Voidhawk by Jason Halstead is the first novel I read with my Kindle app on my iPhone. I’m not used to reading eBooks, but I found that there were some formatting problems. That may be the fault of the app or it may not have been edited or formatted properly. However, this will not affect my review.
This was both a very interesting book and a very unusual book. It was interesting because of the setting. It’s quite unique. Halstead created a universe in which traditional fantasy races traveled in wooden boats in the Void. The Void is their word for space. So, this was fantasy in space! It is in no way science fiction. The only thing that separates it from the usual earthbound fantasy is the fact that it is in space. I really enjoyed how he set it up with planets being the unusual locations for people to go, while most were in the Void in vast artificial settlements and on asteroids. These places had their own atmospheres. In fact, every ship had its own atmosphere and gravity plane.
What I found unusual is how its very episodic. It doesn’t seem to have a single storyline, unless you count the central romance or the characters’ increasing familiarity with each other. There are many smaller adventures, mostly in life or death situations. But that doesn’t mean it’s a serious book. I found it filled with humour. Some of it was a bit childish and unnatural. I couldn’t put my finger on it until later in the book when I realised that the humour was quite similar to that of Japanese animation. Male characters tend to be very embarrassed by female nudity. While they seem to be adults, they behave like awkward teenagers who have never seen a nude woman. And yes, there is plenty of nudity and adult humour in this book. It’s not for kids.
The characters were an interesting bunch. Dexter Silvercloud is the Captain. He’s daring, impulsive, occasionally responsible, and seems to have the most internal conflict. Kragor is the dwarf first mate who never seems to be serious. A lot of humour comes from him. He’s a decent character that I liked. Jenna is the elf. At first, headstrong and stubborn, but she shows the greatest development. Bekka is the half-elven pilot, and I didn’t find her character to be very deep. Other characters come in to join the crew, such as Jodyne, Rosh, Bailynn, Keshira, Xander, Willa, and Logan. My main difficulty with the characters is how they changed emotions suddenly and irrationally. They didn’t seem very natural. I don’t know if Halstead noticed this, but every character “chuckled” all the time. That word was overused.
I believe this is his debut book, so his style probably hadn’t been firmly established yet. But despite the problems I saw, it was a fun read. It has good entertainment value, but don’t expect to find a deep story. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series, though.
I will give this 3 stars. It’s not amazing, but it is a decent first book. Recommended to those who enjoy some humour mixed in with their fantasy. Also recommended to those who like unique settings.