Review of Ardulum: The Battle for Pruitcu by J.S. Fields, narrated by Lynn Norris
I’ve been fangirling over this series for a few years now and it looks like I won’t stop any time soon.
There are two storylines in this episode, which takes place, for the most part, four years after Ardulum: Third Don. On the one hand, Salice, Yorden, and Nicholas are looking for potential Flare survivors after Pruitcu exploded. Salice is hoping to find people like her, family. On the other hand, Guard Four, unaware that Atalant has returned and is now an Ardulum Eld, has been trying for a decade to track the elusive planet and prove Atalant right in order to clear her name after she’s been exiled. None of them realizes, at first, that they’ll be fighting unprecedented danger in the form of the Void created by Ardulum, god planet and the ultimate havoc wreaker.
This is both the fifth Ardulum book and the first in a new trilogy. I guess it can be read as a standalone but honestly, I wouldn’t. You probably can enjoy this book on some level even without knowing the characters and the universe it’s set in, but you’d miss out on all the background. That said, if having to read the previous books seems overwhelming, jump in and get your fill of spaceships, flirting, nail polish, and sentient fungus.
Whenever I watch a Star Wars movie, the first notes of John Williams’ iconic music are enough to send me right back to the universe I love. I had the same feeling here when the audiobook started and I heard Lynn Norris begin the narration. These are my people, said my brain. The world J.S. Fields has created is incredibly rich, full of possibilities – for disaster, mostly -, of morally grey heroes, of spaceships with the best names: who needs a Millennium Falcon when you can have the I’m Wearing Shoes, Dammit!? I’m kidding, the Millennium Falcon will always have my heart, but I love these ships too. And the characters. Fields keeps putting their characters in perilous situations, with twist upon twist upon twist and a steady drip of humour to top it all.
I had so much fun listening to this audiobook I’m not even mad that the ending is wide open and I have to wait I don’t know how long to find out what happens next. As usual, Lynn Norris’s narration is on point. And if you get the book instead of or in addition to the audiobook, there’s a map, a timeline, and other resources that will help navigate the Ardulum universe. 5 stars.