Song of Scarabaeus

Song of Scarabaeus - What I likedI have to admit Song of Scarabaeus started off slowly. It was sometimes difficult to wade through all sorts of technological terms to keep track of. Words like cypherteck, datastream, wet-teck interface, and biocyph retroviral automated terraformer (or BRATs for short) were thrown at me, making me wonder why I had picked up this book and whether it was switched with a tech nerd vocabulary. Then I adjusted and my reading was progressing more smoothly. Mind you it didn't feel like infodumping but there was a LOT to know.The concept is intriguing as well – a human who can change planets with a mere thought, mentally chained to a killer who must protect her or die. Brilliant.Finn and Edie, the heroine, are tied together by a "leash" that will cause Finn's head to explode if he gets too far from Edie. It was an amazing plot device, making all those silly insta-love or insta-lust twists unnecessary. Still don't let yourself be swayed by the blurb or the cover art, describing this one as a sci-fi romance of a kind. Let me assure you that the romance was practically non-existant(it is a compliment). The characters did share a strong bond, they cared for each other, and they occasionally had some real moments of heat, but the closest thing to a romantic interlude in the first 150 pages quickly got shut down by the heroine.Also Scarabaeus the planet and its creepy inhabitants were excellently portrayed. It would be quite a challenge for any ambitious sci-fi movies director but the results could be astounding.Finally I found Ms. Creasy's storytelling ability really gripping - I was able to finish the novel in two evenings despite the initial problems.What I didn't like:The structure of the novel is somewhat episodic - to the point that it seems like reading a script for an television series. No, it is not a compliment in my view. Kidnapping – one episode. Coming to on the ship – another episode. Lag escape – another episode. And so on. Not to mention those blasts from the past that happen in Edie's dreams or rather nightmares.Because we only got one POV, I felt we spent a lot of time in the heroine's head, as she navigates what's happening to her and what's going to happen. I felt like the relationships she formed with other characters, not only with Finn, were only superficially developed if developed at all.Apart from that the world building which at first promised me exotic planets and aliens didn't deliver, nor really. You see, two thirds of the book takes place on the ship called Hoi Polloi. The problem is that it’s a very plain ship, in full accordance with its name (meaning 'ordinary, simple people, the commoners' in Greek). It has no odd aspects, it’s never bombarded by asteroids, it never loses propulsion. It’s just a ship. The rover crew of the ship had potential, but just like the main characters, neither Haller nor the captain ever mature into the full fledged villains.Finally one more carping: Song of Scarabaeus? Really? In my humble opinion that's a terrible title! When I looked at the book first without seeing the cover I was sure it would be actually about Egypt!Final verdict:This book will totally do it for you if you like SF with biotech elements and evolutionary biology. It’s unique, it’s SF, it has a female protagonist. We don’t get many of those.