January 24, 2013

Review: Nebador Book Six - Star Station - J. Z. Colby

The Nebador Series by J. Z. Colby is probably one of my favorites, now. Right along Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Mists of Avalon, the Graal Trilogy, The Vampire Chronicles and some others, there sit the 6 books of the Nebador Series.

As the author himself says, this isn't the end of the story, but it is a great resting point. Our characters have made their way from a backwards little medieval planet's lowest of the low, to the honored Nebador Transport Service, where they are the crew of a small deep space response ship.

4 former slaves and one inkeeper's daughter form this crew that has travelled further away from their home world than anyone there will probably go and are now bonded beyond anything they thought they would, specially the slaves, who've always had a deep issue with trust, trusting people isn't something a slave does, as they are on the world on their own, being traded around and bossed around.

Mati, with her bad knee, is on the edge of a new life. It's hard and it's new. It's more of a change than traveling all across the universe, to her, since it's her body, it's something she always lived with, and it's going to change everything she does and is. Not who she is, but the way her being interacts with the world.

Kibi has to learn to interact with the rest of the universe. Understand what is appropriate and when, but also, be confident that she has value and that there is a job for her and her feelings, which are as valuable as other skills. I think Kibi is the character that bothered me the most all through the books, because she doesn't SEEM valuable, her skills don't seem important, like the others. She has no definite skill, math, language, anything, and yet, she is Ilika's girl and that gives you the feeling that she was on the crew from the start. But, the thing is, she has the strongest intuition and she can sense people's feelings, she can understand people and relate to them. I couldn't really see that on the first books, probably because I am one of those people that can "feel people" but can't understand how those feelings can be a skill. Much like Kibi :)

All of the characters learn very valuable lessons, each to their own, and make new friends, all very different people - Ursines, Birds, Lizards, balls of light/energy and Monkey-Mammals! And we get to understand more of Nebador. So far, all we got were glimpses and visions, promisses, but now we finally understand more about it, like the food - everyone gets what they need, no cost, just take it, but not more than you need (you can, however, get stuffed from good food now and then ;) ), people are polite and expect you to be nice as well. And, importantly, people help each other - no matter what they do, or how important they are. Actually, there is no concept of important people or tasks, only different responsabilities.

Original cover art commissioned to artist Rachael Hedges
Mati and Sata have a big lesson to learn, and so do Boro and Rini, who are in different stages of a relationship with the girls. After they make a huge and very serious mistake that has terrible consequences, they are "sentenced" to go through the "Great Transformation" and help a whole civilization to survive, a lot over their shoulders, by living and learning. But I won't spoil, since that is one of the parts to love ;)

Kibi's test of the heart, as mentioned on the summary, is one I would probably fail myself. Damn licking on the neck. J.Z., Nebador's author, writes with such emotion and so many details that I get shivers to this day. After that, she puts her feet on a path she must take, specially to be in the Nebador Transport Service, along with her friends and her lover, but that is hard and complicated, making her face several fears and issues.

I love Nebador and I would read 100 books on this series. But we have definitely reached a stopping point, if needed. No other book before this has left me with such an accomplishment feeling, you can see there may be more coming, but you can also stop here and know that the story has been told, of the path a small team of young adults took from the lowest of the low to the stars, from poverty to respected equals to the whole universe. There is more to learn, but now they are well on their way.

I reccomend the whole Nebador series to anyone who likes reading, learning and loves to read good writing, great character development and awesome plot.

Find out where you can buy Book 6 - Star Station in several formats: here.
Read my reviews for Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 and Book 5.