Ten Low is an ex-army medic, one of many convicts eking out a living at the universe’s edge. She’s desperate to escape her memories of the interstellar war, and the crimes she committed, but trouble seems to follow wherever she goes. One night, attempting to atone for her sins, she pulls a teenage girl – the sole survivor – from the wreck of a spaceship. But Gabriella Ortiz is no ordinary girl. The result of a military genetics programme, she is a decorated Army General, from the opposing side of the war to Ten. Worse, Ten realises the crash was an assassination attempt, and that someone wants the Ortiz dead…
The pair bury their hatreds and strike an uneasy deal to smuggle the General off-world. Their road won’t be easy: they must cross the moon’s lawless wastes, facing military hit squads, bandits and the one-eyed leader of an all-female road gang, in a frantic race to get the General to safety. But something else waits in the darkness at the universe’s edge. Something that threatens to reveal Ten’s worst nightmare: the truth of who she really is and what she is running from.
Author: Stark Holborn
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 01/06/2021
Genre: Science Fiction
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Ten Low’: 5 out of 5
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve never tried a book by Stark Holborn before, so wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for. Now I know, I’m more than tempted to try more of her work. Ten Low was a fast-paced, fun, punchy bit of science fiction filled with intriguing characters, an interesting world and a dab of the unknown that served as the cherry on top of a damn tasty book.
I loved everything about Ten Low and want more from it. I’m uncertain as to whether there will be more as this fits into that niche of ‘sits really well as a stand alone, but has the potential for a book or two more without feeling like there’d be a dead horse for the flogging’. I’m firmly in the camp of ‘I hope there’s more’.
The world building was simple yet effective and happened as it happened. In some books that could leave the reader feeling like they were being bombarded with names and locations that felt as though they were being made up on the fly. With Ten Low, Holborn drip fed bits and reinforced later, giving it the feeling of a world you already knew but had kind of just forgot. It was certainly a nice feel that fit in well with the fast-paced storytelling and never had the action feel bogged down by too much explaining of when and where everything was.
For a relatively short book (my copy had fairly large font with what looked like 1.5 line spacing) the author manages to fit in more story than the page count feels as though it’s capable of holding, whilst all the while leaving opportunities open for more. Everything from character interactions and character growth, to high-octane action and intriguing plot developments can be found within.
The character of Ten Low, in particular, is one of the more interesting I have come across for a while, and that was certainly something I wasn’t expecting. If you’re after a book with a strong female lead and an inclusive feel over all, Ten Low is certainly the sort of book you need to give a try.
Overall, Ten Low was one of the more enjoyable science fiction novels I have read in a good while. I think this was even more enjoyable to me as it was one of those books that gave me the joy of discovering a new author and it had flown under the radar for me and just hit, full force, with a lot of enjoyment.
Top marks from me.