Review - Calamity by Toshi Drake

book cover


by Toshi Drake

My rating:

Volume 4 of StarStation

Tags: Science Fiction

Posted in Book Reviews on August 23, 2023

The Padua's xenobiologist Damon Wild is on his way to a planet where he hopes to plant some saplings he has been cultivating. Unfortunately, the Siwa pirates still won't leave anyone associated with the Padua alone and attack his shuttle. Damon crashes on a small planet and loses most of his memories from a blow to his head. To make matters worse, the planet appears to be on the brink of a global volcanic catastrophe. Damon manages to find his way to a small scientific outpost, but the commander Zavied rubs him the wrong way. Unfortunately, Damon has no choice but to join the outpost and hope they can find a way to escape the impending disaster.

This book is the fourth in the StarStation series, but it can be read as a standalone book. However, you will be missing a lot of the background of the series, and the main characters from the other volumes of the series do appear in this story, so it's better if you've read the first three books before this one.

I'm afraid this installment of the series is a bit of a mixed bag. The drama of a planet in the midst of a massive volcanic eruption is described very well, keeping you reading on to see what happens. It's when it comes to the characters, particularly Damon, that things don't quite work. Damon effectively loses his identity in the crash. He behaves quite erratically through most of the story in ways that don't always ring true. His panic attacks when memories resurface seem normal, as does his resentment at being treated like an invalid. Then there are times when Damon throws a tantrum over not being listened to or some other minor slight. I think the author was trying to depict the frustration someone must feel at not being able to connect to their memories, and I'm no expert, but the behavior depicted just didn't come off as believable.

Problems with Damon's character affect how we view his relationship with Zavied. Being attracted to someone who also annoys you can be a fun trope, but it doesn't quite gel with Damon and Zavied. Towards the end, the two fall into something that is believable, but it begins on such shaky ground that it's still questionable.

It feels like this series is running out of steam. It's a problem when a series (both books and television) builds itself around a fight with the same villain. Each installment of this series ends with the crew of the Padua surviving their latest encounter with the Siwa pirates but no closer to beating them, or even understanding their grudge. The constant stalemate is making me lose interest.

“Calamity” is available from Smashwords and Amazon.