Quest for Earth by S.E. Gilchrist

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Fantasy/ Magic/Paranormal/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Speculative Fiction/ Syfy/ Syfy Romance 30th June 2016
Quest for Earth by S.E. GilchristQuest for Earth by S.E. Gilchrist
Series: Search for Home #1
Published by Escape Harlequin on July 5th 2016
Pages: 400
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three-stars

With the survival of her crew at stake, an old enemy waiting in the wings, and a mighty chieftain declaring his love, can Sherise lead her people safely home?Honouring a pledge made in the blood-soaked dirt of a prison planet, Sherise volunteers to lead the stolen people of Earth safely home. But when a collision plunges her ship off-course and they emerge three hundred years into Earth’s future, they have nine weeks to repair the ship or the path back to their own time will close forever.On an earth seething with predators and dangerous tribes, Sherise discovers love with the Lycanean chieftain, Maaka. But can she trust him, or is he only after her superior weapons?With the safety of her passengers and crew paramount, Sherise must choose her alliances with great care. For an old enemy is hidden on the planet, and he wants all her people dead.

Reading ‘Quest for Earth’ is akin to being plunged straight into a complex world of galaxies, war and conflict already established in S.E. Gilchrist’s Darkon series, none of which I’ve read before beginning this book. And admittedly, this has made this particular story difficult to get into. Long story short: a ship gets spun into a vortex and ends up at its intended destination: a few hundred years forward and on an Earth that is paradoxically dystopic, technologically backward and on the brink of war. In fact, there is nothing that is familiar about Gilchrist’s earth as we know it today; the Darkon universe spans the galaxies in a far distant future – that far we are removed from it – such that the title is almost a misnomer.

As compellingly expansive as the Darkon universe is, Gilchrist’s world-building is further extended and shaped in this new series, where peripheral characters – who’ve already previously appeared in her previous books – actually get their stories told here. That being said, after I managed to figure out what was going on even if it did take some time for me to get there, I thought the action engrossing and the narrative an engaging, amalgamated derivative of many syfy and fantasy tropes that have never failed to capture my imagination. The H/hr’s – Sherise and Maaka – story plays out against this conflict and I liked former’s strength and loyalty well enough to keep going, despite the latter’s smug neanderthal tendencies which rubbed me raw from time to time. But there is much meat on the bones to pick off and chew on with a pairing that shows so much potential: a Darkon highborn and also a guardian of a galaxy, a former prisoner of war vs. a rather barbaric Lycanean chieftain who fights daily for the survival of his tribe. There is literally, a world between them and a large gap between the cultural understanding of each other’s ways and reading the author’s handling of the tension between them proved a treat to behold.

Yet ‘Quest for Earth’ feels very much unfinished by the time I’ve turned the last page of the book; both Sherise and Maaka have gotten their HEA but in the aftermath of battle, there is no curtain dropping on any happy scene. Instability and disunity remain, with a very distinct set-up of a sequel which I think I’m going to look forward to.

three-stars

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