Book Review: Breaking Orbit

Going back to sci-fi: I just finished reading Breaking Orbit by Robert C. Murray. This is the first short novel in the Titan Run Trilogy, and is a great read for a lazy weekend.

The story follows the lives of Hugh, Ann, and Dalton as they each face crossroads in their lives that set them on a path toward the unknown. Hugh and Dalton, lives entwined with each other, face sudden separation as Dalton gains a promotion opening a door to an opportunity he can't pass up. For Hugh, dealing with recent trauma in his own career, having the one he loves leave to captain a space ship throws his own world into chaos. Determined not to let Dalton's absence hinder his own life, Hugh signs on to a different ship to experience space for himself. Meanwhile, Ann, dealing with the loss of her mother, after years of helping her mother through severe illness, finds herself desperate for a new start, all while fighting the ghosts of her past.

Breaking Orbit is a fast and easy read set on Mars with humanity scattered across the solar system. This first book in the trilogy sets the stage for these three people and their shipmates as they prepare for and embark on a lengthy trip to Titan.

What I like about this book is that it was an easy read. It didn't get so bogged down in the science that I felt like I needed to break out a dictionary to understand what I was reading. It also didn't get so bogged down in the how-to's of science and space travel that any portion of it was unbelievable or boring. There are elements and portions of this book that reminded me of a cross between the Star Trek franchise and Red Planet. (The movies) I enjoyed the pictures this book painted of Mars, the efforts to transform it, and the way of life the people of Mars experienced. Overall, the book was light and airy in the sci-fi department as the author focused on introducing the main characters.

However, I was not as much a fan of the overall arc of the main characters, or the introduction to some of the supporting characters. Some of the relationships had implied pasts that clearly affected current personal and professional relationships, and maybe the author intends to lay those out more fully in the following books, but I was left asking questions that there are no answers to in this first book. Makes me feel like some things shouldn't be mentioned at all if there is no point in the current book that it can be explained in better detail. In that regard, the development of those numerous supporting characters started off soooo good, but then felt abrupt and rushed. For the main characters, the author worked hard to make them relatable, but sadly, even they fell a little flat.

In the end, I did enjoy Breaking Orbit, and feel caught up in the adventure enough that I will be reading the next books as well. This is a good book for new and old fans of the sci-fi genre.

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