Betrayal of Ka
By Shea Oliver
Mindlessly following the highs a teen life can give him, Ka trumps a teacher after scoring a date from his dream girl. It is like heaven. But then, his business on the side steps in, and after a kid OD’s on his drugs, Ka’s life changes. He finds himself being shifted off to a penal colony on another planet as his old world shifts under tyrannical and ambitious powers. In the end, Ka is barely recognizeable. On top of that, he’s millions of light years away.
The author here keeps a very straightforward tone, giving us the nuts and bolts of each character and scene as fast as possible. In this way, it is fast paced, keeping us reading at every turn. Never is there a chapter beginning or end that dwells to heavily on description, drawing the story out for mere word count. Take a look.
Fifty-eight stories above Schmarlo’s Landing, Tomar Donovackia kicked his feet onto his desk. No one would question anything he did.
Every line packs a punch and keeps the scene and the story going. Throughout the whole book, maybe one or twice did a moment lag or feel unneeded, but not often.
On top of this, there were few flaws. One thing he might have to keep an eye out for is POV shifts. Every so often a scene would start in one character’s head and sometimes it would jump around. Often, this wasn’t a bother. The most noticeable for me was when Ka got to see his mother and father for the last time before being sentenced to a penal colony. It is clearly Ka’s POV but then it jumps into the mom’s head, followed by the father’s perspective in two short, sequential paragraphs. Unnerving—yes; but not detracting from the story as a whole.
As for characters, he knows how to make likeable ones, or at best, understandable ones when their personalities might not be so desirable. In the beginning, Ka comes off as a normal teenager for the most part and is kind of flat and boring. Frankly, he needs to be. If not, there’d be no growth. But as soon as everything starts rolling, you feel for Ka deeply, despite his previously flawed actions.
Even when it comes to the antagonists-whether Tomar or Jackos—the author paints them realistically with little characterization. Tomar, though full of himself and ambitious, feels fully real—like an intergalactic Donald Trump, but more interesting. And despite being the stereotypical jail gorilla, Jackos comes off genuinely unique while still being fully threatening. Overall, well-done in this department.
This is a space opera. There’s no other way to describe it, and the author does an amazing job of world building for his twin planets inhabited by humans. And with little foresight, we soon realize that these planets will draw Earth into the mix as universe-dominating plans are developed.
At the heart of it, it is Ka’s story of his crime and his eventual redemption, but there is so much more. The amount of characters in this books is large, and clearly many will pop up again as this book is the first of a series. Even at the end of this book, there are lingering questions in regards to the Lords of the Fourth Realm, Celestina’s destiny, and of course, what Jackos will do on earth.
Regardless, the author ties up the main story nicely, giving us enough hints for the future books. Again, well done.
I gave this five stars, which is all the more surprising because I usually don’t like sci-fi, especially books that tote strange planets and names, but this one did it in grace and style. And it was an amazingly fast read! But beware, it does come in at a little over 375 pages. Still, I finished it in less than a week, which compared to other smaller books I’ve forced myself to trudge through is quite telling. There is emotion in the book, and though it touches on universal themes everyone has dealt with before, in no way does it detract from the book. It’s a good distraction if nothing else.
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