We had stopped by our local used book store a couple weeks ago while we were out and about and I happened to see a book by Diane Duane that I hadn’t previously known existed. I was very familiar with her Young Wizards Series, and loved them dearly, and here I was, presented with a science fiction novel, Starrise at Corrivale. I got quite excited and bought it immediately, and sat down to read it post-haste.
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but what I ended up getting was…very different from what I was used to reading from Diane Duane. The Young Wizards books are very straightforward, with pared down language and a no-nonsense, everyday sort of manner which works well in contrast with the high fantasy she is injecting into the modern world. The opening pages of Starrise, however, were flowery and overly descriptive, setting a lovely scene, but not in the slightest what I’d come to expect from Duane’s writing style. I even went to my bookshelf and grabbed the first of the Young Wizards books to make sure I wasn’t imagining the difference.
Once I got over the initial shock of such a different tone, I started to enjoy Starrise. It is very much a space opera, with blazing guns, marines, aliens, and evil corporate plots. it manages to avoid being cliche for the most part, which was refreshing, and the characters are all engaging and surprising. One interesting note: these sci-fi novels are actually set in the world of a game, Star*Drive, which I had no notion of before picking up this book. They manage to avoid the trap that most licensed books fall into, as they do not require any familiarity with the game to follow and enjoy, and Starrise is a full and complex story of its own. I find many licensed books to fall short on those aspects, so this was a nice change.
If you are in the mood for a somewhat pulpy space opera (which, admit it, we all want now and again) I’d go track down a copy of Starrise at Corrivale. Its well worth the hunt.