Review: The Jupiter Pirates #2: Curse of the Iris by Jason Fry

Friday, December 12, 2014
Title: The Jupiter Pirates #2: Curse of the Iris
Author: Jason Fry
Genre: science fiction
Series: The Jupiter Pirates #2
Pages: 400
Published: Expected December 16, 2014
Source: Publisher via edelwiess
Rating: 4 out of 5

Treasure Island meets Battlestar Galactica in Book 2 of the swashbuckling sci-fi adventure series SLJ called "space opera in the classic style" in a starred review, from New York Times bestselling author Jason Fry.

It's been a tough year for Tycho Hashoone and his family. Hostilities between the Jovian Union and Earth have reached a boiling point. The privateering business hasn't exactly been booming. And the ongoing contest for the captain's seat of the Shadow Comet has the three Hashoone siblings perpetually on edge. Then the Hashoones intercept a ship—one with a long-dead crew, its final mission a warning to all who seek their fortunes in space. The Hashoones don't have time for ill omens; they need a payday. Following clues from the mysterious ship, they embark on a hunt for the long-lost treasure of the Iris—a treasure that Tycho's own great-grandfather Johannes had a hand in hiding. But in his quest for the Iris cache, Tycho is going to dig up much more than he bargained for. Because like old pirate treasure, family secrets never stay buried for long.

Filled with action, intrigue, and one unforgettable family, The Jupiter Pirates: Curse of the Iris takes readers across the depths of space and brings the Jupiter Pirates saga to new heights.

In an exciting and joyful sequel that will delight sci-fi fans of all ages, we once again join the Hashoone family on their privateer ship around Jupiter. Two years have passed since the first book, and the Shadow Comet has fallen on some hard luck. The Hydra is embroiled in a nasty legal battle, ensuring the Hashoone’s haven’t seen their money for capturing the infamous pirate ship, and with tensions heating up between the Jovian Union and Earth, they’re not capturing many merchant vessels, either. But when a long dead ship turns up with a clue to a buried treasure, Tycho and his siblings are once again on the hunt.

It’s a great plot that brings to mind classic adventure stories, a’la Treasure Island, and Star Trek. In addition to treasure hunting and space battles, there’s espionage as a mysterious government figure joins the search and a real focus on the individual strengths of each of the kids. Possibly my favorite part was a solid explanation for something I found arbitrary in the first novel: the contest for captain. The kids’ deeds are still being entered in The Log, but they’re also starting to question why only one can be Captain. The reason being, that while the kids may respect each other if they all get their own ships, will the respect their cousins? Second cousins? Soon space would be full of Hashoones fighting each other, and family has to be there to support, not tear down. Great message, though I think Tycho made it clear it’s not so cut and dried.

There are very few negatives this time around. I’m not sure the time skip of two years works, as I don’t know if the twins felt any older. Everyone still has the same roles on the ship and still talks about the Hydra, so it didn’t feel like any time had actually passed. This isn’t a huge issue that detracts from the book, just a little quibble. Additionally, the universe feels smaller this time, as most of the traveling either takes place off screen or is between Jupiter’s moons. There is a time limit on the treasure hunt, that ends up feeling kind of silly and rushed,

The time skip could have been used to introduce more mature plot elements, but it’s not. There are still no love interests, though the crew get a bit more screen time, so there are other characters than the immediate family. There is a side plot dealing with an ex-spacer who’s developed substance abuse problems, which might be a bit heavy for some younger readers. It’s used to teach a really good lesson, though, and all actual use takes place off screen. There are some fight scenes, again with off screen deaths, but nothing more intense than an episode of TNG.

Comparing the book to Star Trek is both a huge compliment and the best description I can give. It lives up to Roddenberry’s desire to mix Gulliver’s Travels’ adventure and morals with the mystery of space. I know the author writes for the Star Wars EU, but perhaps he should consider a move to the better Star franchise*.

*This is of course said in love and jest. Except that it’s not. Trekkie 4 Lyfe.

Whatever he writes for, I hope he continues the Jupiter Pirates, as it has the potential to inspire a lot more wonder.

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