Disclosure: If you buy books linked on Geeky Galaxy, I earn a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you and supports the blog!Those Left Behind by N. C. Scrimgeour
Series: The Waystations Trilogy #1
Published by Independently Published Published on 16th November 2021
Genres: Action & Adventure, Alien Contact, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Science Fiction, Space Exploration, Space Opera, Technology
A dying planet. A desperate mission. A crew facing impossible odds. Humanity’s last hope lies with them…
Time is running out for the people of New Pallas. Nobody knows that better than Alvera Renata, a tenacious captain determined to scout past the stars with nothing but a handpicked crew and the promise she made: to find a new home for humanity.
But between navigating the treacherous chasm of dark space and first contact politics with a galactic civilisation already on the brink of war, Alvera soon realises keeping her word might not be as easy as she thought.
Her only hope may be the secrets of the ancient alien waystations scattered across the galaxy. The mysterious technology could be the key to humanity’s survival—or bring the unwanted attention of the long-forgotten beings who built them.
But remaining united in the face of annihilation is a lot to ask from a crew already splintering under the weight of their differences. A jaded pilot wrestling with his family’s blood-stained legacy looks for a place he can start over. A young translator desperate to leave her mark on the galaxy searches for meaning out in its lawless frontier. And Alvera reckons with the aftermath of betrayal as she fights for a way to save them all.
As they break apart to forge their own paths, Alvera and her crew all face the same question: what are they willing to sacrifice to save those left behind?
Those Left Behind was everything I love about space operas. It had something to tick pretty much every imaginary box in my head that makes up the perfect book for me:
- First contact with a galaxy with well-established governance and politics
- Unknown precursors
- Ancient but far advanced infrastructure (probably those mysterious precursors)
- Aliens that are really alien, not just bipedal humanoids with scales, but features that truly set them apart
- AIs with personality and sarcasm
I could probably go on, but this book had all of those things and more and I loved every minute of it. The book starts off with an introduction to one of the characters and her past, but I think more importantly immediately introduces you to the world and one of the later high stakes plot points. The world is far advanced from the technology we know today, but also instantly recognisable as a believable future with overpopulation, climate issues and resource shortages. It’s futuristic and science fiction yet instantly relatable and believable. And that’s just in the first chapter. As we progress through the story, meet more characters and explore the wider galaxy, I fell more and more in love with the world that was being weaved around me and found myself at times wishing there were pages in the book, simply to explore the alien worlds in more depth.
The one thing that caught me a couple of times, and it’s probably on me not having read much sci-if on a broad spectrum recently, is keeping up with all the characters and what they’re going through. This book has a lot of POVs, and it’s something I’ve historically disliked in books. I’ve aways been a fan of first person perspective, staying in one character’s head the whole time so you really get to know them well. This book isn’t that. I haven’t counted how many POVs there are, but it’s quite a few. There was one character in particular who, without saying too much and spoiling it, was struggling with visions and therefore confusing who he himself was. As someone who was fighting to keep up with all the POVs and names, I’ve got to admit, when the character started to have similar issues inside his own head, it was a bit much! And yet, I can’t fault the author for that because it’s actually a fascinating plot point that I can’t wait to explore more in the next book. I just hope by the time the next book comes out, I’ve got all the characters and what’s at stake for them straight in my head! I think a reread before the next book is out ought to do it. And I’ve got no hesitation in that reread. In fact, I think a reread will be perfect to cement some details in my head and go into the story with existing knowledge of the various species and characters to see what details I might’ve missed the first time around.
Overall, I 100% recommend this book. I especially recommend this book to fans of Mass Effect and Star Wars. The initial few chapters reminded me of the stories you hear in Mass Effect of the first time humanity stumbled open the Sol Relay and blindly used it, having no idea what or who waited for them on the other side. And whilst I could call out other similarities to Mass Effect, I’d be doing Those Left Behind a disservice because it’s got such a great and unique story of it’s own that completely separates it from everything else I’ve played/read/watched.
Book Two, Those Long Forgotten, is coming out next year and it’s definitely on my list of most-anticipated releases for 2022! I can’t wait to dive back into the world of Idra-Var, the madness of the elitist Exodans and find out what chaos our cast of characters have brought down upon themselves.
Those Left Behind is an exciting start to what I hope is an amazing series. It’s got something for every science-fiction fan. I enjoyed every word of it.
If you’re a Mass Effect or Star Wars fan, l’d say this book is definitely for you.