The cover I’d give 2.5 stars: poor typography, top half of book is white so the thumbnail disappears, the girl is not nearly as pretty as the image in my mind as I read the book, bad color, the graphic is meaningless, and so much more.
Is it Christian?
I think so. I think there’s a savior. But it’s a God without much power who doesn’t seem to have a relationship with His people outside Master/servant. Creator, yes. Almighty, yes. Savior, maybe in the second book. Friend, no. Empowering, no.
In fact, one of my main issues with the book is that the Sentinels seem to have more power in the world than their God has. My relationship with the Lord is more similar to a relationship with a Sentinel than it is to the Master Singer of this book. The active presence of the Lord in the book is largely missing.
It is a wonderful bit of sci-fi
It approaches the best of the space opera’s. It may well be that books 2 & 3 in the trilogy solve the spiritual questions just raised. In fact, there are several indicators that this is true, in Firebird.
The characters and relationships are wonderfully drawn
Firebird is an exceptional young woman, horribly abused emotionally and spiritually. Her strength of character is extremely attractive. There’s no way she’s the vacant-eyed waif on the cover. Brennen is what you hope a fine righteous young man should be. But all of the other characters, good and bad, are written with depth and discernment.
The world-building is exceptional
The geo-political construct is fascinating and well-done. The technological-scientific realities are very believable. The cultural vision is very rich. We see that some of the issues with political correctness and the fear of offending are very serious.
Though I think the Federation is supposed to be the good guys, they can’t be trusted. The Nataian culture is fascinating giving us the voyeurism of the reality shows as we watch it implode.
The titillation of telepathy
First of all, I must say this level of communication is one of my deepest hopes and desires. Of course, if I had any sense I’d be deeply afraid of the exposure—but I rarely do (consciously). I am certain this level of communication will be the norm in Heaven—for we will know as we are known.
However, placing this telepathic, empathic power in the hands of humans is terrifying for many, fraught with danger, and gets us focused on the creature rather than the creator. That level of oneness is immensely attractive, stimulating, and exciting. But it’s a counterfeit of the real thing. We are supposed to get this from the Lord through the Holy Spirit. It’s wonderful when it happens, but it’s not under our control—for good reason. So for non-believers it’s incredibly attractive. For believers, it is sadly less than real.
Nevertheless, this is a very good book. I hope my issues with book one will be resolved by reading books 2 and three of the trilogy.