Review: Quarter Share (Golden Age of the Solar Clipper #1) by Nathan Lowell
THE GOLDEN AGE OF SAIL HAS RETURNED — IN THE YEAR 2351
When his mother dies in a flitter crash, eighteen-year-old Ishmael Horatio Wang must find a job with the planet company or leave the system–and NerisCo isn’t hiring. With credits running low, and prospects limited, he has just one hope…to enlist for two years with a deep space commercial freighter. Ishmael, who only rarely visited the Neris Orbital, and has never been off-planet alone before, finds himself part of an eclectic crew sailing a deep space leviathan between the stars.
Join the crew of the SC Lois McKendrick, a Manchester built clipper as she sets solar sails in search of profit for her company and a crew each entitled to a share equal to their rating.
I got this book on Kindle unlimited.
Dear Nathan Lowell,
DA Commenter Kareni recommended this book to me on my review of the book with the similar topic. I enjoyed reading it, but my goodness, this was a very hard to grade.
I think these books are also inspired by Horatio Hornblower books . I have read the first book of those many years ago, so I cannot say how much of the homage author pays to those books, but if anything blurb tells you that our main character’s second name is Horatio, so that alone is a pretty strong hint to me. That and the fact that we have young Ishmael ( aka Ish) to sign up to work on one of the trading ship in space, to be a space trader.
As I am typing this review, I am once again muling over the definition of what is the meaning of “a slice of life” story. I actually went to Miriam Webster online and copied what they have as a definition below:
“an example of what ordinary life is like : something (such as a story or movie) that shows what ordinary life is like.”
Why did I do that? Because I wanted to call this story a slice of life. What we have here happening is Ish learning the ropes of working on the ship. He starts helping on the cooking station, then trying to figure out what he wants to do with his new career and which tests he should take to advance in his career and figure out what he wants to specialize in. he also makes friends and together they figure out some ways to improve how they can do private trading while serving on the ship.
That is literally all that happens in the book. Oh Ishmael knows how to make a really good coffee and the whole crew really loves the product of his labor.
Why did I say in the beginning that this book was really hard to grade? Because if I think about the narrative, it has no conflict whatsoever. It is not just low on conflict, it has no conflict whatsoever.
Seriously, we get a long descriptions of coffee making couple of times, of omelet making, of overall preparations for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the crew of the ship, which Ishmael is part of.
We get to see him and his friend studying for some tests which as I said earlier they needed to advance in their respective careers.
We see a lot of trading done and I guess improvements of the trading on the ship. Nothing else is happening. I am not even sure that Ishmael grows and learns a lot as a character. He certainly learns how to do a lot of things in serving at the ship, but does he grow a lot as a character?
I am not sure, because from the very beginning he is a decent young man, who wants to work hard and who may not know what exactly he wants to specialize in , but he knows that he wants to figure it out and he goes for it. it is not as if he did not want to pass the tests and study for them and needed to be given a push. No, he did it all on his own.
So, to reiterate, I think we get to read a lot of lengthy descriptions of what Ishmael does in his newly every day life as a space trader. It is all very very low key and still I enjoyed it very much, it was all very comforting. Ish’s friends and colleagues are all decent friendly people and were happy to help him if needed, that was all very comforting and pleasant too.
I also want to be clear, I believe these series contain six books, so maybe next books will be heavier on some conflict, so I will definitely give book two a try, but if not, as much as I liked this one, I am not sure if I will manage all six written in such low nothing happens key.
I am very torn, I have to try to evaluate the book as a reviewer, not just a reader but the author made me really like the nothing happens story.