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Alutia Rising

Alutia Rising - Craig Gerttula First things first: I need to mention I received this book in Goodreads giveaways. Second, the real rating is 3.5 stars; I decided to give half a star credit to the author for this being his first book.

On to brief plot outline: Duke Leto Atreides must move to another planet... Sorry, wrong book. I will try again: a young princess leads a rebellion against an evil intergalactic Empire... Sorry again, wrong movie. OK, here goes: a princess named Sasha is given a title of Grand Duchess as well as a piece of a galaxy to govern, which happens to include our very own Earth. She is young, naive, and inexperienced - and she has to deal with nobles who behave exactly like the nobles are supposed to behave: they are arrogant, selfish, entitled and are not afraid to throw away countless lives of lowborn people to reach their goals.

Meanwhile, back on Earth a man named Trent has all the bad luck imaginable which finally culminated in him becoming a bum and almost an alcoholic. Little does he knows, he is about to fall in love with a princess (I realize I sound like a fairy tale storyteller).

The good parts: everything sci-fi is good. Technology description, relations between the said technology and humanity, space battles - there are quite a few of them - are very good. It has been a while since I read a good sci-fi book from a new author; this book delivers. The plot is fairly interesting and moves at a decent pace.

The bad parts: characterization. Trent is the only more or less developed character, and most of the time he spends either being miserable, or in love with Sasha; he belongs more in a romance novel. Sasha is fairly flat, so is her lady-in-waiting. I also was not impressed with her leadership skills: she plays damsel in distress most of the time and a lot of good people have to die to protect her. Fortunately, they are just expendable lowly military veterans - not a big deal, right? One of the villains has a hatred of Trent irrationally blaming everything bad happening to himself on poor former bum. I understand that this irrational hatred happens in real life, but this sole motivation makes this villain completely boring.

Despite all the criticism and some plot elements similar to Dune and Star Wars, I like the book and would read a sequel which as far as I know is already out.