Book Reviews,  Coming of Age,  Science Fiction

Book Review: Quarter Share

Quarter Share (Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, #1)Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was recommended this book, as I have a reputation amongst friends and family for liking happy endings and hopeful plotlines. Quarter Share has that. But its optimistic outlook isn’t enough to support the story. What is missing is a solid plot, conflicts, and diversity amongst the characters.

Rather than a plot, we instead have a journal-like memoir from the viewpoint of Ishmael Wang, a crew member of the Lois McKendrick a deep-space freighter. We learn about the death of his mother and his inability to find work on his home planet, which was literally going to evict him. He enlisted for a two year stint with this huge commercial freighter, in spite of having absolutely no experience in space.

From there, its a day-by-day accounting of his experiences as the ship’s rookie as he learns the ropes, studies to earn a better position on the ship, and makes friends. Unfortunately, the challenges aren’t very challenging, his daily life is a repetitive routine of working in the ships kitchens, making coffee, having dull conversations with smiling, vapid friends, and ending each day with a run and a sauna. For excitement, the routine is occasionally broken up by a practice emergency drill (no need to fret, they always *know* its a drill).

The action hits top speed as Ishmael and his friends figure out how to successfully make a bit of profit at the flea markets that seem to be ubiquitous on every planet they visit. Oh, and they learn about mushroom farming.

That’s it – that’s the action. Flea markets and mushroom farms. Neither of which offer any sort of real challenge or conflict with anyone.

I can see what the author was aiming for. A re-telling of Horatio Hornblower, in space. A comfortable space-opera snuggly quilt to nestle down in after a hard day in our real world. Quarter Share is a literary sedative. It’s hard to be mad at it, but it’s also difficult to rave about it, either.

Oddly, I may read the next book in the series, Half Share, just to see if the author decided to intensify the reading experience. The series is beloved by quite a few readers, and I’d like to see if there’s more to it.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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