#BookReview: 4d6f6279 4469636b or, “The Dhale” by Kim Aaron @AlsokimA @bookroar_tweets
Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for an author new to me, Kim Aaron, who I discovered via BookRoar >>>
About the Book:
Humanity has spread itself out into the stars a century after an attack by the Dhale, a robotic alien race that almost destroyed humanity. In a final, colossal battle, the enemy forces were broken, sent scattered and retreating in every direction. Now these hunters have become the prey. Although they are still incredibly dangerous, Dhale weapons, alloys, and technology have become an important part of the human economy, especially on Earth. So, fearless human crews in specialized ships, hoping to make their fortune, throw themselves into harm’s way in order to find, break, and strip these enemy ships of their valuable parts. A crewmember of one of these ships, Lameshi, describes his experiences during one especially harrowing mission, spending months under the control of a mad captain bent on revenge against a machine. As the hunt brings the final battle closer, Lameshi learns the futility and horror of one mad captain’s battle against reality.
A sci-fi epic retelling of Moby Dick
“… while ago, doesn’t matter how long, I was broke and had nothing to do planetside, so I thought I might take to the stars and see the off-planet part of the universe again. It’s how I lift my spirits.” […] “especially when it takes all I have to stop myself from crossing the street and methodically punching people in the face…I know it’s time for me to get to space double-quick.” … these opening sentences introduce the reader to Lameshi, the narrator but interestingly, not actually the main character. Captain Haab (an anagram of Ahab from the original Moby Dick) is the centre of the tale but told from a new and lowly crew-member’s perspective. Which is a shame, as I loved the characterisation of Lameshi, and by the end of the book, this person had little to do with anything.
The author did a fantastic job of bringing each and every character to life, and the world-building and science fiction were superb. I give a resounding five stars for this aspect of the book. Also for showing the depths and complexities of the captain’s madness and feverish need for revenge upon the “White Dhale” AI enemy space-craft/hunter/intelligence, which killed Haab’s wife and destroyed their colony as well as Haab’s original Dhaling space ship. Dhaling space ships are basically the space version of whaling ships, but hunting the Dhale instead of Whales. This sci-fi version of 19th-century whaling made into a space-based hunting-down of extraterrestrial-AIs raises the stakes to astronomical levels (if you’ll pardon me the pun!) and lifts it to humanity-ending stakes if the Dhale win.
Unfortunately, a lack of editing and proofreading let down the book quite a bit, as did the lengthy sections of monologue from the mad captain, which–while true to the original classic–failed to work for me here in this modern take. Such basic errors as “phased” for “fazed”, “hanger” for “hangar”, “line-of-site” for “line-of-sight”, and “route” for “rout”, etc., pulled me out of the story time and again. The same with unnecessary phrases such as “thought to himself” and “began to”, etc. Having said this, the author also came up with some wonderful lines …
“Don’t be silly. No one ever saves a life. At best, we might temporarily prolong it.”
“Just a small circle of face, but the eyes give it all away.”
“Her voice was so thick with derision I wondered how it didn’t dribble down her chin.”
“Her head rose and her eyes found mine, but she was light years away. It was like standing before a ghost.”
The story also includes diverse characters who identify as non-binary, LGBTQIA characters, and addresses climate and political issues which plague a damaged future Earth, which all make this book inclusive without preaching or shoving current-world issues down the reader’s throat. All in all, I enjoyed this epic sci-fi read, and with some polishing this book would earn an easy five stars. As it is, I give The Dhale by Kim Aaron 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for rating purposes. If you enjoy sci-fi and/or space opera, then I would say definitely give this book a read!
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.
I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …