Review: The Fireborn Chronicles by Mary Andrews

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Fireborn Chronicles by Mary Andrews (cover)

The Fireborn Chronicles
by Mary Andrews

Swimming Kangaroo Books, 2007
272 pages, ISBN 9781934041505

The Fireborn Chronicles is a psionic/space-faring epic.  The focus of the chronicles is Rael--an adoptee/refugee from The Hive with implants that allow him to access any data terminal with a thought.  He's groomed by his foster-mother for Dark Ops government work, given his own ship and told to assemble a team of his choosing. 

The first several sections of the book are essentially short stories jumping from place to place as we're introduced to the team that he assembles.  The plot picks up when the team is together-at-last and has to track down what happened to a high-ranking ambassador.  In the end, the fate of the known universe hangs in the balance.

Mary Andrews sets a grand stage with many inventive ideas--but as a whole this novel does not tell the story it sets out to as well as I would have liked.  It was an easy read, slipping into cliche only now and then, though each section repeated details as if I'd not been privy to them before, jerking me out of the narrative repeatedly.  And while a very complex universe is hinted at, its rendering was sparse and, I felt, the hinting overreached its presentation:

PSI of a certain sort are universally recognized, but are only allowed to live in one section of one planet; aliens of all sorts exist somewhere (accomodations have been made for them on a pleasure planet; and we meet one non-humanoid in the form of a station master), but for brief mention they have nothing to do with this story that "will change the universe".

I know the story is not meant to be taken too seriously, but still I wanted things to hang together a bit more.  We jump from character introduction to character introduction as a team is gathered (losing one along the way, not to be mentioned again until half-way through the book, and then only off-handedly explained), with large gaps in character development.

And while the plot kept me increasingly curious, what wrapped it up was, for me, ultimately unsatisfying--a deus ex machina that is relatively unexplained and unexplored.  The book largely read as a few snippets plus a larger novella whose main purpose was jumping off into another, as of yet untold, story.

All that said, I'm sure there's many a reader that will enjoy this book.  It's a "psionic sci fi" romp with tinges of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat and tinges of Babylon 5, where everything works out in the end.

- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by kaolin

25 comments; 19 subscribers

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 / 17:55:00
TO ENTER TO WIN OUR COPY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE PSIONICIST (ESPer, empath, what-have-you). Entries will be considered through Monday, Aug 4 (midnight, pacific time). Open to anyone in the US/Canada.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 / 18:47:47
The first one to come to mind is Ann McCaffrey's Rowan, whom I first got to know in the short story that she later expanded into the book. Lots of telepathic and telekinetic goodness, and a love story to boot!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 / 19:23:35
I love Sylvia Brown! Thanks for this fabulous giveaway!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 / 11:44:46
Gem, from the Star Trek episode "The Empath."
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 / 16:03:32
yoda - or any jedi (you pick)
Thursday, July 24, 2008 / 09:06:59
My favorite is me!
Thursday, July 24, 2008 / 16:40:58
I would say John Edwards.
Thursday, July 24, 2008 / 17:42:27
My girlfriend. lol
Thursday, July 24, 2008 / 20:49:40
I will say Sylvia Brown.
Friday, July 25, 2008 / 19:23:14
Octavia E Butler wrote a wonderful novel called Parable of the Sower, in which the heroine's psi ability caused her to feel the physical pain of others. (Not the best psi ability, but an interesting one). I would have to say she is my favorite psi-plus she is the only one I can think of off-hand. I think the book sounds very good-please enter me.
Saturday, July 26, 2008 / 19:55:49
I really like Mac Lane, the main character in Karen Moning's Darkefever series. Mac is one of the few Sidhe-seers left, she has the ability to see the Fae, freeze them with a touch and sense their Objects of Power. Seh had no idea she was born with these gifts, and discovered a whole other "Mac" when she traveled to Ireland.
The books are so well written, describing a parallel world and race living alongside the mortals of Dublin. I can not wait for the next one!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 / 01:48:29
hahaha, yuri geller is a pretty cool guy.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 / 08:39:35
My fave is Charlie from Stephen King's Firestarter.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 / 11:58:47
john edwards i guess!!
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 15:32:44
Thankyou Kaolin, for taking the time to review my book. I highly value the opinions of all my readers. Maybe Book II will be more to your taste. (We're trying to get it out by the end of this year.) =]

And thankyou to all the people who have posted here for the copy of my book. I appreciate your interest as well and I hope you enjoy the book. So, for now, good luck.

--Mary Andrews
"The Fireborn are at home in flame..." --Carl Sandburg
Saturday, August 2, 2008 / 23:51:35
Star Wars Yoda!
Sunday, August 3, 2008 / 01:58:52
I spent a while trying to find the author of my favourite psi series of books. I believe they're from the seventies or early eighties. But the main character is an orphan named CAT. And John Edwards for real characters. Not sure if you wanted a specific person or type. My favourite type is a healer.
Sunday, August 3, 2008 / 10:20:56
My favorite was Joan of Arc.
Sunday, August 3, 2008 / 11:47:01
Sunday, August 3, 2008 / 14:51:19
Sunday, August 3, 2008 / 22:41:18
Lisa Williams!
Monday, August 4, 2008 / 10:59:13
Sylvia Brown Crystal Gayle?
Monday, August 4, 2008 / 20:20:03
My favorite is John Edwards. I love watching him fri nights ,Its amazing to see.
Monday, August 4, 2008 / 23:22:05
My sister has ESP. She always calls me and tells me things about myself like: "Why are you depressed today?"
Friday, August 8, 2008 / 04:18:18
The random number goddess pulls samsakara out of the hat--congratulations! And thanks to all for participating! Keep checking back as we're almost always running a review raffle!

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