The Golden Queen
by Dave Wolverton
Published by Tor Publishing
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
On a planet much like Earth, yet vastly different, a young man named Galen has become a well known fighter and guardian in his medieval village. One evening he meets an old warrior and a beautiful woman who are fleeing from a group of evil creatures called Dronon. After he successfully helps them, they ask him to help them get to a gate that will transport them to another world.
After he helps them get through, he realizes that they are in a lot more danger than they first realized. He, too, travels through the gate along with his friends Maggie and Orik. There they find a new world and the truth about the Dronon.
It turns out that the Dronon are an evil insect-like race that have conquered the galaxy. There is absolutely no hope of defeating them, except that their race is made up of many hives led by a queen. The dominant hive, determined through battle, is ruled by the Golden Queen. Galen realizes that if a human warrior can battle a Dronon and win, the humans would have a Golden Queen that could order the Dronon to leave the galaxy. That is what the two strangers are trying to do, however they have to jump from gate to gate to get to the Golden Queen for battle. Of course, the Dronon are not going to make it easy for them to do. So it is up to a ragtag band from a backwater planet to save the galaxy! (sound familiar?)
This book was a lot of fun! It was fast paced, had action, romance, etc, etc. Any Star Wars fan would love this story, yet it is VERY different from Star Wars. The universe in which it takes place is very exciting and Dave Wolverton's take on alien technology is veru unique. The action sequences really make your pulse race when you read them. It is also open season on the characters. Just because they are the main characters doesn't mean they'll make it through the story alive! Wolverton is also very good about including humor in his stories. The aliens he created are also very cool and you really do feel like they are an unstoppable foe.
There is a talking bear in this story. This may turn off some readers before they get the explanation for it. I thought the explanation was good enough, but others might think it is really stupid. Also, Dave Wolverton can tend to be very brutal with his characters. Usually he finds some way to hurt them that makes your hairs stand on end. This does make you care for the characters a lot more and worry about what happens to them. Some people may think the setup is a little TOO close to Star Wars, but I thought it was a great story. After all, was Star Wars original even though it was based on mythology, history, etc, etc? Up for debate!
The Dronon. YUK, bugs!!!! Also, the results of a human getting hit by one of those torch guns. You'd need some pretty strong sun block against those!