Jyr’s (Apex, 2015, etc.) short sci-fi tale provides a rushed narrative of the creation of Star Force, an elite team devoted to defending Earth against dinosaur aliens.
The story opens with a team of scientists discovering an underground pyramid hidden in Antarctica. Soon, a team of explorers drill into the outer surface and enter the ancient construct. Inside, they find a complicated structure, honeycombed with inexplicable technology and strange chambers. In time, the team stumbles upon a number of skeletons—specifically, dinosaur bones, including at least one apparent raptor’s. The novel then cuts ahead to a pitch meeting for Star Force, a global project for space colonization in need of mountains of cash. After a 17-year jump, the story zeros in on future Star Force leader Paul Taylor, who’s conveniently just about to graduate high school. Readers watch him perform nearly flawlessly on his entrance exams: “He had 12 of them solved within three hours, then got hung up on a brain teaser that took him an hour and a half to crack. The remaining two challenges took him another hour, but he had no real trouble with them, finishing the set in the middle of the afternoon.” Within a few pages, he signs away his entire future to Star Force, ending with his orientation. The story’s worldbuilding is fun—the raptor aliens, for example, are a good start—and these initial details may help to flesh out the rest of the series. However, this installment’s fractured episodes proceed without much explanation, character development, or conflict. With so many abrupt transitions across long stretches of space and time, it never has an opportunity to develop conflict or a narrative arc. Characters come and go without any meaningful changes or development. The author seems determined to deliver exposition as quickly as possible, but as a result, the entire work consists solely of setup for future tales.
An early installment that does little to make readers eagerly await later books in the series.