Review: Crash Land on Kurai by SJ Pajonas

Posted July 18, 2017 by Lola in Coyer, Review, Sci-Fi / 10 Comments


Crash Land on Kurai (The Hikoboshi Series #1)
by S.J. Pajonas

Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction

Yumi Minamoto has the shortest fuse on the ship. She’s just whipped a bully and been confined to quarters, but she’s not staying there. A disgraced journalist trying to clear her name, her job is to document the mission to the Hikoboshi system, and she’s determined to get it right, despite all the trouble she causes. But when unknown vessels fire on their ship, and Yumi’s life pod crash lands on a dying moon, she’s separated from her family and friends, and her mission falls to pieces. Now she must navigate the unfamiliar and deadly terrain, deal with a society she doesn’t understand, and try to stay alive until rescue comes… if it ever does.

Crash Land on Kurai is the first book in the Hikoboshi Series, an action adventure, space opera series that explores the worlds settled by the Japanese who fled Earth a century ago. Culture, history, technology, and swords clash in a fast-paced future society on the brink of war.

My Review:
I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it

Crash Land on Kurai was one of my most anticipated new releases of this year and it did not disappoint! It’s a spinn-off from Pajonas’s Nogiku series, which I loved, but I think it works well if you haven’t read the Nogiku series as well. For fans of the Nogiku series expect a few recurring characters and the main character is the daughter or an important side character in the Nogiku series. But at the same time this series brings something totally new as the characters travel to a different plant to meet those from Earth who colonized the Hikoboshi system instead of Orihime. We meet new characters and a totally different world.

Wow this book was so good! It hooked me from the start and it kept my attention throughout the whole book. It’s fast paced and there’s so much happening and going on. Every time we learned something new I was ready with even more questions. I wanted to know who these people were, what happened here, how their society worked and more. And when I finished the book I wished book 2 was already here as that ending makes me so curious about what will happen next!

This book is filled with action and adventure and while it’s a sci-fi book first and foremost, it also has some hints of other genres. There’s even a bit of mystery surrounding this new world, the people here and what’s really going on. There’s even a tiny hint of romance, I can’t wait to see how that develops in later books. It’s also about family, honor, culture and differences. It hits some topics that are playing a part in today’s Japanese society as well and I thought it was very clever how the author worked those parts in, in a sort of “history is repeating itself” thing. I liked the mix of Japanese culture with a futuristic/ sci-fi world, it’s so well done.

The main character of this book is Yumi, the book basically starts with her temper getting the better of her and she hits someone. I was both curious and a bit hesitant when I met her at first as journalist aren’t always nice characters in books and people with a temper don’t always work for me. But I quickly grew to like Yumi.

Her dedication to her brother was admirable, even though they don’t always go along so well, she would everything to save him. I loved her drive for getting answers and she didn’t always know when to shut up, but that’s also what I liked about her. She isn’t afraid to ask questions or go after what she believes in. She can be quite suspicious of everyone and doesn’t quite believe when someone does something nice for her. I think that’s something that will serve her well in this new world.

I felt bad for Yumi at times, she’s hurt and in a difficult situation and just trying to make the best of it. I could relate to her in some ways and my headaches always seem to have the worst timings just like her migraines. She felt very realistic with how she reacts to things and also how she gets hurts and struggles with her injuries the rest of the book. Actually all of the characters and the whole situation felt pretty realistic and they all seemed like real people.

There’s also a nice cast of side characters. Kazuo is one of the more important ones and someone those who read the Nogiku series will already know. I really liked seeing him in this series and how he has changed and how close he is to Yumi. He’s a bit like a father to her and knows her well. Their relationship was interesting. He kinda reminded me a bit of Mark Sakai (from the Nogiku series), not sure why, maybe because of the role and protectiveness, but he also doesn’t mince his words and was very honest.

There are a lot of characters were I kept doubting their motives, could they be trusted? What did they want? What were their goals? Were they as nice or evil as they seemed? Tthere is a lot of guessing and a bit of mystery both surrounding the characters and in the plot as well. I also liked Rin, even though he’s a bit of a mystery. But were Yumi kept doubting him, I shared Kazuo’s opinion of Rin and thought he was a good person. I am looking forward to get to know him better! There are a bunch of fellow crew members from the ship and people they meet in the new world as well.

There is this tiny hint of a possible romance and it’s very slow building. But so far I liked what we’ve seen and I like the dynamic between these two. And with how this book ends I am really curious and excited to see how things will progress in book two! I am hoping for more romance in the next book! I was actually guessing at first who would be the love interest, but then there was a scene from where onward I was sure I knew who the love interest would be.

I loved the world building in this book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book, but I know it wasn’t this. It was a great twist and reveal when we find out more about this world. Without giving any spoilers, this world is so different! It was great to learn about this new system and how things happened here when they people from earth arrived. And to see the state their society and culture was in right now. Just like Yumi I just wanted to know more about hos this society works. I also liked the similarities with some issues Japan is currently dealing with. The hints of Japanese culture are nicely mingled in between the futuristic and sci-fi elements and I thought it worked really well.

To summarize: this book was awesome! It’s fast paced and filled with questions an a bit of mystery and I just wanted to know more and keep on reading. The blend between the Japanese culture and sci-fi elements was well done. There’s also some action and adventure elements and a tiny hint of a potential romance too. I really liked Yumi as a main character, I liked how protective she was of her brother, her drive to get answers. She also has a bit of a temper and deals with nasty migraines, she felt like a real person. I felt bad for her for some of the things she had to go through, but I enjoyed reading how she dealt with everything. The side characters are great too and a lot of side characters I am just not sure what to think of yet or if they can be trusted, what their motives are etc. It has some fun hints to the Nogiku series and a few recurring characters, but it also can be read separate from the Nogiku series as well. This kept my attention for the whole book and I can’t wait for book 2!


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

What’s the last book you read that took place on another planet?

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10 responses to “Review: Crash Land on Kurai by SJ Pajonas

  1. I love the sound of this one, Lola – I haven’t read anything from this author but it looks as though I need to track her down… I’m currently reading a space opera cosy mystery which is unusual and quirky. Thank you for sharing this one – great review!
    sjhigbee recently posted…While the Morning Stars SingMy Profile

    • If you sign-up for her newsletter you can get a few of her books for free :). She’s one of my favorite authors!

      A space opera cozy mystery, that sounds fun! What’s the title of the book?

    • I also read Alien mate :). It’s a great read. I’ll keep an eye out for your review as I am looking forward to hear your thoughts!

  2. I like the unique premise of this, and the fact you mention that it also touches on certain aspects going on currently in Japanese society. That’s the cool thing about sci-fi, that it can sometimes look at familiar tings in ways that make us think- and along with the sense of wonder that sci-fi brings. Glad this was so good.
    Greg recently posted…River of TeethMy Profile

    • It such a good book and I liked the premise of this one. It was very interesting to see how it addresses some topics that are going on currently in Japanese society, but then they happen again in this sci-fi setting. It sure was interesting how the author handled that.

  3. I’m glad to hear you loved this book so much since you were so excited for it! I like when books are mainly sci-fi or fantasy but have hints of other genres in them. And I think it’s a good sign when you start off being unsure about a character but they grow on you and you like them by the end. And you know I also like when injuries are realistic and don’t just disappear! It sounds like there’s a lot to love about this book.

    • I was so happy this book was so good, especially because I was so excited for it. The hints of other genres really worked well here. And the injuries were done very realistically here with how Yumi keeps struggling with the injuries she got earlier in the book and she has migraines on top of that as well. I can’t wait for book 2!

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