Thank you so much to Angry Robot via NetGalley for the eARC of Starship Alchemon in exchange for an honest review!
2022 edit: I think I need to go back and edit some of these funny and terrible early reviews, so bear with me and enjoy this one🤣 Fans of space operas unite!
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
Deep-space action and a threat to all humanity, by the award-winning author of Liege-Killer and The Paratwa Saga.
Far from Earth, the AI-guided vessel Alchemon discovers a bizarre creature whose malignant powers are amplified by the presence of LeaMarsa de Host, a gifted but troubled Psionic.The ship is soon caught in a maelstrom of psychic turbulence that drives one crewmember insane and frees the creature from its secure containment. Now Captain Ericho Solorzano and the survivors must fight for their lives against a shrewd enemy that not only can attack them physically, emotionally and intellectually, but which seeks control of their sentient ship as a prelude to a murderous assault on the human species.
Starship Alchemon throws a pretty interesting crew of characters together on a research mission to investigate a bacteria growing on a distant planet where there shouldn’t be life. One thing leads to another and they are battling a disastrously powerful life form and just trying to get home alive.
Let me start with the characters: the ship is guided by an AI enhanced human named Jonomy, who links with the ship to guide and run interference during disasters. An interesting history is provided on these enhanced humans and I enjoyed finding out that he also had a personality and life and conscience of his own. LeaMarsa, the psionic (psychic type) brought onto the mission is the other central character. She has a troubled past and probably the most interesting background as she discovers the true purpose of the life form on board and her powers send the rest of the ship into catastrophe. (Think betazoids on steroids for Star Trek fans). There are a handful of other characters including a snarky researcher, his assistant, the captain and ship doctor, and a psychologically troubled first officer.
There are quite a few sub plots too, such as a shady character who is running these space missions. I wish that story line had been resolved a little more. There is the history of the life form on board and LeaMarsa’s interactions with it. The relationship between the captain and doctor provides a nice touch. The other characters have their own little storylines too. There is a lot going on. Sometimes it turned into a jumble but I enjoyed the book quite a bit.
Technology plays a huge role too as it should in a sci-fi book! The levels of the ship’s AI each play into the other lesser levels. There are robots and weapons and computers and space portals for transports into other galaxies.
Overall, this was a long but consistently engaging book. The ending seemed a bit easy but I would recommend for any space opera fans. It released earlier in November so check it out if it seems up your alley!