Series: Kaitan Chronicles, Book 1
Author: AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: Light Science Fiction
Told: First Person (Nev & Qole), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, gruesome death, experimental torture)
Format Read: ARC (won)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase On: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
"Firefly" meets DUNE in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.
Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.
As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.
But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.
Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.
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In a Sentence: An engaging sci-fi with a rough start and lengthy bouts of inaction but amazing action, unexpected twists, and great characters.
Sci-fi, especially what I've started to consider "Light" Sci-fi, is my go-to genre, so when I first laid eyes on Shadow Run's simple brown spaceship cover and intriguing title I could not get my hands on it fast enough. After winning an early ARC (sometimes giveaway stalking does work!), I couldn't help but read it ASAP.
To my disappointment, the first 50 pages were rough and rather slow - almost exclusively internal monologue with very little character interaction and movement, let alone action. The first chapter was also rather a mess of telling from a somewhat unengaging character, and the next wasn't much better. I struggled to make myself continue, but was convinced that it must get better.
And it did. After a shock of a twist I did not see coming, the writing, pace, and characters shifted for the better, and once we got our first taste of action I was hooked. Although the story was still prone to lengthy chunks of downtime and long conversations I didn't quite see the point of, the writing improved with every chapter as continual twists and thrills kept me reading late into the nights. I grew to love the entire crew of the Kaitan Heritage, and their struggles and horrors weighed on me as they fought a seemingly unwinnable battle. Their loyalty for each other was fierce, and even their occasionally misguided and conflicting actions were understandable.
The thrilling climax was occasionally a little confusing as the two viewpoint characters went separate ways for a time and their alternating chapters backtracked a smidge to overlap, but it was definitely exciting and engaging as I had no idea what to expect at every new turn. The end was a bit soft for me given all the violence and buildup, but it wrapped the book up nicely while still leaving me most definitely interested in reading the next book.
A Note on Classification: Going into Shadow Run I was under the impression it was an adult book, even though it was quickly revealed that Qole was under 18 and most of the crew were I believe under the age of 25. About halfway through though I got a hint of Young Adult, and poking around the ARC discovered it's actually being marketed by the publisher's children's department. Despite a pleasant lack of language and sex, for me it still had a distinct adult vibe that, while I would have no trouble recommending it to a teenager, I would just as easily recommend it to an adult without telling them to look for it in the teen section.
Conclusion: Although it had a rocky start and was prone to long bouts of inaction and conversation, the action was amazing, the twists unexpected, and the characters worth rooting for. I definitely recommend Shadow Run for light sci-fi readers, and look forward to the next book in the series!
For Fans Of: Firefly