Khizara: Book 1 in the Tokorel Series

Drew Bankston

Publisher: OldStache Publishing Pages: 516 Price: ISBN: 9780997554717 Reviewed: June, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

The first installment in Drew Bankston’s Tokorel series revolves around two unlikely adventurers whose races have been mortal enemies for centuries.

Linsora Anselm is an archeologist working on the Origin Project, in which different alien races have agreed to share information that might lead to discovering a common genesis. After spending more than a year in a prison on a remote planet (for reasons hinted at but never fully explained), Anselm is busted out by a mysterious benefactor. As it turns out, the benefactor, Permac Sudé, helped put her there.

Complications arise almost immediately when the two are reunited. Anselm is Khizaran, and Sudé, an engineer, is Tokorellan—and the races are traditional enemies. Centuries earlier, they were the same race. History is unclear about how they diverged: Either the Tokorellans, with burgeoning mental abilities that could influence others’ emotions, attempted to forcefully overtake the planet Khizara, or the Khizarans, fearing the Tokorellans and their abilities, threatened to exterminate the peace-loving people if they didn’t leave the planet.

Running from the law, Anselm and Sudé now begin finding clues that shine a light on their respective races’ histories. As they unravel the truth of their past—and realize how much they care about each other—they become targets for a variety of villainous conspirators and manipulators.

This adventure has many strengths: The characters are deeply developed and insightfully portrayed; the world-building is strong, and the overarching theme (of allegedly attempting to garner peace in the universe) holds potential for powerful social commentary. Minor issues include the absence of a satisfying ending—the conclusion is a respite more than anything—and a lack of immediacy throughout. For a novel with so much action and adventure, the intensity is inconsistent and sometimes lags.

Still, this is a promising beginning to what could be a highly entertaining—and enlightening—science fiction saga.

Author's Current Residence
Greeley, Colorado
Available to buy at: