Children of Steel by John Van Stry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Raj is a genetically engineered leopard-man created to work for large corporations and do their dirty work, the kind of stuff that humans typically don't want to do. He works on a ship in space, trying to pay of his 'debts' of creation. Yep, you heard me. At the time of their graduation from an extensive training program (typically at 15 years), the engineered "animen" are charged with the cost of their creation, upbringing, education, training, and pretty much anything else that the humans can think of.
This story is told through Raj, who I absolutely loved. The author did such a great job creating his characters. He was able to put so much depth and feeling into each of them that you felt like you really knew them. Raj is the kind of guy you definitely want on your side and definitely do not want to piss off. He was a really good guy, friendly, playful, loyal, and caring, but also had a very bad temper that he was trying to fight throughout the whole book, on top of the fact that he was in the large cat family, who are typically not known for their peaceful nature. I thought the author did an excellent job of bringing these two sides of Raj together and balancing them effectively so that we got to distinctly see each side of his personality.
I loved that this story was told through a male point of view (Raj's), as you don't really see this too often, and the story was told really well. The writing was smooth and easy to read, and the conversations flowed well.
The descriptiveness and world building of the book was amazing. The author did such a great job of describing each of the planets that Raj visited in amazing detail, from their people, to the climate, to the rules governing each planet; it was as if each of these places were real. The technical descriptions of the ship and day to day operations were done equally well.
About halfway through the story, I was really curious as to what Raj looked like, so I got on Google and found a picture that could be similar to him, although I believe Raj is supposed to be black and I couldn't find any pictures of black leopard men. (By the way, I don't suggest you Google 'leopard man;' some of the pictures that come up are a bit…disturbing!)
Long story short, I loved this book and the author's writing style, so thank you to John Van Stry for offering me your book!
On a final note, and I debated on whether or not to bring this up in my review but decided that it was warranted, the book does need some editing for grammatical issues (apostrophes, commas, etc.). While it wasn't enough to really detract from the story, it did recur enough that I felt it should be mentioned.
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