Article first published as Book Review: ‘Siege of Praetar’ by David Kristoph on Blogcritics.
“Siege of Praetar,” Book One in the Tales of a Dying Star series by David Kristoph, is an intriguing science-fiction tale about the people of the planet Praetar. Praetar’s star, Saria, is dying, and the Melisao Empire is making preparations to flee the planet. The story follows three people, each caught up in the exodus, and each with their own struggle to survive.
Hyken is a Sentinel pilot for the Empire. His mission is to destroy malicious freighter ships trying to smuggle weapons off the planet. For the most part a “company man,” when challenged by his co-pilot with a moral dilemma, Hyken must make a split second decision regarding the success of the mission.
Mira is a single mother and works at a factory for food tokens that are required to purchase the meager rations doled out by the Empire. Mira struggles to provide for her daughters and is preparing for the day they can flee the planet. When her youngest daughter Ami becomes ill, Mira must make the ultimate sacrifice to secure the future for both of her girls.
Bruno, a slumlord scumbag, controls the launching of the freighter ships under the direction of the Empire, and preys on the starved and the broken people of Praetar. It soon becomes disturbingly apparent to Bruno that no one on Praetar is safe and he must make his own plans to flee the planet.
The story is presented in three parts, revealing the individual stories of each character. I struggle to label the characters as protagonists or antagonists because they each show signs of both when faced with their own moral dilemma. Well, except for Bruno, that is – I believe readers will agree with me that he can definitely be labeled one of the true antagonists in the story!
Kristoph does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the story. The character development is fantastic, the level of oppression in each character is haunting, and the clearly descriptive apocalyptic setting permeates each page. I read the whole thing in one sitting. While that sounds like a monumental feat, the reality is the book is only 163 pages. “Siege of Praetar” definitely left me wanting more, and I can’t wait to check out the other books in the Tales of a Dying Star series by David Kristoph.