Throwback Thursday Review: Reckoning Infinity by John E. Stith


Reckoning Infinity by John E. Stith
Release Date: March 15, 1997
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 383
Source: book provided by the author for review



It’s early in the new millennium, and the outer reaches of our solar system have been explored. Vast orbital stations the size of middle-sized countries dot the system, filled with thriving colonies. Mankind has grown to fill the void and is poised to colonize the stars. The universe seems to be a stable, comfortable place – and the only voices to echo through space have been human.

Until now.

A fast-moving entity the size of a small moon has entered our solar system. Is it a ship? A new life form? An alien probe sent to destroy other sentient races?

Lieutenant Commander Alis Mary Nussem is one of the humans who will go forth to discover what this mystery is. Disfigured in a devastating ship accident, more machine than woman, Nussem agrees to the dangerous mission. She is eager to make a difference and somehow reclaim the humanity that she lost.

What she doesn’t bargain for is the sudden appearance of Lieutenant Karl Stanton, a man whose life seems to resemble Job’s – and who was directly responsible for the accident that nearly killed Nussem. These two very different people will be thrown together on an odyssey that will force them to reevaluate the rules that they have lived by all their lives.

And what they find will change mankind’s universe forever….


Review: I believe that this book is one of my favorites so far, since reviewing Mr. Stith’s books for this blog. While this book has some romantic elements, this is not a romance book, this is sci-fi, and it was really good.

What attracted me to this book was Alis and Karl’s inner monologs, how they viewed themselves, how they believed others viewed them, and what they thought of each other. I think that they both grew and changed for the better throughout the book, and learned something about themselves as well.

Alis needed to get bionic parts to replace damaged limbs. She was severely injured in a accident, which is traumatic in and of itself, never mind the fact that her original body parts are no longer with her, I can’t imagine how I would feel. Her body sustained damage that should have killed her and now she has to cope with her new body. This is a big deal for her. I found her character aloof, which is understandable, yet she was likable as well because I was allowed to see her vulnerabilities.

Karl has had to deal with his own self-inflicted guilt over what happened to Alis, along with other people’s judgement and condemnation over what happened to cause the accident. Karl is a true gentleman and handled people’s obvious contempt of him with diplomacy, tact, humor, and honor. He’s not perfect at all, but he knows the truth about what happened, and he’s ok with that. I liked the fact that Karl didn’t try to defend himself towards everybody. He wasn’t a wimp and allow himself to be mistreated, but he didn’t walk around with a chip on his shoulder, play a victim, and walk around with a “poor me” attitude. He tried to rise above what happen, not make the same mistakes, and move forward.

There is a lot of tension between Alis and Karl and I wondered how the author was going to play out their mission together. These two characters learn a lot about each other, themselves, and sometimes things aren’t always what they seem. I know I’m being vague, but the reader will thank me when they read the book.

There’s just enough tension in the story to keep the reader engaged, in order to find out what’s going to happen next. The story wasn’t scary, or horror based, but there were some tense moments where I held my breath, and hoped for the best. It was so, so good, I wanted it to last!

I liked the way that Alis lead her team on their mission. She listened, she took everyone’s opinion into consideration, she didn’t ask anyone to do anything that she wasn’t willing to do herself, and she protected her team. She was a true leader, and I really liked that Karl wasn’t threatened by her and admired her for her leadership skills.

This book surprised me, in a good way, with such deep internal musings by the main protagonists. I loved the play of emotions and the depth of feelings the characters revealed to the audience. My romantic heart pitter pattered.

I think that readers should expand their horizons, and give this book a shot. It was an enjoyable read.