Review: Burnt Ice, Steve Wheeler

Review: Burnt Ice, Steve Wheeler

The Oaken Bookcase > Blog > Reviews > Review: Burnt Ice, Steve Wheeler

Title: Burnt Ice (Goodreads)

Author:  Steve Wheeler

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Captain Michael Longbow and his crew of engineers, warriors and operatives are about to catch up on some recreation time on the resort world of Cygnus 5 when an investigation of some ancient underwater ruins turns into a full-scale battle. A series of missions takes them to different worlds to investigate alien tech and rogue Artificial Intelligences, during which the crew must work together and innovate to survive.

Details

Series: A Fury of Aces 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: HarperCollins Australia, April 1 2012
My copy: Digital ARC from NetGalley

Paper copies: Book Depository
E-copies: Amazon.com

Review

I found Burnt Ice to be an entertaining read, although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

The marketing descriptions compare Burnt Ice to Star Wars, so I was expecting an epic space adventure. About halfway through the book I started wondering where the story was going – it didn’t seem to be building towards anything, but rather felt to me like a series of shorter episodes with down time between each.

Here’s a lesson for bloggers: watch what you write – Steve Wheeler saw my comments about Burnt Ice in my WWW post last week and sent me a lovely note explaining that the book is meant to be picaresque – a series of stories about a certain hero, or in this case, a group of heroes. Colour me embarrassed! He also revealed that there are nine further story sets to come after Burnt Ice!

When viewed as a series of shorter stories, Burnt Ice actually works quite well. It reads a lot like a television series – four or five episodes with a variety of outcomes. The only problem with the story being separated into episodes is the sometimes drawn-out story building between each action sequence. I didn’t really need to read about each crew member’s exact preparations before they set off on their mission. I realise its a good way to introduce new locations and technologies but when the Captain gives each member of the crew exact instructions, my eyes start to glaze a little.

When the action does happen, it’s much faster paced and well-described. The heroes and their various bio-enhancements are pretty awesome in how they deal with situations, and it’s all recorded for broadcast by the Games Board. No wonder they become celebrities!

This book contains a lot of technical descriptions – the team’s every invention and creation are intricately described and I found I had to really pay attention to keep up sometimes. The creations themselves are amazing though – Artificial Created Entities created from the combined traits of various animals to make a pet with benefits? Awesome! Being able to upload yourself into a computer so that if you die, you can just grow yourself a new body? How useful! There are a huge variety of other interesting inventions and advancements that the crew of the Basalt have at their disposal.

The members of Captain Longbow’s crew are likeable enough and they all have secrets that are hinted at, but not revealed. Emotional range is a little limited but that’s made up for by general bad-assery. The fact that they use Aussie/Kiwi vernacular such as “mate”, “have a yarn”, “bugger!” and other local phrases means that the whole story felt like a very local production. This is by no means a bad thing, just different!

If a Space Opera with plenty of battles interspersed with high-tech wizardry sounds appealing to you, Burnt Ice is worth a read! I’ll be watching out for the future of this series.

Warnings: Strong language and sexual references. Not as G-rated as Star Wars.

6 thoughts on “Review: Burnt Ice, Steve Wheeler

  1. Steve Wheeler says:

    (ed: Comment moved here from About page)

    Hey Angelya!

    Great review thanks………….very cool. And balanced. Yeah, I like frankness. It is not often practiced these days sadly. And I really appreciated that you put it up on Amazon as well.

    Look out for a review coming from John Howe shortly.

    Shame that you are not in Wellington this weekend……I would cheerfully shout you a beer!

    Take care.

    All the best, and thanks again.

    Cheers Steve.

    PS you are going to love ‘Crystal Venom’ which will be out March next year. As one of the reviewers of Burnt Ice (Simon Litten) said ‘maybe a seatbelt installed for the second book.’! LOL!

  2. Kim says:

    Live in Napier same as author. Purchased on Kindle after hearing radio interview. Am enjoying but was baffled when Basalt crew got back to base and then suddenly off fighting bugs. I could not get the connection. Seemed we started a new story. I see that the author says it is supposed to be a series of stories. I think I would prefer one story in one book. Actually what drives me crazy are the acronyms. Some I worked out but others I have no idea what they stand for. Steve, maybe put in the full title first then the abbreviation. That would help us technical dummies. Cheers, Kim

  3. […] review is for the second book in the Fury of Aces series and so contains spoilers for the first, Burnt Ice. You might prefer to read my review of that book […]

  4. Geoff Purdue says:

    It took a while to adapt to ths style, but i’m now thoroughly enjoying the first of the saga. Yes! I will buy the others

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