Publication Date: June 2013
A woman in traditional dress publically executed herself by setting herself on fire in front of the Governer’s mansion in far-away Cylay. Brianna Miller, a half-softcheeks and half-Dolviet woman and savior of the Gouleps (women ostracized from their families) is called to her homeland. Escorted by her cousin, Rufus, and another warrior, Brianna collects students as she travels. Her extensive travel finds Dolvia ravaged by conflict and war and on the brink of something bigger than could have ever been imagined. StrikeStone: Book III of the Dolvia Saga is the third novel in the Dolvia series.
The author, Stella Atrium, provided me with a copy of StrikeStone in exchange for my review.
StrikeStone is a science fiction masterpiece. Imagine a small planet just slightly removed from our own and accessible via wormhole with two moons, a rich savannah and a ritualistic culture and you have Dolvia. One need not read the first two novels to appreciate the beauty and elegance of Atrium’s new world in StrikeStone, but reading the novel certainly made this reader want to pick up the previous two.
Dolvia is a fully-realized alternate world. The work and care that must have gone into developing such a fully realized landscape and culture are astounding. The reader gets a clear view of the landscape and the roles of the populace within that world. The class structure is a driving force recalling a time long since passed in our part of the world. The foreign feel of the narrative and setting brings the reader to a new level and recall the works of such greats as Frank Herbert—a surreal science fiction epic. A world which is in many ways ruled by prophecies.
Brianna, the main character, is strong yet not so much that she’s dehumanized. At one point in the novel, she goes wandering to visit an old friend and must go, as tradition dictates, covered in a burka. She trades burkas with a housemaid so that she can have some sense of anonymity and when she returns Rufus takes her arm. She pulls away and tells the reader, “Even under the veil, I was my own woman.” (page 117). This quote sums the character up perfectly. She is her own woman. She’s strong, competent and in charge but not so to a brash, unlikable or unrealistic sense. She questions the treasure being left to her which some see as sacrilege but as another character observes, she questions everything.
All of Atrium’s characters are richly described. From the lowest servant we get a sense of who these people are and where they’ve been. The landscape of humanity and Dolvia is heavily laden in a way that is like our own but with the past—or possibly the future.
The plot has everything a reader could want, action, adventure, humor and romance. This is a far-away world and readers are looking through the window and watching things happen. Atrium’s beautifully descriptive style sweeps us up and carries us into this new world. We are invested. We need to know what happens next.
I cannot adequately convey to my readers how great a science fiction novel StrikeStone by Stella Atrium was. This has been the most difficult review I’ve written in a long time because of the urge to talk about things that may be considered spoilers but were simply so fascinating. Be sure to drop me a line to let me know what you thought when you read this novel.
StrikeStone: Book III of the Dolvia Saga is a masterpiece. If you like science fiction, this is a novel not to miss.
Read an excerpt and buy StrikeStone: Book III of the Dolvia Saga by Stella Atrium on
For fantasy readers, check out Stella Atrium’s Seven Beyond book review.
For more information about the author, visit her website. You can connect with her on Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, IAN (The Independent Author Network), Google+ and Twitter @SAtrium. Series readers can find Stella on Fictfact.