I’ve now finished Book 2 of Aragmar’s (or the Black Knight’s) Starshatter series: Twin Suns of Carrola (which I affectionately refer to as Twin Suns of Toyota Corolla).
From start to finish, it’s packed with brilliant battle scenes raging across a diverse setting – from the vast expanse of deep space to the fetid jungles of an alien world. The action doesn’t ever slow down, so strap yourselves in and get ready for a wild ride!
The plot is tight. It’s focused. It’s compelling. Slaves need rescuing, and baddies need a thorough ass-kicking. Aragmar delivers a simple yet effective plot that comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Most the main characters have already been introduced in the first book in which Aragmar goes into detail with each of their backstory. As such, there is far less focus on character development in the second book except for the new characters who are introduced. Each of the new characters is given a thorough examination of their backstory and motive, just like in the first book.
My favorite character from the first book is Anit’za (or is it Azit’na? I always mix up the ‘n’ and the ‘z’), the Captain of the Starshatter. For Book 2, I gotta hand the most-favorite character award to the main villain, Omasa (or is it Osama? The ‘m’ and the ‘s’ is very easy to mix up).
Argmar’s posted a few tidbits on how to construct a good villain on his Minds channel. The man knows what the fold he’s talking about (fold – that’s a reference to another fellow Minds author). Book 1 lacked a good villain. Book 2’s main baddie is truly badass. I actually like the dude and respect him. In fact, I sympathize with him, perhaps even more so than the main protagonists!
This isn’t to say that I was rootin’ for Omasa to beat to good guys. I was rootin’ for Omasa to prevail over the corrupt and evil empire he was born into. I won’t spoil anything for you here, but my man Omasa knows how to get shit done, and he knows how to command the respect of his troops, in stark contrast to the other lords of the Tazaran Empire. As a side effect, he earned my respect. In fact, I know his pain. I won’t reveal too much about my own personal experiences, but some days, I lament to myself wondering where all the good and competent people are at.
In my opinion, Omasa’s character stole the story. While this is a testament to Aragmar’s skill at writing a good villain, I feel that the villain’s story overshadowed that of the main protagonists. This isn’t to say that the good guys don’t have a good story arc, they do, but Omasa’s is more compelling, in my opinion. I don’t think the author intended this, but I could be wrong.
Here are the reasons why I feel that Omasa’s story arc stands out:
1) When the story is told from the villain’s perspective, the story is focused mainly on two characters – Omasa, the main guy, and his scheming second-in-command, Nedal. In contrast, the good guys have a huge team. Consequently, less attention is paid to each character, and the author has to divert time to make sure each character gets his or her time in the spotlight. With the baddies, the spotlight is focused on Omasa, and he shines brilliantly.
2) Omasa isn’t all-powerful. Unlike the Terrans, he has no special powers or mad combat skills. Furthermore, he’s got severe limitations. For one, he’s stuck with a ship that was incompetently made, which he saved in the last minute by whipping the engineers to do their work properly. Second, he’s not exactly working with top quality troops. Even though he’s got the best of the best from among the Tazaran Empire and fringe space, they are not nearly as reliable as the Terrans due to their lack of loyalty. Given all these challenges, we are shown how Omasa overcomes each challenge and holds his own against the far superior Terrans. This creates better suspense and makes for a more sympathetic character.
Going forward, I would like to see more of Omasa. In fact, I hope to see a spin-off story of just him scheming his way up the vast and corrupt hierarchy of the Tazaran Empire, Game of Thrones style. I got a taste of what that story would read like in the epilogue. It was oh-so good.
Now this is all just speculation on my part, but maybe Omasa will one day become Emperor and introduce reforms to make life in the Tazaran Empire less miserable. In fact, he’s smart enough to realize that war with the Terrans is pointless and self-defeating, and so he might even make an unlikely ally to the Terrans! I hope I’m not spoiling any future stories here, Aragmar.
To read Twin Suns of Carrola, head on over to Amazon and buy yourself a copy:
Please also swing by Aragmar’s channel to check out his other content:
Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, he also did a review for my book, Red Eden: Homeworld Bound. Check out his review here: