dropnauts coverRating: 3.75 stars
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Decades after humanity was forced to flee Earth, a few thousand remaining souls are living on the lunar base Redemption. But the situation on Redemption is far from stable and, with careful planning and preparation, the hope has been that humanity might return to Earth. Before that can happen, a handful of well trained dropnauts will be sent to the surface of the planet to see if the once dangerous conditions have stabilized.

Once on Earth though, Hera, Rai, Ghost, and Tien quickly realize that the planet is not so devoid of life as believed. As the dropnauts struggle to survive on the surface below, life on Redemption is under threat from a far more sinister threat. Now the dropnauts, a trusted AI, and a host of others must risk everything to save the last hope for the human race.

Dropnauts is the first in a new series that has decent characters and a generally interesting plot, but that becomes bogged down in excessive storytelling and haphazard world building.

There are more than a few characters in Dropnauts and most of them read as well developed and fully dimensional. It was hard to connect with some over others, but that seemed natural and believable in this situation. The characters blended well with one another and the dropnauts acted with the instinctual fusion of a team that has long trained together. I felt like the characters on Redemption were a little less well constructed and difficult to know as a reader, but they still had plenty of depth. The general plot to the book is both ambitious and interesting, but ultimately isn’t well executed. That isn’t to say it is without merit and certainly the author has attempted to construct a strong foundation. It just doesn’t play out as smoothly as I hoped.

The biggest issue is that there are more than half a dozen storylines taking place and they often get tangled up in their own details. Trying to manage the threads of everything happening and who it involved became overly time consuming and frustrating as a reader. And as someone who enjoys high fantasy novels, managing complex casts and plots isn’t something I usually struggle with. Unfortunately, these storylines never fully establish the world in which Dropnauts is set. The author gives us a fair amount of information, but it doesn’t coalescence into a complete picture. This added to my frustration when I was trying to imagine the world of Dropnauts and often prevented me from becoming fully immersed in the story.

This novel has a lot to offer, so I don’t want to sound like I’m selling it short. There are strong characters and the general plot is an interesting one. The world building isn’t perfect and the story often feels unnecessarily complex and tangled. With that said, I think most sci-fi fans will probably find something to enjoy here.

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