15 February 2013

Book Review: "The Mission" ("Worlds Without End," Book One) by Shaun F. Messick

Author: Shaun F. Messick
Publisher: Empyrean Books
Originally Published: April 26, 2011
Synopsis: Adrian Palmer was supposed to be the first human to set foot on Mars, but his NASA ship disappeared before he reached The Red Planet, which devastated Jake, the son he left behind. Twenty-three years later, Jake, who has since become a star pilot, gets notified by NASA that they have received a message from Adrian, intended for him. Jake engages on the same journey, and finds himself taken into a wormhole, which leads to a planet whose denizens look exactly like humans.  After reuniting with Daddy-O, Jake discovers that the planet is in the midst of a war.  Worse yet, the villains have plans to attack Earth.  Will Jake, Adrian, and friends be able to save their home planet and their new one, or will the oppressive empire squelch them for good?

Story: 4.5/5
What a riveting read! Though responsibilities prevented me from devouring this in one sitting, I still finished it as soon as I could, and it kept me involved.  It also discussed some questions I've always wondered about: Are we alone in the universe? If there are aliens, wouldn't they look just like us, and wouldn't they have the Bible and Jesus as well? It's almost like Mr. Messick read my mind when he was writing this.  Though the slightly lackluster ending prevents this from having a perfect rating in this department, it's still among the best science fiction yarns I've read in a while.

Writing: 4/5
The amazing story was matched by the great writing...to a degree.  Though the prose mostly flowed well, the edition I read via my iPad's Kindle app had some notable typos.  If Mr. Messick had used a copy editor, then the score above would be better; the writing is still great nonetheless.

Content: 2.5/5
This may be Christian fiction, but it is a bit edgier than Beverly Lewis' Amish stories or Karen Kingsbury's dramas.  Violence abounds, much of it involving blood and the infliction of serious wounds.  Some characters, including on the heroes' side, are even killed.  I don't recall any language, and sexual content is limited to a young woman pretending to seduce a young man as a means to escape the clutches of the main villain.  Still, discerning parents might want to read this book before handing it to a preteen or young teen.

Conclusion: After suffering through the terrible Chop, Chop, this was the kind of book I needed; it's novels such as these that remind me why I'm a book lover, and a fan of entertainment in general, in the first place.  If you keep the above in mind, this is one that Christian fans of Star Wars and/or Star Trek are likely to devour.  As of this writing, the Kindle edition is still free; if you have a Kindle or Kindle app, go find it and get it, now!

Score: 4.25/5

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