Home > Book Reviews > Review: A Galaxy Unknown by Thomas DePrima

Review: A Galaxy Unknown by Thomas DePrima

I had an opportunity via the Lendle service to borrow A Galaxy Unknown by Thomas DePrima.  I had seen the book on my Amazon recommendations several times, probably due to the Space Opera novels that I’ve rated there.

The book has many elements that I have enjoyed in many other series — for example,  the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber, the Seaforth Saga by David Feintuch, the Horatio Hornblower age of sail novels by C.S. Forester, and the Lost Fleet series (my review) by Jack Campbell —

  • An individual suddenly catapulted into command.
  • Having to lead by his/her wits, intelligence, motivation, daring, more so than by brawn.
  • Loneliness of command.

The difference between the above novels and A Galaxy Unknown is the former books’ strength of writing style and plotting.  This book seems still unpolished and too linear.

The first issue is the extreme “Mary Sue” nature of the main character, Jenetta Carver.  The skills she gains are more than convenient and unreal:  extreme beauty, a reshaped perfect body, enhanced longevity, quick healing, and pain becomes a non-issue (virtually a pleasurable experience.)

Another oddity:  the character is disqualified from command during her time in the Academy.  Her instructors find that she is indecisive and is unable to make the quick decisions required of an officer.  The author describes a single incident in one of her courses where she fails a critical engineering test and feels somewhat scarred.  However, once revived from a 10-year sleep in ship escape pod, she immediately becomes both creative and decisively competent.  Without much explanation.

In the Academy, Jenetta excels in the sciences.  I do think that it would have been more natural for some of her later command decisions to include her strengths in astrophysics or computer sciences to resolve the issue.  Perhaps the crew wouldn’t understand how exactly she was intending to get them out of the mess, but she’d come through anyway.

Other Oddities:

Weird stilted language.  I appreciate that the author suggests that books shouldn’t be dumbed down to the lowest level, but I suggest that many of the 50 cent words were contrived.

I think there were several jarring editing flaws:

  • insure vs. ensure
  • it’s vs its
  • innumerous vs innumerable

Virtually every character is described by height as if this were some magical characteristic that defines them.  It became a bit distracting.

Despite its flaws, I did enjoy the adventure and have picked up the second book in the series to see how the character grows and whether the plotting becomes tighter.

3 1/2  out of 5 stars (finished August 14, 2011)

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Currently reading:  The Skies of Pern by Anne McCaffrey & Valor at Vauzlee by Thomas DePrima.

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  1. September 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    and some readers will probably feel a substantial amount of clicheness pardon my choice of words towards the main protagonist Jenetta Carver i dont know why deprima deliberately made her to be a too perfect of a character in the series she is physically young woman with astoundingly beautiful appearance and body and is to remain that way for a couple of thousand years yes thousands she is highly intelligent as in every aspect of military life science battle tactics interspecies psychology always at least until the 7th book win on every major confrontation highly likeable and very popular throughout the span of friendly sentient beings written in the book highly proficient in martial arts and modern weaponry..aside from the those things i said things because as i was reading further through the series i found that i cant decide whether the way deprima wrote the main protagonist that way is a bad thing or not. The dialogue is clumsy none of the characters speaks in a way that sounds natural cade The premise of the book was interesting but the writers execution is terrible.

  2. October 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I was stunned of the similarities between this book series and Honor Harrington series. It is almost identical.

    • michaelldennis
      October 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      Agreed. One thing I did like about these was the later focus on administering bases in addition to just commanding battleships (although that could definitely be contrasted with Harrington’s role as steadholder on Grayson.

    • January 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Little late to the party, but I’d say that she is a caricature of Honor. Honor has true flaws and when you first meet her she has “real problems”. There is a lot of resentment towards her by lots of characters and she has to figure out how to “do the right thing”. This girl wakes up one morning and takes her quick cup of morning aaaawwwweeeesome and then go on to be “epic”. The only thing that DePrima hasn’t chosen to give her in the first novel is a highly intelligent telempathic alien cat familiar, though I suspect that comes in subsequent novels. And as to epic, Honor only wins 1 engagement in the fleet battles with a bit of tactical trickery given advanced information bribed from staffers with a heavily modified light cruiser and when she “wins” the final engagement it is at horrible cost. This girl can take a freighter and turn it into a warship killing machine that takes no damage after only reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

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