StrikeStone: Book III of the Dolvia Saga by Stella Atrium

Publication Date: June 2013

 

SA_StrikeStoneA 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

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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.

Stella Atrium

Tammy, you mentioned an urge to talk about moments in the story that are spoilers. Can I ask… which do you mean (maybe to discuss)?

While we’re talking here on the website, we can spoil each other. LOL

admin

The thing about this novel is that everything is important and everything is connected. I wanted to talk about the prophecy that had Brianna married to Pete and laugh about his far flung seed, wanted to talk about Brianna calling in favors and her diplomacy at the start of the novel and her real show of power and connection, I wanted to talk about Brianna’s relationship with the commander. I also wanted to talk quite a lot about Rufus the Kettiwelp Killer. I also wanted to talk about the friend whose name escapes me now that Brianna visits when she slips out and what that says about the role of women in the world from which Brianna has come and how rare she is in that structure. As I lay these points out here I find that I can probably talk about them in very general terms….vaguify them…LOL

Stella Atrium

Those are all good plot points. We can talk about Rufus in the next exchange. I was wondering what you think of the encounter with Marcy, the set-aside wife of Rabbenu Ely who Brianna slips out to visit. That scene tugs at my heart, especially since Marcy befriends a lonely young Brianna in Book II. Going back to Book I – as a child, Marcy’s guardian was Brian Miller. So this scene has a back story that makes it extra poignant. I like that you view Brianna in contrast to the disempowered women of the savannah. Nice catch!

admin

That scene really made me sad for Marcy but really made me think about the world that Brianna had left behind and the role women play in it. I am for sure going to read the previous two books. I do know that I perhaps didn’t connect with this novel with the knowledge that one has when one has the full history and that makes me so curious to know how, once I read those, I’ll view the characters in this novel…what further insights. Also, it gives me a good excuse to read this novel a second time which I almost never have time to do. Re-reading is a luxury. 😀

Stella Atrium

Tammy, this chat is fun for me because you are the first outside my beta-readers to review Book III (and without knowledge of the previous works). I hope you have time to keep chatting.

You expressed an interest in Rufus who accompanied Brianna back to the savannah. What was your impression of him? What about his relation with Kelly? What questions about him remain?

Let me know when you have time. Thanks!