Asylum opens with our hero on a dive into a sun without a spaceship, highlighting the point that it’s not where you are, it’s how you got there that’s important. Keith was captured by aliens from a routine night on security duty, narrowly escaped being eaten, and took refuge by lucky chance in a cave occupied by artificially intelligent all-atmosphere suits that had taken a few millennia break from existence. When he defends one of these inanimate suits from damage at the hands of his pursuers, they intervene to save his life, triggering an abrupt turn in his life plans.

Keith McDonald exhibits an entertainingly bloody-minded sense of humour in his writing, as well as some interesting twists on the alien abduction theme. However, overall I found Asylum would have benefited from a bit more time in edits. While the basic story was strong, constant technical issues in the writing prevented me, by and large, from suspending my disbelief long enough to get into the book, and the hero’s tendency to fight with music blasting over his headphones should by rights have got him killed long before he took a dive into a star, especially as it became something of a theme for the story. I’d have to rate this as a read with a lot of potential that needs more work to deliver on that promise.

Asylum cover

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