Book Review: “A Night on Isvalar” by C. Litka

This is a classic space-opera style adventure. The protagonist, a starfarer or “starfer” named Riel Dunbar finds himself with a night of leave on his homeworld of Isvalar, a world home to an active nightlife. He meets up with another starfer, an adventurous soul named Cera Marn, and is quickly swept up with the roguish Marn into one wild escapade after another.

Basically, if you’ve enjoyed the other Litka books I’ve reviewed, it’s a safe bet you’ll like this one. There are fights with gangs of thugs reminiscent of Keiree, and Marn herself reminded me more than a little of Ren Loh, the daring, often inconsiderate and rebellious noblewoman from Beneath the Lanterns. She even uses Loh’s signature line, “Pff!” when dismissing our more risk-averse protagonist’s concerns. And of course, against his better judgment, he goes along with her. I can’t blame him; I’d do the same.

At times, I found the action a little hard to follow. There are so many new worlds, characters, and technologies packed into such a short book that it made my head spin a bit. But, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the overall tale. I liked Marn a lot, and she’s really what makes this story flow. Even if she turns out to be not quite what she appeared at first, I found her an entertaining character.

This is a novella, originally published on Kindle Vella, and the ending leaves room for plenty more adventures. I wouldn’t mind spending more time in the world Litka has created here, with its inter-gang turf wars and neuro-blade fights. It’s just a good old fashioned throwback to Golden Age sci-fi.

[Audio version of this post available here.]

9 Comments

  1. Thanks once again, Berthold, for this kind review. However. I think that I should mention that this is a rather slight work in several ways. First, as you mentioned, it is a mere novella of some 25K words. Secondly written as a serial story, I was trying to replicate in words something along the lines of an old time newspaper adventure comic strip like Flash Gordon, Steve Canyon, or Terry and the Pirates. The Vella version is divided into 20 episodes which dictated plotting and pacing. Basically it’s an experiment that salvaged a setting and a premise I had dreamed up 40 years ago.

  2. Your review certainly piqued my interest 😊 Had a read of the first page on Amazon; I do like the voice of the main character, so it’s now on my Kindle. Thanks for another fab, succint review!

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