Happy release day to Race to Novus by R.A. Clarke, an exciting sci-fi novel. Will Finn win the race on Joya and get the fresh start she desperately wants?

Happy release day to Race to Novus by R.A. Clarke, an exciting sci-fi novel. Will Finn win the race on Joya and get the fresh start she desperately wants?

Thank you so much to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of Race to Novus in return for an honest review.

Giant corporation Governus has launched a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Winners of a race on the newly discovered planet Joya will receive land, startup cash and a fresh start. Finn Rucker enters with her bionic horse, Herc — but she soon discovers that there is more to the race and the planet than it seems.

You can buy Race to Novus for Kindle on Amazon (it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited).

My review

I was initially drawn to Race to Novus because of the horse on the cover, and I wasn’t disappointed. Herc has some bionic adaptations, including mechanical legs and an eye that changes colour to reflect his mood. I loved Finn’s bond with Herc throughout the book — he has his own personality that shines through! Throughout the race, Finn talks to him, puts his needs first and is always at the front of her mind.

I also really enjoyed learning more about Finn and her past. As the race progresses and she gets to know some of her fellow racers, she opens up about why she is hoping to move to Joya and what that would mean to her. I enjoyed reading about her relationships with the others, especially Griggs, Sarah, and Vernon. There is some romance, but I thought this was really well-written and full of tension as they both try to deny their feelings!

Joya as a planet is exciting, and the story has lots of strange developments as the racers travel further into the jungle-like world. There are some fun and lighthearted moments, as well as some scary sections as you wonder if they will survive. At first I thought the aliens were very similar to those in James Cameron’s Avatar, but as the book progresses it’s clear that they are very original and I loved their backstory. It’s not what I had expected and is really thought-provoking.

Occasionally the point of view switches to two of the CEOs of Governus. These are quite short but I thought they slowed the plot down and were not really necessary — we don’t learn anything new here about the characters or about the management of the company. They come across as a little too ‘pantomime villain’ and very one-dimensional. I would have liked these sections to develop their characters further, to make these sections more meaningful.

Overall this is a great read and I hope that there will be a follow up. While Race to Novus doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, it did leave me wanting to know what would happen next. There are so many new angles to be explored here, including some back stories of characters (who is Vernon, why did he join the race?) that I was left wanting more.

The blurb for Race to Novus

A daughter’s last chance at redemption on an alien planet. A sweeping secret that could not only end her dreams, but her life as well.

Finn Rucker boards the starship to seek a fresh start as part of a colonizing effort on Joya. The race, sponsored by Governus, yields free land and startup funds for the lucky winners. The number of entrants guarantees someone is going to lose and Finn is determined that she and her bionic horse, Herc, will be among the winners.

Racing through uncharted jungle to the settlement of Novus, Finn and her fellow racers soon discover that not everything is as it seems – and Governus withheld information from the contestants. Strange beasts attack the racers, mechanical equipment begins to fail, and the very air seems out to get them.

When all seems lost, a mysterious people arrive and help the racers, revealing the depth of Governus’ deception. Finn will have to keep her pulse pistols close and her new friends closer – but not too close – as they all race to survive the jungle.

You will love this mashup of Hidalgo and James Cameron’s Avatar as Finn navigates the guilt of her past, the promise of a future, and the imminent dangers of her present.

Publisher’s website: https://www.cloakedpress.com

About the author, R.A. Clarke

R.A. Clarke is a former police officer turned stay-at-home mom living with her family in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Besides raising two rambunctious boys, soaking in lake time, and acting in community theatre, R.A.’s spare time is spent plotting fantastical novels and multi-genre short fiction. Her tales have been featured in various publications, and have won international writing contests, such as Red Penguin Books’ humour contest, the Writer’s Weekly 24-hour contest, The Writer’s Workout: Writer’s Games, and the 2023 Write Fighters 3-Day Novella Challenge. She was also a finalist for both the 2021 Futurescapes Award and the 2022 Dark Sire Awards.

R.A. Clarke writes and illustrates a children’s chapter book series for ages 7-10 as Rachael Clarke as well. The first book in that series, The Big Ol’ Bike—a story about a smaller than average kid with a huge heart—was named a Females of Fiction Award finalist by Hindi’s Libraries in 2021. To learn more, please visit: www.rachaelclarkewrites.com.

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Blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources

I reviewed Race to Novus as part of a book tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out the other bloggers taking part in this book tour for more reviews, extracts and guest posts.