Title: Seer of Mars (Vallar Book 1)
Author: Cindy Borgne
The first thing that crossed my mind when I looked at the novel "Vallar" which is now entitled "Seer of Mars" was "Why on earth is there a stealth bomber flying over Mars?". Luckily for me, plenty of other people had asked the same question and the answer was quickly found online in that this was an image of a specific type of craft that was within the book. Funnily enough it is a stealth craft itself, which explained why the shape would look similar to a current Stealth Bomber. Once I got over this initial query I started reading and was introduced to an enjoyable Sci-Fi adventure story. As a note there is now a new cover to go with the title change and therefore no one else is likely to suffer the same curiosity that affected me.
The story is set on Mars which has been colonized by various different corporations who now fight for control of the planet and its resources. It follows Ian Connors, a young psychic who works for Marscorp, a corporation being run by a dictatorial admiral. He has been trained to use his talents from early childhood to help ensure that Marscorp has an advantage over all it's rivals. However, when his visions result in a terrible battle that he witnesses personally he begins to question his role at Marscorp and searches for a way to escape. It is at this point that the story really picks up as we watch him start rejecting the Admiral's wishes and trying to save a girl from a rival corporation whom he has had visions of being with in the future.
In the beginning I felt that the story felt rather slow and it took me a little bit to really get a feel for the characters. However, within a couple of chapters it was in full flow and I was hooked. The plot progresses at a nice pace, keeping you interested and wanting to turn the page to find out what happens next. This was enjoyable light Sci-Fi, with the emphasis more on being an enjoyable adventure in a futuristic setting than filling pages with techno-speak and heavy scientific explanations. The only thing missing in my opinion was some more detail on the history of why Mars has become the way it is and why some of the Corporations act the way they do.
The characters in the story pleased me hugely, in part because the main protagonist, Ian Connors, was someone I found that I actually liked. He is well-developed and comes across as a regular teenager struggling with the normal feelings of love, trust and hope against the backdrop of war and a Corporation determined to use him for its own gain. You can't help but support him as he tries to exert his own independence against Marscorp.
Overall, I loved the story and can't wait for Cindy Borgne to write the sequel which is surely coming. The novel is fun, adventurous and doesn't end with Ian automatically getting together in love with the girl he sees in his visions. This pleased me hugely as I felt that based on what happens in the story any relationship would require work beyond the scope of just this novel. If you like trying out Indie authors and Sci-Fi adventures are something you enjoy then I am sure you will like Vallar/Seer of Mars.