Hi, my name is Dragana, and I’m a book-o-holic. My goal in life is to read all the speculative fiction novels in the world. (or at least try) :)
You can also find me on: Bookworm Dreams Blog
Our solar system in the future envisioned by John Barnes is a weird place. Four planets, two giant space stations, dozens of moons around the gas giants and hundreds of asteroids are inhabited by hundreds of different species of genetically engineered humans. Everything seems so different and alien. Even the language is full of slang and the meaning of these words is not explained. How soon you will get engrossed in The Duke of Uranium, depends on how quickly you can accept new situations and adapt to new vocabulary. For me it took some time until I completely understood what some phrases used in everyday speech meant.
The Duke of Uranium starts as all coming of age novels. Jak Jinnaka just finished high school and is wondering what next… But the story very soon stops following the usual plotline because ka-boom Jak’s girlfriend is kidnapped and he is in the middle of the interplanetary conspiracy. It’s never boring with a lot of chasing and fighting and unexpected attacks. The plot is similar to old James Bond movies. There is even a requisite number of sexy female characters on the way who are seduced by Jak’s charm.
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I was a boy, this way some situation made me read with a sarcastic eyebrow raised. For example, a girl who get her shirt torn away and then loses her skirt in escape so she is running in only her panties and high heels. Yeah right. :/
Another thing that might or might not work for you is the amount of information we get about the world. Some customs that are fundamental in society and culture are not explained because Jak as narrator assumes we are already familiar with them. Some other terms, new and interesting to him, get descriptions a couple of pages long. It definitely adds up to the realism of the narration, but can be sometimes frustrating when you have to guess what something is.
Lovers of young adult thrillers with male lead character should definitely take a closer look at Jak Jinnaka‘s series. Instead of action adventures by Clive Cussler or Ian Fleming, John Barnes offers them hero of their age in similar situation and it’s all set in a futuristic, exciting setting.
Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.