Immortal Dawn is the sort of science fiction novel I haven’t read in what feels like far too long. The word “Earth” isn’t mentioned once; the action starts out on the planet of Hazhur, where cities are skyscrapers towering above a virtual wasteland below. The aliens are terrifyingly powerful and, at first, inscrutable. When their intentions are made clear, they are, quite naturally, to wipe out humanity, and the aliens proceed to do so with an inhuman chill that makes them the perfect enemy to read about. Our heroes, of course, are a ragtag band led by Vinson Gant, a former spice trader from Hazhur, and Qassi Ferenyu, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a friend of his.
Vinson and Qassi are swept up into the plot when a spaceship crashes through the highway between two of the skyscraper-cities. When they investigate, an alien gives them a stuffed animal, calling it the dahl’tyar. Neither of them gets a chance for any further explanation, as just then a group of other humans arrive, intent on investigating the ship. Vinson and Qassi hide, just in time to see the humans killed by a second alien ship. The aliens, called the mordeb’nar, interrogate Vinson and Qassi about the mysterious dahl’tyar, and when the two don’t give the answers the aliens want, one of the aliens stabs Qassi. Vinson races to get her to safety, where, thanks to the dahl’tyar, she makes a recovery that could only be called miraculous.
Then the action really begins.
While I did enjoy reading a novel that reminded me of older science fiction works, there were times when I felt it could have used more of a modern touch. The characters didn’t always feel human and relatable, and the narration at times felt stiff and stilted. There were three words in particular—immortal, incorruptible, and invulnerable—that started out powerful but lost that power through sheer repetition. The book was an enjoyable read and the ending sent chills down my back, but on the whole, it’s a book carried more by the plot than by the characters. While that’s not always what I prefer, it’s still a worthwhile read for anyone who enjoys a good bit of classic science fiction.
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