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Date Published: June 17, 2014
In a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in a covert war for global superiority.
In the heart of Calchis, a powerful young psion named Aaron Waverly is kidnapped, and forcibly conscripted. To the north, in the capital, a plan is hatched to decimate Orion, to be carried out by the ruthless operative known only as “Agent.”
In Orion, fresh recruit Stockton Finn comes to terms with his incredible new powers, and learns firsthand how dangerous they can be. Meanwhile, officers Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett navigate the aftermath of their shattered love affair, oblivious to the fact that Calchis draws ever closer to destroying the tenuous peace.
Finally, in the arctic land of Zenith, Calchan archaeologist Faith Santia unearths a millennia-old ruin. This lost temple might just hold the hidden history of psionic powers, as well as hints of a deeper mystery . . . that could shake the foundations of all mankind.
The first of a new series, Fires of Man is classic sci-fi. The book is told from various points of view: Nyne, Kay, Finn, Aaron, Agent, and Faith. Their stories twine together in a way that makes you want to keep reading to find out how it all plays out.
Levinson is very detailed in his descriptions, making it easy to paint a picture in your mind of what’s happening. While I’m not sure I always cared to know what kind of food they were eating that day in the mess hall, it gave you a sense of the day to day life. I also think that in some instances his detail was crucial to a continued understanding of what was happening.
I loved the rawness of everyone’s emotions (with the exception of Agent, which is the whole point of his character). The characters all felt like real and believable human beings. Furthermore, you could believe that these people had been plucked from society to train in war, due to their special abilities, because they all had varying opinions and feelings about it. For example, the military was Kay’s life, and yet Aaron had an intense moral compass that told him killing was wrong, and he didn’t like the idea of being a weapon.
The world building could have been a better for me. I struggled to map out a mental image of where various mentioned countries were in relation to each other – even a physical map in the book would have been massively helpful. We also are never told why Orion and Calchis are at war in the first place, though perhaps this will be better explained later in the series?
Also, I don’t think the psionic powers and Faith’s discovery were tied together very well in this first book. Had it not been for the description, I think I would have been left wondering how her story truly tied into the rest of the book. Yes, there were connections, but I felt they were a bit weak and the whole thing could have been brought together a little better.
Still, the idea of psionic energy was cool, especially as Nyne learns to tie it in with everything around him and look at it in a different way. I look forward to seeing how his newly learned ideas of psionics play out in future books.
Then of course there’s the cliffhanger. Pretty sure I said to myself, “Really?! You’re REALLY not going to tell me if _______ lives or dies??” That’s when you know you have a good cliffhanger.
Overall this is a good start to a sci-fi series that I think will only get better with the future installments. There were quite a lot of characters and background information to fit into this first book. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up liking the next book more than this one. Definitely add it to your list if you like sci-fi with political/military undertones and superpowers.
Born and raised on Long Island, NY, Dan grew up immersing himself in fantastical worlds. While other kids dreamed of being astronauts and cowboys, all he ever wanted was to be a novelist. Now, he’s living his dream.
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