Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Dark Horse by Michelle Diener

Title: Dark Horse
Author: Michelle Diener

Publication: June 15th 2015 by Eclipse
Genre: Adult ~ Science Fiction

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

Review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she's made a powerful ally--a fellow prisoner with whom she's formed a strong bond. Sazo's an artificial intelligence. He's saved her from captivity and torture, but he's also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn't know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he's not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5's owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn't the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he's going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

Starting Dark Horse I was excited to read it but I was also a little worried I wasn't going to like it as much as the author's other titles because, although I love science-fiction, I haven't actually read many books in the genre. But I should've known not to worry because this is Michelle Diener we're talking about and I ended up absolutely loving this book!

This book is mainly about Rose McKenzie, a human from earth who gets abducted by aliens and taken captive for three months until she escapes with the help of Sazo, an artificial intelligence. The story starts pretty much in the middle of Rose escaping until eventually she gets picked up (again with the help of Sazo) by Captain Dav Jallan and his crew. This is where her loyalties start start getting divided.

This book was all kinds of awesome so I'm not sure where to begin.I love stories that feature aliens, especially artificial intelligences like Sazo was. Sazo scared me a little bit in the beginning because he seemed so out of control and reckless but he ended up as my favorite character in the entire book, with Rose coming close as second favorite. 

Rose was also an amazing character. I just loved her attitude to her situation. She never gave up and she stayed loyal to Sazo the entire time while also not wanting to betray Dav and the others. And I loved Sazo and Rose's relationship and I loved how Rose refered to Sazo as Sherlock Holmes and herself being his Watson. They were really a good team and it was just so endearing to me. 

Dav Jallan is yet another favorite character in the book. Just like Rose I really enjoyed reading his point of view. I liked even though he and his race were aliens to Rose, they did resemble humans mostly, just bigger and with pointy ears. But anyway, he was great! I loved the way Rose intrigued him and the chemistry they had with each other. 

Nearing the end of the book I found myself wanting to read slower (but of course I couldn't) because I didn't want this fantastic story to end. The pace of it was steady, the world and character building was excellent (like always) and although I probably say this about all the author's books, Dark Horse is absolutely a top favorite of mine. I can't recommend this book highly enough!


She'd ended up in Tolkien's Undying Lands, or some fantasy landscape inhabited by elves. And not the children's book kind, the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings Legolas kind, thank goodness.

"You're like Sherlock Holmes, Sazo. Scary, scary smart, and with an underveloped sense of empathy. But Sherlock Holmes was absolutely a person, and so are you."

"Thank you, Sazo. This means a lot to me. And you're mellowing. Not going straight for death and destruction. I'm calling it the Watson Effect."
"You should call it the Rose Effect." He sounded almost shy. "Sherlock and Watson were long ago. We're Sazo and Rose."

       About the Author:

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next. Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.

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