Book Review: Prime Vector: Collection Books 1-4 by D.A. Hicks
This collection comprises the first four parts of the serialized ‘Prime Vector’ story. Each part is novella-length I’d say, of about 100 pages each, making four of them a hefty read. The story so far is constructed more like a series of TV episodes than anything I’ve really read in fiction; in each part the characters have to complete one part of an ongoing quest, which then leads them to ask more questions and find the next quest to complete.
Here’s the thing: I’m not sure how many episodes there are actually going to be in this serial. It looks like 8 according to the list of titles in the blurb… but there really aren’t any answers or resolution provided to everything that’s happened so far in this set. And I feel like if you’re going to do any sort of ‘boxed set’ of a serial, then it should be the WHOLE serial. Doing a boxed set of just part of it feels like a cash grab - and I’m not at all sure that serializing a story like this isn’t a cash grab anyway. I’m firmly of the opinion that a ‘book’ should contain a story complete unto itself, even if it is part of a series and there is an overarching story arc with a romance or mystery to be told.
The story itself is quite interesting; in the middle of the twenty-second century, an elite cadre maintain their immortality by consumption of an exotic virus-bearing plant, exploiting what’s left of Earth and its residents while the immortals live in luxury on Mars under the rule of the Forever Queen. The rules, however, are strict; an immortal can have only one heir. Catita, born the younger of twins, is a spare who must remain mortal… until her sister Ry is killed by a weapon that shouldn’t exist.
Mercenary Tek is desperate to save his sister’s life from the wasting disease which will inevitably kill her, unless he can get to Mars, kidnap a princess, and trade her for the highly illegal cure. Things go awry almost immediately, though, when Tek discovers his own father is an immortal and the princess is on a quest of her own.
Assuming there are indeed 8 episodes and this is indeed half the story… I feel like we barely know Tek at all, despite having spent almost half the story so far in his point of view. And Catita comes across as whiny and clueless. I can’t begin to comprehend why her sister would keep a secret of such magnitude from her for so long, or even the rationale behind her lineage being concealed and Catita exposed to such incredible dangers - all it would take was one person gaining the knowledge of who she really was and she would become a helpless pawn to be used. Why permit her existence at all if the Queen didn’t plan to let her become immortal, and why not actually give her the essential training to survive it if that was the plan all along? It doesn’t hold up logically. Maybe there’ll be some answers in the second half of the serial, but to be honest, I’m not all that sure I’ll be here for it, because I’m just not that ‘grabbed’ by the story, my issues with serialized fiction aside.
I’ll give this three stars. The worldbuilding is pretty good, the mystery building up nicely, but I’m struggling to connect with the characters and the serialized format isn’t really cutting it for me.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.