Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, 2013
Cover Design: Streetlight Graphics
Note: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Jane and Devin Colt are the adult children of the CEO of Quasar Bank Corp., one of the most powerful companies in the galaxy. If their planet had a prince and princess, it would be them.
Devin, a few years the elder, went through a wild phase that Jane knows little about, a phase that ended when their mother, a former politician, was assassinated. Devin and Jane now work dutifully for Quasar. Devin’s work is a little more interesting than Jane’s, though. Jane believes that it’s only the Interstellar Confederation’s ban on artificial intelligence that keeps her employed at all. The only interesting thing in her life is her friend Adam, a seminary student with whom Jane spends her free time debating religion.
The book opens when Devin proposes to his girlfriend, Sarah DeHaven, a rising popular music star. Then everything changes. Jane goes to visit Adam in his apartment—when she enters, an unconscious Adam is being kidnapped from his room by strange robots, who take him out the window and onto a ship—and try to kill her.
When she reports the kidnapping and the murderous chase, the police have no footage, and she’s told that she must have had a psychotic break. A counselor who is a family friend takes her from the police station—indeed it’s only because she’s a Colt that she’s free to leave. Jane realizes that she needs to play along with the hallucination theory in order to try to find Adam. And she also needs to talk with her brother.
Devin knows his sister is telling the truth. More than that, Devin has suspicions about his fiancee—that she might be more than she appears. But when he tries to share his suspicions with his father, disaster strikes from an unexpected place and shatters Jane and Devin’s world.
Soon, Jane and Devin are fleeing their home planet on an unregistered ship, trying to track down who—or what—is hunting their friends and family. They seek help from illegal hackers, hustlers, and smugglers. They evade government forces, narrowly escape death over and over, and eventually save the galaxy. (Of course they do.)
This book is a science fiction space opera, and it’s also a buddy story. But the buddies are brother and sister, which sets the book apart. The themes of the book—the limits of AI, for example, have been dealt with before, so some readers might find the story somewhat derivative, Asimovian in particular. But it’s still a fun read. After all, if you’re going to have a muse, Asimov isn’t a bad choice.
At the beginning, Jane’s character exasperated me somewhat, with her impatience when debating with Adam and her unwillingness to do more with her life. But much of this exasperation no doubt stemmed from comparing her to her brother, Devin, whose backstory essentially makes him into a superhero against whom no one can compete. As the book progresses, Jane’s character blossoms. And because this book is the first of Fan’s “Jane Colt Trilogy,” I hope Jane continues to do so.