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August 31, 2018

Domani by Carolyn Gross ~ a Review

by MK French

Lulu always listened to the sermons given by the doyen on the steps of the Sanctuary. Their world of Dalia lay in the shadows of the gas planet above them, which protected them from the fiery star that was slowly burning everything on their planet outside of the city. In a world of darkness and ash, Lulu thought the words of the doyen would lift her spirits. This changed when he instead talked about how Dalia would burn, and one of the crawlers, the enhanced sentinels of the Sanctuary attempted to assassinate him on the steps. Lulu interfered with that plan, setting in motion a chain of events that revealed not only the truth about Dalia, but of herself, the doyen, and the reason why her life had progressed as it had to that point.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

December 2017; 978-0692979419
ebook, print (440 pages); science fiction
This is the first novel of the Outer Ring series, and it's an impressive start. The language is very direct, full of short, choppy sentences that heightens the immediacy of survival and the threat outside the darkness of Dalia. We don't learn much about Lulu or her father in the early chapters, but there's enough of a hint of something else about them that draws me in. We learn about Lulu, her father the former assassin, the doyen, and the Wards, the women on Dalia that hold the true power as well as supernatural gifts. Lulu doesn't know much about her actual heritage or the purpose of the Sanctuary, and we learn about it as she does.

There is a lot of action and intrigue, and Lulu at first reacts by wanting to separate herself from the forces that would wish to use her power. I think any teenager in a similar position would feel the same way, and it says a lot about her character that she is willing to stand up for what's right not only for herself but for the people of Dalia and then those of the other Outer Ring planets. There is precious little discussed about the Domain, but what we hear is enough to understand Lulu's position and why she would want to protect those oppressed and less fortunate. It's certainly a commentary about those who are privileged vs. not, with racism and classism clearly painted as the villainous traits that they are. It's not done in a heavy-handed or preachy way so you can sink your teeth into a sci-fi adventure without feeling lectured.

With a start to a series like this, it's bound to be a dramatic and meaty series to get into. I can't wait for the next book!

Buy Domani at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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