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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Grond: The Raven High is the first book in the Grond series by Yuri Hamaganov. Translated from the original Russian, the thrilling narrative chronicles the early life of Olga Voronov. She is a ‘changed’ human and has lived in a self-contained orbital space facility from a few months old, looked after by her android nanny, Arina Rodionovna. Planet Earth is dying, its population polarised between the wealthy haves and the starving have-nots. Olga has been selected and modified, trained from infancy to operate a critical orbital factory which could prove to be the salvation of the planet.
The story takes us from her early attempts to master docking manoeuvres using the station’s simulators, her first space walks and exploration of the orbital facility of which she will one day be mistress - its processes and functions will become part of her mind and neurology. It chronicles her adventures in the matrix world of virtual reality and her successful transition at a very early age to mastery of her space-borne world high above a shattered Earth. But taking charge of the station is not all smooth sailing - an explosion resulting from a space transport hitting an orbiting mine sends a destructive shower of debris to threaten the station with devastating effects, and an emergency rescue mission develops into something altogether more sinister. Can Olga keep the crucial facility running? Can planet Earth be saved?
Grond: The Raven High is top quality, classic science fiction. The plot is carefully paced, allowing the reader to assimilate many interesting concepts regarding the technology of the times, virtual reality, time compression and the fate of the planet, all of which are presented in a clear, accessible style. The book also has a bonus chapter from the next volume Grond II: The Blitzkrieg, which looks very promising. Yuri Hamaganov has created the basis of a great new series which I am sure will be welcomed by all sci-fi enthusiasts. A highly recommended book by a welcome new name in the genre. I wish Mr Hamaganov every success.