"For the first time Anit’za knew that he had real friends. People who would walk through fire to help him. To him they all were much more than their skills or special abilities – they were kin. Not of blood but soul."
For the past six months I have been in a really dark place. It was hard, every day was a struggle. There weren't many things that could put a smile on my face but this series was one of them. I read and reread them, the crew of Starshatter encouraging me to go on every time. And I did. So this is my "Thank you" to Aragmar, for he has helped me much more than he realizes. If there is one thing I am sure of, it is the message written across these pages. A promise. A statement. It is not screamed out loud but stated. Calmly. Firmly. Without hesitation: Fight. Because it is worth it. Fight. Because the biggest crime you can commit is to give up. Fight. Because you are worth it.
When we left our heroes they were headed to Earth to help a certain Asgardian. What follows is as amazing as you can imagine, as the crew of Starshatter arrives on our planet. With each character setting their mind to a particular task, we get to explore our planet in all its glory.
With Dozan and Mack we get to see China and are reminded that despite all their advancement and victories people are still people. Some are courageous, some are cowards. Some are virtuous, some are debauched. A small reminder that Aramgar is not naive and is not writing about some sort of utopia where everyone is perfect, therefore stripped of their humanity and ability to be an individual. In a truly free world, a man is free to make any choice he deems right and pay the price, whatever it may be, for that choice. And let's not forget that a space biker and a Kil'ra morale officer are trying to mingle with civilians - the laughs are guaranteed.
With Lilly, Alice, Alric and Vasilisa we finally get to see what will happen with (my main man) Brynjar. It is around this time that it hit me. If there is one word that defines this book(and the series as a whole) it would be "layers" or "depth". The book works on so many levels that it is truly astonishing. And the fact that it was pulled off so seamlessly is an act of masterful writing, and I do not use those words lightly. What I mean is that you can take the story at face value as it is: a great adventure with a lot of action and that is fine. But if you stop for a second and start to think, you can start to see the little threads woven through the story. If you start asking "Why?" and "How?" you would almost be able to see Aragmar smiling encouragingly across the table. "Why are these problems present in Asagard?", "How does this benefit...?". The author gives you the clues, encourages you to think for yourself and you can arrive at some great conclusions but at the same time he realizes that with any great mystery you want the clues, not to be given the answer straight away. He respects your little grey cells, mes amis. Do not ignore that fact and learn to recognize it when you see it, because it is rare and special.
Asgard: home to one of humanity's powerful allies. But not everything is as perfect as they would have you believe
With Anit'za the mysteries continue. From a simple coin, through a secret room and a simple diary to an intense, breathtaking race. The road that the dzen'ta has to walk is truly fascinating and he loves every minute of it. Through it we get to enjoy our illustrious captain's signature charm and a lot of laughs. Four books in and we are finally starting to understand this character little by little. It is as if we have finally earned the right to learn more about him and he has allowed Aragmar to tell us more. Because that is the power of truly great characters. You might think it sounds corny or lame, but it is none the less true - a truly great character begins to have a life on their own. And Anit'za is aware of just how great he is.
What I found disturbing(in a good way..well... a narrative good way) is the fact that through all the light-hearted adventures and laughs, even the obvious firefights there is an undercurrent of dread. There is something truly distressing about the fact that even Earth isn't a safe place. Home is supposed to be safe. A place of peace, where you can be alone or with those you love, without fear. This was a crossroad I had to pass, here, in this book. The full realization of just how tragic humanity's struggle really is. Yes, we have seen people fight and die, but that was out there. Here...the first and last bastion of humanity...home...it's supposed to be safe, it has to be...but it's not. So many dangers lurk in the shadows, so many horrors desecrate the beautiful places created by people that long for nothing more than peace. Who have sacrificed so much, earned their rest through bloodshed...and yet they can't.
Not all of humanity's enemies want to be seen or fight in the open
I didn't pity the humans, not because I wasn't sad and I didn't feel crushed, but because the wouldn't accept my pity. So when I saw how they continued to fight without a second thought or hint of fear, I simply encouraged them. And that is all they really needed. A little encouragement when they find it tough to go on. Just like us.
From one of humanity's first enemies, well-hidden, waiting to a haunted zone, there are numerous dangers our heroes have to deal with but it is nothing a telepath and an avern’a saint can't handle.(with a little bit of help, of course. They are Terrans, not idiots). Here, once again I am fascinated with the masterful worldbuilding Aragmar has displayed so often. Little winks and nods start coming together and the forces at play here are simply amazing. Nothing that hasn't been said and shown, but a truly well-earned and well-written action scenes need to be praised because they are an art in and of themselves.
Many people have lost their lives in the Zone...
With Cat we get to explore more of the tragic past. It is a remarkable read, one that truly humbled me as I felt the weight of it all, and the responsibility that every Terran has. Also we get a handy lesson in politics, or rather how political games should be handled. For we see that brute force cannot be the only way humanity has survived for so long. I mean....Aragmar has thought of that as well. Did you have any doubts?
This will probably sound corny and mushy to some but growing up I never truly had childhood heroes. Somehow I always thought that I am the one who decides what is right or wrong. I have to do whatever I set my mind to, no one can do it for me. But now I truly understand what it means to be inspired. These characters inspire me. Every day. They are my heroes. And whenever I struggle they are there to encourage me, to show me that I have the strength to dream, to fight. And if you listen really carefully you can understand that hope is there, within you. You yourself can fan that flame and give it to others, who desperately need it, just like you did.
So lock and load Terrans! The fight is far from over! But we are still here. Still standing strong! We have a planet to save.
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