(Click the book cover to see on Goodreads)
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction – Space Opera
Author: Tabitha Lord
Length: 260 pages
Publication: December 1st 2015 by Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Note: Wise Ink Creative Publishing sent me this e-book via Netgalley for free in exchange for my honest review.
Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
‘Horizon’ is written in third person limited past and follows two characters: Caeli and Derek. Coming from differing lifestyles, societies, and backgrounds, the two give differing opinions and viewpoints on the events occurring throughout the story. This lends to the well-rounded knowledge of a third person story.
Pacing: The first half of the book blazed by and not in a good way. The entire first half of the book was basically an info-dump in which the author set up the characters to give reasons for their interactions in the second half of the book. That being said, the second half of the book, while slow, moved at a more understandable and enjoyable pace. Still, there was a lot of breezing by to get to the point.
World: In efforts to get all the plot information in, the world building was forwent. An image may have developed that matched the world if it weren’t for the contradiction between the supposed setting and the tone of the characters and their lives. That being said, the book describes a relatively advanced society. Yet, the tone of the book gives off the idea that the setting is actually a pre-technology village in the middle of the forest.
Writing: The writing style was also neglected in the author’s attempt to get all in the back story onto the page. Unfortunately, while everything was covered in a concise manner, the style felt dry, dull, and unimaginative. Thus, lending to the lack of world-building. Additionally, the diction used by the characters matched the advanced society the characters were went to live in, but because the realism of the world was lacking, the diction doesn’t seem to match the ‘basic’ lifestyle and lower-technology planet that the tone gives off.
Non-Spoilered Plot: When commander Derek Markham’s ship crash lands on an uncharted planet, he should be dead. But thanks to a planet native, Caeli Crys, and her ability to see into and heal the human body, he survived. Now, the two of them must stay alive until Derek’s crew can rescue them. Though, the dangers of Caeli’s planet are nothing when compared to the dangers of other planets.
Character: Caeli Crys is a young adult doctor with a damaged past where people used her for her abilities to see into the human body, heal people, and read their minds. While she managed to survive, it left its scars. Even now she faces them and she must grow to gain a broader understanding of what makes something right and what makes something wrong.
Derek Markham on the other hand knows the world has a gray area and he’s been living in it for some time as a commander of a intergalactic fleet. Yet, his understanding of the universes has been so broad that it’s difficult for him to understand the ‘basic’ lifestyles of the less-advanced civilizations. In that sense, Caeli helps him on the path of enlightenment. He learns to see the world and the people on individual bases instead of just a big picture.
Plot: The main plot of this novel changes half-way through. The first half of the novel reads as a romance, building the relationship between injured(Derek) and healer(Caeli). This on its own could have made for a very interesting story. However, it was rushed.
The basic mechanics of their relationship naturally allow for an expedited build because of Caeli’s ability to share her memories with Derek directly. He ends up reliving most of her life. In this way, he comes to understand who she was and the events that have lead her to become who she is. He forms a bond with her as if he’d been by her side her entire life.
That being said, the relationship from her side should still take more time than his because she didn’t pry into his memories. She had a sense that he was a good person, but knew very little about him. The build of their relationship could have been an entire book, but the author chose to truncate it. Thus, it simply felt like a set-up for the second-half of the novel. The first half of the novel was simply there to explain how the two react in the second-half of the novel. In other words, the first half felt like an info-dump.
The second half of the novel, on the other hand, is where the action and plot really build up because Caeli accepts Derek’s offer to leave her planet. In so doing, she becomes a member of his crew. Her capabilities of healing the human body become helpful when the ship is attacked. However, they also have the added effect of infiltrating the mind of terrorists.
The difficulties and moral boundaries Caeli faces when choosing to save lives by forcing her way into someone’s head is relatable. Even with her culture having been destroyed, she remains true to the principles it was founded on. Yet, in a world that’s not black and white, she struggles with something she knows to be wrong, can be right under the appropriate circumstances. Though, the hardest part about this struggle is that Derek is the one forcing her into that position.
While Derek understands Caeli’s dilemma, he has no qualms doing whatever is necessary to do his job. He’s a soldier, trained to follow orders and take required action to get the job done. Even if it means compromising Caeli’s belief system.
And while she shows difficulties facing him after he shoots the man in front of her, Caeli doesn’t seem to correlate him back to Markus, who made her do the same thing before shooting the young boy on her planet. Some deeper connection seemed to be missing. It didn’t have quite the impact one would assume there to be in such a paralleled interaction.
With the relationship being rushed, the lack of deeper connection given the parallelisms of her past and her present, and the lack of actual conflict between the two characters, I leave this book, ‘Horizon’, with my rating of two stars.