THE ZYGAN EMPRISE TRILOGY follows the story of a teenage girl as she becomes an intelligence agent on another planet, travelling through time in order to find her lost brother.
The narrative of the three books focuses on Shiloh Rush, who after finding her brother John has disappeared after a month in the military. After months of hearing nothing, she fears the worst. But in fact John is a catascope – intelligence for an alien race of which few humans are aware. Shiloh seeks to find her brother by following in his footsteps, and with her partner Spud, they seek to save not only him but also the very fate of humanity.
Shiloh’s role as narrator helps drive the story and gives the reader a sense of buy-in to her as a protagonist. However, the back and forth between different planets and different times can sometimes appear confusing for those not used to the genre. Author YS Pascal’s world building in the trilogy is innovative and consistent throughout, in particular the rich detail of the Zygan Empire and its various cities and locations throughout. But those not very familiar with the genre may find the extensive use of made-up terms such as “Ifestia,” “Platrellorg” and “Tlyp’ath” a little confusing. The glossary is certainly helpful, and readers who know their Star Trek bat’leth from their Whovian Silurian will really enjoy delving into this deep tapestry.
The Rush family as a whole are delicately drawn and their characters nuanced, but some of the more secondary characters sometimes lack agency and depth. The central characters however are fleshed and make up for most of the shortcomings here.
The first book in the series sets the fast-paced tone, and although the flitting back and forth at the beginning can be hard to follow, once the story unravels it becomes more engaging by the page. The second book is less successful than the first, and feels somewhat rushed. There are quite a few typos throughout the text, although with the large amount of made up words this is sometimes hard to tell. It feels less composed than the first book, although the plot consistency is still there. The third book REBIRTH is closer in quality to the first installment, and gives plenty of twists while tying up the events of the first two books quite well.
Despite some mid-trilogy quality issues and an overuse of sometimes confusing jargon, the world-building and solid narration make THE ZYGAN EMPRISE TRILOGY a fine, time-travelling, space-hopping thrill-ride.
~David Friesen for IndieReader