Author Susan Jane Bigelow did something I thought was impossible: got me to care about a socially conservative, misogynistic country. The country in question is protagonist Violet Grayline’s homeland Gideon on the planet Nea. Centuries earlier humans abandoned Earth in exchange for settling three planets in a distant system. In Nea’s Gideon, women’s primary functions are bearing and raising children. Gideon men and the church hold all the power.
The Seeker Star opens with the beginning of the end of Violet’s marriage. Since she cannot bear children, her husband abandons and divorces her. Thankfully Violet has her Aunt Melody on her side. Melody helps her niece through the initial storm, then gives Violet a mission: find her sisters Marta and Beth, who’d gone missing after they’d left Nea, and bring them home.
I like Violet a lot. She’s smart, plucky, and determined. Bigelow does a great job fleshing out her character. Violet’s transformation from a conformist young woman into—well, I won’t spoil it for you—makes perfect sense.
Normally I’d start reading a series with the first book (in this case, The Daughter Star), but jumping into the Grayline Sisters’ universe with The Seeker Star wasn’t a problem. Bigelow deftly weaves exposition into the narrative, so you quickly get a feel for the worlds (note the plural) involved. The scope here is huge, and Bigelow provides the right amount of information to hold your interest and keep the pace moving.
I’m not sure what else I can write without spoiling the story, so I’ll keep this brief. Through Violet’s eyes you’ll learn about the cultures and struggles of peoples of three different worlds. You’ll root for Violet and her allies while wondering about the motives of others she meets on her journey. And if you’re like me, you’ll want Violet to succeed in her quest to bring change to Gideon. You’ll understand why she loves her country, warts and all.