Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy – Review

Book Jacket:

Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie’s mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she’s not entirely sure it’s a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn’s side, he dies. If she doesn’t cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.

But Edie’s abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she’ll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.

You can read an excerpt here.


A solid first effort from Sara Creasy, who very much reminds me of early Patricia Briggs or Anne McCaffrey. The world was well visualized, the science was interesting without being overly technical, and there was plenty of political intrigue. The story wasn’t anything starkly original, but the blend was different enough that I never felt I had seen it all before.

I will admit to a slight feeling of vague dissatisfaction when I finished the book, and I think it stems from a small disconnect on the emotional side. I liked Edie, the main character, a lot – her backstory, her struggle to chose who to trust, her having to question all the things she thought she knew, it was all gripping. I think the source of my dissatisfaction is her relationship with Finn, her unwilling bodyguard. I like their potential as a couple but I couldn’t quite get a handle on what their relationship was, exactly, or where he was coming from – some of their emotional reactions to each other didn’t make sense to me. Frankly I think there’s something missing from the characterization of both Edie and Finn, some small but crucial insight that would help me understand what they’re feeling and why. I finished the book without a true emotional understanding of either character, hence the dissatisfaction – yet it’s kind of a backhanded compliment in that I did want to understand them, which proves I liked the characters enough to care.

So all that said, there is a lot to like here – a very strong beginning. Definitely an author to keep an eye on.

Byrt Grade: B+

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Publishers Weekly (starred review) says:

This brilliantly conceived debut heralds a significant new talent….Creasy’s convincing scientific speculation, appealing characterizations, and eerie alien landscapes make this science fiction romance deeply satisfying.

Cynthia Ward of Fantasy Magazine says:

Creasy’s extrapolation of advanced genetic engineering as just another form of information technology is interesting and logical. She also creates sympathetic, believable characters, a fast-paced plot, and a beautiful, terrifying world in the terraforming-gone-gonzo planet of Scarabaeus. The English/Australian-U.S. resident author does not, however, provide much novelty for the experienced SF reader. The future is largely “off the shelf,” with its interstellar government behaving badly, rebel worlds behaving justly, space pirates, easy interstellar travel, and alpha-male romantic interest…But, like the SF novels of Ann Aguirre, Jack Campbell, Kristin Landon, and Linnea Sinclair, Song of Scarabaeus is an accessible, enjoyable entertainment for less-hardcore SF readers. says:

This was a highly impressive science fiction novel from a promising new author. The technology was described enough to seem believable, yet not enough to get bogged down in explanation. And its blend of technology and moral ethics was surprisingly fresh. With plenty of mystery, danger, suspense, intrigue, and alien life – fans of the genre will definitely enjoy this exciting debut. Ending in a mild cliffhanger, readers like me will be eager for a sequel.