shy away from the genre because I’m worried about the tech I may not understand, but I loved this novel so much. Therefore, If you are a reader with apprehensions like mine, let me lay them to rest. This is such an incredible storyline. Likewise, if you read a lot of sci-fi, I still think you would find this a great book to immerse yourself in.
And so, this book has taken a place among my absolute favorite books I’ve ever read and I highly, highly recommend it.
A must read!
I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you!
So I was sent a copy of this but the author for an honest review. Right out of the gate 5/5 I loved this book!!! The prose is readable the stakes are high and the action is explosive.
Honestly this book is ripe for adaptation either as a video game or a TV series I don’t car which but I want it. Denton is a fantastic protagonist and pairs beautifully with Fergus, Pavel, Talulo, and Eliana. They jump off the page and I could not help but fall in love.
I loved the multiple timelines and the clever use on how they affect one another. When I picture Kamaria I get a mental image of The video games The outer worlds and Mass effect. It’s just so dang cool.
The pacing of the book goes from energetic to leisurely and back again with such ease that it must be read to be believed. 100% understand how this made it to be a finalist of SPSFC it’s a absolute delight and one hell of a pulse pounder. With a rich interesting world.
T.A. Bruno took a space opera and packed it full of big ideas that I would normally associate with a hard sci fi epic and then for giggles he went and made it fun.
This is a sci-fi adventure novel with excellent plot and world building, plenty of action, and a classic sci-fi feel! This is one of those independently published gems that I think deserves all the exposure in the world! From the cover to the internal illustrations, section titles, dual timelines, and storylines for days, this is definitely one to check out
The Plot & Story: There is a lot going on in this book, causing the pages to just fly by. One storyline is happening on the new planet, where the scientists and settlers are trying to ready the settlement for the rest of the refugees from our current solar system. An invading race is chasing humanity away from Sol, and the second storyline picks up at the end of this war where the very last humans are making their escape.
The new planet is not all fun and game; the air is breathable but causes humans; lungs to lock up, and not all of the planetary natives are friendly. These two plot lines marge fairly quickly and a third develops, but you’ll just have to read it to learn why an army veteran wreaks havoc and then disappears
First contact, exploration, tons of danger, plus a romantic subplot as well….. for a 500 page novel it’s an achievement to say that I was never once bored!
The World Building & Setting: This is a world build that I could truly get lost in. There is just enough history given of the expansion and war in Sol to know what is going on, and then that element was closed in a most satisfying way. The settlers’ new planet, Kamaria, is so rich in wildlife and fauna and Bruno’s descriptions made me feel like I was there! The descriptions of the white trees, purple grass, lazily grazing animals, and the bird-like natives, gave everything a lovely alien feel. Other regions have different fauna and it always made me want to see what the scouts and scientists would discover next. There is slang and local tradition and everything you need to make a solidly immersive world.
There is lots of lore and storytelling from the two main native species. The story of the sirens and the Auk’nai are kind of heart breaking. I did have a few questions about the choice of planet and spaceship technology, and funny enough the Author then said he had written these answers into an earlier draft but cut it out for length, so I felt better knowing that he had thought the holes through!
The Characters: Lets just say the characters are real people with tons of resilience. There is death and murder, an inhospitable new world, and a war against a crazed Siren, but Eliana and Denton and the others just keep striding forward. I enjoyed watching them overcome so many obstacles and discover where they really fit into life in the colony. Sometimes I find a lot of character building boring, but absolutely not here. It helped to know everyones strengths, weaknesses, and personalities before the battles at the end of the book. These people have suffered and I think Bruno really makes a statement about the resilience of humanity. There are tons of good and funny side characters as well, some with surprising character arcs of their own! Maybe don’t get too attached to anyone though *wink*
Overall: This is one of those reviews where I could talk about a book forever and point out so many cool things, but I think it’s best to just read the book yourself. Go hike through those forests, meet those natives, and fly into battle with the characters. Go be a part of their banter, sit in on the memorial services. This is an immersive, page flying sci-fi adventure that you won’t regret picking up! I mean honestly it’s one of my favorite modern scifi reads!
If you are more of an audiobook fan, this was recently released as well!
In the Orbit of Sirens // by T.A. Bruno // narrated by Michael Reimer
I am very new to the science fiction genre but after a glowing recommendation, I couldn't turn this down. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed at all! This title had me hooked right from the start and I was mad every time I had to turn it off to do some work or go to sleep. While I don't have the experience to compare this to other sci-fi titles or explain how it does or does not represent the genre well, I can still tell you the things that I did like.
Probably my absolute favorite thing about this book is the setting and what it lends to the story. As an animal lover and someone that enjoys learning new things, I had so much fun listening to the descriptions of the environment and its inhabitants. The scouts and their missions were the perfect way to explore this aspect of the story. The auk'nai also were fascinating to hear about as well.
The story itself was a little confusing to me here and there. I struggle with staying focused sometimes so I'm sure some of the confusion is my fault rather than the book's but I was convinced of certain things for the longest time just to be proven wrong later on, which threw me off a little. But again, I wouldn't be able to tell you right now if that's due to the writing or that I happened to space out for a bit there. I did love this book enough though to buy a print copy of it so I will be reading it again in the future to see what happened here.
I'm a big fan of the characters here. I got attached to them incredibly fast and was so worried for them along the way. I was minded of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars a couple of times so I started to become a little paranoid here and there. The author did really well with building the suspense and while there were some slower chapters in the middle, I still felt engaged the entire time.
I think this was my first audiobook narrated by Michael Reimer. I do have to say that it took me a little while to get into the narration but eventually I ended up really enjoying that part as well.
Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I am really looking forward to the next one!
In The Orbit of Sirens is a thrilling Sci-Fi that pulls you into a struggle for humanity’s survival. The perfect mix of imaginative worldbuilding, captivating storytelling, along with spine chilling moments that kept me on the edge of my seat!
A SPSFC finalist, space opera, and a bit of horror too. It all comes together beautifully in an accessible writing style.
This is book 1 in the Songs of Kamaria trilogy and what a way to start the series! There is so much in this book, from a variety of unique species, robots, mystery, action, first contact, exploration, memorable characters, and self-discovery.
We see a range of different characters, both human and non-human through the story. Though two characters stand out throughout, Denton and Eliana. My personal favourite character by the end was Talulo, a young auk’nai. Among the rest of the cast, many were memorable, felt well developed and we even see a mix of rivalry and found family.
With the story being told over the course of 300 years, we see jumps between times and perspectives. This allows the reader an in-depth look of the various scenarios and a better idea of the characters stories with natural progression.
Not only does T. A. Bruno capture the imagination, but he also manages to build scenarios that keep you at the edge of your seat. I found myself curious one moment, creeped out the next and lost in action after that. The pacing was medium to fast depending, but it all flowed well with the story.
There was one area that slowed down in pacing, had a different tone and was a bit trope heavy (for my liking) within that scene but overall, it does work with the story and expanded on the characters.
I listened to the audiobook along with the ebook and Michael Reimer did a great job at capturing different characters and bringing across that creepy vibe.
Overall, a fantastic high-stakes sci-fi, in an amazing world that I’d recommend to any sci-fi fan out there.
The Orbit of Sirens might be the most complete of all the finalist, it is definitely one of the most solid first contact books I've read. I'm a sucker for first contact so I loved every exploration of it. Special mention to the exploration at the beginning with the dead bodies (top notch). The start of the book was fantastic and it put me right into the story, particularly with the appereance of the siren, which is one of the most interesting alien species I've read.
A couple of points bothered me a bit, I found the love story quite cringe at times, but not too much. And also there's quite a section in the middle where the main story drags for a bit, and it took me a while to get thru it.
More details in the video review for the finalists!
I quite enjoyed this one, having gone into it without any real idea of what to expect. It’s not what I would call a hard sci-fi, though I liked some of the technology and explanations around things like cryosleep, where there were interesting snippets of information given in an organic way as the story kept moving around it.
I felt it was a good overall story with good characters, making it an enjoyable sci-fi read. This was an SPSFC (Self-Published Science Fiction Competition) finalist, so it has good pedigree, and I can see why it got to that final.
Excellent classic sci-fi story full of action, adventure, planetary exploration, and alien contact with bits of mystery and even a bit of horror to boot. The world building and story shine bright for me in this book. I found the author’s inventiveness and attention to details in describing all the nuances and gadgets, biological aspects, etc. of the planets and space tech/travel to be so entertaining. It really sucked me into the world of the story. The plot is very classic sci-fi – straight-up, with no-nonsense characters that give it a very relatable quality. But it is also an epic scale journey! I found it to be very cinematic and was pulled into the narrative, which speaks about our expansion into the stars and how we deal with surviving what we encounter, whether it be environment or alien species. Looking forward to #2!
In the Orbit of Sirens is one of the most thrilling sci-fi stories that I have personally read. Pulse-pounding space-battles, imaginative worldbuilding, intriguing alien species, a harrowing struggle for humanity’s survival and some eerie first-contact moments, this book truly has it all.
This story is extremely ambitious, spanning multiple planets and centuries. We meet a vast cast of characters, both human and alien, but the three perspectives that arguably stand out the most are Denton, Eliana and Roelin Raike. At first, you won’t be able to imagine how these storylines will ever cross, but when they do, you are launched into a gripping tale full of mystery, action, family, exploration, love, loss and redemption.
Now, I will get my only complaint about this story out of the way first. I personally had a really hard time connecting to these characters and it wasn’t until I realised that this is written in a 3rd person omniscient perspective that I understood why that was. I was invested in the plot and cared for the human community as a whole, but couldn’t connect to anyone at an individual level because of the frequent head-hopping in chapters. This also resulted in me not buying the relationships between these characters, because I just couldn’t get a good grip on their personalities and emotions. We are told that this crew is all above the age of 25 (lived) Earth years, yet especially the younger characters like Eliana and Denton felt like 18-19 years old at best to me, which was a bit jarring.
That is where my qualms with this book end though, because holy crap… T.A. Bruno knows how to tell an engaging story. Despite not connecting to the characters, I constantly felt compelled to keep turning the pages because I just had to explore more of this enthralling world. This book gave me a sense of wonder that I rarely feel when reading sci-fi, so I absolutely loved that. The flora and fauna of the world that this story takes place on are absolutely breathtaking and I loved how vividly all the settings were described. And even though there was the occasional info-dump, I honestly didn’t mind, because I was just so eager to learn more about this world.
The plot is also very compelling and has some great mystery and light horror elements to keep you on the edge of your seat. There are some significant time jumps in this story, but that never bothered me because the author wove every thread together in a masterful way. The stakes were super high and the feeling of suspense was steady throughout this entire story. However, it wasn’t until the final 30% that the plot truly exploded and I couldn’t put the book down anymore. Heck, I even started to feel invested in the fate of these characters by the end, which I really wasn't expecting anymore at that point.
Overall, I think In the Orbit of Sirens was a really strong start to this new epic sci-fi series and I had a blast with it! This first book has a satisfying conclusion and could arguably be treated as a standalone, but I am personally dying to read more stories set in this world. If you have been in the mood for a sci-fi story with rich worldbuilding, high stakes and a riveting plot, then I highly recommend you give this one a go.
“The Siren was coming for him. Every night, he ran, and every night, she engulfed him.“
4.75 Out of 5 (rounded up to 5)
Bruno’s imagination is on a completely different level and wave length from the rest of us. The planet and life forms that Bruno has created are vivid, mesmerizing and fantastical, you’ll want to meet every creature and plant that is currently living in his head while simultaneously wanting him to create more.
In the Orbit of Sirens is full of the most enchanting creatures I have come across in Sci-Fi. I consider myself a baby reader when it comes to sci-fi so coming across such colorful and literally out of this world creatures and plants was such a thrill. My favorite creature that is in this story is without a doubt the Auk’nai, they are a race of alien anthropomorphic birds who are large and can both talk and read minds, but its not actually reading minds, to them its listening to the songs around them. Everything seems to sing a song and they can hear it and its such a beautiful concept. Its so fascinating and I’m going to be selfish and say I wanted the story to completely focus on them. They where such a huge drawing point for me, and once you meet them you want to see them more. Bruno spends a lovely amount of time creating his world and bringing it to life, my imagination was going wild, from envisioning the Auk’nai, to the Glimmer Glade, and the Sirens themselves. There is never a moment when the world takes a backseat to the rest of the storytelling but the best part is that you never get tired of learning about it.
The story is split into 4 parts with part 1 showcasing why humans are on Kamaria in the first place. Humans are on the run from the Undriel who are killing them off so now the humans are looking for a new home planet, we get a chance to see this fight through Denton. The story jumps back and fourth between the present and 300 years in the past and Bruno managed to successfully pull this off. It starts out calm but slowly but surely the stakes start to go up and the action picks up almost instantaneously and the next thing you know your on the edge of your seat hoping everyone makes it out but Bruno decides to ramp it up even more and end part one on such a high riveting moment that you need to start part 2.
Now for me, the start of part 2 was kind of a killer, instead of continuing on from where part 1 ended it focused on connecting the two plot lines from part one and then establishing Denton and his coming to be part of the scout team now on Kamaria, this is fine as it is necessary storytelling but I was reeling from the events at the end of part 1 that I needed to know what was going on with that portion of the story. I enjoyed seeing his journey, what made it drag for me, was the relationship building between him and Eliana, which I’ll talk about later. Once you get past this the story picks right back up and the moment never dies after that. The world starts to come to life, there are walking trees, Dray’va, and so much more. We meet more Auk’nai, and get to see their home, their way of life (the whole scene explaining how baby Auk’nai are born and find their parents was so sweet I loved it) and then the action and suspense pick back up, and your reeling again from everything that is going on.
Parts 3 and 4 are just so much action the story starts to evolve and you find out more about Roelin and the Sirens. We get the history of the Sirens and what their part in all this is. Part 4 is a huge climax that lasts for pretty much the entire time and its worth every page. There was never a lull in the action and the descriptions where easy to follow and you could actively see and understand how this fight was going down. Also let me tell you, don’t get attached to anyone, just don’t, and while these deaths did hurt me it wasn’t any of their moments that brought tears to my eyes. There where three moments that brought the tears to my eyes. One with Talulo the Auk’nai and the other a quieter moment that brought back a certain character from the start and reminded you how they where affected from the events that where going on. Deep set relationships are my life blood in storytelling and this moment (which actually ended up being two moments for these two characters) touched and tore at my heart in so much pain but held so much beauty in them. These two moments really showcased how deep their bond and love was without needing all the build up for it. Both of these moments between these two pull you back to reality that for some the events that are going on hit on a deeper level and this is something you kind of forget about because the other half to this couple is not hugely active in the story. It was both heartbreaking yet beautiful how their story came to a close.
There are an array of characters that make the story entertaining on multiple levels and they each have a very distinct voice from the next making them each standout among each other. My favorite though ended up being Roelin, it was one of those instant moments for me too, the minute I met him in the story I knew I was going to love him and immediately started hoping he would have a larger role. Which he did. Roelin’s portion of the story was the most engaging, I was constantly worrying about what was happening with him, what would happen to him, would he survive or not, I was a mess of emotions for this man. His entire ordeal was so agonizing, yet so enthralling. Denton and Eliana are great too but not without their faults but as main characters they stand strong, and I can see a lot of people loving them.
The conclusion is honestly extremely solid and as a book on its own it does amazing, it wraps up everything and even gives you a small little glimpse into the future. If I didn’t already know that it was getting a sequel I would say its an amazing standalone. You get everything you could want in the story.
So to explain that “4.75 rating” well that comes from the portion of the story that revolves around Denton and Eliana’s relationship. While I would not consider this book YA (and I don’t believe it is despite what so many other reviews say) Denton and Eliana’s relationship screams YA standard, they meet and within a few chapters they are head over heels in love with each other and that just doesn’t work for me. I hate instant love, I want drawn out romances (or already set in stone deep relationships), I want to really see characters come together over a course of time. Their interactions had me cringing a lot, I mean after Eliana’s second time being around him she was throwing herself at Denton, hugging him and then next thing I knew she was kissing his cheek, it was so unrealistic to me. And there where so many moments when I was like “dude you’re around others chill with the unnecessary PDA”. While this is something that didn’t work for me, I know instant love is liked by a lot of people, that’s why there is so much of it out there, so someone else will love this approach, I’m just not the right audience for it.
The other bit was that these two characters are suppose to be around 26-30 years of age and their dialogue and interactions screamed 18-19, there is even a few moments when Denton is referred to as “kid” yet according to chapter 3 his age is 30 Earth years standard. This was frustrating as it made it hard to really grasp just how old they where suppose to be. On their own or with other characters (minus Denton and his brothers they all sounded like teenagers every time they interacted yet they where suppose to be adults) they sounded older more the age they are suppose to be but when written together they screamed that 18-19 age range, it was off putting. These are the only things that “bothered me” but I know these are issues that others will either ignore or not find any fault in, so its really probably just a me thing.
One last thing I need to mention, the art in this book is absolutely gorgeous and I could stare at it all day. I bought the hardcover edition and each part is headed with an illustration by Jason Michael Hall. Each chapter also got a small illustration (chapter 50’s header illustration was my favorite). You get a beautiful vivid story with beautiful art, that’s an all around win if you ask me!
In the Orbit of Sirens is a beautifully and vividly crafted tale that will make you wish you where living on Kamaria.
If you liked this review and want to see others you can check out my blog at Into the Heartwyld
I was given an audible code in exchange for an honest review.
I was not aware of the horror elements within this book and the further in I got, the more I kind of enjoyed them. This book is a great sci-fi that I can see making a great film. I am intrigued to carry on with this series now I have read the first book. My only gripe is that I wasn't a big fan of the romance but, that is more because I am not a romance reader than how the romance was portrayed. The world is incredible, richly written and very descriptive, I could imagine everything. Filled with creatures and an atmosphere that can kill you, Bruno makes an incredible world that both terrifies and intrigues me. Apart from the romance, I enjoyed seeing the relationships between characters that are already established and seeing others develop throughout the book. I think this series is one that I will enjoy more and more with every book. I can't wait to carry on.
I was interested in reading this going back to late last year when I noticed the author promoting it somewhere, and the coverage grabbed be right away. I did buy myself a copy, but didn’t get the chance to read it until now. When Storytellers On Tour announced an event with T.A. I was onboard.
This is probably the only time in my life that procrastination has done me a favor, as waiting as long as I did, gave me the opportunity to pickup the newly released audiobook version, narrated by Michael Reimer. Before my review, I would like to point out that the narration was excellently produced, and performed. I loved the addition of a small number of effects, like the doublingwhen it came to the sirens voice, and the electronic of the character who already had been injured and used technology to create the sound of his voice. If I could call it tasteful, I would, so I guess I will. The majority is narrated and performed as most audiobooks, but with a few tweaks to really add to the experience without overdoing it by adding laser beam and ufo sound you might find in a war of the world’s type of radio drama.
When it comes to the story, I felt it was textured in ways similar to the geography of the planet Kamaria.
The story was a widespread adventure of the last of humanity. Escaping a homegrown evil intent on wiping out everything, down to the last human, is our jumping off point. After the escape of around 30,000 people, we are introduced to humanity’s new home, Kamaria. The writer does a great job of bringing this place to life, with the descriptive writing and varied scenes throughout the book, that I feel like I know it personally and have visited it. That might be a side effect too, of putting so much thought into eventually having to write about something someone else has written, as I kind of live and breathe the books I read from time to time. But it’s a great place to visit, once you get past the lung-lock stuff I suppose. Nothing fun about hanging around a planet when you can’t even breathe the air.
After arriving, and keep in mind, a small group of people came 4 years before, to help prepare the way for the rest of whatever humans made it out of the solar system intact, it was time to rebuild. Along the way, we find the planet has intelligent life already calling this planet home. They have the cool ability to understand what is in the minds of the humans, telepathically, and have wings, lucky birds. They keep their lives, and population center very separate but with the help of one Kamarian, the gap is bridged.
The excitement in the story is pronounced all the through, but definitely builds to an incredible finale of excitement and resolution. As far as characters go, there is a large cast here, but too many to feel overwhelmed, I really loved Denny and his entire family, as well as seeing them try to make it as former mechanics from a planetary moon, to finding a way to carve out their niche, here on such an alien planet. The characters growth along the way was excellent.
Giveaway below! The chunk of the story though revolves around a captain who is taken over by a very powerful being unexpectedly and flees the human center after a massacre, and ends up living in the jungle for 4 years, all the while mentally fighting this “siren”. A mystery that the rest would love to solve and find closure in. I loved that back and forth between life for him in the jungle, slowly catching up to the lives of the rest of the humans, attempting to learn more about this planet and word towards the city’s growth. There are many surprises along the way, encounters with alien creatures, resurrection of long dead life, caverns full of strange electric goo, I could go on and on, but recommend you give it a read if any of this floats your starship.
This is easily a 4 star read for me, and am excited for book two whenever it’s comes down the line! Also, although a majority of the story is planetside, it is filled with some awesome science fiction themes, ideas, and tech that is intermixed with what might happen when humanity decides to make a cozy home on a planet already inhabited by spiritually, and technologically advanced and sophisticated. Well done T.A.!
The cover initially grabbed me late last year and prompted me to buy a copy. It came signed, with some bookmarks and a really cool drawing of one of the creatures from the book. The author, and Storytellers On Tour are doing a wonderful giveaway with the same stuff included, so I highly recommend entering, it’s cool stuff, and of course the book rocked.
Overall Thoughts Are you looking for a truly epic sci fi space opera? This is a good one. From space battles, robots, and time dilation, to aliens, telepathy, and cool creatures, this book has almost everything. It feels epic in its time scale as well, covering over three hundred years in a way, but also in a span of four years for the main story. My only complaint for this book is that it might be a little too epic. There are a few scenes I think could have been cut to heighten the overall tension, and sometimes there were lengthy descriptions of events during action scenes that didn’t really add anything, as well as changes in POV to tell what another character was thinking. But in general, this story drew me in and kept me engaged.
Plot The story has a unique structure in the beginning, where it covers one family in Earth’s solar system three hundred years before the main story timeframe, and another family already on a distant planet. Those still in our solar system are fleeing a cyborg race intent on destroying humans, while those on the planet have to find a cure for a disease which will stop their lungs if they breathe the air. The narrative reverses later, catching the humans on the planet up to when those from our solar system arrive. And this is all before the main part of the story starts! There are dealings with native aliens, lots of cool creatures, and of course the eponymous sirens. Looking back, this book covers a lot of ground, but still leaves some loose ends for the rest of the series to use. The sequel is out and the third book is coming out very soon, both of which I’d be interested in reading!
Setting The story really shines here. The author is also a previsualization artist and it shows in the care taken in how plants and animals are described, glimpses into the ecosystem, and how the native aliens’ culture works. The planet this takes place on is a vibrant place, which the human settlers are just starting to discover. There is a lot of room for surprises in the story when something works a little different than expected. However, I will say sometimes the description bogs down the story just a bit. For example, there’s an extended section dealing with one character training to be a scout which could probably have been shortened or cut as it doesn’t have the biggest effect on the story’s outcome.
Character As with a lot of the epic science fictions, especially dealing with multiple subjects, the character development sometimes suffers for this. This book does a good job of watching the action from several points of view, but generally keeping to the most important characters. There is a romance in here, but I felt it was overshadowed by the rest of the events and wasn’t as impactful as it could have been. However, the characters are distinct, and even if they don’t always get as much screentime as I wanted, their objectives are clear, for both heroes and villains, which is a big part of making relatable characters. There’s even a bit of LGBTQ representation. Not much, but some. In all, this was a very enjoyable romp across a strange new planet, and I’d be interested to read the sequels.
Score out of 10 (My personal score, not the final contest score) An epic science fiction space opera that covers everything from killer robots to alien telepathy and diverse ecosystems! 8.75/10.
In the Orbit of Sirens is a sprawling epic of humanity’s doom and resurgence, a rousing tale of people coming together to survive.
This book is a wonderful blend of classic sci-fi and modern, as we have a diverse cast of characters, a venture into the unknown, battle scenes, and a highly detailed and methodically crafted planet and alien species.
The book features a few of my favourite tropes: first contact, cultivating new planets, and abandoned ruins. And I also like when my sci-fi has a dash of horror.
It’s a long novel, about 500 pages (and quite a long audiobook, as I listened to it on Audible), but it��s entrancing. It’s definitely a plot-based story over character-driven, though that’s not the say the characters weren’t well-defined and likeable. And what a plot! There is so much going on in this novel but it’s very easy to follow and understand, the trajectory and characters’ choices make sense, and it builds to a final battle that brought it all together. The concept is simple but executed in a way that remakes you feel like Kamaria is a real place. There are fun technological details but there also isn’t an overabundance of tech descriptions. There’s a lot of discovery regarding the new planet, but it still feels like there’s a whole lot more to see. And there’s the pervasive threat of both the original antagonists and a new one. I also loved the alien culture and the detail put into defining their society and physiology.
I liked the little references to the Odyssey here and there (the AI named Homer, the Sirens, obviously, the Telemachus ship, etc). While this story isn’t based on the Odyssey, the idea of a ship stranded far from home does fit well.
One thing I will say in critique is that there is a lot of passive writing. There was quite a bit of “he watched” “he heard” “she noticed” “she felt” in this novel. While the passive voice has its purpose in writing, this happened a lot during action scenes, which made them less exciting than they could have been.
BUT that’s not to say I thought it was poorly written at all. This could even be a stylistic choice on the author’s part and that’s fine! Honesty, this book is really good, and if you check out one indie sci-fi book this year I suggest In the Orbit of Sirens.
What I loved: Rereading this and still finding it a great ride. It has a lot of powerful, cinematic action. I think I've read something about this being planned as a movie at the beginning and it shows. It really has spectacular set pieces with lots of moving parts and prospectives.
The best part is the sheer pleasure of discovering a new planet with all it's strange beauty. This new world is rich and vibrant, bursting with life and absolutely snake charming.
It was very easy to follow the cast too, especially the two main protagonists, a scout/scientist and a mechanic. For once, we had to competent, optimistic and GOOD people on the spotlight. It was refreshing and lovely to follow them. I never end stressing this out: we don't always need morally gray characters. Sometimes sticking to simply good people is nice.
What I didn't love so much: There's a LOT going on in this first book: - Alien machines eating up and destroying out solar system - A life long journey to discover a new planet - A deadly virus on said planet - A new birdlike sentient alien race on that planet to deal with - Another threat I won't mention in detail - Two different timelines to follow for a pretty big chunk of the book
It is honestly overwhelming at times 😂😂😂 Perhaps some of those threads could have been foreshadowed and left for sequels or spin offs to let them main story breath and shine on its own.
But all and all this book was a hell of a ride and I'm looking forward to the (already announced) sequel!
I recieved an audible code from the author in exchange for an honest review. The more invested I become in the scope of epic sci-fi, the more engrossed I become. It has gotten to the point where I can no longer look away and I plan on pushing forward full steam ahead with my sci-fi adventures. In the Orbit of Sirens combines the scope of an epic fantasy novel with the wonder of humans traveling the stars. You can definitley see why this book is a finalist in the SPSFC contest!
Denton is a mechanic with the ablity of fixing space ships. When his home planet is being attacked, he plans to find refuge on a distant planet where the threats to human survival may be just as bad. Eliana is a scout on said planet looking to prepare the land for human inhabitants. A deadly pandemic is spreading across the world and the search for a cure will lead to new discoveries both good and bad. The mysterious Sirens are waiting to be released and they are mad at what the humans have done to the planet. There will be pain, horror, and so much more to come.
The tension presented in this book kept me listen into the early hours of the morning. The fight for survival and the advances in technology to go along with it were the perfect combination for any fan to jump into. The one thing I need to mention for potential readers is the story takeing place in two time line. At least that is how the story first start. Denton’s story begins thre hundred years in the past while Eliana takes place in the present. The timeline will shift again for a second time but I can’t get into that due to spoilers.
Maybe it was just my experience with listening to the audio book but I felt a little confused at first jumping back and forth. The story lines will eventually converge and the pieces will slowly be set into place. Exploring the lands while learning about the past failures of humanity with the hope for a better future is the driving force that makes this story epic in every way.
If you are on the fence about jumping into a new sci-fi novel, In the Orbit of Sirens shattered all of my expectations. With book 2 audiobook already downloaded and ready to go, I can see myself binging the trilogy in short order. Give this book a try and you will be glad you did.
In the Orbit of Sirens is a well plotted science-fiction story, with all the best elements of the genre - humanity's fight for survival, space battles, investigating a new alien world, first contact, alien culture, immortal entities, friendship, family and love.
The story takes place over a 300 year period, from humanity's escape from the Sol system to settling on a new planet, Kamaria, where most of the story takes place.
This book packs a real punch with epic space and planet-side battles, against brilliantly imagined aliens and entities.
The alien world-building is superbly done, and the alien species and culture is really well thought out and executed.
What I enjoyed most was the human and alien relationships - family, friends, colleagues, lovers - the whole range of emotions are covered throughout. The characters are well written. I particularly enjoyed the Castus family dynamic, and the mental struggle between Roelin and Nhymn.
Overall I enjoyed this read, and it has more than enough for me to want to hear more of the song of Kamaria.
i went into this with a lot of hype from the indie book community and not knowing what to expect I wanted to be surprised. In the Orbit of Sirens certainly surprised me. Wow what a strong debut. Worldbuilding was extremely important and T.A. Bruno delivered a really imaginativ, phantastical world on the planet of Kamaria. behind every corner something new to explore. Characters were good but I felt more as an outsider overlooking the whole group of people and inhabitants under a glass dome than getting attached to one or two specifically. The way the sirens work was incredibly well done. Action scenes really great. Overall it read/listened to an action-packed, really well thought through movie/tv series from which you def want more. special mention to the audio book .. the narrator was chef's kiss! absolutely fantastic!
How was this book? Well, let me tell you. I'm mad. Hopping mad, I say! And why?
Well, you know the movie Avatar, right? Came out in like 2009, they've been threatening us with sequels for a solid decade? Bullshit Dances with Pocahontas plot? No actual Airbenders in it? You know the one.
Anyway, In the Orbit of Sirens is like "what if Avatar, but actually really good and with an imaginative plot and characters instead?"
So, the stuff that I loved about the movie (I'll stop referring to it specifically now, I absolutely don't want to imply this is derivative) - the amazing planet and landscape, the premise of humans as invaders unsuited to live in the new world, the wealth of visual storytelling, great creatures and biological interplay, the deep communion between alien sentients and their environment that humans lack - all of that was in the book, in spades. And even more so - the interconnected nature of the life-forms wasn't so dumb and didn't involve any gonad-braids at all - not even one! The biosphere and its layers and complexity were amped up, and on top of that you got an actually interesting and original plot and concepts.
Talking about creativity, Bruno's attention to detail goes above and beyond. One day I will get a 3D printer and I hope his work will be available to make miniatures out of. Although among all the creatures and characters in this story, in my opinion the dray'va were done the most dirty. That was really sad, man.
Anyway, where was I?
Earth has been overrun by the hostile Undriel. A pair of colonist / refugee ships, five years apart, have arrived at Kamaria where the air is unbreathable due to an aggressive bacterial something-or-other. The lead ship arrives with the mission to find a cure for humanity so the colonists of the second ship will be safe. The first part of the book interfolds the two groups' stories really interestingly, as challenges and adventures befall both on their quests to adapt to life on Kamaria and escape the doomed solar system of Earth, respectively. Really nice.
My only complaint here would be that the opening seemed a bit ... unpolished? Whether that was just an illusion because I got used to the writing, or if some parts had received more editing than others, it was hard to say. But the opening chapters were a little cumbersome with unnecessary adjectives and stuff - I don't say this often because I fucking love adjectives but for the elegant and exciting opening the book has, it was made more difficult than it needed to be. Just my opinion, obviously I got past it and I was heartily glad I did. It may have put me off if I was leafing through it at a bookstore or on the Amazon's Look Inside click-through, you know?
Bill Herman, of the Competing Mechanics Shop Hermans - I'll say this here because I can't find a better place for it - is a grade-A moron and deserved everything that happened to him and his entire family. I do wonder if we'll see more of that in later books. The threat of the Undriel has not actually gone away, and remains a focal plot point of this book and the story going forward, so I wouldn't be surprised. Certainly shits all over unobtainium. But then, everything shits all over unobtainium when used unironically.
By the time we started to get a good look at Kamaria and its native species, I was enthralled by it. And like I said, there's a whole lot more thought and care in this, and a whole lot more imagination and creativity put into the plot. The interweaving threads with Roelin and Nhymn (harrowing), Elly and Denton (adorbs), the simple colonist-family dramas (comforting) and rivalries (tropey but fun) are all excellent.
Mitch Harlan, of the Douchey Colonist Ruling Class Harlans - I will again say this here in absence of a more appropriate spot - there is no way someone as abrasive and shitty would ever work on a scout team. He should have been auto-failed the moment he showed up. Was he allowed to even be considered because of his Connections? I wasn't buying it, but that shit happens I guess. My theory was that Mitch would become a rival scout of some kind and would eat Siren goo because he's a giant idiot and that he'd threaten Elly, but Bruno was ahead of me on that one. Good stuff. They still should have shot him in the face at the first opportunity. I'm just saying, these things happen. The Scottish guy could definitely have made it look like an accident.
I really enjoyed the way we moved through the months and years of the colony's existence, and gradually caught up with the Roelin flashbacks and dream sequences. Even before that crossed the WTF horizon and turned into some sort of hallucinogenic time travel event, it was great. The origin of Sympha and Nhymn was such a sad story, and best of all it didn't have a whole bunch of helpless feather-wearing Native American analogues wailing insultingly to hammer anything home (although make no mistake, the Auk’nai do have wings so there may be something like feathers there).
All in all this was a great story and left me wanting more.
Denton and Elly are sweet. There wasn't really any sex in the story, certainly nothing graphic, and it doesn't suffer for the absence. One completely normal and inoffensive nezzarform out of ten possible great big nezzarforms shaped like confrontingly-swollen wing-wangs.
With a healthy heaping plateful of beastie attacks, grenade blowy-uppy and assorted space and air dogfights, In the Orbit of Sirens was a gory one - but again it was appropriate to the plot and I didn't find it off-putting. Just enough to show the reader that Kamaria's not playing. Four flesh-gobbets out of a possible five.
So - are the Sirens ... what are they? Pure weapons-grade WTF is what. There's a whole lot of mystery here and a whole lot of the psychedelic ragged-edge-of-science stuff I like from an alien biome. I enjoyed the big Ganon blight energy of the nezzarforms. The Auk’nai crystals and the lunglock, in fact the whole wider crystal thing seemed like a McGuffin as of the end of the book but I guess we'll see. I liked it. I thought Sympha, at the start when Roelin flew there, was bigger than mountains - was that a dream? The sizes seemed a little inconsistently presented but I may just have been not paying enough attention. Are the ribcage mountains other things? The Sirens are clearly a greater whole than just Sympha and Nhymn - they're just the top of the iceberg. And what are the Undriel? The hints about their origins were just tantalising enough, and their actions deliciously ghoulish. Left me wanting more. The WTF-o-meter is giving this a Cubone the size of an offshore oil rig out of a possible offshore oil rig the size of a Cubone.
My Final Verdict
A brilliantly imaginative story in a mind's-eye-visually stunning setting, all the beats were there and it makes for a most excellent song. I give this one four stars on the Amazon / Goodreads scale.
World-building is clearly Bruno's forte in this gripping debut set on an Earth-like planet where the past and the present, separated by three centuries, comes together poignantly. This grim tale manages to exude both hope and endless imagination in equal measure without getting too philosophical (though I would've liked more of the latter) all while drawing eerily on our very own modern-day concerns around very real threats like famine and disease. Bruno excels at painting an objective display here; one which showcases that while the grass ought to be greener on the other side, it most often is not the case in more ways than one. The human characters and their will to live are to be commended, as is their violent clash with an at-times horrifying alien species in their attempts to do so. I think it's safe to say Bruno has laid the groundwork for a very special trilogy, if that indeed is what it ends up being... and I hope that it does.
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I first learned about In the Orbit of Sirens when I saw the cover floating around on social media several months ago, and what a cover it is! Something needs to be said for not only the cover, but the artwork that appears before each section of the book. The handful of black and white drawings fully realize the beautiful, yet utterly alien environment of Kamaria. They also hearken back to the early days of the book, where Bruno first developed the idea for the story as a comic book.
To Roelin, the man he’d been on mars was a stranger, the man in Odysseus Colony was a second stranger, and the man trapped in the Kamarian wilderness was a third man he didn’t know.
In the Orbit of Sirens starts out with our two main POVs separated by both time and space, with Eliana having left with an advance colony ship heading for a distant planet several years prior to our other main character making that same journey. Humanity has spread out across the solar system, however they are now under threat of annihilation by a machine integrated humanoid race (think Star Trek’s Borg), the Undriel. With destruction imminent, Denton and the remainder of humanity race to leave the enemy behind as they make the 300 year journey to Earth’s nearest Goldilocks Planet, Kamaria, which the advance colonists are supposed to have ready for habitation. Kamaria, however, has its own set of challenges for humanity to overcome. I really enjoyed the idea of our main POVs being separated by time and space and watching their storylines eventually converge was really satisfying. Additionally, the early threat of an airborne illness threatening the colonists was a very prescient plot point and the real world parallels further increased the overall tension. The interpersonal relationships sprinkled throughout the story were handled really well. The development of Denton and Eliana’s relationship was a joy to witness and I had several laugh out loud moments with Denton’s family.
Where In the Orbit of Sirens really shines is in its wonderful worldbuilding. While similar enough to Earth for human habitation, Kamaria is an alien world and Bruno’s imaginative worldbuilding really fleshes it out as such. Besides the purple grasses and two moons, Kamaria boasts animals and humanoid species that reflect Earth just enough to feel eerie at times. A myriad of creatures inhabit the world and each feels like an imaginative wonder. I was really intrigued by the Auk’nai, a humanoid bird race that are able to communicate telepathically. Learning about their distinct culture and way of life was a real treat, especially when it related to the overarching plot with the Sirens, although we didn’t learn as much as I would have liked. The Sirens themselves were equal parts tragic and horrific. Bruno really excels at treading the line between the fantastic and the grotesque.
“The unsung song Talulo hears is sad, but sings with truth.” He looked Eliana in the eye. “Friends still listen to the song, even with it is sad. It is necessary.”
One place where I feel that Bruno really missed the mark was in discussing some of the more philosophical or moral issues that are brought up. Our heroes are quite literally colonizers and with our species track record of exploitation, I would have liked to see Bruno delve into the potential morality of humanity laying claim to a planet that is already inhabited by intelligent life. At a few places in the narrative he towed the line, but I never saw him really go after the topic in a satisfying way. That being said, outside of internal monologues there are few places where this particular issue could have been addressed as the Auk’nai aren’t given a lot of ‘screen time’. The ending of the book left room for the issue to come up in the sequels though, as, with as few spoilers as possible, humanity and the Auk’nai are brought together by the conclusion of the story.
I have to say that overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time with In the Orbit of Sirens. While it never quite reached its full potential, it explores a lot of interesting ideas and the imaginative worldbuilding had me thirsting to know more about the wild unknown planet of Kamaria. For a book with such a respectable page count (just over 500 pages), it was a surprisingly fast read! With an edge of your seat urgency, Bruno manages to maintain a breakneck speed through to a satisfying ending that is full of foreboding for the forthcoming sequel. The sequel which I am eagerly awaiting.
In the Orbit of Sirens is the first book in T.A. Bruno’s debut Sci-Fi series, The Song of Kamaria, and takes place far in the future. The human race is at war with a race of scavengers called the Undriel and is planning to escape from the Sol System to a planet named Kamaria. Kamaria is a distant planet in another solar system which takes 300 years in sleep stasis to travel to.
We get to know a group of people who are already on Kamaria setting up a habitable base, named Odysseus Colony, preparing for the remaining humans who will arrive in five years. 250 people currently live there, including 26 year old medic Eliana Veston and her father, John, George Tanaka, Capt. Roelin Raike and his wife, Faye. There is also an AI named Homer.
There are survival problems on Kamaria - a bacteria exists which attacks human lungs causing “lung lock” which is fatal. The team is desperately searching for a cure among the local flora and fauna when we first meet them:
“Kamaria was heaven—if it weren’t for the airborne bacteria that caused human lungs to immediately cease functioning.”
Luckily for the scout team, they encounter one of the tall, bird-like humanoid natives, which ultimately leads to them synthesising a cure for lung lock. Eliana is able to communicate a little with the creature and discovers he is an Auk’nai called Mag’Ro.
I really enjoyed the Auk’nai species. They are not dissimilar to humanity in that they have a societal hierarchy, with a group leader and are able to communicate and learn foreign language. They use technology, although they are not as technically advanced as the humans. They are telepathic and unable to tell lies, and their telepathy enables them to tell when another species is lying to them. They refer to conversations and histories as songs and appear to have a fairly sound moral code.
While trying to locate the Auk’nai once more, the team discovers a mysterious crypt. Capt Raike Roelin becomes possessed by a violent monster, one of the titular Sirens, who gradually takes over his consciousness more and more and leads him to embark on a devastating killing spree.
We are also introduced, via flashback chapters, to some of the remaining humans in the Sol System, 300 years previously. The down-to-earth and very likable Castus family, Michael, his wife Brynn and their three grown up sons Denton, Tyler and Jason, run an engine repair shop on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede and are awaiting the call to board the Telemachus transport ship - their ticket to Kamaria.
In these flashbacks we learn about the Undriel - humanity’s terrifying enemy who absorb human bodies and use them to create fearsome mechanical/human hybrid machines:
“When the Undriel absorbed a victim, they replaced all non-essential parts with mechanical elements. The result was usually a rotting human head encased in a robotic, spider-like frame, or at least that was what any autopsies on fallen Undriel foot soldiers had yielded. In this case, the absorbed human had been converted into a spaceship, forced to watch their own body work against them as a weapon of genocide.”
What a terrifying concept! I thought this alien race was an extremely imaginative invention and was hoping to see more of them. Perhaps they will appear again in later books in the series.
There follows a fast-paced, exciting escape sequence, as the Castus family flees Ganymede, running the gauntlet with the Undriel, in an attempt to reach the Telemachus in time to flee the Sol System. I had my heart in my mouth as the Castus family fight to escape a fate worse than death.
300 years later, the Castus family arrives safely on Kamaria and Denton is disappointed to once again be working on engine repair, he thinks he’d like to be a scout. I really liked both of the main characters, Eliana and Denton and their developing relationship was endearing without being too mushy. Denton soon becomes an important part of the scout team, making the most of his engineering skills and practicality to help the Auk’nai as well as his team. On one trip Denton is helping an injured team member and has an encounter with a creature called Karx, and begins to have visions of two sirens, Nhymn, the one which infected Roelin and who currently is holding the captain hostage inside his ship, deep in the jungle; and her sister Sympha, who has powers of creation and who created Karx. Through these visions we learn Nhymn's backstory and discover why Nhymn has become a twisted destroyer who uses pain to control her captives.
Meanwhile, in the present, Roelin appears to have finally got the better of the immortal Nymh and is planning a return to the colony. Will this lead to the end of the colony? The tragic character of Roelin really had my sympathy. He was not in control of his actions and forced to kill his colleagues and attempt to kill his own wife. Then he had to try and keep sane while a sadistic tyrant invaded his mind and took control of his actions.
One of the Auk’Nai, Talulo, is able to help the scout team track Roelin. They make their way to his ship, the Astraeus where Roelin has been held at the mercy of Nhymn for four years, locked in a constant mental battle for control of his body. Nhymn forces Denton to fix the Astraeus and it is finally able to take off. A truly formidable and terrifying enemy, Nhymn is going to get her chance to confront her sister Sympha after centuries of preparation. Nhymn wants revenge on her sister and is using Roelin as a vessel to get what she wants.
The writing style of this novel is engaging throughout this book, and the descriptive world-building passages are extremely imaginative. I loved their cinematic nature, which made it easy to visualise the flora and fauna of Kamaria as depicted in these sections of the narrative:
“The Kamarian jungle breathed. Flat alien leaves sprouting from obscure trees rolled in the humid air as if treading water in an ocean of heat. Smaller creatures observed the human scout team through perches in the vines, vanishing from sight the moment they were discovered. Shadows concealed the jungle floor, with spears of light pushing through the dense upper canopy. The shady trees had jet-black trunks that bled a crimson sap. Long, wine-red leaves draped from their branches.”
The fast-paced, edge-of-the-seat fight sequences are also well thought through and no details are overlooked, making it highly enjoyable and a book that is difficult to put down.
I recommend reading this novel to all fans of Sci Fi, great world-building and well-rounded characters. I can’t wait to read the next installment of The Song of Kamaria!
IN THE ORBIT OF SIRENS gave me major Avatar vibes with its vivid new world, Kamaria, and the technologically advanced natives, the auk’nai.
Written in third person, past tense, multi POV, the book begins as a solid SF novel (humans fleeing the undriel in the sol system) and then veered off into fantasy/horror (Nhymn and Sympa), which was unexpected but absolutely fine by me! The writing itself was really good, the pacing was solid and the characters were well developed. Sympa was a delicious villain, and the author did an excellent job slowly revealing her presence/identity, keeping the tension high.
I really loved the scouting missions, which showcased Kamaria’s strange animals and vegetation that spanned from whimsical (walking trees—Colossal Timbermen) to downright horrific (the giant murder wasps still haunt me). Also, the retro art in the section breaks was 🔥🔥🔥
If you like SF colonization novels with a dash of fantasy, possessions by wayward spirits, and vivid worldbuilding then you will love this book!
Facing extinction at the hands of a ruthless enemy, the remaining fragments of humanity travel across the stars to begin a new colony. Dr Eliana Veston leads the fight against a local bacteria, called Lung Lock, whilst Denton Castus dreams of escaping his job as a mechanic. A tragic event and the discovery of a worse enemy will pull them together in the fight to save the last survivors.
The beginning, involving colonisation and the struggle in space is usual sci fi fare, however; the latter part takes the reader in an unusual fantasy direction. Whilst the detour may not please all, this reader absolutely loved the narrative.
The characters, including those non human, are colourful and well drawn and their various fates affecting, particularly that of Roelin Raike, who almost steals the show from our heroic duo.
Full of battles, scientific research, elements of horror and true poignancy, Bruno's saga is an enthralling delight.
Hugh Howey's Self Published Science Fiction Competition FINALIST!
This book was a really well executed first contact, exploratory, alien adventure story with dual timelines, and characters that are put through the ringer. I felt like the concepts here were solid and the alien races were quite unique, though for some reason I didn’t gel well with the bird comparisons. I was locked into the opening but then the story lost my engagement through the middle a bit. I really enjoyed the psychological damage that the ‘siren’ was doing to Roelin and i did enjoy how the timelines connected. The Eliana and Denton relationship felt a bit cringey at times but it was kept afloat with the discoveries of the new planet. I did enjoy this book but it didn’t necessarily knock my socks off. However it is a strong contender in the SPSFC.
T.A.Bruno's debut novel is epic in scale. It begins as the Solar System is devastated by a malevolent AI race and follows the adventures of a colony ship that is the last ditch effort of humanity to survive. The colony ship lands on Kamaria, and Kamaria is... weird. Which is a good thing. I love weird settings and Bruno knocks this one out of the park. The flora and fauna is strange, the aliens are unique and interesting, and the world has a history to it that the characters come to discover.
One of the best parts about this book was its characters though. Denton and Eliana were both very relatable and intelligent characters. I love how their strengths are in science and engineering instead of just putting their booger hooks on the bang switch like many other main characters. Using an engineering mindset to solve major problems is always more interesting to me than brute-forcing it.
In the Orbit of Sirens had a satisfying, self-contained ending, which I also like. It was also epic in scale, like a blockbuster film. But even though it wraps up the main source of conflict, there are still some major unanswered questions from Bruno to dive into later. That said, I already have the sequel and plan to continue on in this series. Well done! Write on!