Book Review: Test of Magnitude

Test of Magnitude

Andy Kasch

Revenge is only justice when it can be administered without hatred.

Welcome to the Tora star system, home of the spectacular Cardinal-4 space station overlooking Amulen and Banor, twin worlds that share the same orbit. One visit and you’ll understand why this station is the pinnacle of Torian achievement and a wonder of the Erobian Sphere.

Unfortunately, your timing isn’t great. Many centuries of peace and prosperity are on the verge of collapsing for members of the Erob coalition, as signs of the first interstellar wars loom. The half-breeds tell us it is because we are now forsaking the ancient law, and have thus allowed an evil infection to begin spreading through the galaxy. But those Erob half-breeds have always been a little over-dramatic, haven’t they?

Brandon Foss, an unhappily married Virginian in his early thirties, awakes from a strange dream to discover he has been abducted from Earth and kept in cryonic preservation on Amulen for two decades. One other resuscitated human is with him, a knucklehead who almost seems as alien to Brandon as their reptilian captors. A friendship of convenience forms as the two Earthlings soon become unwittingly intertwined in Torian politics and military affairs–at a time, it turns out, when the Torians desperately need just such intertwining.

This full-length space-adventure novel has been professionally edited and specially formatted for all Kindle devices (including the latest Torian lightpads). We promise a smooth and enjoyable electronic reading experience, complete with a click-able table of contents. Download it today and embark upon your own personal test of magnitude.

Test of Magnitude is an interesting science fiction read.  Brandon, captured from our timeframe, and Derek, the other human in the blurb who was captured in the sixties, form an interesting pair of friends and allies as they enter into this alien world and are quickly caught up in its politics and secrets.

Kasch utilizes some common science fiction tropes, but generally subverts them and makes them unique in how they play out.  The first is obviously alien abduction, but rather than having them wake up on an examination table with lights and sinister devices above them, the captured subjects are kept in cryonic preservation and largely forgotten about for decades.  The second is the messiah trope; lots of science fiction features messiah-like or visionary characters who speak great wisdom and foretell the future (for example: Dune).  When Brandon is bitten by a serpent, he generates these abilities — but rather than having him lead people to freedom, like is common in a lot of science fiction, Kasch has him almost unknowingly babbling wisdom.  Brandon doesn’t develop the messiah-like leadership qualities that the trope usually expects.  And the third quite common trope is that the main character comes from essentially nothing and then must fight to save an entire world.  Normally, I’d roll my eyes — how come an alien world can’t protect itself?  And how come a human who’s never flown a spaceship before is suddenly expected and able to save this world?  Well, Kasch does an interesting job of developing the alien society such that not only does Brandon fighting to save a world make logical sense, but it also doesn’t come off as Mary-Sue-ish.  The development of this plot line is quite believable.

I found the world and the plot that Kasch develops to be quite interesting and engaging.  There were a few rough spots in the narrative, as can be expected of a first novel (things of which I am certainly guilty of, as well), but they are smoothed over and the reader is carried along by the engaging nature of the narrative.  There seems to be a level of playfulness and humour to Kasch’s writing, which I find lightens the mood enough, while still taking itself seriously.  One of the features of military sci-fi (of which this is a blend) that I generally dislike is the always serious and straight-forward nature of it — but Kasch’s writing pulls the reader in with what seems to be a hybrid of a variety of sci-fi sub-genres.  This blend could make Test of Magnitude appealing to more than just the military sci-fi fans — I’m generally not a lover of military sci-fi, but I did enjoy this.

Test of Magnitude creates an interesting world, peopled with likeable characters.  And while the beginning may be a bit slow-moving, it soon picks up pace and moves along quickly.  Test of Magnitude is an enjoyable science fiction read.

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1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, eBooks, Reading

One response to “Book Review: Test of Magnitude

  1. Pingback: What I Read in 2013 | Cameron D James

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