The Caprinian Saga, an anthology of space travel, war, and hope in the face of adversity.
The Caprinian Saga is a story made to be read as an advent calendar, and includes 20 stories (most connecting) and 4 glimpses into Caprinian culture and language. While shorter than most books I’ve read, this book has a depth to it that some larger books miss. The worldbuilding is stellar, and because certain short stories connect over time it really gives off the ‘full circle’ feeling.
Facts about the Caprinian race, an alien race with a goat-like appearance, are shared throughout the entirety of the book. But not in a way that feels like it’s an info dump! Instead, it feels very natural, with the only chapters risking an information dump-style being the 4 insight chapters. These chapters were created with the idea of sharing more of the Caprinian culture, their language, and their world. But if that’s not your style as a reader, you can easily skip those chapters without missing much. Though personally, I would advise against skipping them because they include a lot of the worldbuilding that makes visualising the Caprinian homeworld so much more amazing. And the language chapters are a neat touch. It almost made me feel like I was the one learning the Caprinian language, to communicate with my new off-world neighbour.
Story wise, as I mentioned before, there’s definitely a full circle feeling once you approach the end of the book. But I did notice that not all stories tie back into the storyline the book finishes on. And while I understand that this is common with anthologies, it kind of reminded me of those filler episodes from your favourite show. The ones you would rather skip, in favour of continuing the main story.
I think I mainly feel that way because a lot of the chapters do contribute to, or tie directly into the storyline you end up following. And the few chapters that don’t, kind of feel ‘off’ because of that. Though not to the point where I would want to put the book down, it bothered me that those chapters didn’t come full circle. I was left with questions about the stories, but sometimes also was left wondering what they added to the main storyline.
It also bothered me a little bit that Khea decided to trust Jackson as quickly as she did, and vice versa. Their characters seemed to have all the right reasons to be secretive, or at least cautious, but they threw that to the wind after their first outing together. Regardless, these are my two favourite characters. Their behaviour, thoughts and backgrounds really grew on me. And I felt connected in a sense, which I find a testimony to the author’s talent because I didn’t expect to care for them after such a short time!
So, all in all, this book is well-written, interesting and the format of reading (advent-style) really adds to the experience. I would recommend this to anyone that likes sci-fi, but also to those among us that don’t really read sci-fi that much. I don’t either, and I really enjoyed it. And one last thing: if you can, wait with reading until you can read it in advent calendar-style. The last chapter is sure to be a real treat that way!