Today is my turn on the Storytellers on Tour Blog Tour for In The Orbit Of Sirens (The Song Of Kamaria) by T. A. Bruno . Thank you to Justine and Timy for having me along for the ride! Please be sure to check out some of the other bloggers on the tour here. There is also an amazing US only giveaway at the end of this post so make sure you stay tuned right until the end!
THE LAST FRAGMENTS OF THE HUMAN RACE ARE FORCED TO ADAPT TO A DANGEROUS NEW WORLD OR FACE EXTINCTION.
When starship mechanic, Denton Castus, is caught in the destructive path of a devastating war, he abandons his home and seeks refuge on a distant planet. However, this new safe haven has undiscovered threats of its own. Eliana Veston, a scout preparing the planet for the refugees, struggles with a deadly pandemic that is killing off colonists. The hunt for a cure unleashes a new threat to humanity—the Sirens—mysterious beings with incredible powers and a deep hatred for invaders.
In the Orbit of Sirens by T.A. Bruno
Series: The Song of Kamaria (#1)
Published: October 4, 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure
Pages: 502 (Print Length)
I was kindly given both a paperback copy and a kindle version of this book by the author and Storytellers on Tour. Thank you so much!
In the Orbit of Sirens is the first book in T.A. Bruno’s debut Sci-Fi series, The Song of Kamaria, and takes place far in the future. The human race is at war with a race of scavengers called the Undriel and is planning to escape from the Sol System to a planet named Kamaria. Kamaria is a distant planet in another solar system which takes 300 years in sleep stasis to travel to.
We get to know a group of people who are already on Kamaria setting up a habitable base, named Odysseus Colony, preparing for the remaining humans who will arrive in five years. 250 people currently live there, including 26 year old medic Eliana Veston and her father, John, George Tanaka, Capt. Roelin Raike and his wife, Faye. There is also an AI named Homer.
There are survival problems on Kamaria – a bacteria exists which attacks human lungs causing “lung lock” which is fatal. The team is desperately searching for a cure among the local flora and fauna when we first meet them:
“Kamaria was heaven—if it weren’t for the airborne bacteria that caused human lungs to immediately cease functioning.”
Luckily for the scout team, they encounter one of the tall, bird-like humanoid natives, which ultimately leads to them synthesising a cure for lung lock. Eliana is able to communicate a little with the creature and discovers he is an Auk’nai called Mag’Ro.
I really enjoyed the Auk’nai species. They are not dissimilar to humanity in that they have a societal hierarchy, with a group leader and are able to communicate and learn foreign language. They use technology, although they are not as technically advanced as the humans. They are telepathic and unable to tell lies, and their telepathy enables them to tell when another species is lying to them. They refer to conversations and histories as songs and appear to have a fairly sound moral code.
While trying to locate the Auk’nai once more, the team discovers a mysterious crypt. Capt Raike Roelin becomes possessed by a violent monster, one of the titular Sirens, who gradually takes over his consciousness more and more and leads him to embark on a devastating killing spree.
We are also introduced, via flashback chapters, to some of the remaining humans in the Sol System, 300 years previously. The down-to-earth and very likable Castus family, Michael, his wife Brynn and their three grown up sons Denton, Tyler and Jason, run an engine repair shop on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede and are awaiting the call to board the Telemachus transport ship – their ticket to Kamaria.
In these flashbacks we learn about the Undriel – humanity’s terrifying enemy who absorb human bodies and use them to create fearsome mechanical/human hybrid machines:
“When the Undriel absorbed a victim, they replaced all non-essential parts with mechanical elements. The result was usually a rotting human head encased in a robotic, spider-like frame, or at least that was what any autopsies on fallen Undriel foot soldiers had yielded. In this case, the absorbed human had been converted into a spaceship, forced to watch their own body work against them as a weapon of genocide.”
What a terrifying concept! I thought this alien race was an extremely imaginative invention and was hoping to see more of them. Perhaps they will appear again in later books in the series.
There follows a fast-paced, exciting escape sequence, as the Castus family flees Ganymede, running the gauntlet with the Undriel, in an attempt to reach the Telemachus in time to flee the Sol System. I had my heart in my mouth as the Castus family fight to escape a fate worse than death.
300 years later, the Castus family arrives safely on Kamaria and Denton is disappointed to once again be working on engine repair, he thinks he’d like to be a scout. I really liked both of the main characters, Eliana and Denton and their developing relationship was endearing without being too mushy. Denton soon becomes an important part of the scout team, making the most of his engineering skills and practicality to help the Auk’nai as well as his team. On one trip Denton is helping an injured team member and has an encounter with a creature called Karx, and begins to have visions of two sirens, Nhymn, the one which infected Roelin and who currently is holding the captain hostage inside his ship, deep in the jungle; and her sister Sympha, who has powers of creation and who created Karx. Through these visions we learn Nhymn’s backstory and discover why Nhymn has become a twisted destroyer who uses pain to control her captives.
Meanwhile, in the present, Roelin appears to have finally got the better of the immortal Nymh and is planning a return to the colony. Will this lead to the end of the colony? The tragic character of Roelin really had my sympathy. He was not in control of his actions and forced to kill his colleagues and attempt to kill his own wife. Then he had to try and keep sane while a sadistic tyrant invaded his mind and took control of his actions.
One of the Auk’Nai, Talulo, is able to help the scout team track Roelin. They make their way to his ship, the Astraeus where Roelin has been held at the mercy of Nhymn for four years, locked in a constant mental battle for control of his body. Nhymn forces Denton to fix the Astraeus and it is finally able to take off. A truly formidable and terrifying enemy, Nhymn is going to get her chance to confront her sister Sympha after centuries of preparation. Nhymn wants revenge on her sister and is using Roelin as a vessel to get what she wants.
The writing style of this novel is engaging throughout this book, and the descriptive world-building passages are extremely imaginative. I loved their cinematic nature, which made it easy to visualise the flora and fauna of Kamaria as depicted in these sections of the narrative:
“The Kamarian jungle breathed. Flat alien leaves sprouting from obscure trees rolled in the humid air as if treading water in an ocean of heat. Smaller creatures observed the human scout team through perches in the vines, vanishing from sight the moment they were discovered. Shadows concealed the jungle floor, with spears of light pushing through the dense upper canopy. The shady trees had jet-black trunks that bled a crimson sap. Long, wine-red leaves draped from their branches.”
The fast-paced, edge-of-the-seat fight sequences are also well thought through and no details are overlooked, making it highly enjoyable and a book that is difficult to put down.
I recommend reading this novel to all fans of Sci Fi, great world-building and well-rounded characters. I can’t wait to read the next installment of The Song of Kamaria!
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Prize: In the Orbit of Sirens by T. A. Bruno – Winners Choice: Hardcover, paperback, or audiobook– 5 winners
Starts: March 21st, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: March 28th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
About the Author
T. A. BRUNO grew up in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. Since then, he has brought stories to life for over a decade as a previsualization artist. At home, he is a proud father of two boys and a husband to a wonderful wife. IN THE ORBIT OF SIRENS is his debut science fiction novel.