The Key of Astrea

Fiction - Science Fiction
448 Pages
Reviewed on 10/10/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Nicholas Marson is a Portland, Oregon native, where he raced outrigger canoes and grew to love coffee. He's two meters tall, and once lived in a tiny house. He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in biology and graphic design. He is an older brother to two siblings, a husband to an incredible wife, and a father to a princess in training. Now he lives in Eugene where he works as a web developer and translates daydreams into words.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

The Key of Astrea by Nicholas Marson has a strong appeal for fans of science fiction and urban fantasy. Jenny Tripper is a sixteen-year-old girl with a mental disorder. A holographic woman, Lin, informs her that her "mental disorders are indicative of latent ability." So, when Lance LaGrange, owner and CEO of Cabin, invites her to join their team, she is thrilled. At last, there is someone who believes in her, who thinks she is not crazy, an experience she has never had with her aunt or her mother. Jenny learns that she might the one to wield the key to unlock the galactic gateway and save a race of aliens. But she must compete with others like her, gifted with unusual powers. The only problem is, she is getting embroiled in something stronger than she ever imagined; an interstellar conflict that might require far more than her abilities to resolve.

This is a work of great imagination, a novel that is well-plotted and skillfully accomplished. From the very start, the reader is greeted by the strong, descriptive style of writing, with vivid images in the depths of outer space — the flash of light, the sudden appearance of hundreds of ships, and movement through the Terminal in the galaxy. While the writing is exceptionally good, the author does an impeccable job with character development, and readers will enjoy how a young girl with a mental disorder quickly morphs into a character on whom the destiny of the solar system depends. Her growth is painful, starting with the challenges of the test. She is real and readers can easily relate to her. The Key of Astrea is a powerful tale, action-packed, and filled with emotionally intense moments. Nicholas Marson comes across as a master storyteller, who combines realism with high tech concepts to create a story that is transporting.

K.C. Finn

The Key of Astrea is a work of science fiction, fantasy and coming of age which was penned by author Nicholas Marson. Written for more mature audiences from teens upwards, this conceptual and adventurous work focuses on sixteen-year-old Jenny Tripper as its central heroine. Jenny has often struggled with visions and ghosts coming to her to visit, so when she is told that she may be the one true savior of the solar system, she doesn’t pay it much attention. But when Jenny falls into another universe altogether and finds that she is not alone in the strange gifts she has been given, an incredible journey of strength, skill and space battles soon begins.

One of the things I truly loved about this epic science fiction adventure tale was the way that author Nicholas Marson works some very real mental health issues into Jenny’s storyline, and realistically portrays the psychological difficulties that having supernatural powers and an otherworldly destiny would really have on a teenage hero. Jenny is well developed and likable from the start, and readers will develop great empathy for her amid her exciting struggles, failures, and triumphs, of which there are plenty in this very dynamic plot. Acting in part as a thrilling comic book style space war, and in other parts as an effective and relatable coming of age drama, Marson has created a well-balanced tale that teen readers and adults will both enjoy. Overall, The Key of Astrea is a recommended read for YA sci-fi fans everywhere.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Key of Astrea by Nicholas Marson is a young adult science fiction coming of age tale. Jenny Tripper is sixteen and, yes, there is a good chance she is crazy. On the other hand, as the holographic woman who appeared in her room told her, she could just be the only person with the power to save the entire solar system. It could just have been a ghost, of course, another one, but then Jenny finds herself falling, landing in an alternate universe. Caught in a conflict, she could be the key to the runaway aliens’ freedom but to do that, she has abilities that she must master. There are others like her though and now she has to fight them to get to the key that leads to freedom, a galactic gateway key. Only when a spaceship arrives to collect the aliens does she join forces with her competitors to fight against total military control. Will she master her powers in time? Or will they all be too late?

The Key of Astrea by Nicholas Marson is an imaginative coming of age story with the main protagonist who is trying to deal with much for her age – grief, mental health, even her own identity – yet at the same time, she is fighting to save a race of aliens. Mr. Marson has written a masterful tale here and clearly he has a fabulous, highly creative imagination and that comes through on every page of this delightful tale. With well-developed characters and a great, action-packed plot, this story will have you hanging onto every word, spellbound as you follow our young hero through every battle – personal and to save the solar system. It’s bound to attract adult readers as well as the younger generations and I guarantee you this is a story you won't forget in a hurry.

Lit Amri

“We are assembling a team of unique young people with potential abilities. Abilities that are needed to save a group of people called Selkans. In exchange for your help, Cabin promises to develop your natural talents and cure your ailments.” With her mother succumbing to cancer, 16-year-old Jenny Tripper is trying to brave through her daily life when she receives a strange gift from an acquaintance. She soon finds out that she has been chosen for an important mission in which the survival of an alien race depends on her and others’ special abilities, including a very special key that will unlock a galactic gateway. The Key of Astrea is a coming-of-age, sci-fi adventure by Nicholas Marson.

The story started off by introducing readers to the frightening antagonist Admiral Vae Victus, whose ability to possess his enemies’ minds and bodies was revealed after an ambush against a small group of rebels. On the other hand, it was easy to empathize with Jenny, and her character growth during her time in Acacia City was nicely developed. It was also easy to root for Jack Spriggan who didn’t know the truth about his mission in the beginning. As a coffee lover, I was delighted that my favorite drink played a small but quite a significant part in the story. There are enough thrilling moments to engage sci-fi fans in Marson’s The Key of Astrea which incorporates space travel, alternate universes and extraordinary individuals called ‘Æons’. With its steady-paced plot, clear narrative as well as intricate world-building and interesting characters, this sci-fi novel is a solid read that both YA and older fans of the genre will enjoy.

Rabia Tanveer

The Key of Astrea by Nicholas Marson is a science fiction novel featuring a heroine with a heart of gold and powers that will bewitch you. When a strange holographic woman appeared in her bedroom to sixteen-year-old Jenny Tripper and said that she may have the power to save the solar system, Jenny thought she had either lost her mind or there was something wrong with her. But her ideas change when she realizes that she is not the only one. There are many others like her, people who have special powers just like her and they may be the key to saving their solar system. The only problem is that they have to hone their skills, master their powers and be worthy of wielding a Key that may be the answer to all their prayers. However, when a starship arrives and attacks them and the aliens they have captured, Jenny and the others must work harder than before to not only protect the aliens but the key as well if they want to protect the solar system. It is a big job, a serious job, but is Jenny ready for the responsibility? Does she have it in her?

This is a true coming of age story, one where the heroine had ample opportunities to grow, develop and correct herself. Becoming invested was the easiest thing to do and putting the book down was the hardest. I didn’t want the story to end, I wanted to know more about Jenny, and I wanted to see what happened next right away. Jenny is so unique, she is not your typical damsel in distress but she realized she had to save herself. She knew what she was capable of from the very beginning and she knew that she had the potential to unlock the power within her. So she did her best and I loved her for that. She is very empowering and that makes her one of the best heroines I have read so far this year. To say that I enjoyed this novel will be an understatement and I literally can’t wait for the next novel in the series. Simply fantastic.