I read Expedition, also by Alexander Elliot, and thought the worldbuilding was really good. You can read by review of that first book in the series here.
Odyssey (Galactic Neighborhood Book 2)
Author: Alexander Elliott
Indie Published with Kindle Publishing
I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first in the series. Once again, Elliott provides a full story in this book that is complete with beginning, middle and end. The worldbuilding that he did in Expedition doesn’t go to waste here, but new premises, aliens, and villains (villains that are much more clever than the Lydokk of Expedition) are introduced. There are what I would call ‘editing’ issues, still, but they weren’t as glaring in this second book in the series.
This one’s hard to do a non-spoiler review of because its plot is doused with intrigue. The villain, a political scoundrel who is apparent from really early on (page 1? 2?), has built his democratic stronghold well. Throughout the book, the characters discover how he has come to power and what he’s done to hold onto it, and it’s pretty well done. Sometimes he seems comically evil, but I don’t think that detracted much from the tale.
A host of new main characters rear their heads in this book. Christopher Perry and Mosis/Moreland of Expedition do show up in limited fashion, but Ambrose and Kiren serve well in their roles as primary actors. President Morales was surprisingly moral, which left little complications when it came to choosing right vs. wrong, but I thought it was fitting given the overall length of the book. To have increased the complexity would have easily placed the book into an entirely different territory of book type.
Because Expedition clearly needed more editing before it was published, I thought I would mention that Odyssey is a better-edited book. It could be that Elliot became more experienced, which I think is likely. There were a few too many passages where the main characters shared a chuckle or two which should have been caught by an editor, but I wouldn’t say Odyssey is out of the ordinary when it comes to looking for a Kindle self-published work.
In Odyssey, Elliott investigates a telepathic race that has not built a highly technological society. I thought this was very interesting – I hadn’t seen that combination before (feel free to make fun of my dearth of reading experience, people) and that made it interesting. While it was pretty clear the Rxyl were sentient given the passages that focused on Sh’zul’s point of view, there was always this threat that the humans wouldn’t be able to communicate well enough to prove it. That threat, combined with the looming political trouble presented by Senator Worden and his ilk, kept this book exciting.
I’m not a fan of pseudoscience, but I thought Elliott left enough of his sci-fi premise vague that I couldn’t complain that much. Rather than focus on the minutia of how his telepathic sand-dragons worked, he simply let it work and put most of the emphasis on the simple fact that telepathy was real. I think this was a great decision, as it allowed for the plot elements to shine through.
Lastly, the end was nicely resolved. There was enough exposition to ensure that the characters made it through the trials well, and there’s hints that telepathy will eventually become mainstream among the human population – whether for good or ill.
Anyway, I thought the plot was good. I enjoyed myself quite immensely.
Stay tuned as I review – for my first time ever – a set of poetry: Miriam Hurdle’s Songs of Heartstrings!