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DarkShip Thieves - Sarah A. Hoyt Who wants to be blessed with the name Athena Hera Sinistra? Quite the mouthful. And so much heritage to live up to. I mean seriously . . . Athena? Hera? AND Sinistra?

At any rate . . . This is an intriguing story with some fascinating ideas. The story begins with Thena sleeping as she travels with her father aboard his spaceship. She is awakened by a stealthy intruder and manages to knock him out. She recognizes him as one of her father’s ‘thugs’. As she quietly investigates the remainder of the ship, she discovers her father in the medical bay, knocked out. She hears more ‘thugs’ searching for her, so she makes it to a lifepod and separates from the ship, thinking she will escape to Circum Terra and return to rescue her father. Unfortunately, her plan is thwarted as she hears a broadcast, in her father’s voice, saying that she is drugged up and having hallucinations. So, instead of Circum Terra, she flees into the dangerous powertrees. Once there, she literally runs into a Darkship, thought to be a myth, harvesting powerpods. The pilot, one Christopher (Kit) Bartolomeu Klaavil, an Enhanced Life Form (ELF) called a cat, enhanced to see in very dark conditions. . . . See . . . the Darkships need people who can see in the dark to pilot them . . .

Ahem. At any rate, ELF Cat Klaavil has now rescued an earthworm. Neither person’s parent planet is likely to welcome both of them. The Terrans believe the Darkships to be a myth. Even if they were real, they would not be welcome on Circum Terra as ELFing is against the law with the penalty of death. And, the Edenites are terrified the Terrans will discover their existence and wipe them out. Therein, our story actually begins as Thena tries to make a way for herself amongst the population of a planet that does not truly trust her and tries to find a way to go home.

The story proposes some very interesting ideas and reaches some very interesting conclusions about our, as a planet, inevitable future. It discusses the idea of a few men (and make no argument, they ARE men) governing and controlling a much larger population and the results of doing so. Eden, on the other hand, is governed by very little actual government. It has few laws (not even traffic laws!) and is, instead, guided by ‘tradition’. (The descriptions of Thena’s rides in the air cars are absolutely priceless, especially to those of us who have taught teens to drive.)

In addition, the narrative explores the morality of ELF and ‘bio’ing – basically genetically manipulation to achieve the desired fetus – and how the general population may (or may not) react to such things. The populations of the two planets are on polar opposites of the ideas, and it is engrossing to see the author’s viewpoints and resolutions. It also fascinates because, well, unfortunately, I see too much validity here. It is nice to see an author bringing my conspiracy theories to life. :D

I really enjoyed this story. I found it a refreshingly different, if not unique, approach to a tale. I mean, seriously, there are very few new ideas under the sun, and it is always fun to see an author take some ideas and wrap them up in different paper. Thena is a very scrappy young lady is quite used to fighting her way through situations. Even though she argued incessantly with her father and his rules, she desperately desires to make sure he is ok. Kit has a stable life, yet still has secrets he is not willing to share. You can probably guess where this leads. And, you would be correct. However, the ride along the way is enjoyable and both characters are quite likeable. The conversations have just enough snark to entertain me. And, I really liked the idea of ‘Eden’. Ms. Hoyt’s development of the refuge was fascinating and set my mind a jumping. I always appreciate a narrative that makes me think, “What if . . .?”

I give this book 4 stars. I’m holding off reading the next book until I see a synopsis for book three because I am not completely convinced I like where the story is going. I really like this story and its characters and hope to continue once book three is released.

As a very brief afterword, I have to wonder, how *I*, an avid *dog* person, keeps reading books about cats . . . Kitty Katt, wereCats, Cat Kit Klaavil . . . I suppose none of these situations would be better served by a canine reference . . . but still . . . .