Pros: I’m loving Bigelow’s books!
Cons: Very small detail gripes
Rating: 5 out of 5
Susan Jane Bigelow’s The Daughter Star (Grayline Sisters Book 1) is a fantastic read. To put it in perspective, as soon as I finished reading this book I bought the sequel (“The Seeker Star”).
In Earth’s history, aliens called the Abrax approached the humans. They needed a certain element present in Earth’s atmosphere; they would have to burn the atmosphere away in order to collect it. They also explained that in not too long, another alien race would want the same thing, and wouldn’t bargain for it. Instead, the Abrax offered to send the humans through two “Windows” to two other suitable planets. Adastre is bright and beautiful. Its gravity is lower than Earth normal, so the people grow tall and willowy. Nea is home to poisonous plants of all kinds, has higher-than-Earth gravity, and in essence is where the ‘lesser’ working-class people went while the rich people populated Adastre.
Naturally some humans refused to leave and would be left to burn. Captain Turn is the man who made contact with the Abrax, and he was the man to press the button that killed off the rest of Earth. In the Grayline family, it’s family belief that they’re descended from Captain Turn’s daughters. And that pedigree makes it easier for them to sense, see, and communicate with the Abrax.
Marta Greyline, who ran away from her religiously strict home of Gideon in order to become a Trade Fleet pilot, is sent home while a new war between Adastre and Nea boils over. She can’t get out of Gideon fast enough (their expectation is that she’ll settle down to a proper marriage and start popping out kids), so when she’s summoned by the Nova Emergency Fleet to pilot supply runs for the war effort, she immediately agrees. What she doesn’t expect is her sister Beth’s unspoken plans to use the event to join the fleet as an engineer. She has her own reasons for wanting to leave Gideon and Nea.
I was invested enough in Marta that I felt her frustration in Gideon, felt her anger at people trying to sabotage her choices, and then felt her elation as she found a new way to get to space again (when she left, my notes just say: “yay!”). She’s one of my favorite characters in some time. I like the fact that she’s crude and rough, sometimes mystified at why her methods don’t get the best results. I felt a bit protective of her by the end of the book. She’s bullish and stubborn, and I absolutely loved her.
Beth and Marta end up falling into the company of a handful of people who call themselves Shadow Runners. When they reach the Shadow Station, everything seems strange. There’s only a small group of people for such a large station. They don’t seem happy to see the new people, even though they themselves rescued Beth and Marta. They’re hiding an awful lot of secrets, ones which can’t help coming out eventually.
The Abrax aren’t around so much lately, but it turns out that there are still a few hidden away.
The plot is riveting, the characters totally pulled me in, and I kind of want to read this volume again to get some of the less-obvious details.