Sworld: The Chronicles of Malick by William Harris

Tech-synthed and renowned scientist, Malick has funded this voyage himself. He has built the ship of his own design, but with help from the advanced technology developed by a group of aliens called Redulins. He’s selected a group of experts to aid in the mission of scouting one planet and then testing another for a habitable atmosphere. Three species have come together to build a cohesive science and explorative team. Yet, when a distress signal reaches them the mission radically changes and tensions start to rise as the anticipation of a new group of aliens becomes all too real.

The crew members find that the disabled spaceship is located very close to the first destination of their mission. Malick boards the ship and finds four unconscious sentients of unknown species. Conditions change rapidly as they find the connection between the ships is dragging them closer into the atmosphere of Sworld. The only way to save the parent ship is to detach the escape pods so the main ship will be able to get out of orbit… Unfortunately, this does not work and the expedition is stuck on a hostile planet. Was the distress signal a trap? Will the team have the skills and knowledge needed to face the dangers on the surface?

The Good:

This novel has a good Star Trek vibe. A vessel flying through space on a mission into the unknown… Malick is definitely a fun and well-crafted character whose backstory is  filled out through several dream sequences. He is constantly thinking about his role as a leader of his crew, one he has carefully selected according to knowledge and attributes. And that cast of characters is large… Three different species on the ship populate the ship, including Malick’s telepathic, gene-spliced ‘pet’ Kitty. And there’s a whole host of friendly and hostile humanoid-types on Sworld. Several unique descriptions and takes on the “other” make for a very interesting read.

The Ok:

The crew is stranded. Now what? The tension was more leisurely curiosity than an immediate urge to establish goals and follow through with these intentions. There are threats, but an overreaching conflict can’t be heard over the day to day and in-the-moment problems. This hinders the pacing and at times it felt like the main character wasn’t in tune with his overall desires nor those of the crew.

The Overall:

A massive forrest of carnivorous tree, primitive tribes who don’t believe Malick’s intentions, and a growing Kitty who may be the thing that will tip the scales in the crew’s favor. Caught up in civil wars and the crew is trying to figure out its own role… Sworld is a sprawling epic that can be enjoyed for all the ingenuity of creation.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Releases on May 3rd.

Thank you to Chandra Press and the author for the advanced copy for review.

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