Simply out of this world! Sentient by Dr. Victor Acquista is a marvelous work of science fiction at the highest level. Sentient was a delight from the very first sentence, gripping you all the way to the surprise ending. Dr. Acquista immediately draws you into his world, using alien words and beautiful descriptions, which paint us a dramatic picture of survival, triumph, and humanity. The world and culture of Adden is simply beyond anything we could possibly dream up. There is no war, no crime, and no government. All of the citizens freely help and exchange with each other due to their ‘collective mind’ and telepathy. However, nearly all of them are destroyed by the terror known as The Mind Warriors of T’rox, who are another race of telepathic aliens that are bent on becoming the most supreme race in all of the galaxy. Only a handful of Addenites are able to escape, including our hero Anyeuros. The story then flips between the perspectives of Anyeuros, the Addenite colonists, the T’rox, and present day Earth. Here on Earth, we find our other main hero, Professor Strickland. This is where I truly began to fall in love with this book. Professor Strickland, genius in his own right for his inventions, has a medical condition known as schizophrenia. Dr. Acquista has done plenty of research into this topic and it shows, because his well-detailed description of the mental illness, as well as the way the book discusses the social stigma of mental illnesses without any touch of malice or rancor, show how truly gifted this author is with his words. The plot continues to flow effortlessly, even the shifting perspectives do not distract from the elegance of the story, as we follow how Anyeuros and Professor Strickland work to solve the mystery of schizophrenia and thwart the invasion of the T’rox. Dr. Acquista, through his characters, also helps to challenge society standards and what we value most.
Sentient tackles the tough issues, such as homelessness and society indoctrinating violence, but it handles it with such humor and kindness that it is easy to digest. There were several times I had to put the book down just so I could ponder the questions and feelings that it had brought up. The best and worst of humanity are highlighted, but yet it does not feel as though it went too far to the extremes. This debut novel is witty, intelligent, saddening, and beautiful. This book is amazing, and I truly would love to recommend it to everyone. I look forward to more by Dr. Acquista in the future.
Mirror Matter Press