Monday, August 24, 2015

The Occasional Diamond Thief--J.A. McLachlan

Title: The Occasional Diamond Thief
Author: J.A. McLachlan
Publisher: Edge, 2015
Pages: 291 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: April 2015

When Kia was a small child her father visited the remote planet Malem and returned with a strange illness. Her father was never the same again as the illness slowly killed him. On his deathbed, he reveals a hidden Malemese diamond to her, something both exciting and frightening. Malemese diamonds are illegal for off-worlders to possess, leading Kia to fear that her father stole it, so she too keeps it hidden. Through a series of events that seem out of Kia’s control she is sent to Malem as a translator and discovers the diamond is far more important than she ever realized.

McLachlan does not spend much time on world-building, instead she thrusts the reader into this multiplanetary universe much like Kia is thrust into the mysterious political world of Malem. McLachlan does a good job of showing Kia’s strength as well as her flaws and how she grows under the influence of Agatha, a religious Select who becomes a friend. The story is interesting and the developing friendship between Kia and Agatha unfolds nicely as they both attempt to uncover Malem’s secrets. Although the story is science fiction, ultimately it is about people and family.  Science fiction readers will not be disappointed and realistic fiction readers may be tempted to pick up something a little different.
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