About Abandoned by W. Michael Gear
The second book in a thrilling sci-fi action adventure, set on Donovan, a treacherous alien planet where corporate threats and dangerous creatures imperil the lives of the planet’s colonists.
New York Times bestselling author W. Michael Gear returns us to the world he laid out with such sure purpose in Outpost. The struggle for survival sharpens as resources dwindle, technology fails, and the grim reality of life on Donovan unfolds.
Supervisor Kalico Aguila has bet everything on a fragile settlement far south of Port Authority. There, she has carved a farm and mine out of wilderness. But Donovan is closing in. When conditions couldn’t get worse, a murderous peril descends out of Donovan’s sky–one that will leave Kalico bleeding and shattered.
Talina Perez gambles her life and reputation in a bid to atone for ruthlessly murdering a woman’s husband years ago. Ironically, saving Dya Simonov may save them all.
Lieutenant Deb Spiro is losing it, and by killing a little girl’s pet alien, she may have precipitated disaster for all. In the end, the only hope will lie with a “lost” colony, and the alien-infested reflexes possessed by Security Officer Talina Perez.
On Donovan, only human beings are more terrifying than the wildlife.
Review of Abandoned
I almost did not read this book. After I read book 1 in this series, Outpost, I was not sure I wanted to continue with the series because, to be frank, there were no characters that I felt deserving of my empathy. However, after I let the story churn around in my head for a few days, I came to realize I had invested my brain in a truly amazing story. I had to continue.
I am very glad that I did. Abandoned continues what was a fantastic mesh of individual story lines and expands it to include a critical group of people. The Mundo Research Station, though abandoned long ago, has actually been home to a group of people who have managed to live, if not in comfort, at least a substantial step above eking out a living. The Mundo people are cut off from Port Authority and they like it that way. I liked this group. Among the group is Kylee and her pet quetzal Rocket. I like Rocket for his bond with Kylee. But before you get all mushy about Rocket, you need to know that quetzals are apex predators. They eat anything they like, including humans. Also part of the Mundo group is newcomer Mark Talbot. His journey is dangerous and during it, he engaged me as the reader. He is a great character.
“Hey, did you hear me?” Talbot cried. “I’ve been lost in the toilet-sucking forest for months. I’m half-starved, and without my armor…”
“Such a crier. Don’t bawl. Follow us. But stay back. I don’t trust you. And if you try anything, Rocket will know.”
“I’m not going to try anything. And what kind of animal is Rocket, anyway? It looks like something that tried to kill me.”
“He’s a quetzal.” She glanced back at him as she turned away. “Don’t you know anything?”
Talbot warily inspected the creature as it turned to keep pace with Kylee. Sure enough, it was a miniature version of the thing he’d shot in the forest.
“Isn’t it a little dangerous for you to be wandering around out here in the forest? With a, um, quetzal, no less?”
Again she shot that irritated glance over her shoulder. “I’m not the one who walked under the nightmare. It’s not like anyone doesn’t know about the nightmare. He’s been there for as long as any of us remember.”
“I’m not from here. Get it?”
“As Rebecca would say, no shit.” She was headed slightly northwest, away from the direction he was headed when he encountered the nightmare.
“Which way is Mundo Base?”
“How do you tell in all the trees?”
From the look she gave him, he might have been an idiot. The quetzal hissed, the sound almost like laughter.
—–From Abandoned by W. Michael Gear.
In the meantime, supervisor Kalico is trying to set up a mining operation for the Corporation, constantly fighting the planet. Wirth is trying to run the town through his less than legit gambling operation. And Talina and the rest of her Triune are just trying to keep the peace while making sure the settlement doesn’t fall down around them. Survival on Donovan is never guaranteed. Donovan can be considered the supporting planetary character. You can never let your guard down on Donovan. Okay, I am a little mesmerized by Donovan.
These intertwined stories make Abandoned a truly compelling, complex novel. Talina, with her quetzal DNA silently egging her on, is perhaps the most interesting character. She has always had a pivotal role in the series and it continues in Abandoned. Her relationship with the people of Mundo station was critical and as a reader, I was glad to see her involve herself in it even though her past relationship with Mundo was extremely contentious. Teaching us all that life is a series of compromises, especially on a planet like Donovan.
Off planet, there is something just as intriguing going on. Freelander is the ship that just popped into orbit after being missing for three years, but actually being gone for over a century in transit. Freelander is just plain creepy. In Abandoned, you don’t learn anything new about what happened to Freelander, but, since it did not go away, I assume that story will continue in a future book. I hope so. Unanswered questions are annoying.
Like Outpost, Abandoned has a disturbing cover. Take a look. It depicts key aspects of the story. It is a great cover!
There are so many things going on in this book, my review would be three times as long if I were to comment on all the stuff I liked. So I will leave it at this. This Scifi story that plays out on a frontier world has me hooked on the Donovan series, and yes, even the characters. I will be reading more. No doubt about that.
Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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