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Posted January 24, 2012
I discovered Deborah's two books, Jaydium and Northlight, quite late in life, but am very grateful I have.
There are a host of excellent authors in the science fiction and fantasy genres (my two favourites), many of whom write stories of epic scale and complex intricacy (Peter Hamilton being my all time favourite of these), which I tend to default towards. Regardless of scale though, what I love most are beautifully written stories, especially when they feature characters of inspiring strength, conviction and humanity, woven together with underlying themes of challenge, growth, redemption and, ultimately, inner balance and love.
While Deborah doesn't choose to write stories of such epic scale, to my mind, no one is quite as able to create such stories, and particularly such intensely rich and wonderful characters, as Deborah is able with so few words (relatively speaking). In particular, Kithri (Jaydium) and especially Kardith (Northlight), for who I am, epitomise some of the best female lead characters I've come across.
Given enough time, one could probably each of these books in a single setting, such are their easily flowing yet gripping stories, which might suggest these are 'light' books. To me that would be to miss the wonderful weave of, I suspect, carefully chosen words that Deborah seems to be a master of.
Posted December 18, 2011
This review is a portion of a longer review that previously appeared at Goodreads.
There is a special place in science fiction and fantasy for the ¿door in the wall¿ story. Sometimes it takes place on a completely different world; occasionally it takes place with alien minds front and center. In JAYDIUM, we have the repeating mirror of multiple times, the branching universe of ¿What if?¿ magnified and showing us different ways the universe has played out ¿ and how one small world may be the home of a sentient alien species, the ruins of a once-great civilization, and a rock with a bonanza of energy wealth buried within it.
As always, Ross poses important questions through the thoughts and actions of her players. The fates of four humans from three different times and even universes collide when an unstable jaydium deposit and a sparking force whip combine to cast the group and a small ship adrift in time.
As she did in NORTHLIGHT, Ross examines betrayal, survival, healing, second chances, even redemption. There is a lot of adventure, a touch of romance, and new worlds and aliens to get to know. The question of what is sentience, and could we recognize intelligence so different from ourselves, adds to the story. Fans of the Miller & Lee Liaden books, the Cherryh Atevi books, the Smith Idomeni books or my Nuala books will probably like this one, too. Recommended.