Audible had a sale on this book and I certainly love a good space opera. The book had some really good parts: nice snark, amusing interactions, and some good battles. But the writing style is oddly like a romance writer’s (though i don’t believe the author has written romance?) and so that threw me off a bit. As well, I didn’t necessarily believe a lot of what was going on. (EVERY single character has a secret that will aid the protagonist?) I did stay entertained, though, and base the rating on that success.
Story: Alisa is stranded at an off world, injured in battles that led a successful rebellion against the empire. She has one goal; get back to her daughter on a distant world and start her life again now that the war is done. To do so, she’ll have to recruit an engineer, get her ship working again out of the scrap heap, and then find passengers to pay for the trip off world. All seems fine until she finds a dreaded cyborg warrior (enemies of her rebellion) squatting on her ship and with a requirement she will have to fulfill first. And let’s not forget the quirky passengers who end up hiring her services.
Star Nomad feels very much like a first novel – a way for the author to introduce the key characters in preparation for the main plot in further books. That doesn’t mean it is bad, necessarily, but in putting all her eggs in one basket, we have to get all the key characters together at the same time. And of course, they will all be diverse but have key skills that will affect later plot points. Doctor, warrior, engineer, pilot, scientist – everything you need for a crew just drops into Alisa’s lucky lap.
The dialogue is snappy but I admit to ‘romance novel’ fatigue of snarky female and brooding alpha male. She admires his muscles, he admires her rudeness. All the bad guys just want to jump her, sexism is rampant, the leads have several intimate moments, etc. etc. This is written better than most sci fi romances but at the same time, the influences are definitely there and somewhat distracting. I wanted more grit, determination, and drive than admiring glances, sexy pecs, and male quirking mouths. It’s yet another case where the seemingly powerful male finds the rude female’s constant nastiness entrancing rather than loathsome. At least the author tries to explain it away as a personality quirk (she gets mouthy when she’s scared/nervous) rather than the usual romance cliche of trying to show that the female has ‘personality’ and is ‘strong.’
The adventure parts are will written and fun. Admittedly, most will have figured out the ‘secrets’ of the passengers well in advance and know how they will affect the outcomes in the dramatic scenes. But that’s ok – the side characters are well written and with wonderfully distinct personalities.
I would characterize Star Nomad as sci fi lite. An enjoyable adventure that worked very well in the narrated version. Of note, the Audible narrator did a good job.