Book Review: Beyond Freedom, by Jennie Taylor

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Beyond Freedom by Jennie Taylor

The following review contains some spoilers, especially relevant to the first book of the series, Freedom’s Fate. This review has been previously published on Steemit around two months ago, and have recently realised that I have not published it here.

Description

Beyond Freedom is the second book in a series, a sequel to the sci-fi novel Freedom’s Fate (click to read my review). The remaining crew of the ship Freedom have landed onto a moon, and they have to try and make it habitable for them. This includes finding edible food and drinks, as they have finite supplies that they brought with them. Upon exploring for resources, they meet indigenous creatures, without any knowledge of these species. An interesting adventure lies ahead.

Review

I gave this book a rating of 4/5 stars. I loved reading it, and was a great follow-up to Freedom’s Fate, but it had a very few shortcomings.

Story

The sci-fi setting is interesting, although there is a huge change between the first and second book. Whereas I was used to a structured interstellar ship, now, we find ourselves into an unknown, habitable moon, with almost no knowledge of it and its inhabitants. From a writing perspective, the writer is not limited to anything; flora, fauna, completely new ecosystem. At first I thought it was going to be a predictable story line, but it soon picked up and went into something unexpected. I really enjoyed the story, and although I felt the author was risking going into cliché plots, she did not. Yes, there are certain events that occur that seem to be “too perfect”, but sometimes these are just illusions.

Characters

We are already accustomed to most characters by the end of the first book, although some characters become more prominent in this one. I think there was a good variety of characters. I had loved the depth of personalities in the first book, and one of my favourite relationships was that between Bao and Callie. Their relationship was authentic and it was lovely to have that depth of character relationship that was not tied within the plot itself. On the other hand, I did find Callie’s constant worries about herself and Anna to be a little frustrating. This was quite a relevant theme in the first book, although it seems to be a little out of place at times.

Back to the array of personalities, Shauna’s hot-headed and impulsiveness counterbalanced Callie’s personality well. These are small things which I enjoy; diversity done well and feels authentic. Especially as the context had changed drastically, each person depends on one another more. A community always depends on teamwork, but when it becomes to a smaller community, teamwork is that much more essential to the function of the community. Thus, the mix of personalities makes the tasks of teamwork interesting, especially for a leader who needs everyone to be on board.

Society

This was a point I had done in my review for the first book as well. I find that the book can be interpreted in a critical way to modern society. This, more than anything, might be attributed to me and the way I read things, so it might not be the same for other readers, and might have not been the author’s scope.

So, apart from the main group, in the story (without giving too much), we encounter societies of other species. In a way, they can be paralleled to types of communities or societies, and I find fictional settings to relate in such way. For instance, religion has been predominant throughout human history. Having said that, it appears in many shapes and forms, and although the word ‘religion’ may signify a meaning, you will have no idea on how these species act or behave. In a way, the rituals were somewhat parallel to human forms of ritual. It worked well to give an identity and volume to the particular species, but at the same time failed my expectations of unlimited imagination and possibilities. We often say that history repeats itself; and this made me wonder whether there is a pattern that is repeatable across species, planets, universes, or whatever.

Summary

I hope to have reviewed the book well, although my tired mental activity might have impaired me in writing coherently while capturing the essence of the book. I am in love with this series, and this book was a great sequel. Two weeks ago, I let the author know some of my opinions about the book, and I am positive that some of the minor stuff might have been edited and improved by now or soon. That kind of author only makes me love their work more; because they are open to feedback and care about us readers. I would suggest that you go read the first book, and if you love that, it’s a no-brainer to read Beyond Freedom as well.

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