My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Starfree Port is the exciting conclusion of the First Light Chronicles, an introductory trilogy to the Spinward Fringe series by Randolph Lalonde. It picks a bit after Limbo leaves off. The crew of the First Light is making good use of the spoils from their last battle. Their mission, to secure new technology and information for their home port of Freeground to aid in its fight for survival in the increasingly hostile galaxy, is being carried out by integrating such tech into their own ship. But the enemies they have made are very powerful ones, and the fight and risks are just beginning.
The character development in this sequel is really good. The few main characters and their relationships are expanded and explored in a satisfying way. The plot is carried forward well, with some sub-plots added, some wrapped-up, but several left dangling. this is by design; however, since the series was intended to shift but continue after this book. The action scenes are much improved, but are still somewhat clipped in my view. More details of the action sequences would enhance the tale. Some of the character interaction and exposition gets a bit heavy, and I noticed where it seemed to be hastily wrapped up in places. The biggest flaw I found was the timing of events. Some things seem to be described as a gradual slow unfolding, but then a statement is made that it was only a day or two later. The whole voyage of the First Light spans only a few months, but some things seem to need to take longer. Maybe it’s just me though. You should read it and decide for yourself, because it really doesn’t lessen the quality of the tale very much. All in all, I give this book 4 stars and call it an Excellent Read.
P.S. – Although the story is concluded by the end, it still ends on a cliffhanger that intends to propel you into the next series of the Spinward Fringe tales. I, for one, will be reading those.
Read as part of the Spinward Fringe: Broadcast 0: Origins Omnibus edition.