Read March 2020 Recommended for fans of light sci-fi ★ ★ ★
Taken for what it is, Earthrise is perfectly enjoyable. The captain of a ragtag ship with a mysterious benefactor has a favor called in–a rescue of one of the mysterious Eldritch who is about to be sold off to slavers. Serious trouble ensues.
It’s a big universe, but most of the beings in it are human or human-adjacent, either purposefully or environmentally modified, and Hogarth has fun with it. The crew has a pair of cat-like beings, a centaur-like being, a taciturn bird-like Phoenix, and a creature that sounds suspiciously like a Tribble with empath skills. And is there ever diversity. Our captain is female. Our cat-like people are apparently half-siblings and mates, and will become part of a cat-like harem. No one knows much about the Phoenix.
It feels a bit like Firefly, Alien-Edition. Deadly serious adventure, interlude with personal experiences followed by another serious adventure. Intermixed are moments of real emotion, a few one-liners, new experiences for everyone, and unexpected discoveries about each other. Though there is supposed to be a romantic angle, this book is the first in a trilogy with the leads Reese and Hirianthial, and one could say that they do not make significant progress, at least according to romance conventions.
I enjoyed it, although Reese was a problematic character for me. Despite having the loyalty of her crew, she was almost universally prickly, obstinate and contrarian. Decisions were often emotional ones, not ones made out of thoughtfulness or judgement. It’s not inconceivable that people like that exist, but it is less conceivable that they find others willing to be loyal to that kind of behavior, particularly for poor pay. It’s even less likely that I’m going to enjoy reading about such people. Nonetheless, once Hirianthial is rescued, narrative frequently switches to his viewpoint, which proves interesting.
Overall, fun, and above average in its ability to integrate serious issues into its story. I’m doubtful I’ll go on to the next, however, as it seems to be taking Reese and Hirianthial back to his homeworld, which implies more personal and romantic growth, and less Adventures in Space. Your mileage may vary.