Apex Five: The Plane, is a science fiction novel that details life on another plane of existence. We are given a very brief history of this world in the prologue, and then in Chapter 1 we find the story propelled forward about 12,000 years from a life altering event known as The Storm.
The first character we are introduced to is Nasin, and the story immediately takes a rather political turn. Nasin was sent to Tabir to try and secure a sort of trade deal between her own nation of Lir and the people of Tabir. The story and dialogue are well written, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was rather dry reading from the onset and it had a hard time keeping my attention. However, once we are introduced to Hazard 14, the story becomes a lot more intriguing.
The character Hazard 14, whose real name is Rohem, is absolutely fascinating. I think the author did a great job of describing his physical differences (anomalies?) from other people; the scene where he is being examined by the doctor in Lir was a great way to introduce the reader to his unusual abilities. From this point forward, it’s hard to put the book down. It’s clear from the beginning that the Tabirians think that Rohem is a dangerous criminal, while Nasin sees a vulnerable little boy who needs protection. The distinct differences between the Tabir and Lir nationalities really become apparent through their treatment of Rohem. I really loved how the author brought these things to light through his character, rather than in a more direct way.
I always think it’s a little bit difficult to get acquainted with characters in a science fiction novel of this type; where all the races and customs are new to the reader. As well as some of the names being a little difficult to pronounce. However, overall the author did a good job of creating dialogue between the characters that explains the characteristics and histories of the races while still seeming like natural conversation. A lot of times this type of description can seem forced and pretentious but I did not think that it came across that way in Apex Five.
I also found the imagery in the book to be really great. I could envision the different terrains; the dunes of Lir, the industrial feel of Tabir, the rainforests of the Ayam. The evolution of all the different groups of people, from the The Storm forward, is a very believable progression and also written really well. It’s clear that while their relationships with one another are largely diplomatic, there are undertones of distrust. For instance, when Nasin is in Tabir she is asked if they’ve (the Lir) succeeded in making any weaponry, to which she fibs and tells them they have not. The reader is quickly privy to the fact that something is culminating between the different races that is soon going to come to a head. This suspense definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall, I ended up enjoying the story thoroughly and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up any other book by this author.
Apex Five - 5/5 stars: The Plane is the first book in a sci-fi series by Sarah Katz, a novel that will find a place in the hearts of readers who enjoy a perfect blend of epic fantasy and sci-fi. In this novel, readers encounter the clash of civilizations. The glory of the Plane has been ascribed to their belief in the Zaam, whose presence is perceived in five megaliths. But now, an age-old tradition is about to be wiped out by the advanced technology of the Tabira. Other nations are anxious to uncover the secret behind this conqueror's might. Follow compelling, shady characters in pursuit of the secret to restoring the Plane to its former glory, and what an interesting mix: a doctor whose roots no one knows, a terrorist, and two politicians.
This is a great story with an awesome setting. Sarah Katz transports readers to an exotic, imaginary land where a lot is happening. I particularly loved the way conflict is managed in this book and readers will enjoy how the author handles the theme of change -- not on a small scale at a personal level, but the change that comes about with the mutation of values and the growth of knowledge. The characters are equally compelling, each imagined with a solid background and a history associated with it. The mystery about the Plane and its old traditions are aspects of the story that grabbed my attention. Written in an elegant and lyrical style, Apex Five: The Plane, Book One is a captivating, fast-paced story created with a deft hand. -Readers' Favorite
"Apex Five" is a semi-finalist for the 2018 CYGNUS Book Award, the science fiction division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards and Novel Competitions.