Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Messenger

The Messenger (The Messenger #1)The Messenger by J.N. Chaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first installment of J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert’s Messenger science-fiction series opens with protagonist Newton Sawyer, nicknamed and mostly referred to as Dash throughout the novel’s course, perusing the Needs Slate, a listing of errands throughout the known galaxy. Dash is a bit of an alcoholic, and wants to revisit unSpace, helpful in traversing lengthy distances across the galaxy, with his ship the Slipwing, which ultimately encounters battle. Dash lands on the frontier world of Penumbra, leaving just as quickly as he arrives, with new adversaries, the zealously-religious Clan Shirna, coming to mind.

Dash soon commandeers a different vessel, the Halfwing, which a capital ship chases and renders derelict. He has a near-death experience that involves his pursuit of a light, after which he hears an ethereal feminine voice from an A.I. known as the Sentinel, who refers to him as the eponymous Messenger, who becomes the pilot of the mech called the Archetype. In his acquired mech, Dash is able to see details of unSpace he hadn’t noticed before, with the ending chapters launching him into battle with Clan Shirna, the epilogue seeing him back with his crew of the Slipwing, where he vows to prevent war at all costs.

Overall, the first entry of Chaney and Maggert’s sci-fi literary franchise is definitely enjoyable, and a good contributor to the mecha subdivision of the genre, which I definitely appreciated given my experience with science-fiction-themed videogames that have had similar emphases upon giant mechs, titles such as the Xenosaga games coming to mind, especially given the book’s religious overtones. Granted, its similarities to said videogame titles is its primary weakness, although it does do a decent job standing apart from other science-fiction book series occurring in our own universe, and I recommend it for audiences seeking something (mostly) different in the genre.

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