Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields


34109678Publisher: Nine Star Press
Release Date: February 27, 2017
Received From: Review copy from the author

Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.

Neek does not believe—and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views.

Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl—a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?


GENDER: cisgender, alien species that uses neopronouns
SEXUALITY: bisexual, lesbian


TROPES: religion vs science, slow burn, magical abilities
TAGS: adult, fantasy, science fiction, space opera, queer characters, coming of age
WARNINGS: captivity / slavery, kidnapping, explicit violence, child abuse, ableism, murder, parental death, xenophobia, colonialism, sexual assault


I received a copy of both this book and its sequel when the author approached me about reviewing Ardulum: Second Don. Intrigued by the premise, I accepted.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite love the book in the way I expected. In fact, I was pretty bored for a good portion of the novel. The worldbuilding had a lot of interesting potential, but the lack of detail in certain areas made it really difficult to properly picture the different species and planetary systems that were being presented. The writing was good for the most part, but it didn’t keep my attention when other aspects of the novel worked together to make me disinterested.

Also, it kind of read like Firefly/Serenity fanfiction with one of the main characters essentially acting as River Tam. Which is cool, I guess, but I could just re-watch Firefly or Serenity in that case.

This book was not bad, it just didn’t work for me. I will give the second book a shot because that’s the one I was originally approached to review, but I will be going into it with extreme hesitation.





J.S. Fields (@Galactoglucoman) is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. She enjoys roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, but prefers female pronouns.

Fields has lived in Thailand, Ireland, Canada, USA, and spent extensive time in many more places. Her current research takes her to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest each summer, where she traumatizes students with machetes and tangarana ants while looking for rare pigmenting fungi. She lives with her partner and child, and a very fabulous lionhead rabbit named Merlin.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s