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Linesman by S. K. Dunstall
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Linesman

by S. K. Dunstall

Series: Linesman (1)

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I randomly picked one of the numerous 'galleys I had loaded into my reader due out this month and started reading... aaaand I was pretty much drawn into the story from there. Yeah, I am a sucker for underdog stories and this is how this one begins... with the introduction of Ean Lambert - a Linesman who doesn't quite fit in with his peers due to his "unconventional" methods and his "street rat" background. Linesmen being those who can interact with "lines" - which is actually from alien tech that humanity stumbled across and eventually gained access to FTL capabilities from.

Oh... there's also space battles, intrigues, royals, admirals, aliens & politics/corporate tussles. But mostly, I think, I found the concept of the "lines" the most intriguing thing.

Overall this book pretty much had a classic space adventure/space opera vibe. Although I think it could have been more richly realised, there is enough there to sink your teeth into.

In hindsight, I did feel that Ean's situation had a bit of a Mary Sue thing going for it (getting support from the right people for one thing and then having all these things happening to you and it working out (somewhat) neatly) but it's done in such away that you don't feel insulted (is that the word?) for enjoying it. Haha. Although now I also notice that Ean doesn't seem to be doing much and was just solely reacting to things that happen to/around him. Oh, and he is pretty much a poster child of the inferiority complex.

Flow-wise there were a few times where I felt the story telling felt a bit scrambled, tch, but I just wanted to find out what happened next and glazed over those passages.

Will definitely look out for the second book (sigh - another series #headdesks)...

My general consensus is between a "like" and "really like" - so a 3.5 rating from me, rounded down to 3 because of certain nit-picky post-read considerations.

Addendum: I just realised what was dodgy about this book... the title! Yeah, linesman just brings to mind that one point in my life when I was into watching the EPL (footie) on TV... with offsides and whatnot. HAHAHA. (Also, I just found out that they're not called linesman anymore but "assistant referees"... whot?!) ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
I enjoyed this book. It's straightforward space opera with some interesting concepts regarding the power underlying space flight and with a sympathetic protagonist. I found it entertaining. It's written by two sisters in Australia, and I will go ahead and read the next two books out in the series. I was surprised by the negative comments in the LT reviews. I didn't find it overly complex in the number of characters, I didn't find the political machinations at all unrealistic other than Michelle being a bit of a Mary Sue, and I didn't dislike all the characters. Russo, yes, you are meant to dislike him. I enjoyed the ride. ( )
  ronincats | Jan 12, 2017 |
The only thing I liked about this book was Ean. I liked him. I wanted him to get away from everyone else in this book. I wanted him to get on the alien ship and fly into the unknown and be free. Everyone else in this book is despicable. They were all horrible people, who knew that they are horrible, and they just do not care. This is supposed to be a space opera with lots of politics and everyone is shades of grey and all that but I think that I should not want the main character to just fly away from the plot. The leaders were weak and let people under their care be mistreated, sometimes in front of them. The 'bad' guys were no worst the 'good' guys, other than Ean. The mystery of the lines was not really interesting just mostly confusing and pulled me out of the story. I still have no idea what the lines are or even what their purpose is. All in all I did not like this book, I just wanted it to be over so I could read something with more one than character I liked. I will not be reading anymore in this series.

I give this book a Two out of Five. ( )
  lrainey | May 10, 2016 |
Ean Lambert clawed his way from the slums to become a level 10 linesman. Although he makes huge amounts of money for his contract-holder by fixing the lines that enable travel between stars, he isn't respected like other linesmen. He was trained late in life, and has never shaken his tendency to sing while fixing lines. His bad reputation turns out to have a good side: it leaves him free to discover and learn to control the first alien ship humanity has ever encountered. But meanwhile, betrayals and disagreements between worlds have led to civil wars, and Ean becomes desired by each side.

I liked the concept of the lines, and how captains and crews of spaceships become part of what keeps the lines happy and healthy. But the plot itself was too tangled and ever changing for my taste, especially since I was never given much reason to favor any particular side or character. I didn't care if the Alliance lost worlds, or a particular syndicate took control of the Gate Trade Union, and so the majority of the book was pretty boring, even the blaster battles. Ean has the premise of a likable character, but spends so much time confused or apathetic that I stopped caring about him as well. I don't intend to read the rest of this series. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
'Linesman' reminded me just a bit of a more military-inflected take on Anne McCaffrey's 'Crystal Singer' books.

It's adventure-oriented sci-fi. In this future, space travel is dependent on "The Lines" - adopted 'found' alien technology which is only partially understood by humans. Each spacecraft has a set of 'energy' lines which have to be maintained and 'in tune' (almost like a piano) to function well. Only Linesmen (both male and female; this is an egalitarian future) can perceive the Lines and 'fix' them mentally. Ean Lambert is a top-rated Linesman, but he's a bit unusual. He's the only one in his field who has to sing to the lines in order to get them to respond. He's a great singer, but this quirk has caused his colleagues to treat him with contempt for his eccentricity - and has caused Ean himself, a slum boy made good who already had a bit of a self-esteem problem, to have a giant inferiority complex.

Ean's also jealous, because when all the other top-rated Linesmen are sent out to investigate a just-discovered anomaly known as The Confluence, his Guild's master, who holds his contract, keeps him close to home to work on mundane tasks.

However, everything changes when a wealthy and politically well-positioned aristocrat decides she needs to hire Ean for her own purposes. Suddenly, he finds himself placed as a linchpin in a conflict that may determine the fates of interplanetary empires.

It's fun space opera, but at times it dragged on a bit where it should've been more quick-moving. I feel like the story could've benefited by being edited down into a shorter book with the same amount of plot. It has two viewpoint characters - Ean is the main one, but a smaller number of chapters are Jordan, a guy on the 'other side.' I didn't find Jordan's character compelling at all, and I think the book could've done without him.

However, it's a promising debut from these two authors, and I'll be willing to follow up with the forthcoming sequel to find out what happens next!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Ace for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own. ( )
1 vote AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425279529, Mass Market Paperback)

First in a brand new thought-provoking science fiction series.

The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he’s crazy…

Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level-ten linesman like Ean. Even if he’s part of a small, and unethical, cartel, and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he’s certified and working.

Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy. Each of the major galactic powers is desperate to be the first to uncover the ship’s secrets, but all they’ve learned is that it has the familiar lines of energy—and a defense system that, once triggered, annihilates everything in a 200 kilometer radius.

The vessel threatens any linesman who dares to approach it, except Ean. His unique talents may be the key to understanding this alarming new force—and reconfiguring the relationship between humans and the ships that serve them, forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:38 -0400)

"The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he's crazy. Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level-ten linesman like Ean. Even if he's part of a small, and unethical, cartel, and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he's certified and working. Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy. Each of the major galactic powers is desperate to be the first to uncover the ship's secrets, but all they've learned is that it has the familiar lines of energy-- and a defense system that, once triggered, annihilates everything in a two-hundre-kilometer radius. The vessel threatens any linesman who dares to approach it, except Ean. His unique talents may be the key to understanding this alarming new force-- and reconfiguring the relationship between humans and the ships that serve them, forever"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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