Book Review: Orussian Quarantine

 The Orus system’s Orussians had found a brilliant way to harness the power of labor by engineering ant-monkeys, a hard-working and unswervingly loyal slave species—until the uprising.
Having further manipulated the genes of her own male ant-monkey, Inoatar, and granting him free will, bioscientist Uriëlla has grievously breached the code of conduct. The barbaric penalty for these acts would not only involve her, but her entire clan as well. As a result, she must wrestle with emancipating Inoatar despite desperately needing him.
The uprising, Uriëlla’s actions and their subsequent fallout lead to a struggle of biblical proportions which promises to forever alter Orus civilization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Building

  • A lot of potential in this one.  Unfortunately, Rob wasn’t able to deliver on that potential.  This is a short story, and he’s trying to develop 3 (4? 5?) planets with wildly different eco systems and political structures.  As the tale unfolds, there’s even more chaos introduced without adequate development, leaving the reader lost and wondering where this bit of information came from, or how it fits into the bigger picture.Most of the story focuses on the Orus system, with small glimpses of a larger political structure outside of this small piece of space.  Unfortunately, that bigger structure has a lot of impact on what goes on here, and there’s no real explanation of why and/or how those decisions are made, or why they have such impact.  Even the internal political workings aren’t that well defined, which blunts quite a bit of the existential tension Rob is trying to build up.

Character Building

  • The world building fell down, but this is a short story.  Gotcha.  That means there will be a small, well developed cast, right?  Nope, missed on this one too.  The villains are better developed than the heroes.  There are a few places where the main cast swap sides, but with the final character introduced, things solidified and no one flip-flopped any more.  Unfortunately, this left a lot of questions unanswered and made the characters start to feel like cardboard.  The set up, disjointed and confusing as it was, let the characters begin to develop their potential into rough clay forms that just needed to be refined.  When they turned into cut-outs, the disjointed story smoothed out into a better flow, but became less interesting until the villains reappeared.  Then, my sympathies switched – I hoped the villains would win, not the good guys.

Pacing

  • The pacing in this was extremely jerky at the start, then smoothed out as the tale unfolded.  Nothing felt rushed, per se, just felt like I was caught in a time loop that wouldn’t ever get past the “In the beginning” phase of the story.  Once into the main body, things smoothed out and had an even flow.  Almost felt like Ron was writing to a formula, rather than letting the tale develop organically.  Perhaps, this is because of the format – short stories and novellas don’t really give the write much room to maneuver, and that can have a major impact on the writing style.

Overall score?  Sadly, I can only give this one a 2 of 5 star rating.  As a narrative story it didn’t work for me.  Perhaps, if it had been written in the episodic journal or letter style, it might have worked better.  The opening doesn’t give enough information on any one character to really understand who’s who, and the last part of the tale has some strange time jumps I’m not sure how they fit in.  Also, the short story format does a disservice to the overall potential.  It almost feels like there’s three distinct story arcs crammed into 49 short pages.  This is one I will likely never come back to.

 

If you are interested in reading the Orussian Quarantine for yourself, you can find a copy on Amazon Here.

 

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