Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Gabriel's Redemption (Evan Gabriel Book 1) - Steve Umstead



Title: Gabriel's Redemption (Evan Gabriel Book 1)
Author: Steve Umstead
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2011
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Kobo
Amazon UK

I actually won "Gabriel's Redemption" alongside the 2nd novel in the "Evan Gabriel Trilogy" in an online competition and it had always stayed quite low on my reading priorities. However, I am very happy that I did finally put it onto my kindle as it is a thoroughly enjoyable near future Science Fiction novel that had me entertained from start to finish.

The novel follows Evan Gabriel, a future commander in the North American Federation Navy who has fallen from grace due to a previous mission that had gone bad on a planet called Eden. However, when a new dangerous drug is traced to the far-distant world of Poliahu, Gabriel is asked to help by the very man who had previously let him take the full blame for what occurred on Eden. Gabriel knows there is more behind the mission than he's been told but he takes up the offer anyway as a chance to restore some faith in himself. When he arrives on the frozen planet of Poliahu he soon discovers that not all his allies are what they at first appeared and so he must rely on his instincts and skills to enable him to bring his team back alive.

Umstead really has created a convincing, well developed world that had me completely believing that what I was reading about could actually be possible. The novel was also a superb example of what military sci-fi can actually be as it wasn't just a war story where the guns have been swapped guns; it shows the reader some of the impact of new technology on strategy and combat. I also enjoyed how it used the well defined, varied and dynamic characters to delve into aspects of a soldier's life such as honour, teamwork, responsibility and guilt.

In addition I found myself struggling to the put the book down as it is full of twists, suspense, action and moves along at a quick pace once you pass the first few chapters. In fact, the only real flaw in the book that I found is that it was rather short, I would have loved to see Umstead really develop some of the plot points more as I don't think the overall pace would have actually suffered that much. The first few chapters highlight this point really well in my opinion, as they are slower paced and quite in-depth so that the reader can explore the inter-relationships of the characters and the world they currently inhabit so that the later portions of the story could be fully appreciated.

The biggest surprise I found with the book was the high quality of the editing; I hardly noticed any issue with the grammar, spelling or sentence structure which was quite an eye opener. To be honest, I never usually let this type of thing bother me unless it is terrible and therefore never usually comment on it but I wanted to highlight with this review how well written this book was when I compare it against other books, both self-published and traditionally published.

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable book that has been written to a high standard and does a great job at entertaining the reader with a believable and interesting future society. I have actually already rocketed through the next book in the trilogy and will definitely be picking up the 3rd book at some point in the near future.

Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Free Reads Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge