Thursday, March 6, 2014

Embassy: Strange Worlds and Long Journeys

My two favourite genres of books are fantasy and sci-fi, so when I got the chance to read the recently released science-fiction novel Embassy by S. Alex Martin, I couldn’t pass it up. I had the very great honour of critiquing his first chapter a couple of times when he was editing the book, so I was especially excited to read the rest of it to find out how the story ended.

Back Cover:
THIS IS A JOURNEY. Arman Lance wants nothing more than to join the Embassy Program and fly across the galaxy. He wants to find Ladia Purnell, a girl who visited his planet years earlier. They had fallen in love, but their time together was short. Arman has become determined to find her again -- to the point of obsession. He believes his happiness, and future, depends on it. Arman expected people in the Embassy to think he'd follow his father's footsteps. He also expected to slip into a simple routine, a path that would take him straight to Ladia. But he never expected anyone to stop him, especially not the ever-smiling adrenaline junkie Glacia Haverns, who decides it's her job to show Arman there's more to life than chasing desperate dreams.

I love the amount of world building that went into this book. Each planet is distinct from the others, with different climates, landscapes and customs. The descriptions of the scenery are vivid and really brought these places to life in my mind and created a fitting backdrop for Arman's story to play out in. One of my favourite parts of the world the story is set in is the game Hologis, which reminds me of a futuristic game of knock-out paintball played with massive groups of people.

Hands down though, the characters are the very best part of the book. My favourite character was Glacia, who is an avid Hologis player, and a lively girl who is determined to make Arman enjoy life. The other characters were also really likable for the most part. I would have loved to have gotten to know the other young recruits in the Embassy program a little better, but I hear there's to be a sequel, so maybe we will see them again there.

There are a few things in the book that I didn’t like so much, such as the population control system, where parents are killed when their grandchildren are born. However that may just be my personal taste, and it certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

Overall, I liked this book, and I especially appreciated the descriptions and the explanations of the sci-fi world that really helped to bring it alive. I definitely want to read Embassy again in the future. If you’re looking for a sci-fi book about space, journeys and the enjoyment of life, you should definitely check out Embassy by S. Alex Martin.

Connect with S. Alex Martin
Twitter: S. Alex Martin

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Building Fences with Brothers

With four sisters and two brothers, I usually spend a lot of time with my sisters rather than with my brothers. There are just so many more opportunities to do things with my sisters, from watching Jane Austen movies together to dedicating whole days to art projects. Spending time with my brothers is far rarer, usually confined to watching a superhero movie together in the evening, or taking the occasional trip to the beach on a warm day.

Sometimes however, I get the chance to do something unusual with my brothers. My older brother Callum has been building a fence. It involves big sheets of metal, steel posts, large amounts of concrete, power tools and no little amount of fun. I very much wanted to help, but sadly assumed that no self-respecting fence builder would want a younger sister hanging round attempting to help...

Read the rest of the post here: Building Fences with Brothers