Review of INDIE Ebook The Long Black – Book 1 of The Black Chronicles by J.M. Anjewierden #Brainfluffbookreview #TheLongBlackbookreview


I’ll be honest – the main reason this one caught my attention was the striking resemblance to my own cover for Running Out of Space. Looking it up on Goodreads showed that it had garnered a lot of positive reviews, so I decided to check it out for myself and have linked my review up to Sci Fi month

Morgan always assumed that if she could survive growing up in the mines of Planet Hillman – feared for its brutal conditions and gravity twice that of Earth – she could survive anything. That was before she became a starship mechanic. Now she has to contend with hostile bosses, faulty equipment, and even taking care of her friend’s little girl. Once pirates show up, it’s a wonder she can get any work done at all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It’s science fiction after my own heart – featuring a strong female protagonist with a rocky start and faced with all sorts of challenges in an interesting world where lots can go wrong very quickly… Firstly, Morgan – because she is the engine that drives this book forward and if you can’t care for her, then it simply doesn’t work. I very much liked the fact that she had loving parents who wanted the best for her – and that best becomes taking a huge risk on her behalf… Her tough early years and the family’s plight quickly drew me into the story, so I was invested in the character and found myself turning the pages to find out what happens next.

I like the fact that this didn’t plane out exactly like so many other science fiction tales – family issues still dominate this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t recall when childcare is a major deal in a space opera adventure and it was a delightful change to find it was a problem that Morgan finds herself coping with.

However, I don’t want to give the impression that this is sci fi kitchen sink drama – it isn’t. There are still many of the classic themes space opera fans relish – ftl travel; arriving on different planets and acclimatising to other worlds; hostile attention; bad people with bad intentions… they are all here.

The worldbuilding was enjoyable and worked as a strong backdrop to Morgan’s adventures and there is also an interesting cast of supporting characters, who I’m hoping will continue to develop alongside Morgan in the future. I’m delighted to see there is already a second book out in this series – indeed, I’ve already got hold of it. Highly recommended for fans of character-led space opera.

14 responses »

  1. This is a fascinating premise for sci-fi, rather different. It’s not at my libraries but it is at KU. So I added ti to my list for when I do KU again. Thanks so much for the review! Anne – Books of My Heart

    • I know – I really enjoyed it. Though there are an increasing number of folks who are approaching sci fi from this angle, it seems to me – using the genre to look at the human condition, rather than simply scope out boys playing with very advanced toys…

  2. Sounds like a good read. I think with most books it’s a lot easier to enjoy the book if you like the main character. I like the sound of how it plays out a bit differently than most science fiction books, but still has a lot of typical elements you expect from this genre. Great review!

    • Thank you, Lola:). Yes – I thoroughly enjoyed this one, particularly with the family responsibility and having to take childcare into account…

      I also enjoyed the second book – review to follow!

    • It really is a delightful mix – I’m thoroughly enjoying some of the latest iterations of the genre, especially when still meshed with familiar and much-loved other aspects such as lots of adventure, action, space travel and plenty of pace.

    • Yes… I’m reading a lot at the moment and have all these tasty recommendations, thanks to Himself. You have other calls on your time – SPFBO, for starters! And hosting Friday Face-Off…

  3. Thanks for the review!

    To comment on one of the posts above: I really wish my books (and a lot of indie author books) were available in libraries, but that is an uphill battle at the moment. Without going into all the details (my day job is as a Teen Librarian) libraries in general won’t have any indie stuff, because they’re generally slower to adapt to changes in publishing than most, *and* there is a real issue of figuring out how to find the good stuff from the… less good shall we say. Libraries rely heavily on places like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly for reviews, and those outlets generally only review mainstream books, and often even charge for reviews, a fee most indie authors simply can’t afford.

    Right now at least, the best way to get indie author books in a given library is for the patrons to directly ask their librarians to get them.

    Anyway, I’m quite glad you liked it, and (if nothing goes wrong) book three should be out sometime in April. I’m almost done with the first draft of an unrelated Superhero Romance novel at the moment, and once that’s done I’ll dive back in on the second draft of the 3rd Black Chronicles book.

    • Hi JM – glad you liked the review – yes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 books in your series and looking forward to reading the next one, when it’s available:).

      Yes… I hear what you say regarding indie authors and libraries!

  4. I’m glad you found the book so enjoyable. It piqued my interest, but not enough to search for it. If only I was 20 years younger and had 50-years-of-books less to read…

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