Review: Ric Vayne and the Curse of Ghoul Nebula

It’s like if Ernest Cline helped Douglas Adams write Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

That was my first impression of Ric Vayne and the Curse of Ghoul Nebula from the super-talented Kyle Robert Schultz.

Kyle describes the story as a mix between Firefly, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Thor: Ragnarok. I heard Firefly and that was plenty, but then throw in one my favorite Marvel films and I couldn’t wait to pick this thing up. Plus, it had total Hitchhiker vibes, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Why I loved it

I love me a good space adventure. Throw in a snarky main character with perhaps more faults than heroic ability and I’m all in. That’s the kind of story Kyle has masterfully weaved in Ric Vayne. Add in a healthy dash of fantasy and we’re off to the races.

Kyle introduces a new character in Ric Vayne (presumably played by Adam Baldwin) and he’s a great love-to-hate protagonist. Arrogant, snarky, mayhaps a little reckless—my favorite kinds of character. Well, Ric’s reckless pride lands him in a unique kind of trouble. When he wakes up, he realizes that not only is he on the ship against his will. He is the ship.

If you think that sounds messy, well, you’re right. Not to mention, they’re headed toward the Ghoul Nebula, which is just as scary as it sounds. His mix of clever wit and quick thinking will need to work overtime to get out of this predicament.

wHy you should read it

If you like snarky characters and witty sarcasm, you’ll be all in for this story. Ric Vayne is basically Zaphod Beeblebrox but, y’know, likable. He says all the right things to make you giggle when you least expect it. But he’s not without his redeeming qualities. He encounters a relatively helpless character early on and makes it his mission to help her to escape. Probably not with entirely selfish motives.

There’s great SciFi/Fantasy action—now I want a spellblaster. The way Kyle weaves the fantasy elements into the sci-fi backdrop are so seamless, it's like that kind of fantasy tech has always been a part of good science fiction. Great fiction does take time to explain itself, it just presents the world as if it’s already in progress and the reader has to accept it—Kyle’s confident storytelling does exactly that, and whisks you away on a great adventure because of it.

The characters are memorable, the conflict is gripping, and the narrative twists and turns add enough excitement to keep you turning the page.

Final tally? I give it 5 out of 5 spellblasters. Which is a good thing, I promise.

Blog, Book ReviewCameron Frank