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Book Review: Fractured Stars, by Lindsay Buroker

I purchased a copy of Lindsay Buroker‘s Fractured Stars.
Fractured Stars cover

McCall Richter finds criminals, con men, and deadbeats better than anyone else in the empire.

She’s proud of her success and that she owns her own spaceship, especially since she struggles to understand human motivations, can’t tell when people are lying to her, and is horrible at recognizing faces. Being autistic in the empire is frowned upon—and there’s a handy normalization surgery to correct it—but she’s managed to prove her worth and avoid irking the tyrannical regime.

Except for one thing.

Two years ago, she liberated the android, Scipio, from an imperial research facility where he was treated worse than a slave. He’s become her business partner and best friend, but if the empire finds out she has him, a “normalization” surgery will be the least of her worries.

When her ship is confiscated by a cyborg law enforcer needing to transport prisoners, McCall knows she and Scipio are in trouble. Worse, the enforcer’s pilot is a former bounty hunter and business competitor she beat to the prize many times in the past.

Soon, he’s snooping all over her ship and questioning her about her past.

And there’s something strange about him. He knows far more about what she’s thinking than any human should.

It’ll only be a matter of time before he discovers her secret. And then what?

my review

This was fine, I suppose. I’m really torn. I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Buroker a lot more than I liked this. On paper, I should have loved this. Late 30s/early 40s, autistic hero and heroine in space… heck yeah. Fashionista android…I’m on board. Rescue dog…yes! I should have loved this. Instead, it kind of fizzled for me. I didn’t hate it. I don’t think it was bad. But it didn’t light me up as I expected, either.

Part of the reason is that I bought and read this after reading the prequel short story Junkyard, where the heroine and her trusty android solve a mystery and save a pooch. I wanted more of the heroine/android (and dog) antics. Instead, the android and dog are basically not in the book. They make cameos, but that is all. So, the very thing I read the book for wasn’t there. Instead, we were given a pretty bland escape-the-prison-planet plot. Meh.

The writing and editing are perfectly readable. I just didn’t love it.

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