The Captain (17 Planets: Book 1) by A.R. Alexander


Date of publication: June 15th, 2023

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: 17 Planets

The Captain—book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:

A woman with an extraordinary mind and a dark past demanding revenge. 17 planets divided into four factions whose leaders forgot their inhabitants all arrived from the same place: Planet Earth. A threat that could turn a tool that saves everyone’s life into the worst imaginable nightmare. Elizabeth, a chameleonic and seductive woman, is the only one who can make a difference, but her uniqueness weighs on her shoulders like the world weighs on Atlas’ shoulders.

These are just some of the ingredients of this novel where action scenes alternate with political ones and the relationship between the many characters, as much as the suffering and the claustrophobic anguish, alternate with the human need for love and loyalty. All seasoned with a drops of eroticism and a hint of humour.

First Line:

The following is the story of the descendants of a large group of humans, primarily scientists and historians, who reached this part of the universe more than a millenium before the events narrated in this book.

The Captain by A.R. Alexander

Important things you need to know about the book:

The Captain is the first book in the 17 Planets series. Since this is the first book in the series, you can handle certain characters ‘ backstories without being lost or wondering about certain characters’ backstories. Now, I highly recommend that you read the historical background. The author lays everything out: how humans colonized the planets, why they were colonized, the different governments, and their collective histories. You must read and bookmark this section because what is written here is expanded upon. Also included are footnotes at the very end of the book. As with the historical background, I suggest reading them. They give added context to the passage that is noted.

I read The Captain while sick, so the book’s pacing was off for me. I can finish books like this (300 pages) in a few days. But, because I was sick, completing it took me longer than I expected.

There are trigger warnings in The Captain. If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading the book. They are:

  • Blood (on and off page)
  • Gore (on and off page)
  • Death (on and off page)
  • Kidnapping (on and off page)
  • Murder (on and off page)
  • Attempted Murder (on and off page)
  • Human Trafficking of children (mentioned and off page)
  • Terrorism (on and off page)
  • Violence (on and off page)

Sexual Content:  Most of the sexual content in The Captain is nongraphic. The author uses the fade-to-the-day-after technique, which worked fine for me. But there are a couple of scenes that do get graphic.

Language: There is foul language used in The Captain. It didn’t bother me, but it might bother some more sensitive readers.

Setting: The Captain is set on various planets in a solar system near Earth.

Plot Synopsis (as spoiler-free as I can get):

Elizabeth is a woman on a mission. She is determined to get revenge on the parties responsible for her mother’s death and her attempted murder. She is also determined to unite the four factions that rule her solar system and disrupt a plot to turn helpless citizens into mindless drones. But doing both is dangerous. Can she exact her revenge as well as unite the factions?

Main Characters:

Elizabeth/Captain Lee: I liked Elizabeth. I found her intriguing and liked her. The blurb likened her to a chameleon, and, for once, I agreed with it. She could change her appearance on a whim, thanks to the bracelets that she wore. There were times that I did wish that the author got into her background sooner (what happened to her/who her family is). But overall, she was a wonderfully written, well-fleshed-out character.

Secondary characters:  Numerous secondary characters pop up in The Captain. There were some that I thought were redundant (and those the author killed off), but overall, the secondary characters added depth and sometimes clarity to the storyline.

My review:

I was taken pleasantly by surprise by The Captain. I decided to read it because I have yet to read too many space operas written by a woman, and I wanted to see how it was. Well, it didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure.

As mentioned above, reading the historical background and footnotes is necessary. The historical background will help you with the planets/factions, and the footnotes add extra context. Also, there are diagrams and drawings sprinkled throughout the book. I would have loved it if the author had put those in a glossary (along with the planets, solar systems, cities, and main characters). That way, I could have had a one-stop place to look instead of bookmarking, hoping I remember not to delete the bookmark.

The main storyline centers around Elizabeth and her quests. The storyline was well-written and very fleshed out. The author took her time explaining things (background of characters, planets, factions). Reading all that information upfront was tedious, but it was worth it. There is a small amount of lag in the middle of the book, but that did not affect how much I enjoyed reading The Captain.

The science-fiction angle of The Captain was terrific. I loved the detail that the author put into everything. I had some questions about the habitation bubbles (like how the spacecraft got in and out without expelling the atmosphere), and I hope the author will answer some of those questions in the next book.

The end of The Captain was interesting. It was the only part of the book where I read twice to understand what was happening. The author revealed things I wish were told earlier in the book and things that were left up in the air. The author left the ending open with hints about what we should expect in book 2.

Many thanks to A.R. Alexander for allowing me to read and review The Captain. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.

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