BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY
Amazon Editorial Review
Beyond the Hidden Sky is a science fiction adventure book that will draw in readers of all ages and interests. The story begins at warp speed as space travel and its theory weaves throughout the tale of a family separated by mishap and kept apart by intent. The characters are engaging and relatable with family dynamics that mirror readers’ personal experiences. The internal human struggle between reason and instinct creates a storyline that, regardless of the fictional setting, allows readers to connect immediately to this fascinating first book in the Star Trails Terralogy Series. –Noelle Harrild, School Librarian, Logan, Utah
A joy to read. Imaginative hard sci-fi with real-life characters
Imagine growing up in a regimented, well-ordered, pristine bubble. Then imagine you burst that bubble accidentally and your new playground suddenly opens up to include the galaxy, but you’re on your own, your family is travelling farther and farther away, you’re trapped in this escape pod, and there’s a virtual nanny telling you what to do. Imagine you’re a natural rebel.
Creena Brightstar is a rebel.
Dirck is her brother. Dirck is dutiful, compliant, and loves to drive his non-conforming sister crazy. This time he went too far. Now he’s with his father and on a mission to find Creena, only the big, bad world outside is nothing like the bubble he’s raved about all his life, and his dad has some rapid education to do.
This is such a fun, fascinating read. Marcha Fox knows her science, and the Brightstar children rapidly need to learn all this stuff about space travel, warp drive, and time bumps, and so the reader learns right along with them. Anyone who loves hard science will lap this book up. However, that and the wonderful world-building is the bonus.
The real joy in this story (the start of a bigger, complex, political sci-fi thriller chock-full of mysterious baddies) is Creena and Dirck’s development. Adversity tests, tries, and changes their outlook on life. In Marcha Fox’s world, never mistake inexperience for incompetence. She expects much from her young characters, and yet intuitively understands and empathises with them.
Oh, and there’s a robot I swear would drive C-3PO insane.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for both young and old and I will be gradually devouring the rest of this series.
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Beyond the Hidden Sky by Marcha Fox is a suspenseful science fiction thriller focusing on the exploits of the Brightstar family. Merapa is offered a career opportunity on the planet Cyraria, unable to anticipate the problems a moment of teenage angst can cause. His daughter Creena activates an emergency unit which catapults her into space, leaving her family to deal with the consequences. Merapa finds himself dealing with manipulative forces in the interplanetary community in his frantic search to recover his daughter from oblivion.
The story becomes a classic battle between good and evil as Merapa reveals himself to be a member of the Ledorian Order. Based on the planet Esheron, their purpose is maintaining the equilibrium of the universe. The consequences of right and wrong are a resonant force throughout the cosmos, and they become a stabilizing influence in counteracting the efforts of the Integrator in subjugating the will of humanity to its own intents and purposes. Augustus Troy is the major antagonist in the novel, seeking to expedite his probationary period in the network by proving himself a capable executive at the expense of the Brightstars.
There are subplots galore that will satisfy the appetite of the hardcore sci-fi audience. We are introduced to Aggie (AG4MI), an electroid (robotic unit) who acts as a companion to Creena as she continues on her fateful journey to the rugged, untamed planet of Verdaris. The family also becomes reliant on Thyron, a 2001 Space Odyssey-type supercomputer who communicates by means of psi waves in rhyming verse that gives the author a chance to demonstrate her own poetic skills. Eventually her uncle Kranston Starturner enters the conflict, standing beside his family in their time of crisis as they approach the climactic confrontation with the dark forces of Augustus Troy and the Integrator.
The publisher suggests this as a story geared towards the YA market, but I’m sure sci-fi audiences of all ages will thoroughly enjoy Marcha Fox’s tale. Beyond the Hidden Sky by Marcha Fox is one you won’t want to miss.
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I really enjoyed this novel. The story is entertaining and believable, The author takes you on a ride through the universe. I can’t wait to read the next story in the series. This is a well written engaging story.
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This was a great read! It’s refreshing to be able to read a book and you can tell the writer is knowledgeable. I’m on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens in the next adventure of the Brightstar family. Will most definitely be reading the rest of the series.
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Great Fiction/Great Science
Beyond The Hidden Sky by Marcha Fox is a brilliant sci-fi, young adult novel. Creena Brightstar a pre-adult who is a contradiction to her upbringing on Mira 3 where rules and logic dictate society. As a teen who is an Esheronian/ Miran mix she relies on intuition and emotion instead of logic more than is maybe good for her. The Brightstar family is on a transport from their home planet Mira 3 to Cyraria when Creena stumbles upon a pod which sends her on an excursion to Verdaris a planet full of vegetation with few settlements that is in the way of a bombardment of comets. Her father and brother head out for a rescue mission while her mother and youngest brother have to enter a new planet on their own.
The author’s colorful and animated word sketches give the reader the feel of actually watching or being right in the mix of the story. She brings personality and quirks to the characters as they develop through expressive descriptions and dialogue. For the series, she creates a whole new language such as cylls- for sleeping, snurkles- a derogatory term, and time is measured in metrics which makes sense as science is based metrically. To go with the series I also definitely recommend the Star Trails Compendium; it’s a wonderful reference for the language and Universe March Fox has created in the Star Trails Tetralogy.
I am an author as well as having taught junior high science for a number of years and think this read would be a fabulous addition to classroom libraries as well as “the hungry for sci-fi lovers” personal bookshelf.
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Beyond the Hidden Sky by Marcha Fox series are science fiction thrillers focusing on amazing exploits of the Brightstar family. The stories becomes classic battles between good and evil of the universe. The consequences of right and wrong are forces throughout the cosmos. seeking to expedition. Rhyming verses shows off the authors poetic and talented skills. The beautiful covers are attractively designed. Although geared for the YA market, it is suited for sci-fi audiences for all ages who will thoroughly enjoy the talented professional writing of Marcha Fox’s wonderful expeditions. Beyond the Hidden Sky series by Marcha Fox are not to be missed and highly recommended.
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The story centers around Creena, who accidentally (or maybe not), gets trapped in an escape pod and gets fired out into space. As most teenagers, she doesn’t like rules or her older brother. The Brightstar family are traveling on a spaceship, leaving their home planet Mira III. Captain Troy has plans for Creena and her family. Not good ones. As punishment for Creena’s escape, the family is split up.
Creena lands on the planet Verdaris. She flees from strange creatures. She finds a friend in a troid called Aggie. They escape the planet by taking over a space ship. Meanwhile, Creena’s father and brother are searching for her. Creena misses her brothers and parents. She learns the hard way to take care of herself. This book is a nice coming of age story.
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Creena Brightstar is a fourteen year-old girl of mixed bloodlines. Her mother, or merama, is a soft-spoken, well-mannered Miran. Creena’s brilliant father, or merapa, is Esheron, a people with a need for solitude that are known for their illusive, introverted ways. Creena was born and reared on “the perfectly ordered world,” of Mira III where logic and reason prevail and The Laws usually are not questioned. Creena feels she has never quite fit the perfect Miran mold; and more often than not, she finds herself on the receiving end of another NCR, or Non-Compliance Report. Creena has benefited from living on Mira III with its stable society, but at fourteen, her intense curiosity compels her to question what everyone else takes for granted. As the story opens, Creena is already in trouble. At the onset, her quest is unclear, but like all heroes her challenge is to harness her duel nature and bring the best of what she is to the forefront of her life.
Science theory is a large part of this story and the writer uses many scenes and situations to explore warp drive, time bumps, worm holes, and warp gullies to name a few. When explanation is needed in a book, it usually slows progression of the plot, but the author uses the science as a “key” to unlock the puzzle of the many developing situations in which Creena finds herself. It’s a great book for anyone that wants to learn more about scientific concepts while being thoroughly entertained.
Beyond the Hidden Sky is filled with plenty of enigmatic characters, some alien, some humanoid, and others android. There are scheming villains and self-sacrificing heroes. My favorite character is the vegemal, Thyron, a sentient plant life that communicates in rhyming couplets.
I liked many things about this book, but my favorite scenes were the ones where Creena begins to realize her personal power from the melding of her mind and feelings. I look forward to volume 2 in the series, A Dark of Endless Days, and marvel over the knowledge and growing talent of this writer.
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“A word for panic does not even exist of Mira III. It is not needed.” Now imagine being propelled from such a world to one in which panic ensues. The result? Culture Shock. Throw in some chaos, aliens, humanoids and sci-fi language, and March Fox drops us off in an imaginative world similar to Star Wars or Star Trek. There is these awesome super-computer that speaks in rhymes, and more.The plots and sub-plots include family values, a family being uprooted, a “pre-adult” who causes trouble for the family, and much more.
This well written novel’s style plunges the reader into a new world through fabulous characterizations and sci-fi terms without interrupting the flow of the story. Reading this, I did not even realize it was considered a YA, as it is written in a mature style with realistic possibilities. As a Star Wars fan, I was deeply excited to read this book. This is the first in the Star Trails Tetralogy, and I look forward to reading more.
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The cool cover made me want to read this book, and the fact that the author has a degree in physics and worked for NASA. The story was well-written with great pacing and fascinating details. The main characters were compelling and sympathetic, the different worlds were easy to “see” with organic descriptions arising out of the plot and situations, and the scientific details added greatly to the story without sounding like something out of a textbook. The only thing jarring was the one character (who was otherwise very original and extremely interesting) who communicated in telepathic rhyme. Having him rhyme occasionally would have been enough; a few of the “conversations” sounded stilted and forced because of the awkward rhymes. Other than that, it was a fantastic read for middle grade and older!
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“Beyond the Hidden Sky” by Marcha Fox is an exciting tale about Creena Brightstar, a headstrong teen from planet Mira III, her father Lauren, mother Sharra, troublesome older brother Dirck and her pleasant to be around younger brother Deven. The story begins with the Brightstar family on their way to Cyraria, another planet where Lauren is initially set up with a great paying job to determine the best ways to use the soil on the planet’s surface. Creena makes a huge detour when a fight with Dirck causes her to find a hiding place in a space pod. Unfortunately, her father’s nemesis, Augustus Troy, set up the pod to separate from the main ship in a plot to force Lauren to do the Order’s bidding. Troy also has eyes on Creena because she, like her father, possesses the potential to balance logic and intuition, a characteristic not common among natives of Mira who tend to be more logical followers or those of Esheron who tend to be warriors led by their gut.
This story takes place in space of the Hostilan galaxy. Some readers may find the discussions concerning space/time travel difficult to follow. Sparse use of commas also leads to re-reading. However, the plot held my attention and left me wanting more when it ended. Each of the main characters was well developed, so I was able to connect with them. There were also a number of twists and turns which kept me coming back. I look forward to continuing the journey to see what happens next. I recommend this book to avid science fiction readers.
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“Beyond the Hidden Sky (Star Trails Tetralogy Book 1)” by Marcha Fox is an excellent Science Fiction Novel that seems aimed at both adults and younger readers. Adults will enjoy the scientific and concise description of technology, while younger readers will love the young characters, robots and many other entertaining ingredients.
The book has great charm and is easy to read for most parts, but very thought-through and complex in others. Knowing the author as the accomplished writer of concise Astrology books, the competence and easy use of technology and science in this book comes as no surprise.
Suspense, dramatic curve and fun parts are well balanced to make for a promising start in this 4-parter. Recommended!
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Beyond the Hidden Sky: Volume 1 of the Star Trails Tetralogy by Marcha Fox is sci-fi at its best. This space opera is fast paced and action packed and will leave you breathless.
I really liked the way the author developed a storyline that is full of plot twist and adventure. It will keep you on your toes as the multiple plot lines progress. The author’s storytelling style works well in this type of book and makes it easy to follow and very believable.
Marcha Fox did an excellent job of creating and developing her characters. They are believable and easy to follow. With the background information and the storyline you could see the strength of each of the characters grow and mature as the story progressed.
The only thing that I did not like about the book was it ended. Now I will have to read the next installment of what is shaping up as a great series.
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After starting the second book in the series, I put it down and went back to this first book. The reason for this was that the book was so engrossing and well-written that I wanted to start Creena Brighstar’s adventures from the begining. This story starts with the Brighstar relocating from their perfectly ordered home planet to Cyraira. Creena and her 17 year old brother have another dispute and Creena finds herself in an escape pod on her way to Verdaris. The adventures continue. This superb tale is a great read for young adults and the rest of us.
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I have been a fan of science fiction dating back to the Eisenhower years when I first read stories by Poul Anderson, Lester Del Rey and other writers of that really remarkable era.
Marcha Fox is, in my opinion, a worthy successor to those writers who first enthralled me with their tales of other worlds, other times and “others.”
That said, let me add that in ‘Beyond the Hidden Sky’ she has fashioned an excellent adventure story in the classic vein of those earlier writers with the extra added attraction of some very intriguing – and scientifically accurate – explanations of just how space travel actually works.
The story is one of both family love and loyalty coupled with a sinister betrayal. Laren Brightstar, the father of three and husband to Sharra, is an important figure on his home planet. He is, however, about to fall victim to a plot that he does not fully understand; a political maneuver that will have serious consequences for him and his family. In an effort to do what’s right for his wife and children he refuses to go to work for the ominous Augustus Troy and, instead, accepts a government position across the galaxy on a planet that is anything but hospitable.
If that were the worst of his problems his life would be difficult enough but his daughter Creena, a terrifyingly bright 14-year-old with a mind very much her own, has gone missing in deep space while the family is moving from one planet to another. Laren, acting on instinct, goes in search of her and therein, as the Bard once said, hangs a tale.
‘Beyond the Hidden Sky’ is the first in a series of books about the life and times of the Brightstar family and I am eager to read the rest of the saga.
I highly recommend this book, therefore, to anyone who enjoys a blend of science fact with science fiction.
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As an avid YA reader, I was pleasantly surprised to have won this novel in a giveaway. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read sci-fi, and I was thrust into a riveting, highly detailed and believable world from page one. Beyond the Hidden Sky is a space adventure surrounding the journey of Creena Brightstar and her family as they navigate the uncertainties of space all while trying to reunite after a deliberate scheme by villainous Troy tore the Brightstars apart in the beginning.
From spaceships to otherworldly planets, the descriptions throughout the novel drew me in and helped me imagine what it would be like to be the characters. I could really get in their heads and cheer for them as they tried to overcome every challenge that headed their way. While the space lingo seemed daunting at first glance, the novel was written in such a way that it was easy to pick up on the more I read, so if you’re hesitant to read the novel because of that, don’t be.
Besides a fun adventure story, Beyond the Hidden Sky delves into a world that perfectly portrays the importance of family, finding balance between instincts and logic, sibling rivalry, and the idea of something greater in the universe. I look forward to the rest of the series to discover where Creena and her family end up in this vast universe of possibilities. I recommend this novel to those who like reading about other worlds, space travel, science, and family sagas.
A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS
Marcha Fox is a great story teller, and once you begin reading her series, you will surely want to read the next book as quickly as possible. I couldn’t wait to see how the members of the Brightstar family would cope with their intriguing problems in space. Young people can identify with the children in the family, but this series is for people of all ages. Marcha does transport you to outer space, way into the future, and you will believe you are there with the Brightstar family.
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A Dark of Endless Days by Marcha Fox is a sequel to her previous sci-fi novel, Beyond The Hidden Sky. Once again we follow the adventures of the Brightstar Family as they try to gain their bearings after searching across the stars for the wanderlust-stricken Creena. Having catapulted herself across the galaxy in an emergency escape pod, the tale resumes as she tries to sort things out in her quest to reunite with her loved ones. Together with her electroid Aggie and the omniscient Thyron, she finds her attempts to return home thwarted by a malevolent force that only her newfound friends can help her overcome. Yet her stay with the Bensons is short but sweet, and we find both her and her family longing for the end of her journey as the story concludes.
The redeeming feature of sequels to author and readers alike is the volume of reference we have in the preceding work. Followers will eagerly pick up where they left off, while newbies can buy a copy of the first novel to learn more about the characters and the storyline. In this case, Dirck is more fleshed out as a heroic character in following his father Merapa’s footsteps. We also have Creena’s plight continuing as a damsel in distress, backed up by Aggie and Thyron (in the tradition of 3P0 and R2D2). The climate plays an elemental role (is that oxymoronic?) as the Opposition season sets in, giving the protagonists yet more adversity to deal with in their struggle. The author’s choice of book title does prove apropos.
The dark side of Cyrarian life becomes more complex in this sequel as well. We are introduced to the regime of Governor Woeyel as Augustus Troy (the major antagonist of the first novel) makes his return, but finds himself in a potential conflict with his superior, Rohtik Spoigan. We also learn of the Epsilon Territorial Prison, a mind-bending brainwash center that will remind you of Holiday in Cambodia. It seems to anticipate a face turn by Spoigan in the next installment, though I have been wrong before (i.e. the Governor in The Walking Dead – NOT!).
This is a worthy addition to the sci-fi genre and certainly one for readers who enjoy following serial compilations. A Dark of Endless Days by Marcha Fox is one you won’t get enough of.
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In the vein of old science fiction literature this story could end up as another classic. Its original, with all the components, technology, other world and races, and a contact with Earth. It also has tension and conflict, though mostly emotional and interpersonal, not ray guns. The characters are wonderful and real, and the only thing that disappointed me was that it was another “to be continued” story. If you are willing to follow a series then you will not be disappointed with this one.
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The estimable sci-fi writer, Marcha Fox does it again. In this fast-paced sequel to Beyond The Hidden Sky, the Brightstar family continues to battle evil forces. His beloved father languishing in a fetid prison, it is up to young Dirck to embark on a hero’s journey. Equipment malfunctions, duplicitous entities and High Opp’s torturous heat conspire to foil Dirck in his efforts to rescue his father and reunite the family. Written in a technically proficient yet engaging style this book is sure to captivate science fiction lovers of all ages!
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This is an intriguing story. I do love the Brightstar family as they seem to get out one mess only to go into another. It was hard to put down. Love her style of writing. I think the books get better as they go. I also like what the author seems to say. Well written.
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This book was really well written and well thought out. The Brightstar family feels genuine and like a family you would love to know. As you follow their exploits you become involved and want to continue on with the story. This book and the others in the series are an interesting read and take you on a wonderful adventure. Great job!
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A Dark of Endless Days by Marcha Fox is volune two in the Star Trails Tetralogy. This segment picks up exactly where volume one stopped. The Brightstar family is living on Cyraria-a hot dismal planet with two suns. The blazing heat and high opps creeping up on them they build a cooling system for their ballome and consider heading for cooler ground. Merapa always one step above the law isn’t so fallible and Creena gets stuck on Earth. Her opinions about earth and the descriptions of Earthlings and our society sent me into fits of laughter. A couple new characters drop in on this volume, a bnolar and Win- a friend of Dirck’s to make this story an ever increasingly interesting read.
Fox once again does an exceptional job building character and making her created universe a reality. I can’t turn a page without picturing the story in my mind and visualizing each character. With each novel in this series I read I find myself cringing on the edge of my seat, laughing out loud, and worried for each character. She gives the reader a bang for their buck.
A well written book that will not disappoint.
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Having read Marcha Fox’s first book in this series, I knew what I was in for– a great story, relationship conflicts, an imaginative new world, and some interesting technology to go along with it. I had taken some time between the two books, but was not confused when I continued the adventure with this story. In some other series, I feel like the author rushes the first chapter and squeezes all the characters in, not giving the reader a chance to reconnect with the characters. This was not the case with Ms. Fox’s book.
Ms. Fox possesses a great writing style which draws the reader in and keeps the reader’s attention. The flow and plot, although sci-fi, are somewhat believable because of the writing style and characters that come alive. Comic relief was inserted when we visit Earthlings, and there is enough substance and sub-plots to entertain readers of all genres, not just sci-fi. This is also a clean read which is suitable for the entire family.
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I made time over the holiday season to read the second book in this wonderful series. The family is still torn apart, Creena is on Terra, desperate to return to her family and completely bewildered by the backward humans living on planet Earth (loved all the references to UFOs and aliens), while the rest of her family is surviving life on a hostile planet passing between two suns.
The heat ramps up as does the drama as Dirck is forced to take on Laren Brightstar’s design for an AC system that might keep the family alive during the hot season while Troy (baddie) plots how to manipulate Laren into doing his bidding.
I am in awe of the world author Marcha Fox has created. She has populated our galaxy with human colonies and aliens, enriching the story with intricate detail covering solar systems, seasons, geology, politics, anthropological, fauna, eco-commerce, technological, and spiritual beliefs that are unveiled layer upon layer as the story progresses.
The children are learning so much and (as I mentioned in my review for the first book) the reader learns right along with them. These kids face an epic struggle for survival and I felt their joy with each small success and their despair when everything they’ve worked for begins to fall apart on them. The characterisation is beautifully carried throughout and you witness the children’s emotional growth. Deven is still one to watch! I think leaving Mira was the best thing that could have happened to them. I shudder to think how their lives might have turned out if their biggest trial to face had been boredom and compliance in a system designed to perpetuate the ordinary. Not on Cyraria. Here, Marcha Fox has created something extraordinary.
Take your time reading this book as this is not a fast-paced read although it certainly has its heart-thumping moments. However, the pace encouraged me to slow down, savour the rich detail, and get inside the heads of these children. A thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m very much looking forward to Book 3!
( I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.)
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In THE DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS, Book II of the STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY, the author, Marcha Fox, takes us deeper into the lives of the Brightstar family and their personal expressions of communal love. Torn apart by diabolical political forces, the Brightstars commitment to reuniting the family almost seems hard-wired in their brains. The validity of this commitment is not questioned because this type of allegiance is familiar to most of us. It’s something primal in our souls, a feeling buried so deeply within us that it is beyond words. Commitment to family gives us comfort, especially as children. It gives us security and keeps fear at bay while subtly suggesting, “As long as we all are together, everything will be okay.”
Two generations of Brightstars play off each other in sharp contrast and they approach life’s problems in different ways. The older, or experienced, generation consists of Laren and Sharra. Laren, the patriarch of the family, is the linchpin that holds them all together and he sets the bar high for his children. To me, Laren is the most interesting character in the book. He is the exhausted yet tireless hero-in-chief and the wisest among men. I want to know more about his life and his extraordinary gifts and skills. If Laren has any weakness, it’s for his darling wife, Sharra. From the reader’s prospective, Laren appears to protect her from the harsher realities of their situation and I wonder why. Sharra is the silent martyr in the story; she is ever present, yet reserved or distant and unknowable. I would like to see Sharra’s character developed a bit more. She certainly deserves a breakthrough moment where she feels her strength.
The younger, or untested, generation consists of the teenagers, Creena and Dirk Brightstar. Creena seems the antithesis of her mother. Creena is direct, rebellious, opinionated and highly evolved and Dirk is petty and somewhat of a bully. While Creena’s spaceship lands on our favorite, familiar planet, the rest of the Brightstars are stranded on the toxic planet of Cyraria and doing their best to stay alive.
Dirk, Laren’s older son, takes on a larger role in this book. Abrupt changes in the family dynamics leaves Dirk feeling unprepared when he realizes his commitment to family has put him into a position of caring for his mother and little brother, Deven. When crisis after crisis strike, Dirk struggles to fill his father’s shoes, but Dirk’s optimism shrivels to hopelessness as their technology fails to serve them.
Despite Dirk’s lack of confidence, he is the only family member that questions his father’s motives. If Dirk is the young hero of this story, he must question the assumptions of the previous generation and find better ways of coping with the problems at hand. It’s not that Dirk mistrusts or dislikes his father, if anything Dirk is in complete awe of the great Laren Brightstar. The trial of questioning our assumptions and motives of the past takes great courage and is a crucial test along the hero’s journey. Adulthood usually comes in drips and dabs, yet defining moments arise when the hero realizes the future is upon him and he must act. “Hold onto 16 as long as you can, changes come around real soon, make us women and men.”* (*John Mellencamp). With adulthood come new powers, but the powers are useless until the hero takes responsibility for his actions. When the hero learns to weigh his intentions, it will define the parameters of his integrity and he will own his power. Despite all the hurdles the Brightstars face, the challenge of gaining their power and using it properly will decide all their fates.
This is a story for our times, about what endures when technology fails, the climate turns toxic, and we are out of luck. Despite the injustices suffered, despite the petty differences between Creena and Dirk and the light years separating the Brightstars, their loyalty to family never wavers. They are sustained by the belief that, “No problem is insurmountable as long as long as they are together.” No human animal thrives alone. Our connections are not always obvious, because the spirit of community is deep within our entwined roots.
The irony in the Brightstar family becomes apparent as the family reacts to their immediate struggles. Their definition of family must burgeon to encompass more than genetic similarities. When help is needed, humans make friends and learn the meaning of trust. Some of these friends don’t look like us and have beliefs different from our own, but family is intangible and made of more than genetic material. Family is made of commitment and loyalty to life.
Marcha Fox has a nice writing style and she sneaks little science lessons into her stories. Although her audience is “young adult,” there is nothing childish in her books and they are enjoyable to a wide spectrum of adult readers too. I thoroughly recommend the Star Trail Tetralogy. What a great read for these cold winter nights!
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In this book the Brighstar’s saga continues as Creena continues her efforts to be reunited with her family while they suffer on Cyraria with extreme heat and a hostile environment. Creena’s brother Dirck and their father attempt to make a heat exchanger to help the family survive the brutal atmosphere until the father Laren is arrested and held as a political prisoner. Drick tries his best for the family as they seem to be flung further apart. This series is addictive. One is not enough.
A PSILENT PLACE BELOW
I have to say I read this intriguing story in one breath. The story itself keeps you chained to the book from the first to the last page. The specific and very detailed description of the places and of the characters say so much about the author’s capacity to depict all of it with words, making your imagination start running freely in the process. Her style is excellent and inspiring with a high sense of plot, flow of the story. New characters, emotions, way of life and places, will keep you astonished and increasingly interested at every page. This new episode of this amazing saga is a “must” that can’t be missing in your own library
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A Psilent Place Below by Marcha Fox is an intriguing sci-fi, supernatural action packed read. Two brothers part of the Brightstar Clan must first save their father with the help of their uncle. Soon after they rescue their sister bringing everyone back to the magical tunnels they have sought refuge in. The tunnels give them special psi powers of communication and the ability to see the future. Together they work against INTEGRATION which is quickly sweeping the planet.
Fox’s words are vivid enough to imagine the whole story unfolding on a planet somewhere in the vast universe. She has created an entire world and its inhabitants along with various languages and races that each have unique abilities and qualities. Her extensive knowledge in science is evident in the explanations that are utterly believable. The best part is this book is only one in the Star Trails Tetralogy Series.
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A Psilent Place Below by Marcha Fox is the third installment of her series centering on the Brightstar clan. We pick up where we left off as Creena finally returns to Cyraria, where her family is in dire straits trying to survive the political agendas of the Integration movement. As readers of the series know, Integration is about all or nothing, and the Brightstars are in danger of being obliterated for their non-compliance. It is no surprise that the high-spirited Creena finds herself on the wrong side of the government line in this fast-paced sci-fi adventure novel.
Once again we find the father-son conflict renewed as Merapa and Dirck are at loggerheads, with Creena trying to reconcile her differences with her brother Dirck to remove their father from harm’s way. We also feel the deus ex machine effect as a kinder, gentler Governor Bryl Woeyel is also dealing with issues with bad guy Augustus Troy. If you caught my last review, I was expecting Rohtik Spoigan to make the face turn. Instead it is Woeyel who reveals a feminine character most likely to help the Brightstars succeed, while Spoigan appears to be content in letting Troy off the chain to make life miserable for our fave terralogist, Merapa, and his kids. It’s the human element that raises the bar in this competitive genre, and Fox’s cast of characters gives us plenty of pathos along with a well-crafted technological backdrop.
We are left to contemplate the plight of Augustus Troy himself, the narrow-minded major antagonist hoping to broaden his horizons from a shrinking window of opportunity. Perhaps the most revealing sequence comes as he is interviewing Merapa in Cira City, greatly enjoying his exquisite Lemitini in his cramped quarters, the omniscient narrative comparing it unfavorably to his command center in the spaceship that brought him there. We think of Pilate in Judea, trying to consolidate his power amidst a growing movement of rebellion, wondering if the martyr becomes another stepping stone on a path to ruination. It becomes a chess game between Troy and Merapa – or perhaps Augustus and Woeyel? I’m not placing my bets on Augustus Troy, but the author certainly has us wondering who is going to checkmate the bad guys.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been following the Brightstar saga so far. If you’re coming in at A Psilent Place Below by Marcha Fox, then get yourself up to speed and buy the first episodes so you can anxiously await the next installment along with the rest of us.
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Could not put the story down! A highly intelligent and prolific read, you really get a feel for the authors experience given she had a career at NASA. Speaks to the insight and depth of the book, well thought out and concise, which is no surprise because all of her books are highly detailed and great works. Fun for all ages, intelligently written so that you may get multiple layers from threw book that speaks to a variety of readers, loved it.
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This is the third book into this series, and the story and characters seem to get better and better! Perhaps it is just my increasing vestment in connecting with the world Ms. Marcha created. I am not usually a sci-fi reader, as sometimes the terminology and even names can seem confusing, but once I got sucked into this series, it seems I cannot let go! These books are action packed, fast paced, full of conflicts, and have a political/social undertone that symbolizes all we find horrifying, yet possible.
Ms. Marcha’s writing style is one which is descriptive enough to create a world, but not so overly descriptive that I forget the prior conversation. She does an excellent job at balancing the emotional and relationship conflicts of the characters and society with the sci-fi technology and futuristic world. There are no editing/grammar/proofreading issues which would cause distraction, and the formatting is well done.
This series is a must read for Sci-Fi fans of all ages.
REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME
Obviously Marcha and I are good cyberspace friends and literary colleagues. We’ve developed a mutual respect for each other’s work and artistic abilities and remain in constant contact exchanging views and opinions on the changing world of indie lit. Naturally I jumped on the chance to be a beta reader of her upcoming work, Refractions of Frozen Time. Without further ado, here’s my take on Marcha’s latest endeavor…
Refractions of Frozen Time by Marcha Fox is the fourth installment of the Star Trails anthology. It’s one of those unique compilations in that each story is able to stand alone without the assistance of the others, and therein lies the magic. The Star Trails Tetralogy followed the journey of the Brightstar family as they were scattered to the farthest ends of the galaxy trying to avoid the manipulations of the evil Integration program. We watched Merapa Brightstar take a stand against the terrible trio of Governor Woeyel, Augustus Troy and Rohtik Spoigan, having to flee from the persecution of his noble Ledorian Order. His struggle anticipated the plight of his children Creena and Dirck, who abandon their own plans for self-fulfillment in finding their father and joining in the struggle against the evil empire. Now we’ve come to the turn in the road, and all we can hope is that it leads to more Brightstar tales from this prolific sci-fi novelist.
What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill space operas is Fox’s experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a ‘what-if’ perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon. Devenite and its chronoviatic properties may allow the Brightstars to travel through time and change the future. Yet Merapa chastises Dirck in pointing out how mankind would end up destroying its own destiny, forcing outcomes while forsaking the natural order of things in the process. How many times do we look back at what might have been, not realizing how much better off we are according to God’s perfect plan? Life is full of choices, but if our choices are preempted by those who act for the greater good, we may find ourselves ultimately having no choice at all.
It’s something to consider, and definitely a book all sci-fi fans need to check out. For series followers, the addition of Professor Denale and Eulon Argo are my dark horse bets as major players in the cataclysmic confrontations ahead. Pick up a copy of Refractions of Frozen Time by Marcha Fox and treat yourself to a visionary adventure you won’t forget.
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As the fourth and final book in the series Refractions of Frozen Time a fitting end to the struggle against INTEGRATOR. I have been drawn to this series since the first book and have quickly become a Marcha Fox fan. She integrates actual science into science fiction, creating worlds, customs, and life forms outside the world we live. Her creativity and imagination never fall short but always leave me wanting more.
In the final book we see Laren Brightstar arrested and on a one way ship; destination Bezarna- a black hole. His children Creena and Dirck, work overtime to come up with a solution to save him, but the forces and time are against them. Their hiding place and recent home have been discovered leaving them no other option than to vacate whilst their younger brother Deven has just made an awesome discovery. Each character has been carefully crafted and developed. As a reader I enjoyed watching the children develop and grow from bickering teens to collaborative young adults.
The suspense builds from chapter 1 as the Brightstar family fights against all odds along side allies and friends they have found amongst their journeys. The evil Troy and Spoigan create havoc as their goal is geared towards the destruction of the Brightstar family and anything that represents “good”. The final climax had me shivering as the forces of dark and light came hurtling together into an unexpected and shocking end.
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The Star Trails Tetralogy is the classic story of good versus evil seen through one family’s struggle to reunite, an endeavour that draws in a number of lonely souls along the way. The three Brightstar siblings are the young heroes of this story and, as they observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling. It’s when they break old habits in order to survive the hostile planet they must now call home that they open their minds and hearts to the mysteries of the universe and achieve the incredible.
This is a beautifully written story, developing themes of loyalty, tolerance, understanding, and patient study. As I have alluded to in reviews of the preceding stories, the thoughtful pace is broken up by moments of intense excitement, but the narrative has to be savoured and enjoyed for gems like this, “…a vast and abrupt precipice, the sheer sides a trickle of motion…” Each character makes a discovery, about themselves and their friends and family, except for maybe Deven, the little boy, who intuits everything in the most lovely and unassuming manner. I so want to see what he gets up to when he’s older. The more alien characters are equally fascinating and the subtle hints of their background cultures enrich the story with depth and colour.
Finally, author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science in an interesting and original way. The detailed world she creates is genius, so well thought out and crafted and sci-fi fans who love properly developed cultures backed up by hard and well understood science will devour these stories. The quiet thread of an entity stronger than either individual or corporation runs throughout this series and I believe reflects many faith systems once semantics are put aside with its impact only fully understood in the uniquely fitting and uplifting climax.
I highly recommend this series for adults and young adults.
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I came to REFRACTIONS of FROZEN TIME without having read the previous novels. That said, I didn’t have too much trouble acclimating myself it the Star Trails universe, but then I’m a voracious reader of science fiction. I will say that after the third or fourth chapter, I felt comfortable with the characters and understood enough of the plot to keep me turning (digital) pages.
I love space opera, especially when the characters drive the action versus external events. Star Trails is a nice mix of both. Events encroach on the characters, but they also make decisions that affect outcomes in meaningful ways. It’s a good balance between the two, one that Fox navigates with ease.
Fox supports some of the science in the novel with real, actual, well… science! She’s worked for NASA and it shows. I’m becoming a fan of reading books by folks with actual scientific credentials such as Ejner Fulsang’s SpaceCorp. Specificity in terms of science always earns my admiration. I should say, the science isn’t distracting from the story; this isn’t one of those science-books-masquerading-as-a-novel that I sometimes run into from those who write “hard” science fiction story. Star Trails includes some philosophy, pseudoscience, and even a touch of fantasy to enliven the scientific bits.
The writing is clean and understandable. It’s nice to read prose that flows and works with the story rather than against it. Some Indie-published books can be a chore to read. This isn’t one of them.
I would recommend reading these books in order; while this novel stands up as as stand alone book, I had the sense that I missed a lot of the finer points of the plot not having read the books the precede it.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the book and will check out more of Fox’s work in the future (starting with the first book in the series, Beyond the Hidden Sky).
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