Starfang II - Claw of the Clan by Joyce Chng
Publisher – Fox Spirit Books
Published - Out Now
Price - £7.99 paperback/ebook to follow
Kenn on avenging the death of her Pack-mate, Captain Francesca Ming Yue embarks ona hunt again to seek out her enemy, Yuen Leung, member of the Amber Eyes. Torn within from her own desires and failure, Franseca has to play a dangerous game with the reptilian Shishini. Can she trust them? With her clan at stake, the captain of the Starfang has to tread carefully or place the lives of her ship and crew in jeopardy.
I really enjoyed the first chapter of this series. Humanity has reached the stars and contact with other civilisations at last but into the mix werewolves have also come out of the shadows and now control giant fleets as a Pack controlling certain worlds and businesses. Ming Yue at the end of the first story was nearly wiped out by here enemy Yuen Leung – drugged, cut off from her crew and rescued at the cost of a friend’s life. This next instalment looks at the consequences of those events in an engrossing tale.
The Ming Yue of the first book was supremely confident and professional above all other things. But the events of this book have taken a toll. Her arm is injured; her ability to transform is curtailed and we find her feeling lost but surrounded by her home. Her demanding parents urge her to chase her enemy down but can she do this again?
If the first novel was building the world the second is almost a character study as told through Ming Yue’s eye we see a woman balancing the demands and traditions of her Clan versus her own desires. She as a Captain is supposed to be at a a distance emotionally from her crew and she finds herself attracted to her cousin April and drawn to her the young orphan Lien from an enemy clan. It creates a tension – is there perhaps a better way to live? Is duty more important than being happy?
While I really enjoy the exploration of consequences and character we also get to see more of the mysterious Shishini. Her Shishini torturer comes back offering a truce and through an artefact of the truce we see how her enemies took over their world. But can they be trusted either? Its nice to see an alien perspective in an SF tale and their reaction to the werewolves is also unusual! I really like Chng's way of telling stories organically rather than huge set-pieces I think it has a more natural flow.
I will just warn you that this is the middle part of the story and while there is plenty of progression there is a lot yet to be resolved and happily the third book is coming soon. I shall definitely be reporting back nearer the time as to how the Pack’s final adventure ties this all up