5 Small Stars
Rising Force

This series is getting somewhat better although it’s also predictable. As we last left the series, Zack, had just re-enable the Star Shroud around Earth thereby saving the Earth from attack by the Xiiginns. Their conquest fleet was cut in half with most of those ships inside the Shroud destroyed. I said most, but not all. Of course Earth was being aided by the Boxans who then returned to Earth and decided that they would turn over their advanced technology in order to get Earth up to speed for defending itself. Surprisingly no one thought to go search for any Xiiginns that might have been trapped on the inside of the Shroud.

So, with the Athena, Earth’s first starship, stuck outside the Shroud and with Zack unable to figure out how to now disable the Shroud, they go to Olloron, the colony world of the Boxans to figure out their next step. Of course, the humans aren’t just standing around. They are sticking their noses into things that really don’t pertain to their situation and the Boxans let them get away with it. Kaylan, the human commander, is especially nosy since she has a very, very well developed Mardoxian potential which allows her to see things others can’t. She has found out that their are Boxans still on their home planet of Sethion. For this Boxans, the very mention of Sethion is taboo since they feel a deep shame while leaving their home planet and other Boxans behind while they fleed the Xiiginns. The Boxans on Olloron have declared their home planet Sethion as a quarantined planet, a dead planet, with no reason for them to ever return. Yet, Kaylan keeps digging into their reasoning and finds that it’s not justifiable to leave their on kind on a dead planet when they have been calling for rescue for years.

So, of course, this book is all about the rescue of the Boxans stranded on Sethion. It’s not what the Boxan High Council wants done, but the humans seem to be acting as if they know what’s best for the Boxans. It’s just amazing that Kaylan hasn’t been shot or imprisoned for what she has done or is doing. She does get all the Athena crew involved which seems like it’s really a distraction from what they need to be doing and that’s finding a way back to Earth.

In the meantime, the Earth Coalition Force (ECF), stupidly sends out a practically unarmed shuttle to find out why one of the Shroud sensors keeps going off. It is captured by the only remaining Xiiginns inside the Shroud and they fly to Earth orbit. The three Boxans that were aboard the shuttle have been taken over by the Xiiginns and are now on missions to assassinate certain members of the ECF. Here’s where I get confused. The Boxans are 10 feet tall and I beileve the Xiinginns are about similar in height. The author indicates that the Xiiginns can infiltrate Earth now since they are so close. I don’t think 10 foot tall aliens can inflitrate anything on Earth without being spotted so I don’t know why this can be so. And, they know they came back on the shuttle so why hasn’t the ECF just destroyed the orbiting shuttle? It didn’t go back to where it came from, i.e., the ECF moon base.

Anyway, the story hasn’t ended, in fact, I think it’s just beginning. The Shroud is shrinking and won’t last for ever so Earth had better get itself ready for an Xiiginn invasion. I think I’m looking forward to book six.