Fantasy Fans

SFINCS Review: The Re-Emergence

Welcome to another review as part of the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship, or SFINCS, which I am judging as part of Team Jamreads alongside a cohort of other lovely judges. For my SFINCS reviews, I will be judging each book on the following five criteria: Characters, Setting, Plot, Writing, and Enjoyment with a bonus point for Cover Art and Formatting. This review contains my honest thoughts and does not represent the opinion or final rating of the team.

This review is for The Re-Emergence: An Augment Saga Novella by Alan K. Dell and is a finalist allocated to Team Jamreads for review.

A strange probe from a long-forgotten satellite network appears in the P’hori star system. Its message: a dire warning signalling the return of an ancient mythological evil. Imperator Da’kora Corasar and the crew of the Qesh’kal are sent to determine the probe’s origin, and find that the satellite is not as they had expected. Corasar trusts the satellite’s data, but not everyone aboard agrees. Tensions rise and loyalties are tested as they track down the source of the signal. Thrust into conflict, the crew of the Qesh’kal must chase their foe across the galactic arm and save their home from certain destruction.

Find The Re-Emergence on Goodreads

The Review

One aspect of judging SFINCS that I’ve enjoyed is being able to read outside of my usual genres and discover new things. I’d always wanted to read more sci-fi, so here I am with an adventure across the stars, featuring a unique alien race! And this one reminded me of one of my favourite video games, Mass Effect.


This story features a few different POVs, including Imperator Da’kora, the general of a bird-like alien race known as the Maldaccians and who is in charge of the spaceship Qesh’kal and its crew, and a couple of those crew members also have their time to shine. But the story begins with a prologue featuring A.I satellites that have spent so long in space, they’ve now become sentient. One of these A.I characters, Seventeen or Sev, also has their own POV as they help the Qesh’kal with their mission… to investigate a signal which may belong to a race of ancient and deadly aliens responsible for a genocide on their homeworld many years ago.

While I did find the ‘bad guy’ alien race to be a bit cliched and would have loved to learn more regarding their past and motivations, I LOVED the Maldaccian race. It’s not often we get bird-like races, and these felt alien and distinct enough from the human race with their customs and sayings.


The majority of the story takes place aboard the Qesh’kal as it flies through space, tracking down the alien signal. Chapters change POV to give you a rounded view of what the crew are up to, and I definitely got Star Trek vibes as the ship got into various scrapes and needed maintenance.

I mentioned how much I liked the Maldaccians above. The author provides a glossary in the back of the book to help understand the many alien words that are placed throughout, though they were easy enough to understand through context. I personally love seeing world building used this way, as it makes the world feel more authentic.


The plot did feel a little predictable in places and I was a little disappointed that we never learned more about the bad guy aliens. However, this story is a prequel to the larger series, namely the Augment Saga, where I imagine most of my questions on these aliens will be answered. Now, normally I struggle with prequel novellas because you need the context of the main series to understand the prequel, and often the prequel just doesn’t work as a standalone. That isn’t the case here. This is a fully contained novella with an epilogue that hints at the larger story to come, but doesn’t make any demands of you.


I enjoyed the writing and especially want to praise the prologue, which is a great example of how a prologue should be done.


If you’ve ever watched a sci-fi film or played a game like Mass Effect, there’s always an ancient or precursor race that was wiped out in the past and you never really learn much about them. This novella is the story of that ancient race lurking in the background with their secrets, and I personally found that very clever.

That said, I’m not the biggest fan of military fantasy, and this story did feature a lot of battles and combat that didn’t hold my attention, and that’s entirely on my personal tastes as a reader. If you enjoy military fantasy or sci-fi, then you’ll definitely appreciate the fast-paced battles here. Part of this story, and similar ones like it, have what I think are incompetent leaders. I liked Da’kora as a character, but many of his decisions seemed quite amateur for what was supposed to be a battle-hardened general, and this did affect my suspension of disbelief.

Cover Art and Formatting

The cover is quite minimalist and perhaps not fitting with the sci-fi genre, but I think it works really well here.

Final Score: 3.5/5

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