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Class-M Exile by Raven Oak
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Class-M Exile

by Raven Oak

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This novella by Raven Oak barrels ahead like a chase scene from Firefly, all the way up to its thrilling end and heart-stopping last line. Right from the start there's great action, and the author also adds excellent characterization—especially of Eerl, a nonhuman creature called a Tersic. Eerl's voice and ponderous thought processes are unique and humorous and remind one of the prospector character Ellsworth from Deadwood. Eerl is fully fleshed out over the course of the novella, his quirks and personality teased out to the reader gradually with just enough description (he has multiple noses, for instance) to let the imagination roam.

In short order the reader is introduced to Mel, the outlaw around whom the plot revolves. Mel latches onto Eerl and together they flee impending danger, only to land in another jam. The pacing is swift and the mood is very tight and tense, and Oak doesn't give the reader much time to take a breath in between action scenes. It's very easy to read 3 or 4 chapters and hardly realize you've done so.

However, there is just enough time to absorb the details and try to solve the mystery of Mel, who turns out to be a good liar. In fact, almost every character is not limited to the initial impression given, which adds to the fun of reading the narrative. Twists and surprises abound, and bits of pathos and humor are sprinkled throughout like nuggets of fudge in ice cream. Class-M Exile may be a one-off story, but there is certainly potential to return to this universe, and this reviewer would be very happy if the author chose to do so. ( )
1 vote ichliebebueche | Aug 13, 2015 |
Mel is on the Class-M planet Bay-zar looking for some information about her parents. As a genuine hu-man Mel is feared and alone. The hu-mans are bringers of war, killers in the eyes of the other species. Eerl, a Tersic and a collector of all hu-man knowledge strives to help Mel. Eerl helps her stow away on The Marzipan where none of the other passengers are thrilled about her being on board, especially Zee a Unified Military member with a grudge. Zee wants nothing more than to send Mel back to the prisoner planet Miral where she escaped from. Mel and Eerl eventually find what Mel is looking for, but of course, the truth is not at all what either of them expected.

This was an intriguing and thoughtful space adventure novella. At first I was a little thrown by the weird southern type accent of Eerl, but I got used to it after a bit. The world building of the different planets is done very effectively and quickly and I felt like I had a good sense of place for the dusty, cramped marketplace of Bay-zar, the ship The Marzipan and the planet Ryddar. For a novella Mel and Eerl's characters are fairly complex, I'm glad that I got to know Mel's backstory, but I am still wondering how much of it was true. Eerl was very interesting to me and I would love to know more about the Tersic and if he ever figured out why a fish didn't need a bicycle. Also, for a space adventure there were some important themes about prejudice, humanity and war. With a surprising ending, Class-M Exile makes for a fun, reflective and quick read.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
1 vote Mishker | Jun 24, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Class-M Exile tells a fast-paced sci-fi tale from the point of view of an alien that seems to relish old school human culture without any understanding of it. When he meets his first human, he is determined to protect her, help her escape, and learn more about her people.

I’ve read several reviews of this novella that complain of the excessive use of slang and “confusing language”. I, for one, would like to applaud the author, Raven Oak for this. If there is anything that draws me into an organically derived new world, it is language. Is submersion not the best way to learn a new language and about a new culture, fiction or otherwise? My only beef with this offering is that it seemed the author had more than enough material to flesh this into a full length novel, but instead left the reader with many questions. I can only hope that the intent is to go back later and fill us in on the rest of the details.

More at http://herebewords.com/2015/05/25/review-class-m-exile-raven-oak/ ( )
1 vote msstephaniebuck | May 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’m finding it tricky to write about Class-M Exile simply because I don’t want to give anything away about this intriguing novella. I loved the voice of the first person narrator, Eerl. I appreciated the humor, particularly in the opening scene. But mainly I enjoyed the fact that the story wasn’t quite what I expected and that it left me curious to read more by the author, Raven Oak.
1 vote Dejah_Thoris | May 7, 2015 |
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