GHOSTS AND ASHES

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight - JOHN M. MURRAY

F. T. Lukens, In­ter­lude Press, Soft­cover $16.99 (258pp), 978-1-945053-18-4

This is a rol­lick­ing adventure that blends el­e­ments from westerns, sci-fi, YA, and ro­mance into a co­he­sive page-flipping thrill ride.

Ghosts & Ashes pits a bur­geon­ing technopath against a pow­er­ful mil­i­tary, a despotic vil­lain, and a dy­namic ro­mance in a Lgbt-pos­i­tive YA sci-fi adventure that un­veils trou­bling ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the fu­ture of the se­ries.

Three months af­ter the events of The Star Host finds Ren a cap­tive un­der the watch­ful eye of the Phoenix Corps. Un­for­tu­nately, the star within him be­gins flar­ing up and en­dan­ger­ing the crew. His only hope is re­turn­ing plan­et­side af­ter months aboard ship. Mean­while, his re­la­tion­ship with the in­trepid Asher is put to the test. Ren strug­gles to con­trol his power, re­main con­nected to his new fam­ily, and dis­cover the fate of his bi­o­log­i­cal fam­ily back on Er­den. Shock­ing rev­e­la­tions come to light about the Phoenix Corps, the Star Hosts, and Ren’s fam­ily.

The se­cond book in the Bro­ken Moon se­ries builds upon the first nicely. The ex­tent and va­ri­ety of the Star Hosts’ abil­i­ties are ex­panded upon and hint at deeper con­flict beau­ti­fully. Ren’s techno­pathic abil­i­ties al­low him to seam­lessly in­ter­act with any tech­nol­ogy, while other Star Hosts can see the fu­ture, en­ter dreams, and more. Equally ex­cit­ing is the world build­ing. From the feu­dal-like Er­den to the postapoc­a­lyp­tic Crei, each new planet is vi­brant and di­verse.

Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion shines, es­pe­cially in the unique re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ren and Asher. Their ro­mance formed un­der fire comes un­der con­stant abuse. Least of all is the strain of Ren’s power and Asher’s duty to the Phoenix Corps. Asher must bal­ance his ser­vice with his love for Ren, as his love func­tions as an an­chor that sta­bi­lizes and strength­ens Ren’s con­trol over the star within.

De­spite a dearth of back­story, the plot moves at a steady clip with even pac­ing. When­ever the plot shifts from the ac­tion sci-fi as­pects, it picks up ro­mance and adventure el­e­ments won­der­fully.

Ghosts & Ashes con­tin­ues the ad­ven­tures of the star host, Ren, as he comes to grips with his power and searches for his place in the cos­mos. This is a rol­lick­ing adventure that blends el­e­ments from westerns, sci-fi, YA, and ro­mance into a co­he­sive page-flipping thrill ride.

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