Aramay: The Janus Set, Book One
by Alan Stapf
AuthorHouse UK

"'Just because you, a damaged product of the Federation, can’t see the deeper noble side of humanity, there’s no need to ridicule those who can.'"

As a member of Ex-Op/141, Aramay and her group are tasked with either capturing or eliminating natives on an Earth-like planet for the glory of The Federation. Their missions are recorded, edited, and broadcast to the public as a popular propaganda show called Strategy. As the sole behaviorist and empath on her team, Aramay believes that the natives are much more intelligent than how they’ve been portrayed, which puts her at odds with her fellow Exec members. As Strategy draws on and tensions rise, Aramay believes she might be able to prove her predictions right. The war between Ex-Op/141 and the natives is escalating. Are the natives as primitive as they seem, and who is really calling the shots?

The first book in a series, this novel has all the elements of science-fiction: high-powered technology, time travel, a space government seeking control of other planets, rebellious factions, etc. The story itself is slow to start, only picking up the pace in the middle, and can seem confusing in the beginning, with the reader being dropped in on an Ex-Op/141 counsel meeting with little clarification. Aside from that, the author does a great job at building tension and highlighting the relationships between its characters. These instances are displayed best in the many confrontations between Aramay and Korlan, one of her team members. The story shares similarities to The Hunger Games with its manipulated and broadcast war games but operates on a grander scale, with many characters and organizations involved for different, personal reasons. The author does a great job of adding layers to the story, leaving the reader curious as to how everything will turn out.

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