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{March 31, 2013}   {Review} First Contact by Michael R. Hicks (In Her Name: The Last War #1)

6934476From Goodreads: A prequel to In Her Name: Empire, the events of First Contact take place a century earlier:

Led by Commander Owen McClaren, the TNS Aurora is embarked on an extended survey mission, searching for new worlds that could support human life. Drawn to an uncharted star system that appears to have not just one, but two potentially habitable planets, the crew of the Aurora discovers something even more unexpected: the planets are already inhabited, but not by humans. Approached by gigantic alien starships, the human crew prepares for humanity’s very first contact with another sentient race.

But nothing could prepare them for what fate has in store. For they have entered the domain of the Kreelan Empire, which has waited thousands of years to find another spacefaring race against which to wage war to honor their Empress. With all but one of the crew killed in ritual close combat, the aliens send Aurora home bearing the sole survivor: the Messenger, a young midshipman who carries with him an alien artifact that is humanity’s only sign of how much time remains until they are plunged into an interstellar war…

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In a word, this is long.  That’s not a bad thing, especially if you’re a sci-fi, fantasy, or space-odyssey lover.  I’m none of those things, and yet, I still enjoyed this novel, aside from the length.

Hicks has created a very real novel filled with multiple characters that all have a place and a story to tell, be they human or Krellan.  Beginning with the crew’s finding of life on two other planets, a battle of epic proportions begins as the Krellan Empire slowly prepares to take over yet another world, and it is here that Hicks draws in his readers.  If you’ve ever seen any of the Star-Trek movies out there, any, then you have a pretty good idea what the battles between ships looks like in this novel.  It’s amazing, fast-paced, and epic.  The Krellan warriors, all female, are huge, trained and built for war, and ready to die to honor their Empress, making survival of any who cross their paths a virtual impossibility. The first battle, ending in the death of all on the Aurora, save one, gives readers the much needed background to solidify this series, explaining both the Aurora crew and their purpose, as well as introducing the Krellan race.

Hicks’ ability to weave his story from multiple personas, focusing on the thoughts and feelings of all races, make for a riveting read as readers get to know the many characters. This novel deals mainly with war, fleshing out the characters and societies, but ultimately focusing on the ongoing assault from the massive female Krellan warriors.  There is much battle and blood-shed throughout this novel, but it’s not too gruesome or overbearing, as some novels are.  Instead, Hicks focuses on building up his world and characters in order to continue his saga, which, at this time, is now three series deep.  I highly recommend this novel for any of those who have enjoyed Star-Trek.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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