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The story as a whole was easy enough to follow one you understand the date system the author uses. The dialog is funny and feels like tabletop character banter. The narrator takes a few chapters to get used to, but the variety of voices helps to keep the character differentiated nicely. Overall, it is a nice junk food with a lot of laughs, and a side of suspense.
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It starts out with a small crew battling off pirates at sea. Quirky, gritty, realistic characters make up the small crew. Some are generous, ungenerous and suspicious, young and timid, older and cantankerous, with a constant sarcastically joking banter, and fiercely loyal to each other. Flashbacks help fill them and their story out. The flashbacks also help explain the overall plot. The story also covers characters in other locations that relate to and eventually meet up with the plotline. None are stereotypes, few are very powerful, but most are complex and realistic characters so it was easier to identify with, take seriously, and care about them the challenges they face.
When things turn out to not be what they were supposed to the mission changes. Shipboard, slogging and fighting through the jungle and creatures, discovering unforeseen plot angles, ancient ruins, and a little castle conniving. It had great action scenes, mystery, some political intrigue, and surprising plot twists. At various points it had the tone or flavor of Serenity, old jungle exploring adventure movies, Indiana Jones, and The Mummy. It doesn’t end in a cliff hanger but a character has decides to start a new a new effort that could be a next novel. I immediately got the next novel in the series but it is a different thing altogether. A great writer, I can’t wait for her next stand-alone novel.
The narration was really good with a variety of voices that fit the characters but spoken too fast, without enough (sometimes any) pause between phrases and sentences. Not so fast that I couldn’t enjoy the story but in many places it made it hard to follow and I had to rewind and this detracted.