Book Review: Rendezvous on Noxus by S.A. McNeill
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Ride the Gizi #1
Publisher: Pronoun (January 18, 2016)
Tiara’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars
A review copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Paras Briggs is a cargo pilot who finds herself stuck in a jam when Jabir, her friend and business partner, spends most of the money they’ve earned on a big score during shore leave. To make up the costs, Paras finds herself reliant on a mysterious, cute mercenary to cover the missing money as long as she transports him around the galaxy to apprehend a bounty that he’s working on. Paras is just trying to make ends meet. She’s good at what she does, but she finds herself a little out of her league after accepting the contract with Haben.
I had fun with this book. It was a quick read that I gobbled up in one day during some slow hours at work. I have a weakness for stories that feature cargo captains with tough attitudes who can barely shoot a gun and the tough men and women they usually end up befriending in the process. Well, maybe I just have a weakness for shenanigans, and stories like these usually feature tons of them that keep me laughing and shaking my head at the characters. This book was amusing. One such scene early in the book had me smiling like an idiot which didn’t go unnoticed by my coworkers.
I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and appreciated that we have some diversity. I’m always here for more diversity in genre fiction, and McNeill certainly delivers with a multiracial cast of characters, but the diversity doesn’t stop there. She introduces many humanoid and non-humanoid alien species into this story, as well, and gives a glimpse into some of their traits such as the matriarchal Hiye whose males need a female leader and tend to defer to females of other races. I do have to add a bit of a trigger warning on this book for mention of sexual abuse, but it’s not anything graphic or offensive. I feel that McNeill handled this well. In fact, she has quite a few touchy topics that she handles with dignity and grace such as consent and sexual orientation.
This book has a fanfiction-like quality to it. That isn’t a bad thing per se since I’m a big fan of fanfiction. This has that fun, fast storytelling that you find in fanfiction. This story captures the reader’s attention and keeps them engaged in a similar fashion. At the same time, some of the descriptions can be vague in areas that entreat the author to provide a clearer picture while providing maybe too much detail in areas that don’t seem quite as important. While this is a fairly quick pace story, there are some parts of the story that can drag a little bit for the latter reason, making parts of it feel like filler. It can be hard to resist the temptation to skip over those parts of the story to get to back to the forward moving action.
It’s hard to go wrong with a story about traipsing around space with a mercenary. This might not be quite as action-filled as other books with similar story lines, but what it lacks in action, it makes up with many engaging scenes. With a little more guidance on expanding the ideas she is presenting in this story, this series could be one that readers shouldn’t miss.