Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fun Coming Up! And a Teaser For It!

Friends, I have offered up the blog to participate in the blog tour for a book launch for the awesome Starla Huchton! Check things out soon for info on the tour, but until then, I'd like to offer up a review for another book by the same author as a teaser! Here's my review of Maven, Book One of the Endure Series. 

Maven by Starla Huchton


Not too many decades from now, brilliant young scientist Lydia Ashley finally gets the job of her dreams: researcher on the underwater station Endure. She's finally going to get a chance to work with another highly intelligent young person, Daniel Brewer, who she's been following intently for years. But when Daniel doesn't quite live up to her expectations, she realizes she may have made a mistake dreaming of this position. But when she and the infuriating Daniel uncover a hidden plot to release deadly bacteria into the population, they're stuck together. Will they be able to find out who's behind this world-threatening scheme?

That’s my synoposis. Here’s the synopsis I pulled from amazon.com:

How far would you go for love?

Since losing her parents at fourteen, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now twenty-one, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet.

Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse.

Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?


When you take modern technology into consideration, it's easy to get swept up in the hard-hitting, heavy science fiction that takes place in outer space, or on spaceships, or that involves parallel-evolved races from the outer reaches of the galaxy. Getting caught up in all that outside possibility makes it easy to forget just how much of our own world is unknown. Seeing a near-future sci-fi set on a ship on Earth is so refreshing! There is so much that we haven't explored of our own world that is untapped in fiction. It's great to see the possibilities explored in Huchton's novel.


I will not lie. I fully expected the Endure to be a space vessel. I was so pleased to be wrong! It is extremely difficult to set novels at sea, particularly on ships. Even though Endure isn’t really a ship, since it’s underwater, it still presents the same difficulties. I think that's because the setting is so limited, and there's only so much that can happen on the water. But I never felt constrained, claustrophobic, or cheated while reading MAVEN. I was drawn into this life on a ship without even really realizing there wasn't much variety in way of setting. Huchton did an amazing job making the Endure feel like home rather than a huge research building that the crew and scientists live in... except that there's a pod of dolphins that lives in there and has tubes that span much of the station. How cool is that? Feeling down? Go watch the tubes and wait for the dolphins to show up!
I don't want to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty smart. I may not be ridiculously brilliant like Lydia, who was a Nobel laureate by age 19, but I am fully aware of how awkward it can be to grow up with an overactive, overachieving brain. Huchton did a stellar job making Lydia real, in that she's always been a little removed from her peers and those around her for being so brilliant from such a young age. It's a burden of expectation that should not be placed on someone so young. Being in her early 20's, she is finally growing into her place among adults, and it's good to see that it's a very strange experience for her, being accepted and not being doubted or resented for her age.

I actually read Maven, as opposed to my frequent listenings-to of audio books. I read this in ebook format, not that that makes a ton of difference by not being a dead-tree book. I’ve got to say, I really think I would have missed out on a lot had this been a podiobook. There was a lot of subtlety, and because the narration moved back and forth between Daniel and Lydia, it would have been easy to get lost in audio (unless it was pointedly recorded by two narrators, one male and one female) but I’m getting off the point. The chapters were a great length in themselves, and often there were breaks at scene changes that made for good stopping points. All in all, a very well-thought out and crafted novel.

My Thoughts

Overall, the entire cast of characters is believable and real. The few people whose heads you get inside are reflections of reality, and I could easily see myself reacting in similar ways to them. This entire situation and the people in it are so believeable that I could actually see it happening in 40-50 years. The writing is clear and concise, easy to read but not overly simplistic. It doesn't take much work to actually do the reading, but there is plenty in the text to really make you think. And I have to say, it's hard to find novels that don't give you too little or too much. I've read books that I've felt could have expanded more and been longer, and there are many that could have told the same story in 2/3 of the length or less. This... this book was a great length. I was vested, I was kept interested, and I didn't feel like I was being teased at the end.

My only gripe is that the confrontation with the antagonist went too quickly. I understand that one point of it was that things were supposed to happen fast, but I feel like the actually confrontation itself was over too quick. Yes, Lydia and Daniel are both highly intelligent, and the antagonist wasn't quite on their level, but I would have liked to see more then a few seconds of high tension. I won't say I felt cheated on that scene, but I did feel a little... underserved, I guess. It was one of the only points of the book that had physical conflict, and I wish there had been more.

Would I Recommend This Book? Yes! It was engaging and smart without being overly complicated. The characters are very real and very human.

Well... I said I'll develop a rating system at some point, and... I still haven't yet. For now, I'm going to go with the 5 stars rating scale, and I would give this like 4 of them. I really need to get around to coming up with my own rating system, because conforming is so not me.

For more information on Maven and Starla Huchton, visit http://www.starlahuchton.com/


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review! I'm glad you enjoyed the story and hope you'll check out book 2, NEMESIS, as well as the other two as they're released. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Yep. Two more. Book 3 drops the end of November, and the 4th and final installment comes out the end of February. :)