After reading Alexander Elliott’s Expedition in the fall of 2018, I was intrigued and pleased enough to continue the series. After finishing the second book, Odyssey, earlier this month, I went to work on the final installation of the series.
Exploration (Galactic Neighborhood Book 3)
Author: Alexander Elliott
Indie Published with Kindle Publishing
While I think the second book in the series, Odyssey, was the best of the set, this book was interesting and well worth reading to complete the series. An ambitious tale, the book could have done with a slower pace in order to make a more compelling story, but once again Elliott’s creativity and worldbuilding are on great display.
While I think Odyssey was my favorite of the series, I’d place this one above Expedition. It was really well edited in terms of sentence structures, typos, and general stuff like that, but it still had a couple motivations that I found strange and somewhat plot-hole esque.
Like Expedition, the bad guys in this book seemed a little flat. While fleshed out a bit with characters like Birmew, who I enjoyed, the book felt a bit rushed to get to the big finale.
Because the trilogy does have an overarching focus on the successes of the original seed ship, Expedition, and her crew, we don’t get to spend quite as much time building up the characters that deserve all the attention in this book. Characters like Glynnis and Marina have to take back stage during the portions where the Pacifican humans, who successfully colonized a planet decades ago, make their plans and preparations. As a result, I felt the characters who had gut-wrenchingly intense motivations were given little agency to forward the story. While this is probably realistic, I wasn’t sure it worked out very well as a story device.
As an aside, this book contains a bit more sexytime adventures – and not in a pleasant, consensual way – than the previous ones. While the other two books would be fine for a teen or a mature tween to read on their own, I’d suggest guiding a typical YA reader through this one.
4/5 Discoball Snowcones
The below plot holes made me scratch my head, but let it be noted that it could all be rendered moot by the alien Silestri traditions and psychology. Because Elliot packed a TON into this largest final book of the series, I don’t think he had much room to explain a lot of Silestri rituals or traditions. So let that caveat be placed here.
The big question I had in this final book was: why separate the humans by sex? And then, if you’re going to keep the females as (mostly) work slaves, why not have the males be work slaves as well, even if in a different building? The males were instead put off on a planet full of flora and fauna for the Silestri aliens to hunt. While it was a harsh environment for them, it felt almost wasteful for the Silestri to put them there. Once it was revealed that the Silestri were making lab-grown human fetuses to eat as delicacies, it made me wonder why they left the males alive at all instead of hunting them down for food. It definitely made the males easier for the Pacificans to find, which helped finalize the plot and made it so that Birmew could be rescued (Birmew!).
The plight of the human females of Exploration, while so much worse, was also more reasonable. They seemed genuinely useful to their captors, even if it meant really terrible lives for them. I could see the Silestri trying to clone more females, perhaps alter their genetics to make the next generation more resistant to Silestri mating rituals (yes, there were sex slaves).
Other than that, the book had more powerful emotional motivators than any previous entrants into the series. Because of this, I would have to place it above the beautiful passages of Expeditions foundational volume. However, the bad guys in this one were evil without much else about them. Birmew was the exception for his species, though Talmew could be said to be a loyal soldier (who didn’t come up too often). The Silestri exhibited quite a lot of evil, and there wasn’t much question about it. Because of this, the political climate of Odyssey made it the most interesting book in the trilogy for me.
Next week we’ll have a bonus Video Game review since there are 5 Wednesdays in the month! Stay tuned.