**Please note, this is NOT a book review blog! Don't start sending me messages asking me to review books. I review books strictly on my own whim and discretion, mainly for my Goodreads group but also of other books that catch my fancy. Once I get caught up with my backlog of reviews, they'll only appear once or maybe twice a week.
So, here's my review of The Great Succession Crisis, by Laurel A. Rockefeller.
Kyra's star ratings:
Characters: * * * *
Story: * * *
Writing mechanics: * *
Worldbuilding: * * * * *
(I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)
The Great Succession Crisis is a science fiction/science fantasy dealing with the question of female inheritance of the throne on the planet Beinan. The most notable thing about the novel is the extensive, deeply-layered, detailed worldbuilding. The author has put a great amount of thought and work into developing Beinan: physics, history, politics, social mores, technology, food, religion, weaponry, fashion, down to measurements of time and distance.
For my own personal preferences, I would have liked to get to know the characters on a more personal level before diving into the history and politics. But once the basic situation was set up (the daughter of a female ruler cannot inherit, and Queen Isabelle's only son is unwilling to take the throne, leaving Princess Anlei the only - illegal - heir) and the story-telling turned to the characters, I found myself engaged by the romance between Caronn and Anlei and the threats to their happiness and their world's well-being.
Some stylistic quirks in the writing kept me from being able to fully immerse myself in the story. The author uses a lot of different words in place of "said" in dialogue attribution. I found this distracting, especially when the word being used is not a functional synonym for "said." The novel is also dialogue-heavy, and both dialogue and narrative contained more detail than I was able to absorb.
There's an interesting framing device, setting the story as "data transmission files" sent by someone from Beinan who crash-landed on a planet referred to as D425E25 Tertius. I'm curious to know more about this storyline.
The author classifies The Great Succession Crisis as science fiction, but me being a fantasy nut, I consider it science fantasy because of some quasi-magical foretelling and empathic abilities that some of the characters display.
The extended edition comes with numerous appendices laying out Ms. Rockefeller's truly breathtaking worldbuilding, along with a couple of related short stories, some of her non-fiction essays, and a recipe for Beinan-style fruit pastries.
Overall, The Great Succession Crisis is an interesting story with characters I came to care about in a richy-developed world. Rated a solid 3 stars, meaning I liked it.