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Publisher's Summary

Orphan, pirate, spy.

Awakened by her father, teenager Jane Benedict is ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade the company's murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father's last message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew's fight for freedom, Jane saves the life of young smuggler, Mac Sawyer, and learns her father's code identifies a secret cargo shipment. The trail leads to the planet Rimrock and the massive prison complex of Golgotha. Undercover as a spy, Jane stumbles into a conspiracy that can spell doom for the entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race. Can she escape the prison confines and deliver a warning before it's too late?

Piracy, intrigue, romance, space battles, and a daring rebellion from Earth wait on the galactic rim. Will Jane answer the call to adventure and find new purpose, or is death for high treason her fate?

What will you hear in this audiobook? No whiny, crybaby characters, only action, adventure, sweet romance, and a bit of sassy humor. It is suitable for kids through adult.

©2016 Linda Kelley (P)2017 Linda Kelley

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Young adults take on evil corporation!

This was a fun bit of space adventure! Jane and her brother Will are a great team, getting into and out of trouble by twists and turns. While Jane is the older by several years, she’s never bossy. Will is never petulant. They really compliment each other in this story. Then toss in Mac and the crew of the Solar Vortex, we get a spice of danger as they take on Souless and his corporate empire (the UEC).

The core of the tale is pretty familiar – a small group (the Free Traders) take on a big evil corporation (UEC). So in some ways it felt a little like Star Wars, Firefly, or even The Expanse by James SA Corey. That made it easy to dive right into. It also made it a little predictable. The bad guys are one dimensional. Souless is obviously a villain and any UEC employee is suspect and the UEC enforcers, referred to as Zebras for their uniforms, are all evil mindless muscle. While I had great fun with all the good guys, I would have liked a bit more to the villains.

There’s a sweet romance which was cute but took me a little while to get into. I think Jane is 15 or 16 but Mac comes off as mid 20s. Even without the age difference, Mac has a lot more life experience under his belt, even as Jane is catching up fast in this book (losing her parents, taking up with rebellious Free Traders, spying, etc.). So perhaps their romance won’t feel so awkward in Book 2.

With those two criticisms aside, the book was a great mix of humor and action. Jane and Will often tease each other and share jokes. There’s also the Solar Vortex crew. Then we get the native alien Gem (a Leewits) who lives on Rimrock where UEC is doing heavy mining. She started off with few lines but her part grows as she learns to trust the Free Traders and by the end she’s stealing the show with her humor. She became my favorite character.

I liked the whole bit with the brainframes and Jane’s search for Olivia, the daughter of a man deeply affected by the evil brainframes. This personal quest of Jane’s leads her into spying for the Free Traders. She takes on a bike messenger job which lets her travel all over Golgotha, the main UEC city on Rimrock. There were a few times where I was biting my nails hoping Jane wouldn’t get caught.

All told, the story kept me entertained throughout. I definitely enjoyed Jane, Will, and Gem. 4/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Cassandra Richardson was a great fit for Jane. She sounds like a girl who’s having to grow up fast. She also did a great performance for young Will and the alien Gem. Her male voices were believable and mostly the characters were distinct. I did find that the villain voices were a little overdone. They were so obviously evil from the story but then to accentuate that aspect heavily in the narration was overkill. But over all, it was a good performance. 4/5 stars.

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  • Dawn
  • Baxter Springs, KS
  • 11-06-17

Great Young Adult Science Fiction

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by L.A. Kelley. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Rimrider grabbed my attention from the beginning and never let go. Jane and Will have already lost their mother in an accident and within the first few minutes of the book, they find out that their father has also died in an accident. Or was it? Before he died, he booked passage for Jane and Will on the Solar Vortex to go to another planet and out of the clutches of the evil United Earth Corporation.

Jane turns 16 years old while she’s on the Solar Vortex. Even though her world has been turned upside down, she does what needs to be done. She’s a strong and brave young lady and is mature for her age in many ways. When it comes to romance, however, she’s innocent. I like her character and look forward to reading more about her adventures.

I like L.A. Kelley’s writing style. It’s easy to follow and has just the right amount of description. Cassandra Richardson does a very good job of narrating the story. I liked how she sounded excited as the action increased. It made the story even more exciting.

I have to mention the character Gem. She is intelligent and funny and a joy to read about. L.A. Kelley did a great job of creating her and her people.

I definitely recommend Rimrider and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Good, Clean YA

Review of the story:

Rimrider is about a young girl (Jane) and her little brother (Will) who have become orphans within the first chapter of the book and their fight for survival and what family means for them. Jane and Will escape their parent’s killers (the government) by boarding a space ship and getting involved with space pirates, rebels, and spies.

This book was difficult for me to get in to until about 20%. I think part of the reason is because I couldn’t connect with Jane. She is very young, and quite immature for the YA genre of heroines. Now, I will say that sometimes I forget how young YA heroines are because so much seems to get piled on them and they are often thrown into very adult situations, but Jane was hard to like in general . Her disposition was a little whiny and she lacked emotion for things like her father’s death. She does seem to grow up quickly though and becomes decidedly more likable as the book progresses.

With that being said, I did enjoy the book about 20% in and after. The world building was interesting, but not confusing and so big as to distract from the story. Secondary characters really held their own (Gem is the best) and the plot of the book was interesting and fun to read, albeit a little predictable at times. The book ends by setting up for the next book, but with no major cliffhangers. I would rate the story 3.5/5 stars.

Review of the audio:

I’ve never listened to any of Cassandra Richardson’s narrations before, but I think she did a pretty good performance. Her characters were easy to distinguish from one another and her male voices were believable. I will say, sometimes her voice for Jane got a little whiny, but honestly that could have been intentional. I needed to keep reminding myself that Jane was a sheltered 15-16 year old who would likely have reason to be whiny sometimes, so it wasn’t really a mark against the actual narration. Overall the narration itself was 4/5 stars.

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Firefly for YA

Jane and Will Benedict are informed one day that their father has just died in a random accident at work. This happens just some months after their mother’s death. Both events don’t seem fortuitous to Jane, especially because the morning their father died, he confided her with a secret code but with no explanations. Jane and Will’s parents worked for the United Earth Corporation, and Jane suspects they are behind their parents’ deaths. Since Jane and Will have no close relatives, the UEA will take care of both kids, who will be sent to separate places and will be probably ‘lost in the system’. The only chance Jane and Will have is escaping to the Rim, where criminals are sent to work on the mines for the UEA. They hope to find their aunt there, who was exiled many years ago. With the UEA giving them chase, they get on board of the Solar Vortex, just to discover that it is in fact a smuggler ship.

As I have explained many times, I am cautious about YA books. They need to have a really good story and solid characters to be able to satisfy me. This is why I always think twice before reading a YA story. Rimrider soon caught my eye because it was a space opera with quite interesting premises. And I’m glad that I went for it!

The introduction is quite short in this book. We meet the main characters, soon the conflict happens, and we are immediately thrown with Jane and Will into the middle of the action. I don’t mind having having longer introductions, but I have to say that the fact that the conflict was clear from the very beginning helped to capture my attention from the very start.

The characters are amazingly well built and they feel like real people. Despite how quick the beginning felt, I was already committed to the story and cared for Jane and Will. Their actions and dialogs felt so natural that it was like being among friends, with their virtues and flaws. More characters were slowly introduced later on in the book, and each had their own personality. I found easy to connect to them, and this is, in my opinion, one of the keys for a successful book.

I found the plot very entertaining, and the world building was also great. Somehow it felt like a ‘Firefly’ for YA. I have to say that even though the main characters are teenagers, this is one of those books that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, since the story is more focussed on a greater good than just simply teenage stuff.

Cassandra Richardson’s narration was pleasant to the ear, with a clear voice and good audio production skills. She poured the right amount of emotion onto the character’s interpretations, and had a decent voice range, even though I got a couple of characters mixed up because they sounded quite similar. Something that bothered me a bit was the condescending tone used several times during the narration parts, where I could hear Richardson smile and talk like she was addressing young children. I think this style only works on children’s book, and even like that it has to be done in a subtle way. Fortunately, this happened less and less throughout the book, and I did not notice it on the second half.

I loved this book, and even though the story in it is complete, there is a greater conflict in which Jane and his friends are involved. I am looking forward to the sequels, and happy to have discovered an interesting sci-fi series.

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