Review: Electra Lucas

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Electra Lucas: Crisis in Space
by Keith Zabalaoui

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Electra Lucas: Crisis Space / B003CV7SDG

When a cryo tube opens unexpectedly early on a long voyage to colonize a new planet, the single child occupant must face the long journey completely alone, in total isolation. Years later, as his frantic parents - and the concerned crew - hunt for the lost boy, they must grapple with the realization that the child's mind may well have completely snapped from the prolonged isolation and coldness of deep space.

"Electra Lucas: Crisis Space" is a wonderful example of an excerpt that I almost completely fail to savor properly, because I'm pushing myself to finish each page as quickly as possible, in order to get to the next one. Will they find the boy? Has his fragile mind descended completely into madness, or is there hope yet for his sanity? Will his frightened and concerned parents be able to piece their lives back together, or will this horrible accident rend them apart? And how, ultimately, will this affect the fate of the mission at hand? Each page is an emotional rush, as the author dangles the horror of total isolation and consumptive madness in deep space.

If I had to criticize this excerpt at all, it would be perhaps that some of the exposition feels a touch out of place - but then, I'm not sure how to remedy this. The story of the ship, its mission, and its name is certainly necessary, although perhaps it should be placed a little earlier in the excerpt; the biology behind the genetically enhanced humans would be fascinating anywhere else and yet here is an unwelcome delay in resolving the tension of finding the lost boy - and knowing the worst. Perhaps the discussion of the biologically enhanced crew-member could be pushed to a later chapter, or perhaps I should just learn to be patient and let a story unfold in its own time.
These are minor gripes, however, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed this excerpt. I experienced a sharp pang of disappointment when the excerpt ended before I could see the lost boy, and the effect of his madness on his already shell-shocked mother. I would definitely buy this novel to continue reading, and would appreciate any notice the author might care to give to me if his novel is published in the future.

NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.

~ Ana Mardoll

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