There's a lot to like about N.C. Scrimgeour's Those Left Behind, right from the beginning. It launches straight into the story with a captivating first chapter, striking an admirable balance between character introduction and setting the stage for the journey to come. A journey that is fast-paced, action-packed, and explores many exotic locations throughout the galaxy.
The influences of Mass Effect and Star Wars are clear here—there's political dynamics between alien species, a variety of biome planets, and technology closely resembling the Mass Effect relays. But there's enough in the pages that's unique to this story that it still feels fresh. There's an impressive amount packed into the relatively short book, and Scrimgeour accomplishes it by sending each of the 5 POV characters off in different directions.
There is a downside to that, however. While each of the characters was sympathetic, I felt we didn't get to spend enough time with any of them to really dig into their psyche. And some traumatic events are breezed past in favor of keeping the plot moving. This isn't an overly long book—only 25 chapters, meaning we spend just five chapters with each character. Additionally, since everyone has their own plotline, the overall narrative ended up feeling a bit disjointed (that said, many of the POV characters do interact at least once in the book).
Although this did impact my ability to emotionally resonate with the characters during the climax of the book, I still enjoyed the story overall. In particular, I enjoyed the dynamics between cybernetically augmented people and the so-called obsolete. Anyone looking for a fast-paced, expansive space opera with a promise of more to come in the sequel, consider picking up Those Left Behind.
My Score: 7 / 10
/* Note: This review reflects only my personal opinion, not the opinion of the entire team. */