|I'll be honest, the cover terrifies me and every time I put the book down, I placed it upside down so my kids wouldn't see it|
Gary Darby's first novel, Star Scout Rising: First Trail, is a science-fiction tale about a young man trying to establish an identity for himself that is separate from the bad rap associated with his father. Del Baldura is part of an organization called Star Scouts. He and his team of Junior Scouts are working to learn about a terrifying alien creature in an area that should be empty of other people when the unthinkable happens. One of their team members is kidnapped by poachers. All the while, another set of villains have their own plans. This leads them to another adventure in what Darby calls "Out There" in reference to outer space.
The Star Scouts appear to be an organization somewhere between the Boy Scouts, the military, and Starfleet of Star Trek. They boldly go where no one has gone before, they go in peace, and they go to learn and discover. I liked Darby's main character, Del. He was a well thought out and believable character. Darby also had an incredibly evil character, who was just a little too much for me. I like my villains less obvious with their cruelty and selfishness, but that might just be me and my wimpiness. I think it would have helped me if I saw the villain from someone else's view point instead of being in the villain's head for those scenes.
Being that I'm not really a Star Trek fan, don't know anything about the military (yet--give me another year and we'll be there), and I was never a Boy Scout, most of the book is new to me. I think the idea is original and fresh--putting these programs together to make something new and then putting them in space for awesomeness.
There were some things I really struggled with while reading the book which are apparently not a big deal to other readers who have reviewed this book--it's received a lot of positive reviews. There was a great need for another pair of eyes for an edit before publishing this book. There were enough grammatical, punctuation, and formatting issues that it was constantly taking me out of the story. I had to work too hard to get back into it. If those errors had been caught previous to publishing the story, I know I would have liked the book a lot more because I would have been able to focus more on the characters and what they were doing instead of sitting there with a pencil and marking out, through, or writing notes. I couldn't help myself.
Other than the major typos in the book there was only one other thing that made the story difficult for me, and that was the blatant and obvious use of LDS scripture and innuendo. While I don't have a problem reading LDS fiction or nonfiction, or even a story with LDS scripture or innuendo, I want said book to be marketed as an LDS fiction, non-fiction, or obviously about about Mormons. I felt like Darby was trying to preach Mormon scripture without telling his readers what he was going to be doing.
Taking away the printing errors and religious innuendo, the book was exciting with characters that were fun (except the scary villain!) and interesting. The book doesn't come close to answering all my questions at the end, but rather leaves us with more questions than we started with. However, that's ok because Darby is already working on the sequel as this book is part of a trilogy.
You can learn more about the author here or purchasing info here (or here for Kindle).
Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for review, but this did not influence my opinion.