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Annnnd They're Off!

The Price of the Stars
Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald
Kicking off my second-favourite on-going space-opera series (aside from my brother's books, which i am required to like -- which, luckily, is usually no prpoblem), this was a refreshing find back when i first pulled it down off the shelf and read the first couple pages... and discovered that i had to finish it that same day.

While, as someone has pointed out, this *could* be read as a stand-alone book, unlike the first books in some series, a reader who stops here will be missing a lot of fun in the sequels and prequels that follow.

The Rosselin-Matadi clan and their friends and enemies are all marvellous characters, but Beka's mentor and co-pilot, known only as "the Professor" is the most amusing and frustrating of the lot, as it becomes more and more obvious that he, somehow, is manipulating history itself.

What sets this series aside from more ordinary space opera, i think, is the concept of the Adepts and the Mages -- both posessors of great power, who both sense and utilise what, for want of a better word, we might call "the Force", but in completely different and mutually-conflicting manners.

The three Rossellin-Metadi siblings, Beka, Owen and Ari, so different superficially but so similar in their drive and inability to admit defeat are worth getting to know, and the associates and enemies that they pick up along the way are a marvellously-assorted crew (not all of whom are even nearly what they appear to be).

But i must admit that the villains -- as opposed to adversaries, an important distinction in these books -- are just a bit *too* slimy and odious.

{If i ever run into the authors, though, i intend to ask them if they were thinking of "Rio Lobo" or of "Assault on Precinct 13" when they wrote one important sequence...}

Recommended -- both this book and the entire series.