Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus (Star Rigger #4-5), by Jeffrey A. Carver

Starstream Publishers, April 2011

This is an omnibus of the two novels Dragons in the Stars and Dragon Rigger.

Jael LeBrae is a young star rigger--a starship pilot--who is having a hard time getting her career going. The problem isn't her skills or qualifications; it's her late father. The elder LeBrae was the owner of a successful shipping business, and highly respected, until his business fortunes declined, and he began cutting every ethical corner. Jael's getting the blowback of her late father's enemies, in the form of not being able to get jobs with registered, somewhat regulated shippers.

In desperation she takes a job with an unregistered shipper, and quickly has cause to regret it. In Dragons in the Stars, Jael is forced to grow up very fast, face her demons, and forge a friendship with one of the "monsters" of the Flux--a dragon. A flying, fire-breathing dragon called Highwing.

In Dragon Rigger, Jael and her friend and rigging partner Ar get summoned back to the dragon realm in the Flux, where her old friend Highwing's sons, Windrush and his brothers, are facing a deadly threat.

On the most basic  level, this is a space adventure, with a nicely done excuse for bringing in the fantasy trope of dragons. It is also, though, a character-centered novel about Jael's growth from a young, emotionally wounded, immature girl into a mature, powerful woman who takes control of her own destiny. On yet another level, it asks how we decide what "real" is.

Jael, and Ar, and a character I haven't mentioned yet, a parrot named Ed, are all fascinating and involving characters, as are the dragons--Windrush, and WingTouch, and FullSky, and their allies and enemies. The Flux, including the portion of it that is the dragon realm, is about as nifty a form of faster than light travel as I've seen in science fiction.

Very enjoyable, and recommended.