In The Orbit of Sirens - Book Review
by T.A. Bruno
In the Orbit of Sirens is a sprawling epic of humanity’s doom and resurgence, a rousing tale of people coming together to survive.
THE LAST FRAGMENTS OF THE HUMAN RACE ARE FORCED TO ADAPT TO A DANGEROUS NEW WORLD OR FACE EXTINCTION.
When starship mechanic, Denton Castus, is caught in the destructive path of a devastating war, he abandons his home and seeks refuge on a distant planet. However, this new safe haven has undiscovered threats of its own. Eliana Veston, a scout preparing the planet for the refugees, struggles with a deadly pandemic that is killing off colonists. The hunt for a cure unleashes a new threat to humanity—the Sirens—mysterious beings with incredible powers and a deep hatred for invaders.
This book is a wonderful blend of classic sci-fi and modern, as we have a diverse cast of characters, a venture into the unknown, battle scenes, and a highly detailed and methodically crafted planet and alien species.
The book features a few of my favourite tropes: first contact, cultivating new planets, and abandoned ruins. And I also like when my sci-fi has a dash of horror.
It’s a long novel, about 500 pages (and quite a long audiobook, as I listened to it on Audible), but it’s entrancing. It’s definitely a plot-based story over character-driven, though that’s not the say the characters weren’t well-defined and likeable. And what a plot! There is so much going on in this novel but it’s very easy to follow and understand, the trajectory and characters’ choices make sense, and it builds to a final battle that brought it all together. The concept is simple but executed in a way that remakes you feel like Kamaria is a real place. There are fun technological details but there also isn’t an overabundance of tech descriptions. There’s a lot of discovery regarding the new planet, but it still feels like there’s a whole lot more to see. And there’s the pervasive threat of both the original antagonists and a new one. I also loved the alien culture and the detail put into defining their society and physiology.
I liked the little references to the Odyssey here and there (the AI named Homer, the Sirens, obviously, the Telemachus ship, etc). While this story isn’t based on the Odyssey, the idea of a ship stranded far from home does fit well.
One thing I will say in critique is that there is a lot of passive writing. There was quite a bit of “he watched” “he heard” “she noticed” “she felt” in this novel. While the passive voice has its purpose in writing, this happened a lot during action scenes, which made them less exciting than they could have been.
BUT that’s not to say I thought it was poorly written at all. This could even be a stylistic choice on the author’s part and that’s fine! Honesty, this book is really good, and if you check out one indie sci-fi book this year I suggest In the Orbit of Sirens (after What Branches Grow and Escaping First Contact of course)!