The first book in the Fallen Empire series by Lindsay Buroker is Star Nomad and it is an exciting start!
Alisa Marchenko is an Alliance pilot just recovered from injuries after the battle against the Empire. While in the hospital Alisa receives a letter from her sister in law that her home of Perun was bombed and her husband was killed by imperial forces. Alisa along with Mica, an Alliance engineer, make their way to a junkyard to steal Alisa’s ship called the Star Nomad to make their way to Perun where Alisa’s daughter is living still.
When Alisa and Mica board the Star Nomad, they find an imperial cyborg soldier has made the ship his home. The Empire used cyborgs as their soldiers in the war, but as to how this cyborg was left stranded is not altogether clear to Alisa and Mica. All they know is they need this ship to make it home. The cyborg is too strong for either to physically push off the ship and he cannot be persuaded to leave either. The cyborg agrees to allow Alisa and Mica to repair and take off on the ship as long as they stop in the Trajean Asteroid Belt for “research”.
After hiring a security officer, Beck, and taking on two passengers, Yumi and Alejandro, the group takes off for a thrilling action filled time in the asteroid belt. With the group being chased by the mafia, the White Dragons, captured by pirates led by another cyborg, Malik, shortly after being attacked by a bear, the group must learn to trust each other and work as a team to overcome challenging situations. The relationships and interactions between the characters are interesting as the book begins its set up for the Fallen Empire series.
The captain of the Star Nomad, Alisa, is continuously humorous even during inappropriate moments and her character is fairly reminiscent of Han Solo but still very much her own woman. Alisa’s wisecracks always help to keep the mood light even though the group has faced a huge war and is now accomplishing major feats in this book. The other major characters in the book are interesting as well, but this smart, quick, and witty heroine is my personal favorite.
The relationships between the characters are interesting to watch grow. The cyborg, who comes to be known as Leonidas, and Alisa slowly learn to trust each other as they face obstacles all while questioning each other’s motives after having just been on opposite factions of a war. The author does a marvelous job humanizing the characters by portraying them as just individuals who thought they were doing the right thing based off of their perspectives from their lives. Leonidas used to be just another guy as Alisa finds out when she discovers a picture of him with his soldiers drinking. Alisa lived on the Star Nomad and played house with her mother during her childhood. These two characters begin to respect each other despite being on opposing sides during the war between the Alliance and Empire, and they both begin to see each as more similar than not. It will be interesting to see how the relationship plays out in the series.
Each of the characters is interesting as individuals and this makes the interactions and story fun to read. Beck is supposed to be the strong hired security but really isn’t so tough, and he has a dream of becoming famous for his barbecue sauce. Mica is the pessimistic engineer genius and friend of Alisa from a mining colony. The passengers Alejandro is an ex-imperial doctor on a mission to Perun, and Yumi is a history teacher who raises chickens and happens to know a lot about science. All these characters come together for the goal of keeping the journey moving forward.
The book reads very much as if it could easily be a television show and I was not surprised to find out in the author’s questions at the end of the book that much of her inspiration for sci-fi has been through TV. This is not to the detriment of the story. The tale is quickly paced and filled with action on each page. There is rarely a dull moment in this first book. I was continuously entertained. If you are looking for something slower in narrative and flowery, this is not the book for you.
Star Nomad filled a void for me after being disappointed in the show, Dark Matter. The first book of the Fallen Empire series has taken an impressive first step. Lindsay Buroker did a bang up job! I cannot wait to read more!
Can someone please make this a show!? Please? This would be an excellent story at home on my TV screen. Check out Star Nomad and tell us what you think! It’s only 99 cents right now on Amazon! Look for another review in the future for Lindsay Buroker’s second book in the series, Honor’s Flight.