Rogue Stars


Fiction - Science Fiction
430 Pages
Reviewed on 07/04/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

In Rogue Stars: Purgatory by Jaime Castle, Commander Predaxes of Prison Station Twelve maintains strict order and discipline. During a riot among new prisoners, he personally intervenes, resulting in seven inmate deaths. He investigates hackers, focusing on high-profile prisoner Samea Malik, who denies involvement in the incidents. A warship's approach prompts Predaxes to confine Malik and defend the station. Malik's tactical skills prove vital, more so when prisoners and crew alike end up on Faebos, where Malik’s team faces wildlife threats while collecting water samples. Following an attack, Predaxes plans prisoner use for mining, facing security concerns. Malik leads a mission, coordinating defense against creatures at the mining site. He effectively uses a combat platform to secure a retreat where collaboration between guards and prisoners becomes crucial, but Predaxes is forced to manage mixed responses and internal dissent regarding their roles.

Jaime Castle has essentially provided a masterclass on how to launch a series with Rogue Stars: Purgatory, crafting a story that blasts off immediately. The first blending that comes to mind in describing Purgatory is if Andor's Narkina 5 was mobile and crash-landed in Jurassic Park. It's as much fun to read as it sounds. Castle dances between the first-person points of view of Predaxes and Malik, so we see the evolution of their characters and their situations through their eyes. Naturally, the prison guards working on S-12 are going to have some discomfort with prisoners joining forces in a common fight. In fairness to the crew, wondering if it will be a hostile spider alien or a prisoner's shank to the kidney that kills you doesn't sound great. Inevitably, this does come to a head when a violently depicted and devastatingly grisly scene leads to a sort of mutiny, and the lines blur on whether it is Predaxes and Malik that go rogue or the crew. Frankly, when a book is this well-written and engrossing, all that matters is that Castle keeps writing. Very highly recommended.