01/07/2009. Contributed by Kelly Jensen
pub: Baen Books. 512 page hardback. Price: $15.64 (US), £13.59 (UK). ISBN: 978-1416591603.
check out website: www.baen.com
'Diamond Star' served as my introduction to 'The Skolian Empire'. By the end of it, not only was I highly entertained, but completely involved. I will be making room in my reading list for more adventures from Catherine Asaro.
This is the story of Del-Kurj Arden Valdoria. Del is a son of the Ruby Dynasty, rulers of the Skolian Empire. He is supposed to be the King of Skyfall, the planet he calls home. But none of this wealth, privilege and power compare to his dream of a career in music. When he becomes stranded on Earth, he is 'discovered' and launched by a record label. Overcoming stage fright and adjusting to Earth's music culture are tough battles, ones he must overcome if he is to attain stardom.
Turns out, his family being less than pleased with his career choices is the least of his troubles. There is a trader shopping for music to export to the Eubian Concord, an empire the Skolians have recently been at war with. He is interested in Del's music, but more fascinated with his innate Ruby Dynasty gifts. Del is a Ruby Psion. Followers of 'The Skolian Empire' series (of which this is the fourteenth book!) will recognise this fact for what it is and the bearing it has on the rest of the story. Needless to say, there is more adventure and intrigue in store for Del than the simple machinations of his recording label.
'Diamond Star' has a high emotional pay-off, reminiscent of the other Catherine Asaro series I have read, 'The Lost Continent' (Aronsdale) books from publisher Luna. The day-to-day life of rock musicians is not something normally associated with Science Fiction. 'Diamond Star' is therefore a breath of fresh air in a genre that can overwhelm with technology and gadgets, while still being an entertaining instalment of an award-winning space opera.
I also received and listened to the audio CD and it makes a fine accompaniment to the book. Though I'll admit I expected the songs to be a little more energetic and powerful, as written in the text, music is another art open to interpretation. The project of producing a CD to go with a book is a fun and innovative idea.
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