I have a confession to make. When reading books, I frequently get a little bored in the middle and flick ahead to find out how the book ends before deciding whether the ending might be worth the journey to get there. For me, there are two signs of a good book. Firstly, it keeps me interested enough to stop me flicking ahead and secondly, the characters stay in my mind for quite some time after the book ends. Akane: Last of the Orions, the debut novel from G. Clark Hellery, manages to do both of those.
In a future where Earth has been taken over by an alien race, the Shadows, who have forced most of the people to work in their labour camps. Akane is the last of the Orions, a race of people with special powers to send others to new worlds and to safety. As the last of the humans prepare for war against the Shadows, Akane and the few remaining Orions must combine to save the human race.
Akane, the heroine is intelligent, determined and feisty, focused on trying to keep her community safe and helping others escape from the Shadows. However, her efforts have also caught the attention of the police, and in particular, the young detective Devron, who wants to know more about the Orions and their powers. As Akane tries to stay out of the clutches of both the police and the Shadows, she also discovers that her closest friends are not quite who they seem. Is there anyone she can really trust?
Each of the main characters within the story is complex without being complicated – their personalities gradually being revealed in more depth as the story is unwoven. Most of the book is written in the present tense from Akane’s viewpoint, which helps draw the reader right into the heart of all the action. This was particularly effective in the last few chapters of the book, and kept me on the edge of my seat at times, almost breathless with suspense. In between the parts of the story seen directly through Akane’s eyes, there is a switch to a third-person, past tense narrative which allows a wider view of all the main characters within the story and a little breathing space from the intensity of the first person voice.
Fantasy and science fiction are not usually genres that I enjoy but this book has made me think that perhaps I shouldn’t dismiss them so lightly! It’s certainly left me with a book hangover that will linger for quite a while.
Akane: Last of the Orions is published by Fox Spirit and is available to buy on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. I have one paperback copy of Akane: Last of the Orions to give away to one of my readers. You can enter the competition by filling in the Gleam form below. The competition is open to UK entrants and ends on 5th February 2016 at 11.59PM. Good luck!
Disclaimer: The author of the book is a friend of mine; however I purchased two copies of the book to review and give away. All opinions are my own.