Review: Ariel

Ariel by Steven R. Boyett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started this book thinking that it was yet another author trying to capitalize on the success of what S.M. Stirling has accomplished with his “Dies the Fire” series of books. Now, having read the Afterword and actually looking at the publication date I can see that this book well predates that series, and may well have been the inspiration for the series.

Structurally it is quite clear that this is a debut novel. The pacing is dramatically different in the beginning than it is in the end. At the start the novel is all over the place, trying to find a pace that works for it. Eventually it finds a pace that works and maintains it throughout the rest of the novel. The same can be said of the narrative. Toward the end it becomes clear that the novel is intended to be a journal of the protagonist, and thus the change in pace and writing clarity is explained as simply development on the part of the one keeping the journal. Honestly, this is a handy tool for the author that, if used effectively, can cover a myriad of sins when it comes to the writing within the book.

The book was an entertaining read, and was certainly worth the time I put into it. It actually pulled me into the story quite well, and committed me to the reading more than many books have for quite some time. Is this a book that I want to put into my permanent library? No, not really. If I want to read it again I can always get it at the library.

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