Reviewed by KJ Van Houten
Disclosure: A PDF of this story was provided to me by the author, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review.
When I was first asked if I wanted to do this review, the only blurb I saw (not the one currently on Amazon, thankfully) didn’t seem that appealing – presented more of a ‘REALLY bad things are going to happen to this girl before she catches a break’ kind of feel. So I was a bit reluctant and this sat in my kindle app for a while before I finally felt guilty for not having done a review. Geez, now I feel bad I waited! Not that story at all!
The book starts off with a detailed prologue. It’s almost like a ‘future-history’ lesson, necessary to set up the background for the world our protagonists live in. One of the key points is that in this future, post-apocalyptic world, men are still arrogant jerks toward women! I would have hoped that in a world where billions have died, massive winds like ‘stationery hurricanes’ have a large effect on the remaining society, providing both a source for generating power and a means for a really unique transportation ability. While there are trained SkyRyders who have learned to travel the winds to provide a delivery service to move goods around the various settlements, the best become part of the the SkyRyder Corps, an army of elite soldiers who attempt to maintain peace.
We first meet our heroine, Alisha. She is a young woman that has quickly learned to become a topnotch Ryder and makes her living recovering lost and stolen goods for various merchants. She is an excellent Ryder, but manages to crash in some very dangerous territory. Luckily, her crash is observed by a Corps colonel who is nearby enough to help her out. He goes as far as to sneak her onto their military base and lock her in his cabin where she can shower and eat. The colonel, or Logan, is intrigued by the amazing flying skills he had seen and wants to convince Alisha to join the Corps.
Let’s just say that things happen and Alisha agrees and joins Logan’s group to undergo training. Life is hard for a new recruit and especially for women. ‘REALLY bad things’ are hinted at, attempted, and Alisha fights back. She is not one to back down or cower when confronted with bullies.
Logan finds himself admiring Alisha for more than her flight skills, and Alisha finds herself admiring Logan for more than his skills as a commander and trainer. Logan resists a lot, Alisha tempts a lot, and their struggle to figure out their relationship continues for a long time. Of course there is an adversary or two to deal with – bullies and misogynistic attitudes within the Corps and drug-lords and scavengers outside the Corps.
I gave A Scavenger’s Mission 4-stars instead of 5 stars for two reasons: First, in addition to the background ‘lesson’ in the prologue, there are a few times throughout the book where the story seems to take a break in order to explain a bit more either about the world setting or about how flight within the winds works. This latter seems to be repeated a couple of times, and probably goes into a bit more detail than needed. Not that THAT is a bad thing since some readers really like to know the processes like that, but the average reader might not need to read so much. I had a couple of aerospace related courses as a undergrad, so I did find some of the detail quite interesting and thought the entire method of flight made the story pretty unique, but otherwise I probably would have skimmed it.
Second reason: Alisha is definitely a Mary Jane – too good to be true type of heroine. She comes from a wealthy, protected socialite background, teaches herself to become a topnotch flyer in a very short period of time – and outflies most of the Ryders around her. She stands up to bullies, comes up with excellent military strategies…you get the point. Oh, and she’s young, beautiful, and our hero, Logan, can’t resist falling for her almost immediately despite being a self-proclaimed bachelor, career military man who would never do something like fall for someone under his command. I’m generally ok with the Mary Jane type, but this one was almost too much.
Also, while reading, I did have some formatting issues, not sure if it was because I was reading a PDF through a kindle app or if the PDF provided was corrupted, so there were numerous times when I had to piece a few lines each time back together in a way to make sense, and those did take me out of the story. Hopefully the versions available for purchase/download are not like this.
Despite the issues I mentioned, this story itself turned out to be quite good and there is a lot of quick-paced action, which is on par with a military SFR story. It definitely was better than my expectations, and I enjoyed it enough to look forward to book 2.
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