A Princess of the Aerie
Aspect, 2003 (2003)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Wesley Williamson
his is the second adventure of Jak Jinnaka - teenage adventurer, spy, lover, accomplished liar (according to his panth friend,
, Dujuv Gonzawara) and
super-boy of the thirty-sixth century. If you have difficulty deciphering
, be warned. Barnes scatters his future teenage slang liberally. In the first book of what appears likely to be a long series,
The Duke of Uranium
, Jak discovered some disillusioning facts about his world, for example that his uncle was a senior agent for a ruthless secret organization, that he was being coached to become an agent also, and that his loving
in college was really a
Princess of the Aerie
is a loose agglomeration of many different artificial worlds and cultures, while the
(of space stations), where Jak lives, is a single entity held together by the
, a set of somewhat unprincipled
, again liberally quoted by Barnes. Both Jak and Dujuv are completing their studies at the Public Service Academy of the
, and contemplating the
which they are required to devise and complete before graduating, when Jak receives an urgent message from Princess Shyf, seeking his help. Luckily, he finds that this can be acceptable as
for himself, Dujuv, and Myxenna (Dujuv's estranged
) so they set off happily to be reunited with Princess Shyf.
nfortunately, the Princess has reverted to type, and has not only become a ruthless manipulator of her subjects but adds Jak and Dujuv to her harem after forcing them to be conditioned to respond immediately to her sexual commands. However, they still retain enough initiative to foil a plot to assassinate the Princess' father, which is unfortunate since she had devised the plot. Jak and Dujuv seize an opportunity to travel to Mercury, where the rare metals needed by the other worlds are mined by downtrodden outcasts. They find that Jak's deadly enemy is in process of establishing himself as ruler of the planet, and have to undertake an extremely dangerous plan to stop him.
arnes appears to be developing an almost totally amoral universe, with the only selfless actions being taken by outcasts on the fringes of the social structure. Of course he also appears to be satirizing space opera and producing a kind of comic book
. The plot, such as it is, is totally nonsensical, but the characters do show signs of development and the action and sex are fast and furious. The next book in the series should be fascinating.
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