Today I’m taking part in a book tour for The Lightbound Saga by S. G. Basu. I signed up because the premise for the book intrigued me. The tour includes an excerpt and overview, directly below, and my review, which follows.
About the Book
The chance of living the life of a regular thirteen year old was never hers, Maia knows that much. Her dead mother is an alleged turncoat; her people are practically slaves to the Xifarians-a race of ruthless, space travelers; her planet is near extinction. Maia keeps hoping, however. Of evading the Xifarians and of someday atoning for the sins of her mother. Maia has learnt to be careful, she is cautious. Until the day she gives in to the charms of a gypsy boy and the allure of flying his glider. And then, all Maia’s plans fall apart.
Spotted by Xifarian scouts, Maia is recruited into a dubious peace initiative. She had never considered visiting the galaxy roving planet-spaceship of Xif; she had never imagined meeting or befriending a Jjord – the reclusive people from the under-ocean colonies. But all that is about to happen, and Maia’s life is about to change forever . . .
Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy is a daring space adventure and a coming-of-age story. It is a riveting tale in which the young hero’s journey of self-discovery parallels the timeless search for friendship, knowledge, and truth.
Excerpt from The Lightbound Saga by S.G. Basu:
Carefully, she opened the small lid, slipped her hand cautiously inside, and reached for the crystal. A flash of light followed by a searing pain that shot through her arm stunned Maia for a moment. Blinking rapidly, she focused her eyes and screamed. The L’miere crystal had vanished. A thin wisp of smoke rose from the moss where the crystal had lain just moments ago. Maia pulled out her hand and shook the pod, hoping that she had maybe . . . somehow . . . just maybe . . . pushed it into a crevice or something. But the pod remained empty; only the lava rock sat on its mossy bed, in blissful ignorance.
Ren would know.
She ran out of the room, up the staircase toward the Snoso, and smack dab into the middle of a portly frame. Maia would have gone flying and crashed into the wall had it not been for the hands that gripped her firmly by the shoulders.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t my old friend Maia,” the voice of Principal Pomewege bellowed. “And what is the rush, child?”
Maia started to murmur an apology. She must have not made much sense, because the principal interrupted her midway.
“Is something wrong?” His eyes shone with concern.
Everything is wrong.
“Nothing, sir,” she lied.
“Well, you seem to be in a hurry, so I won’t keep you.” Pomewege smiled. “But if there is anything I can help you with, just let me know.”
He turned away, and Maia took a few steps before she rushed back toward the principal. “Principal Pomewege, I think . . . I . . . I destroyed something,” she stammered.
This is a well-written book that a YA, sci-fi fan would enjoy. In some ways, it reminded me of Harry Potter, only with science instead of magic. When Maia arrives on Xif, she is put into a team. Her team competes with others for the chance to stay for the “peace initiative” program. I liked the emphasis on science and engineering in this book, but there’s also elements that seem more magical, like telekinesis. The interplay between characters was entertaining, too. There’s a slowly-building sinister undertone about the true nature of the program, and Maia constantly questions the role of her birth mother in all this.
My one wish for this book is that the point of view had been a bit deeper into Maia’s head. At times I felt too distanced from her. I want to be connected to characters the way I felt connected to Triss in Divergent, for instance. Still, it was an enjoyable read, and I love the female-in-science emphasis as well as the elements of Xif.