Dawn of Procyon is set on a distant planet, where humans have an outpost to help defend them in their war against the Argoni, who are black, rock-like aliens looking to take over Earth. The war began when humans invented a “fold engine,” that allows them bend space and quickly travel many light years away from Earth. On one of the jumps, the traveler caught the eye of the Argoni, and wound up leading them back to Earth.
Dawn of Procyon follows two different characters who live on the outpost. Landry is an Optech, essentially a mechanic, who supervised the repairs of ships. He gets roped into making an unauthorized trip to the outside, where he crashes. He has to figure out how to survive when his life support systems have been damaged, while avoiding a nearby Argoni. But his problems only get worse from there.
Cait is another Optech, who gets promoted when Landry goes missing. She thinks she knows Landry, but when her conscience pushes her to find out more about his mysterious disappearance, she realizes she didn’t know him at all. Along the way, she rescues a young girl, an illegal, and becomes her protector.
Lately, the books I’ve been asked to review haven’t been very good, so I was pleasantly surprised when Dawn of Procyon turned out to be enjoyable to read. I didn’t dread reading it, and in fact, looked forward to finishing the story. Much to my disappointment, the story doesn’t end when the book does; a sequel is clearly required.
Mark R. Healy, the author, is a talented writer. He doesn’t fall into the trap of getting in his own way when he’s telling his story. Too many times, new authors want so badly to prove themselves, that they write a book that’s so thick with unnecessary words, the story gets lost. Healy does a tremendous job of writing in a unique voice, without overwhelming his story.
The story itself is interesting. Healy has the storytelling knack, knowing how to lay out the bread crumbs that lead you through the mysteries of who the Argoni are, and why Landry is really on that outpost. Plus, there’s enough science in it to please nerdy readers, but not so much that it reads like a textbook.
The characters are great. They each have a unique voice, as well as fully-fleshed out backstories. They’re not superficial, or melodramatic. They’re very much the everyman, or everywoman, so you can easily relate to them.
The reason I didn’t give Dawn of Procyon more than three stars on Goodreads, is that it’s not the kind of book that calls to me, that I can’t wait to get back to and can’t put down. A rule of thumb I use, is to ask myself if I could walk away from a book, halfway through. I could walk away from Dawn of Procyon and never find out what happens to Landry and Cait. I enjoyed it, more so than other books, but it just didn’t call to me like The 5th Wave or The Passage, two science fiction books I couldn’t put down.
And while Healy paints a good picture of the outpost — its environment, the people, day to day life — it doesn’t go deep enough. I feel like there’s some meat missing from the book, that Healy could tell us more about the outpost, the characters, and the war.
Science fiction fans will enjoy Dawn of Procyon, as will anyone who needs a book to read on a flight, car trip, or overnight stay.
Dawn of Procyon will be available for $2.99 April 14 – 20. Readers can enter to win an autographed copy of Dawn of Procyon at Future House Publishing.