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Reviewed by David Korson for Readers' Favorite
The epic science fiction novel 17 Planets: The Captain by A. R. Alexander incorporates dystopian politics, intergalactic adventure, military action, and a medley of other literary elements to create a futuristic saga with extraordinary depth. A revolutionary new technology, the Ajna, offers humanity something it has sought for millennia; freedom from ill health and disease. However, one of the ruling factions has found a way to use this technological panacea to subjugate humankind. Captain Elizabeth Lee, a strong, intelligent, and enigmatic woman, takes on a pivotal role in stopping this threat to freedom within the universe. But with seventeen planets, four competing political powers, and innumerable people with a wide array of differing motivations to navigate, even a woman as dangerous and calculating as Lee will have her hands full to take on the Kappa Corporation and their plans for universal domination.
The level of complexity that A. R. Alexander has put into this book can’t be overstated. Don’t expect a casual read when you pick up 17 Planets: The Captain; expect instead to give your full mental energy and be rewarded with total immersion in highly developed worlds, intriguing plots, and countless characters that are both realistic and nuanced. The novel’s appropriate pacing eased me gradually into the intricacies of the story, introducing characters and locations in metered doses and thoroughly describing settings and technologies so that I was not only able to follow the narrative but become fully engrossed in it. An ambitious novel that highlights many elevated themes, it raises the standard for interstellar sci-fi.