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Thanks Reviewers!

In this section you can find some of the reviews received for the first Italian version of 17 Planets - The Captain. You will find the link to the website or social platform they were posted on. It is my thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to share their thoughts with me.

For the moment, there are only Italian reviewers (translated), so I hope to have English speaking reviewers soon. 

"Homo homini lupus" (Man is wolf to another man): the initial quote of the book is, in my opinion, the key to reading, the backbone and anticipation of the themes most represented in the novel. Everyone exploits others for their own objectives, rarely clear, especially those of Captain Lee. A fascinating figure cloaked in mystery whose far-sighted intuitions engulf everything and everyone into all sorts of adventures. And as a reader I may be the last victim  of her seduction: who is she? What are her interests? Those who find themselves in her crosshairs fall in her traps and those who are ignored beg for her attentions; a complex woman who reveals herself gradually page after page.

This character has a past that cannot be healed which pushes her to keep going. Her sense of duty makes her take on issues such as social inequalities and protecting the underdog, however her many burdens lead her to a solitary and lonely life. A shoulder to lean on for her most closest friends, she does not however accept the invasion her personal space. It’s only when she meets Cohen that something changes. 

This novel has as many characters as it has locations: each planet has social, economic and political stratification that recall eras such as feudalism or nineteenth century's pomp. Whilst the planets boast advanced technologies, the legacy of these historical periods remains in the language: governors and executives address each other with the titles of Lord, Lady. In some planets, clothing as well as etiquette echo those times. The social stratification is undermined by internal struggles due to the class differences; the most extreme fringes unite in rebel groups but even in this case nothing is ever what it seems.

Throughout the book, the plot will follow the events and intrigues of the Kappa Corporation, the Alliance, the Union and the Empire. I was impressed by the power games in the Imperial Court and salons which are the preserve of women, wife of dignitaries and dukes. Skilled and fine strategists, they use every weapon in their arsenal, including beauty seduction to reach their objectives. The women steal secrets and information, are trained at the Court and can manipulate the opinion of their husbands, those who decide the fate of the inner and outer planets. The mixture of space, futuristic technology and dynamics that go beyond time limits won me over. There are planets that do not have primary goods and those who are trying to gain power by pitting factions against each other. The situation is complex, with internal struggles and external challenges, and truths which are difficult to accept: will the powerful people in charge be able to understand who is the real enemy and how to deal with them?

The author draws on the genre of reference in regard to narrative patterns and suggestions on which she grafts her own originality, guided by maturity and awareness, managing to describe a world in turmoil. The settings are varied and detailed: in this first volume, a great importance is given to the construction of the world created by the author, with descriptions and many moments that help reconstruct the history of the various planets, their social hierarchy and the past of the various characters. The protagonists gradually reveal themselves, some appear more kind and compassionate, others are ambitious, career-driven and ruthless. Cohen and Captain Lee stand out among everyone else, but they are not the only ones: I enjoyed David, Michael, Prince Max, characters that certainly intrigued me; since the political game is the focus of the plot, there are fewer moments of intimacy or leisure for these protagonists, but in those few, the glimmer that the author opens on them and on the world they live makes them believable and compelling characters. Even in seemingly stasis moments, these characters can never quite relax, they are always vigilant and make sure that any situation never degenerates; fun is short lived. Yet, I could not help but wonder: who really is Elizabeth underneath her armour? It’s easy for her to take her clothes off, since sex is also a mere tool in her skillful hands, but what if she was really naked? A woman who fights against the "slavery of thought and action", but has an internal wound hurting due to a personal loss? What did she really go through?

In the last chapters, the threat to integrity, to the core of identity as a species, unites all the factions involved and is unsettling: a truth that cannot be divulged, or the collapse of society is certain. Nothing is ever what it seems. With a style capable of recreating a new world and a new humanity that address important issues, the author takes us into her science fiction novel, the first volume of a series that promises to be exciting.

"17 Planets ‐ The Captain" is a science fiction novel written by A. R. Alexander. It is the first chapter of a five‐book saga set in star systems other than the solar system with their own 17 planets occupied by the human race. Four coalitions rule over these planets: Empire, Union, Alliance and Corporation. It is a book where the political and economic component have a strong impact. The factions are organised in a similar fashion as the feudal system, where entire planets are fiefs granted to prominent people (somewhat reminiscent of Frank Herbert’s book Dune).

Political clashes among different factions - and within the same factions - are common place and are presented in a convincing and exciting way. The technologies are cleverly detailed, you can see that there is great research behind this book. The Ajna is a very interesting technology: a system implanted in the brain (or rather its biotechnological filaments infiltrate the brain) that allows the host body to heal itself from all illnesses and ailments, ensuring a very long and disease‐free life. Virtually the Ajna is inviolable. However the Corporation, through a drug, and unknown to those who acquire it, has succeeded to alter this system in order to break the will of people, turning them into addicts and perfect slaves. There are also other interesting technologies that perfectly succeed in their intent to create a good ambience, at times giving a cyberpunk feel. The book flows wonderfully. Political upheaval and action alternate each other at a perfectly balanced pace. The political phases are described in depth but they are never too complex. The writing is impeccable and the management of the characters is very accurate, both on the personal and psychological level (the writer is a psychologist, after all!). Some of the characters stay with you long after you finish reading the book, like the protagonist Elizabeth, or General Cohen, just to name a couple. Towards the end of the book there is an unexpected twist that opens a second major narrative strand. The ending marks an important point for the plot of the saga.  Personally I would have preferred a cliffhanger ending, although cliffhangers can be frustrating as you know you will have to wait a long time before finding out how the story unfolds. Last but not least: it is A. R. Alexander’s first book (I think) and the first of this genre (I know that for sure). If this is the start, I can't wait to read  her next books!

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Have you ever thought what might happen if humankind left Planet Earth in order to live on other planets? The author tried to do just that when writing this book. At the beginning of the novel is a brief introduction describing the events that caused humans to leave the Earth, and the places where the story is set, which are described in a meticulous way, so that the reader does not have difficulty picturing the events.
After around a thousand years since the "transfer" to these new planets, men have reached their own equilibrium, supervised and also managed by competent bodies, such as the Union, the Alliance, the Corporation and the Empire. On some of the planets - where oxygen, water and all basic raw materials are available -people lead a comfortable life, however on other planets where these resources are lacking, life is much harder. It is in this climate that the first rebellions break out, quelled  by the police and hardly ever in a peaceful manner. These events will be described throughout the book,  we will discover what is really going on behind this apparent balance, which in reality turns out to be very precarious. Captain Lee, expected by everyone to be a man, will try to get to the bottom of this and will attempt to understand the political logics and choices that will affect the fate of all. There is someone who is threatening the freedom of the inhabitants of these planets, using a particular drug able to modify and act on the Ajna (a small 3D triangle placed on the forehead which acts on the brain defending the organism against disease) and gain control of the masses. At the same time there are those with expansionist ambitions, those who are power thirsty and those who are easily manipulated by powerful men. In short, we may find ourselves on new and different planets, but men's behaviour and way of thinking have not changed.
These are the main events that unfold in this novel, with the introduction of new characters, new technologies and new twists; for these reasons
we can not define "17 Planets ‐ The Captain" as a static novel, on the contrary it is very eventful, an aspect I particularly appreciated, it never bored me, it held my attention and above all it did not slow down my reading . 
The characters of "17 Planets ‐ The Captain" with their feelings and thoughts are presented to us in the third person by an omniscient narrator: in my opinion this gives the characters a deeper, more complete and objective analysis, allowing the reader to fully understand them, both the "good" and the "bad" ones. Not only we have similar characters, we also have different types: there are manipulators and manipulated, rebel and submissive, leaders and subjects, brave and hesitant, undecided and determined. The "cast", therefore, is very heterogeneous and so are their emotions which remain consistent throughout the whole book. As for the setting, it literally amazed me. The author has shown great mastery in the description of places, cultures and technology inserting them in the right context during the unfolding of events throughout the book. This characteristic is often taken for granted in other genres, however it hardly ever happens in science fiction novels. I was particularly fascinated by the new technologies described throughout the book. The editing of the novel has been very accurate, there are also maps for the reader to refer to whilst

reading.

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First of all picture science fiction, then dystopia, and adventure: the end result is "17 Planets ‐ The Captain". A.R. Alexander draws from Asimov, Orwell and Twain (to name but a few), blends them together and writes a complex and engaging book, in which the political‐economic component is master. Intrigue, power games, conspiracies and vendettas follow and alternate each other. A novel thought to be the first of a rich and juicy series. In the synopsis the author shows us the guidelines for navigating it: the map of the galaxy to find your way through a crazy universe is fundamental. The world-building is perhaps the thing that surprised me the most, it is a construction at the same time complicated and detailed: 17 planets where four different factions coexist (Independent Alliance, Alpha Union, Empire Cardian, Corporation Kappa) at war and are organised with a system very reminiscent of the feudal one. A classic theme that refers to the colonization of space and military science fiction.
Planet Earth was abandoned and humanity redistributed among other planets where, with difficulty and after hundreds of years, finds a new balance far from fair, new inequalities and social classes separated by an ever-growing gap. A people that is however united by the Ajna, a system implanted in the brain that allows the host body to regenerate itself from any disease, thus ensuring a very long and healthy life. It should be inviolable but the Kappa Corporation manages to alter it through a drug that, unbeknownst to the subjects, clouds their will turning them into slaves.
This is just one of the countless technologies introduced by Alessandra Rapetti in her book, and although I am ignorant in the matter I never had the feeling of being a stranger or being out of place, indeed I felt immersed in an exquisitely cyberpunk atmosphere. I am not a voracious reader of science fiction and I thought I would struggle a lot with this reading but I still wanted to try it when I received the offer. The book is not very light, following the dynamics required concentration and memorising, I often read some passages several times and I went back to recover others to better understand certain situations. This shows once again how hard the author has worked. A book with a thousand themes ranging from the manipulation of the human mind to the limitation of personal freedom, a fascinating novel that must not only be read but understood and contextualized beyond words and events. The characterization of the characters is incredible. They are all presented in the third person, as are their feelings and emotions. A heterogeneous and winning narrative choice that provides an objective analysis of the characters, contrary to what would happen using the first person. Perhaps it deprives the reader of empathy but it gives them the opportunity to understand a wide range of personalities: good and bad, sovereigns and subjects, manipulative and manipulated. One above all: Elizabeth, Captain Lee, a glacial and beautiful woman, with a strong character forged by a dark and mysterious past. With her recklessness and intelligence she accompanies the reader into a distressing and uncertain future.

"17 Planets - The captain" is an amazing book where places, technologies and cultures are combined in what is hardly an obvious aspect of science fiction. We find ourselves in a totally different universe and outside any other literary genre.

Hat off to A. R. Alexander, an author able to give shape to a plot with classic roots but completely revisited, unique, well thought out and able to satisfy even the most attentive and demanding reader.

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Hello Dear Readers,

 we are finally back to talk about a book published by one of our favorite publishers, Bookabook.
"17 Planets - The Captain" is a sci‐fi book, a genre that we rarely review on our channels, but when we do we certainly appreciate it, especially when we bump into such treasures.
We thank the author for having placed her trust in us and for sending us a copy of her novel.
It is not easy to enter this extremely articulate and controversial universe. Reading "17 Planets - The Captain" you find yourself in an atmosphere full of details that the author takes care to reveal gradually over the whole book, a bit like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, creating an intricate game of mechanisms that initially may bewilder the reader.

In "17 Planets" the author keeps us on a razor edge, conveying a sense of pressing curiosity. The result is binge reading for sure.
Thank God for this book!

Around page 250 (worry not, I won't spoil it for you!) we run into a particularly impressing phrase which we are going to quote verbatim:

"As freedom involves the possibility of taking the wrong turn, it can be scary, and it’s better to leave that responsibility to someone else. [...] Once people reach the point of no return and the majority of them would do anything to entrust

that burden to a higher body, individual and collective freedom is lost[...]"

This sentence is yet another proof that we can find food for thought in any reading, regardless of its intent or genre. A universe created from scratch makes us reflect on the behavior of the masses, those of yesterday, those of today and, sad to say, probably also those of tomorrow.
Talking about a more technical aspect of the novel, we can say that we have greatly appreciated the narrative style of the author, raw, sharp and energetic. We love when the dialogues generate adrenaline, something certainly this book does not lack. The growth of the characters is palpable, and their characterization is perfect.
Be prepared for plot twists, you will be lucky not to fall from your chair.

I would like to start talking about this book from the very first pages, where we find the maps of the planets within the galaxy they are in, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed and made the world‐building process in my own mind very easy.

Not to mention the historical context preceding the first chapter that introduces the structure of the community and history, with special footnotes that make the reading easier avoiding going back and forth to the end of the book to read each note.

The notes are very interesting, in particular that of Kant's writings regarding the Enlightenment.

The story unfolds in the year 1368. One of our characters, General Ed Cohen of the Alliance must go on what looks like a suicide mission to Echuazi, and it is here that his adventure begins and so does ours, taking us through twists, traps and ingenious plans.

On the surface, A. R. Alexander has presented us with a universe in balance, without any plotting nor subterfuge, but is it really so? Is it possible that none of the alliances is working towards achieving hegemony over the others?

And here I would like to bring to your attention the phrase that Alexander uses to start her novel "Homo Homini Lupus", "Man is wolf for the other man", this phrase contains the whole book, it is the keystone.

The characters are sublime, I mention as an example Captain Lee, a very exceptional woman, with a difficult past, with a great sense of duty, equality, a defender of the under dog, as well as having a great sense of strength, of friendship and their importance. Also I would like to say a few words about the character I have previously mentioned: Ed Cohen. The encounter between them and the development of their rapport perfectly relates to the true essence of the characters without sounding overly hasty and inconsistent. There are indeed multiple characters that you get to know and appreciate in all their nuances.

The setting, in my opinion, is very well organized so much so that in some moments I completely lost the sense of reality and I completely immersed myself in the book. From the explanation of the various planets to their social, economic and even political stratification the author has really done a great job.

The exciting story, the strong and important themes, the characters that emerge through the pages will make you fall in love with them and their complexity.

A breathtaking end which heralds, as you gather from my review, a very interesting sequel.

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I want to say immediately that this is much more than an ordinary science fiction novel. The author has built a complex and congenital story that takes us from Planet Earth to new planets, where people have settled and continue their lives.

Many years have passed and people have almost achieved a comfortable life, but not all planets meet the needs and reserves needed to live. A series of rebellions break out that will lead to clashes with law enforcement.

Although mankind has moved to new planets, their way of doing things remains the same: power‐hungry, selfish and opportunist. Nothing has changed when they left the Earth in order to colonise other planets with the mere aim of achieving wealth. Here is one of the fundamental themes of this novel.

The character who attracted me the most is Captain Lee, who turns out to be a woman. I really liked her strong character, despite the fragility she never shows. There is someone who wants to deprive men of their freedom, implanting biotechnological filaments at birth to preserve the body from disease. She will be the one to warn General Ed Cohen of the terrifying plan that will endanger the life of the community.

A series of events and twists will keep us glued to the pages of this book, we will get to know new characters, and the fact that the narration is in third person allowed me to better understand their behaviour, also because they are very different people, from manipulators to rebels, to manipulated and submissive. I was also fascinated by the settings, the way the author describes the places, but also the technology. It’s a novel that should be read slowly, in my opinion, because the events are many and to understand them better you have to pay attention and focus. Inside the book you will find a map for the reader to refer to. A story that definitely makes us escape, transports us to distant places and makes us live a fantastic adventure. The struggle between good and evil, always present when it comes to men, because power manipulates their minds and economic inequalities. These and many other important issues will be approached with great skill by the author who intrigues us from the very first book of a pentalogy.

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