13 Born of Empire

Dodecahedral Book 1

Fiction - Science Fiction
381 Pages
Reviewed on 08/11/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Forming the first book in the Dodecahedral series, 13 Born of Empire: The Last Heir and the Unregistered Orphan, A Galactic Quest for Survival is a work of fiction in the science fiction, adventure, and coming-of-age subgenres. It is suitable for the young adult reading audience but can be easily enjoyed by the young at heart too. Penned by author Sally Ann Melia, this is an action-packed space opera adventure that features two thirteen-year-old boys as its central protagonists. As Teodor struggles with the dangers of being the sole heir to the twelve-planet system that humanity now lives on, aspiring Dome Militant recruit Guy bears witness to the young king’s kidnapping.

Author Sally Ann Melia has crafted a truly exciting tale with an interesting contrast between the two central characters. In this rough world of subterfuge, kidnap, political unrest, and strict hierarchies of power, Guy and Teodor both represent outsiders who are not treated the same as other boys. I loved the narrative technique that the author employs to get each young man’s perspective across in an authentic and original voice, and I felt that both perspectives give you a more balanced view of the complexities of the wider world that Melia has created. The detailing is superb, and there’s an austere atmosphere to the Dodecahedral that really makes you want to read more and break through its apparently gleaming surface. Overall, I found 13 Born of Empire to be a fantastic start to what promises to be a stellar science fiction series.

Helen Huini

Sally Ann Melia's 13 Born of Empire: The Last Heir and the Unregistered Orphan (Dodecahedral Book 1) begins with a scene where the Mezzatorra is under attack. Captain Karl Valvanchi reckons the Sas Darona Liberation Army (SDLA) would not break through the Mezzatorra’s high perimeter and secure vault unless the Dome Militant assisted them. The novel then shifts to the aftermath of the attack, where Prince Teodor (Teo) is standing on the high tower, thinking about the recent events that led to his father, the king, being killed. Princess Nuria Valvanchi joins him after arriving with the delegation of guests that Teo was expecting. She tells Teo that, despite his self-beliefs, he is the finest prince in his generation and will be king in two days. Will Teo stand up to the challenges and demands that come with the throne, especially with his enemies baying for his blood?

Sally Ann Melia vividly describes the scenes and actions in the novel, which will enable readers to create mental images of the Dodecahedral. She narrates the book from a third-person omniscient point of view, providing a first impression of the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I empathized with Guy Erma’s vulnerability and doubt when Commander Tilson informed him that his orphan status might prevent him from enlisting as a soldier for the Dome Militant. Sally Ann Melia's 13 Born of Empire: The Last Heir and the Unregistered Orphan is filled with action developed from the suspenseful plot. This is an excellent book for readers who enjoy science fiction novels with character-driven plots.

Essien Asian

As the insurgency on Sas Darona rages on with no end, rumors abound that the natives are getting military support from the Dodecahedral Empire. Still, no one can prove this until Karl Valvanchi stumbles on irrefutable evidence. He prepares to visit the administrative center of this conglomerate of planets to present his find, but events on Earth have overtaken his mission as the heir to the throne disappears barely days before his coming of age. With the Emperor keen on who will succeed him and the regent barely maintaining her influence, expect sparks to fly as the Dome question nears in Sally Ann Melia's 13 Born Of Empire.

The first book in the Dodecahedral series is an explosive introduction to a world of intergalactic politics. Sally Ann Melia's storyline is expansive as she takes her time to introduce us to each of the principal players, their origin stories, and their motivations in this action and adventure offering. The characters are impressively multifaceted, exuding emotion in their conversations that immerse us completely. Her descriptions of the planets are colorful and exciting as she mixes folklore, fiction, and history to create a futuristic-sounding Earth that is as believable as impressive. Guy Erma's struggle to attain his heart's desire is an interesting subplot but probably not as intriguing as the gunboat diplomacy the Dodecahedral Empire attempts with the Zaracan Democratic Union. Sally Ann Melia's 13 Born Of Empire combines elements of action, adventure, drama, and intrigue to create a science fiction fan's dream novel.