Title - Beyond the Stars: Kataria
Author - Kelly Beltz
Publisher - Booksurge Publishing
Date Published - 2009
# of pages - 494
In the not-so-distant future, Samantha Gerris is a physicist working for the Space Island Group (SIG), a cutting edge company that is making the commercial development of Space tourism a reality. Although she is passionate about her work, she never shared her colleagues’ dreams of traveling into Space. But after a series of unexpected events, Samantha decides to move to the luxurious space resort to aid in its completion. There she discovers a secret alliance with an alien race and becomes an unwitting passenger on their starship. The ensuing voyage reveals a new world to Samantha—one filled with friendship, danger…and true love. The adventure gives Samantha a new appreciation for her own perseverance as well as the discovery of the universal language of humanity that exists far beyond the confines of Earth.
Beyond the Stars: Kataria was awarded First place in science fiction for the 2010 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was honored as a Finalist in fantasy and science fiction for both the 2010 International Book Awards and 2010 National Indie Excellence Awards.
Over the past few years I've only had the chance to read a handful of adult science fiction authors. L.K. Rigel, Laura Jennings, and now Kelly Beltz. What these books all have in common are stories that focus less on the science and more on the characters and plot.
At nearly 500 pages, Beyond the Stars: Kataria was the longest of these. And so, had the most characterization, the most adventure, and the most plot. It follows Samantha (or Sami as she likes to be called) from her very first day working at the Space Island Group all the way to a planet across the galaxy - Kataria. Along the way she falls in love, has children, sees tragedy first hand, and then finds true love for a second time in her life. She is whisked into outer space, and discovers a whole new world of aliens, both wonderful and horrifying.
What I enjoyed most about the book was the love story and the aliens. I admit, I spent the first hundred or so pages wondering where all this was going. Those pages felt a lot like "back story". Although so wonderful in their own way, I had a hard time connecting them to the summary on the back cover. I wondered if they might have been better served as a prequel instead of included in this volume. But at the same time I was glad I got to read about Sami's tale of love with Jack. It was very heartwarming.
Then as soon as Sami is taken on board an alien spaceship everything seemed to change gears. There was a lot of action. Sami gets to see a lot of new technology, new ways of life, and she discovers things about people close to her over the years that are very shocking to her. It is a lot to take in and I wonder how she doesn't become even more overwhelmed than she is.
Along with the Katarians we also get to meet the Dreons who are very scary in their own way. Meeting both these races of aliens was like having a little cultural lesson and I do love books that focus on culture, especially when they are as different as these fictional aliens! I read this part of the story much faster than the first.
Nice writing and I look forward to seeing Kelly Beltz's writing career grow in the future. Kelly is one to watch out for!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
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