Foreword Reviews

Solar Ashes

Birth of a Hero

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Solar Ashes is a vibrant science fiction novel about distant galaxies, interplanetary relations, and a person destined for unimaginable greatness.

In Jason Bradford’s thrilling science fiction novel Solar Ashes, a boy discovers his incredible abilities on a distant planet.

In 2098, those who survived Earth’s destruction are on board The Odyssey, traveling through space in search of a new home. Soon after The Odyssey’s AI assistant, CARIE, delivers the news that no hospitable planets have been found, a loud crash is heard onboard, and the power is lost. Strange creatures have invaded and are attacking the crew.

The ship’s captain investigates. His wife goes to check on her infant son, only to find that her baby has disappeared. She does her best to protect her other child, twelve-year-old Conor, demanding that he hide in a sleeping pod while she attempts to fend off the invaders.

The fate of the remaining members of the family and of The Odyssey is unknown; the novel’s focus switches to Conor, who ends up on the planet of Jopal. There he meets Supreme Commander Makon Welcos, an esteemed military leader who adopts Conor as his own son. With little memory of his previous life, Conor embraces his new reality. With the help of Makon’s niece Tiera and others, he becomes more acclimated to Jopal. As Conor trains at the planet’s elite academy, he discovers that he has unique abilities—though his confusion about his past and his uncertain future are an impediment to achieving true greatness.

Imaginative, and with rich worldbuilding, the novel uses descriptive imagery shared from various perspectives to capture the wonders of its various planets and galaxies. Conor’s wide-eyed, youthful marveling over his surroundings on Jopal reveals fascinating aspects of the planet’s advanced technology, diverse inhabitants, and even its cleanliness. By contrast, the planet Hadak-5 is described as a dangerous place, covered in darkness and bombarded by high winds; it’s a fitting setting in which to meet Commander Ultirot and his formidable crew of Kravii warriors.

Still, the prose is somewhat verbose, leading to stretched-out and sometimes superfluous scenes. Conor’s story, for example, includes several experiences involving his training, many of which depict similar outcomes or character insights. This takes away from some of the more exciting action that appears elsewhere. Nonetheless, this is a riveting, satisfying story that is filled with suspense.

Solar Ashes is a vibrant science fiction novel about distant galaxies, interplanetary relations, and a person destined for unimaginable greatness.

Reviewed by Gail Hoffer-Loibl

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher 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 publisher 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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