Book Review: Solaris Seethes by Janet McNulty

Disclaimer:
*This review contains spoilers!*
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
The spoiler free review is still pending. Hopefully it will be posted over at Online Book Club.Org

Before we get started:
I am a fan of books, and if you are a follower of this blog, you  know this by all the reviews I posted during my book challenge last year. Well, I have signed on for another book challenge this year, of reading 30 books.  I completed my 25 book challenge last year, and upped my count to 30 in July when I completed my 25. I didn’t meet my goal of 30 then, but I got to 28, still not too bad.  This year though in addition to reading 30 books, I am trying to shed my genre specific reading  disposition. I also am on a quest to find sustainable income in the form of a side hustle, something that I can do from the comfort of my own home, and something that I enjoy. I’ve  come up with this quest before, but never really dedicated myself to filing through the legitimate sources out there. I also made it a goal to write more. I enjoy writing, and reviewing things, so naturally when I stumbled upon Work From Home Happiness, and found their article Side Hustles for Booklovers: 30+ Money-Making Ideas for Bibliophiles, I just had to see how I could turn my love of books into a side hustle. I came across a couple great options, and one of them was writing book reviews! Something I already love doing. While I am just starting out in this, and I’d like to make money with this eventually, I have to start somewhere. I also would like to expand my reading material, and who knows?  Maybe I will discover a new author, or a new genre.

My first book to review for Online Book Club, was Solaris Seethes. It was my first sci-fi book, and while I had a lot of problems with it (as you will see when you read it), I didn’t hate it or dislike it enough that I couldn’t read it. I still read it over the course of 4-5 days, and I was not rushing by any means, considering it was quite lengthy.
My spoiler-free version I wrote for Online Book Club is still pending,  but I am allowed to post my full review, complete with spoilers on here.  So, without stalling further- here is my HONEST review of Solaris Seethes.

 

Science Fiction has never really been a genre that has drawn me in.  My best friend is a sci-fi fan, so I am familiar with the genre, and while I do like some aspects of it, my interests in it are pretty generic and basic.  I like sci-fi movies, but until reading Solaris Seethes; I had never read a book classified in this genre.

 

The exposition of this story is stereotypical.  Rynah, our main character is happy with her love after getting engaged to her boyfriend Klanor. It’s a normal day in the life of Rynah, going to work, showing off her engagement ring to everyone. At work, it’s life as usual, except for…… an attack! The geothermic lab in which she works is attacked by thieves who are after the crystal that keeps their planet functioning. The band of evil doers is led by none other than *yawn* Rynah’s new fiancé.  Betrayed and angry, Rynah manages to escape as her world is deteriorating around her, and finds her way to the abandoned tower where her grandfather used to work in search of a decommissioned military ship which he was working on. She finds the ship; Solaris, which is the ship’s artificial intelligence system that can communicate telepathically while the pilot wears their helmet. Amidst some obstacles, Rynah manages to escape and her planet falls to ruins as the thieves leave with the crystal.

 

 

The style of writing was hit or miss with me. One thing I did not like, was the constant side notes, in which the author used parenthesis.  Rynah is described as having “pale lavender skin (a very light shade at that)”. This somewhat informal side note kind of confused me, as I don’t see why the author had to put that in parenthesis when it would have worked just fine in description without it. Rynah is also described as having “emerald green hair with flecks of gold.”  Maybe it’s because I’m a Marvel fan, and have seen Guardians of the Galaxy, but with Rynah’s description I kept picturing Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  The similarities didn’t stop there for me either, and at times the book felt like something of a watered-down version of the Marvel story.

 

 

The main plot of the story is that there is the great ancient prophecy that talks about there being 6 crystals- much like the infinity stones in Guardians of the Galaxy- that when brought together can create a weapon of great power and destruction-again with the Guardians similarity, and maybe even a little like the Death Star in Star Wars. Part of the prophecy tells of four heroes, who we later find out are 4 humans from the Terra Sector, aka Earth. The catch is that each human is from a different time period.  Solaris, who is more than just a ship, but also a character herself; transports our heroes to her ship. For being transported from their relevant time periods our characters should take to adapting to being on ship in space with a humanoid alien pretty well.  Alfric is a Viking King, Solon is a scribe from ancient Greece, Brie is a stereotypical scared high school girl from the present, and Tom is an inventor from the future of 2099.  While I like this idea of incorporating the different time periods, the characters don’t really have that much depth to them. Brie is depicted as “mousy” and “timid” and all as an around pushover and weak. I’m not saying all the woman have to be tough as nails, but I don’t like it when they make the girls your run of the mill damsel in distress. Brie is constantly homesick, and constantly whining and crying and complaining she’s useless. She comes in handy towards the end, but she still remains a flat character with little actual development. Even Alfric is    somewhat stereotypical, being depicted as an enormous gruff and tough Viking who always ready for battle and very skilled as it.  The only character who didn’t really fit the stereotype is Tom.

 

That’s not the only two-dimensional aspect either- when explaining the situation to the heroes, Solaris tells them that they will be a surprise to Klanor, since he doesn’t know about that aspect of the prophecy or about the Terra Sector. This is then contradicted when to drive the point of how dangerous Klanor is to to the humans, she tells them that if Klanor succeeds, he will come after Earth next to destroy it- but moments earlier Klanor supposedly didn’t know about Earth.  There is also some backstory with Klanor where it states that he believed in the ancient stories and that the crystals were real, but that others did not believe him. This seems kind of strange considering that the planet Lanyr in which Klanor and Rynah live functions of the existence of a crystal which stabilizes their magnetic field.

 

The contradictions continue, when for a world who supposedly shuns Earth at best, has many earth derived things.  On the Junglar planet which is-you guessed it- is jungle themed with large Venus fly trap style plants and Mayan style temples and human-esque indigenous people.  The indigenous people act and are depicted similarly to the Mayan people with references to their culture such as human sacrifice, and godly worship.  Even the atmosphere of the planet is habitable as they can breathe the air, and there are lush green plants and life everywhere, mimicking a rainforest. This is supposed to an alien planet, mind you. The references don’t stop there either- aboard the ship Brie tells Rynah her breakfast smells life waffles. When Rynah has a flashback to her grandfather making her pancakes, with boysenberry syrup, nutmeg and whipped cream, she then allows Brie a sampling of her pancake which Brie says tastes like a lemon torte.  The planet Lanyr which Rynah is from had orange clouds, and double sunsets.  How would they be able to grow plants to get nutmeg or berry? Not to mention whipped cream is a dairy product that comes from cows. Do they have cows in outer space?  When our band of misfits are abandoned on the frozen world of Ikor after pirates steal Solaris- amazingly they can breathe without helmets on this planet too; they are attacked by a large sabretooth tiger style animal. Alfric the almighty slays it, and later our heroes hear wolf howling.  Wolves and saber tooth tigers are still very much earthly animals. In outer space, on an alien planet.  When they run into lone man on the Antarctic style planet, of course Rynah knows him as a friend of her grandfather’s named Obiah. Upon inviting the heroes into his home within the walls of ice, it is discovered he has a full-fledged Italian style kitchen, complete with a stove.  The heroes cook pasta with marinara sauce.  On Obiah’s cherry wood dining table is a vase of marigolds. I wasn’t aware Ethan Allen Furniture existed in a galaxy far far away, but more of a question is how would marigolds survive on the planet of Ikor. Even to get them inside, the flowers would wilt or die in the frozen atmosphere in transport. Where would one even get marigolds? They need soil, water and sunlight, on Earth. Probably one of the biggest contradictions that bothered me, was when Obiah explains Klanor’s appeal to the heroes in such a way as “People like Klanor always attract the darker side of humanity.” This really bugged me.  Rynah, Obiah, Klanor are all supposed to be aliens. Humanoid aliens- they have purple skin for goodness sake.  When Solaris is stolen by pirates, the captain Jifdar who eyes up fair skinned damsel Brie; claims he believes they all descended from the same parent race, and living in a different galaxy on different planets they have evolved differently but share the same traits and make up. This begs me to question whether or not our humanoid aliens are human or not.  They are described many times as humanoid, which leads me to believe they are not human. If this is indeed the case, claiming Klanor attracts the darker side of humanity is completely out of context. Klanor isn’t supposed to know about Earth at all, remember?

The plot is thin at best, and I feel like it’s honestly been done before and better.  Every now and then I would come across phrases or words that were grammatically incorrect as well as just not sounding right. In one of the chapters, the term “tie-dyed” was spelled “tie-died”, and in another chapter the same term was spelled correctly as “tie-dyed”.  In another chapter, one of the characters says “He walked in just I managed to take this thing apart”, when the phrase is clearly missing the word as and should be read as “He walked in just AS I managed to take this thing apart.” Those mistakes are small, but really threw me as a reader as I had to re-read the lines to make sure I read them correctly.

 

Having stated my issues with the story, I can’t say I hated it or disliked it. I know it’s part of a series, and I typically like to finish series, so I’ll probably eventually try to finish this one.  Regardless of some of the major issues I had with this book, there were things I did like, such as Solaris.  I really enjoyed the idea of the ship being a character and having a personality. I felt if anything, Solaris was the strongest character. Rynah felt too much like a copy of Gamora, Alfric and Brie felt too stereotypical, and Solon had next to no personality for me.
 

I recommend this book if I can for young adult readers into sci-fi.  The writing isn’t the best, but it is full of action, and adventure and makes up in imagination for the things it lacks.  For someone who is into space ships, and time travel this might be a really good read for you.  There isn’t any romance or love triangle, so those looking for that sort of thing-which I fall into that category more often than not- are going to solely disappointed.  There are lots of action sequences with pew pew laser guns and swords, and pirates and hidden treasure. If I had to pinpoint it, I’d say it had elements from Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Firefly.  If you’re not familiar with sci-fi like me, there’s probably a high probability you won’t like this book. I did like parts of it, and was able to read it all the way through, and as I have stated I will probably check out the rest to see how the story ends. Sometimes the sequel or the later books in a series put the first to shame.  I read Neal Shusterman’s Skinjacker saga over the summer and compared to the last 2 books, the first was downright boring, and as I read it I enjoyed it enough to want to read the sequel, and boy was I glad I did, because it was an amazing sequel; and the final book in the series was the best by far.

 

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