“Crystal Rain” by Tobias S. Buckell
Publication Date: 2007
Number of Pages: 384
Long ago the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a worms hole in the sky, looking for a new world to call their own. But that was many generations ago, and what was once known has long been lost. Steamboats and gas-filled blimps now traverse the planet, where people once looked up to see great silver cities in the sky.
Like his world, John deBrun has forgotten more than he remembers. Twenty-seven years ago, he washed up onto the shore with no memory of his past. These mysteries take on new urgency when the fearsome Azteca storm over the mountains, in search of fresh blood and hearts to feed their cruel inhuman gods.
Nanagada’s only hope lies in a mythical artifact said to be hidden in the frozen north. And only John deBrun knows the device’s secrets, even if he can’t remember why or how!
Source: Tobias Buckell’s web site
I’m glad I finally got to read this book after Ragamuffin, which I read first by mistake. Crystal Rain is actually the first in the series, however, I think each book can stand on it’s own. It’s true Ragamuffin takes places several years later with many of the same characters but the focus is different for each book.
Crystal Rain was a fun read with a lot of interesting characters and things happening. The slow buildup of who John deBran really was and his role in what had happened in the past was great. I also loved the fact that even though the story is futuristic science fiction the setting is on a colony world where they’ve lost and forgotten much of the technology that they had previously. As with Ragamuffin I also enjoyed the adventure of the book as well as the battles that were fought.
I think I had an easier time keeping track of what was going on in this book than I did Ragamuffin – though I think it had more to do with the fact that Crystal Rain takes place on one planet while Ragamuffin had multiple locations. On the other hand I did feel like there was a huge chunk of history that I was missing that would have helped explain some things. While much was explained throughout the story, especially near the end, I still felt like there were gaps in what I understood. Especially when it came to understanding who the different groups were and how they came to be – such as the Ragamuffins and the Mongoose Men (there was some information but I still wasn’t clear on who they were and their roles). Though I’m sure I’d understand more if I read the book again.
Either way I’m definitely going to be reading the third book – “Sly Mongoose” when I can get it in paperback.