I saw the old cover on one of the reviews below and prefer this one.
Flow! To me it is all about the flow. It is that magical quality that some authors are born with and some authors can work their way into. Maintaining the flow through a whole text, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, is something most authors struggle with. Some authors never hit it while others fall in and out of it. Then we have the others.
Michael R. Hicks has the ability of remaining in the flow. He did it so well, I had to get the other two novels in the Redemption trilogy and read them right away.
Maybe part of that has to do with the harshness of Empire. Michael did not try to sugar-coat the conditions of the orphanage. I imagine there are people out there who cannot believe that such things exist, but they do. Muldoon is nothing unique in the world of orphanages.
The other thing that really hit me was Reza’s ability to adjust. Some people are like that. They just bend with the blows that life hits them with. Me, I’d break having to live through the death of my parents, abuse at the hands of caretakers and finally having to live with the enemy. Whenever I meet a bender, I am impressed all over again. So, I was impressed with Reza.
As Reza learns so too does Esah-Zhurah. She goes from thinking of him as beneath her to gaining a grudging respect of Reza’s possible value. Inevitable I guess. Tearing down the walls of propaganda takes time – even for superior aliens.