by Stella Atrium
Consider for our example The Lord of the Rings in movie form. The Fellowship of the Ring got all the acclaim, and The Return of the King got all the awards. But The Two Towers (with the walking trees and the assault on Isengard), um… not so much.
I’m aware of this odd pattern with the middle story carrying much the weight, but none of the praise. So for HeartStone: Book II of the Dolvia Saga, I went the extra mile to secure a Kirkus Review and also petitioned some friendly GoodReads reviewers to look over ARC versions of the story.
The complete paragraphs provided by Kirkus Reviews are below, and one GoodReads reviewer said this:
“The plot of HeartStone revolves around several offworld characters, including Dr. Edna Edwina Greensboro, Lieutenant Michael Peter Shaw, and Dr. Henry Beecham, in addition to Dolviet tribal members, leaders, and outcasts.
Readers will be reacquainted with old friends and like them try to determine who is truly the enemy of Dolvia, a new one or the same enemy with different tactics. Either way, the tribal people of Dolvia are the pawns, along with those who choose not to see or act or those who are just naive.
As an orphaned child of an offworlder and a Dolviet, Brianna Miller is condemned to be an outcast among the tribes. Yet, she strives to better herself so that one day she may travel to Earth, the planet of her father's birth. With the gifts that Dolvia has provided her, the generosity and teachings from the various characters, the pain that she endures, the compassion she feels for others, and the risks she takes, Brianna prepares for a future...a future she will choose for herself!
You have a really great series going here. I love your descriptive writing style! I really can't wait to see what Brianna thinks of Earth and then what happens when she returns to Dolvia!”
-- Phoenix Carvelli
KIRKUS REVIEWSHeartStone: Book II of the Dolvia Saga
$19.95 paperback, $6.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1462070442; June 15, 2012
The second installment of Atrium’s Dolvia Saga is a character-driven sci-fi tale that explores profound—and timely—themes of sexual oppression, environmentalism and cultural intolerance.
Atrium’s intricate novel ranges widely in theme—gender, politics, existential philosophy, mysticism, etc. Set primarily on the planet of Dolvia—where the females of the indigenous, frequently warring tribes of the savannah maintain few rights and are forced to wear burkas—the storyline revolves, at least initially, around Dr. Edna Edwina Greensboro, a bush-clinic doctor whose courage, compassion and vision have begun to change some of the insular ways of thinking.
Getting married to Lt. Mike Shaw, an off-world military man, and keeping two female gualareps—oversized and sentient iguana-esque reptiles—increases her status. But when she witnesses a “mixed blood” girl being brutally abused, she realizes that she’s working against centuries of oppression reinforced by cultural mores, folklore, myth and cruel men dead set on guarding the status quo. After all, the victims “are only women.”
The commentary on gender politics benefits from a foreign setting; it’s an exercise in considering discrimination without finger-pointing. But that’s only one aspect of this multifaceted story—as Greensboro fights to save lives and educate the tribespeople, nefarious individuals and companies seek to profit from the chaos.
Aside from a few instances where the storyline becomes erratic—as with Greensboro’s marriage, for example—Atrium’s saga continues with another entertaining and powerful read, reminiscent of Octavia E. Butler and Margaret Atwood.
An allegorical, emotionally intimate narrative for sci-fi fans, with broad themes that could appeal to a mainstream audience, too.
HeartStone is “live” this holiday weekend. Yeah!
As an incentive to get started with the series, we’re offering the ebook version of SufferStone: Book I of the Doliva Saga at the 55% discounted price of $3.09 on Amazon.com. The offer is good through June 2012.
Sign up for GoodReads giveaway of softcover copies of SufferStone to celebrate the release of Book II. Ten days only!