Foreword Reviews

Redemption Song

The Beginning of the Rynn-Human Alliance

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Ambitious in scope but centered on relationships, Redemption Song is a thoughtful work of science fiction.

Henry A. Burns’s Redemption Song is a thoughtful, action-packed work of science fiction that ushers humanity into a new era of intergalactic politics.

A unique alliance between humans and the Rynn, a race of aliens, begins with a simple connection. An elderly widower, Jeremy Blunt, stumbles across the exiled Small Snow Flower; their relationship sets in motion a series of events that include the United States falling apart, multiple alien races landing on Earth, and an epic space battle.

Jeremy adopts the exiled alien and teaches the Rynn martial arts, as well as informing them on the importance of morality and ethics. What begins as a tale of redemption quickly spirals into much more as human beings and the Rynn together become a major galactic power, face a growing menace, and struggle to thrive. An alliance is born, tested, and strengthened.

The book’s science fiction elements become a lens for examining human desires for connection and exploration, with previously closed-off Jeremy at the center. He learns to reconnect with others, even as he shares what it means to be human with aliens.

Characterization is uneven. Jeremy is the most well-rounded character in the large cast. His motivations are always suspect, though, and the truth behind his wife’s death isn’t made clear until late in the book. His backstory propels most of the story’s progression. The plot moves in even bursts.

Other characters are developed only in service of the plot. Jeremy’s granddaughter falls in love with an alien within hours of their meeting and becomes the Rynn’s spokesperson on Earth; this rapid romance feels forced.

The story covers twenty years of happenings and has weak spots as a result. Major events are overly condensed, as with the United States splintering into four factions after hearing about the Rynn. The break occurs in less than a year and is not supported with believable details. At times, the book feels like a series that has been forced into one volume.

World building and interspecies dynamics shine. Each of the alien races are distinctly drawn, down to their unique cultures and eccentricities. Over the course of the novel, they nevertheless join forces and learn to cooperate seamlessly, as when the Rynn join human militaries and train and prepare new alien races to engage in combat.

Ambitious in scope but centered on relationships, Redemption Song is a thoughtful work of science fiction.

Reviewed by John M. Murray

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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