At 15, Alexis Carew has to face an age old problem - she's a girl, and only a boy can inherit the family's vast holdings. Her options are few. She must marry and watch a stranger run the lands, or become a penniless tenant and see the lands she so dearly loves sold off. Yet there may be another option, one that involves becoming a midshipman on a shorthanded spaceship with no other females.
©2014 J.A. Sutherland (P)2015 J.A. Sutherland
I shall say right out front, that I received a promotional copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
I will further say, that I plan to spend one of my own credits when the talented Ms. Klett and Mr. Sutherland release the next book in audio.
Perhaps I was a lost cause from the start. I adore a good scifi. I adore a new clever take on faster than light travel. I adore a military scifi (especially naval). I adore sailing and tall ships. I adore a smart, tough female protagonist refusing to let patriarchy define her.
And I adore a well intonated British accent.
"Into the Dark" would have had me from the third page... even if it WEREN'T a darn good story.
Horatio Hornblower, Honor Harrington, Sassinak, Kylara Vatta, Keladry of Mindolin, a bit of Nicholas Seafort...
if Mr. Sutherland isn't familiar with all these series, he damn well ought to be, for it's hardly a ground-breaking genre... but why should it be? Sutherland's story is well-paced, plausible, amusing and somber by turns. Alexis Carew is a fine inheritor of the reluctant, or perhaps humble, hero mantle. Her demeanor is charmingly modern, her disinterest in the trappings of expected behavior admirable, and her interaction with others totally credulous.
I was charmed.
The book is also, in many ways, absurd.
The mental gymnastics required to shoehorn Tall Ships into interstellar space are... daunting. BUT, by God, Sutherland managed it, and I was willing to buy the whole line of nonsense... and smile. It IS absurd, but... I found myself shrugging and saying "well, and why not?" Sails and rigging and cannon and broadsides, and 18th century British naval discipline alongside FTL transit, and colony disputes. I laughed, I shook my head in astonishment that I was OK with it.
And I was. Completely.
Elizabeth Klett is charming, well paced, and clearly in tune with the material. Her cultured British accent at times both at odds with the content, and yet perfectly tuned to set the stage. The production is clean, the audio quality top notch, and I applaud her performance. I look forward to more.
Do treat yourself to this one. If you are a lover of Sci Fi, if you are an admirer of strong female characters who simply (to quote a recent meme) "give absolutely zero ^#$(*&" about what the world expects of them. If you love a good naval romp, or if you just want to have a fun time in a fanciful yet gritty world...
Buy this. Buy this immediately, and enjoy.
I TRULY enjoyed the Story of the young Alexis Carew and her innocent tough kid willing to take on the unknown to attempt to save her family properties while not just falling inline to the unfair status quo laws.
The Story gives you more of a European or British style of how young people are a bit more grown up a little earlier in life, at least where it counts.
Elizabeth Klett does a wonderful job reading this first book in the Story of Young Miss Carew.
I did not expect to enjoy this book nd thought it may be a good listen for my daughter but I couldn't put it down.
I hope my daughter grows up to be as tough, sharp, responsible and respectable as the young lady in this book.
Good Show Lass!
I am a single 40 something guy with a daughter who's Audible library is pushing 400 books and hope to write something worth publishing one day. Audible needs a single section or chat room because I read so much I don't have time to date.
"Reading can take you anywhere you want to go without leaving your home"
Positively. While I have read better this was quite enjoyable.
Alexis Carew because she is the most interesting character.
Well done in bringing life to the characters and creating voices that seemed unique for each character.
Master and Commander, In Space
Hornblower In Space
I find that this story appealing and is intended for younger audiences. it's use of terms normally used for a Carribean swashbuckling adventures in a futuristic space epic both refreshing and archaic.
I really enjoyed this book. Its fast moving, interesting and not what I was expecting. But it’s definitely a fantasy so don't expect everything to make sense. You have to use your imagination and let the writer take you to those very unlikely places that as a kid you truly believed existed and could not wait to go there. Its fun and easy listening. I'm looking forward to the next book. The narrator, Elizabeth Klett, is one of my favorites and never disappoints with her outstanding performance.
I received an Audible copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
The quaint English setting of this space adventure immediately invoked the setting of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series for me, which was a good start. The science side of the book is perhaps too much in the background and some of the characters feel like stereotypes. Having said that, I enjoyed listening to the book (narrator did a good job of voicing the protagonist) and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Besides being an RN, I am an avid audiobook listener as well as a narrator and producer for Audible. I love Audiobooks!
I would definately recommend this book to a friend and have in fact have already recommended it to several people! I got this book free for a review, but would spend a credit on it in a heartbeat. In fact, I was quite annoyed when I found out that the next book was not yet out!
I would say this book is a cross between the TV series Firefly and the book The Martian, as far as the Science Fiction aspect of the story goes. That is the way I would describe it to others. However, I would have to add that it is one of those tales, like the Harry Potter books, that could be enjoyed by any age range. There is a heroine who is the underdog, the people in her corner, and the ones working against her. The writer is excellent. I don't know if this is his (or her) first book, but if it is, I think they have a long and successful career ahead of them.When this book is discovered by others, as I know it will be, it will be a bestseller.
She did a wonderful job with everyone, and there were alot of characters. It would have been a tough job as a narrator (and I know since I am one) to differentiate all the people in the story in a way the listener can keep them straight.
It was a bit too long for that. I listened every chance I got though.
I loved it and am looking forward to the next book.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
I was asked to recommend a sci-fi space adventure book for a mid-teen niece. I considered Kris Longknife, both of Jack McDevitt's series, Honor Harrington and others -- but then decided to see if there was anything new. Enter a kinder version of "Master and Commander". It stars Alexis Carew. Mix equal parts of 15-year old young lady and VERY English delivery and you have "Into the Dark." I intended to listen to just a little to give it a test, but stayed until the end. Nothing 'high concept' just a "lad goes to the stars" genre but with a clever female lead. Fun.
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, and YA Novels. If it weren't for physics, law enforcement, and my medication, I'd be unstoppable!
This is not your average space science-fiction story but is definitely worth the listen. Even though there are space battles, heroes, enemies, and everything else you might expect, this book is so different as to set it apart from other similar stories.
The author manages to combine space science fiction with the old tales of British tall sailing ships, far off colonies, broadsides, boardings, and pirates. The author manages to combine the two in a way that (mostly) works and makes sense without losing the feel of the sailing ship or futuristic space themes. As a fan of both sailing and space science fiction, I feel like this book could have been written just for me.
The main character, Alexis, is a teenage girl on a far off colony planet. Raised by her grandfather after her parent's deaths, she is the heir to vast lands, plantations, and holdings. She has grown up leading, managing, and learning about her families businesses and trading activity throughout the colony. Unfortunately, women cannot inherit and her grandfather is getting old. Unable to stomach the thought of marrying any of the arrogant, stupid, or abusive male nobility left in the colony or to become a destitute worker after her lands are sold off, she enlists as an officer on a visiting naval vessel desperate for crew. Though a woman in the navy isn't unheard of, none of the military ships in the outer colonies have ever had a female on board. A capable and intelligent teenager, she throws herself into the honor of the service. However, she does not lose hope that her grandfather will be able to convince the governing landowners to change the law on her homeworld so that she can someday return and claim what is hers.
The life on board the ship is identical to that the officers and sailors of old sailing ships, but the author still brings all of the aspects of space travel to make a ship that "sails" through space. There were a few places that I (admittedly) was unconvinced with the technology or science behind some of the story, but it was a good enough book that it's easy to overlook the few holes in the science in exchange for the amazing theme and universe the book created.
The British narration was very good. The narrator gets a solid 5 stars.
Most fans of sci-fi will either like this book very much or will at least be able to appreciate it. If you're like me and have an like or experience with sailing, then you will certainly love it. I would recommend to just about anyone.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, publisher, or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review. I was NOT required to write a positive review and this reflects my honest opinion of the work.
Avid reader and chronic procrastinator, I bide my time voicing & producing podcasts, and lurking on Facebook, Twitter, and at my site.
DISCLAIMER: I received this copy in exchange for a review.
WARNING: This review contains mild spoilers.
This is not a hard (or even mild) science fiction story. You need to set your expectations from the start. _Into the Dark_ sets the stage as an epic space fantasy of operatic proportions. Once you wrap your mind around science-as-magic, this is a fast-paced, enjoyable read and, a wonderful introduction to Science Fiction for Middle-Grades to YA.
There are favorable comparisons to Horatio Hornblower and Honor Harrington, both in setting and characterizations. This is a coming of age story wrapped in high adventure. Lass leaves a home with no future for the rigors and challenges of the space navy!
One of the wonderful surprises is the MacGuffin of Dark Space. In this region, travel is only possible by sail. Effects of this environment negate modern equipment and armaments, giving the notion of travel and combat a decidedly 19th century feel. The application of this was a tad inconsistent, but the overall effect is shiny!
Our hero, the determined and resolute Alexis Carew, doesn't fall into tired tropes. Even though small of stature, she isn't "spunky" or "feisty", nor does she have the physical or genetic advantages of Weber's Harrington. She comes across as driven, almost to the point of implacability, and her social interactions, some quite remarkable for a 15-year-old, are genuine and real.
The narrator, Elizabeth Klett, is a absolute jewel! Her diction, pacing, and accent shift from character to character, giving the listener immediately identifiable vocal prompts. You always know who is speaking. The audio production is smooth, rich, and clean. I heard no muddy audio or uneven edits. In addition to providing distinct voices, Ms. Klett has the gift of cross-gender characterization. The male characters sound definitely male, not just faux-deep voiced.
There were a couple of areas where I cocked an eyebrow and said "Huh?"
Dark Space (like Tahiti) is a magical place. It isn't internally consistent. Apparently electronics will not work there, but lights and life support will? There is some notion of a cushion of "normal space" surrounding the hull, masts, and spars, but if so, how does Dark Space interact with the sails? What is the motive power? Shouldn't the scans show the area contained by the "normal space" envelope, instead of just going dead?
I felt bludgeoned by the refrain "patriarchy is bad," repeated ad nauseam. Apparently, this is going to by a major plot line moving forward in the series. Hopefully, Alexis can affect positive change, otherwise this clod of dreary will weigh down a mostly positive and upbeat work. It's also unevenly applied. Colonials seem overrun by the notion, but the civilians in the core worlds aren't. Conversely, the Navy on the fringes has no problem with equality of gender, but the Navy in the core worlds support, and even advance, patriarchy.
One of the reasons I put this book on a Middle Grade to YA shelf is Alexis is seemingly never severely challenged, or placed in any real peril. She rises to events in workmanlike fashion, and there is never any doubt that she will prevail unscathed. Even when captured by pirates there is no insurmountable menace, no feeling that she may suffer. Weber's Harrington loses an arm and an eye. Alexis occasionally loses her patience.
In one scene, a full grown sailor attempts to rape Alexis. Please note that her size and mass are frequently referred to as small; smaller than a prepubescent boy, in fact. Yet, she manages to beat this large, tough, nasty man like a rented mule. Belief isn't just suspended at this point, it's unhinged. Mass matters. The type of skill she exhibited is acquired by an lifetime of extensive training, not casually picked up at a logging camp.
My reservations are the only reasons for my categorizations. This is a taut, action-packed, easy-to-listen-to story, well narrated and produced. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this novel to listeners of almost any age.
"Hornblower with boobs"
Fun exciting and not too deep
I like a strong female lead charector and the combination of old wooden ship navy tradition with a sci-fi theme worked well
Well modulated voice and good diction
It's a woman's life in the royal navy!
Pretty much a modern version of Horatio Hornblower, which I like. Bought into the dark on a whim and liked it, listening to Mutineer now and have just downloaded The Little Ships. Will there be any more?
"Sailing ships in space!"
This is great fun. Alexis joins the Royal Navy as a midshipman on the spur of the moment and heads off into space aboard a sailing ship at a time when GIRLS don't join the Navy. Lots of adventures, excitement, laugh out loud humour and the scene is set for a - hopefully - long series. I already have book 2, can't wait to start.
Narration is good, though it seems odd hearing an English accent speaking some very American phraseology, and there are one or two rather odd pronunciations, but overall, an excellent job, clear diction, each character well defined, without the awful gruffness of some female narrators with male characters.
All in all, an excellent listen.
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