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Title: Kantovan Vault
Series: The Spiral Wars #3
Author: Joel Shepherd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Captain Erik is in the middle of Tavali space, under the protection of a special branch of the Tavali armed forces. They are searching for a data core of an old Drysine Queen so that the queen on board, Styx, can become fully functional and help in the fight against the Alo, who seem to have been suborned by the Deepynines, another supposedly extinct machine race.
The Tavali are even crazier in their politics than humanity and some of their sub-allies are just plain nuts. The long and short is that Erik’s sister is kidnapped, which forces him to mastermind a break-in of the Tavali’s most secret treasure cave, the Kantovan Vault. Within said vault is a journal that will help Styx find the data core and the Tavali military gain the upper hand against their civilian counter parts.
Of course, the Tavali military doesn’t know that Erik has the help of Styx, a Drysine. The Tavali have specially trained units to deal with remnants of Drysine machinery and if they know that Erik has an active Queen, well, he and his crew have as much chance of surviving as I do if I pissed straight into the sun.
Yeah, no chance.
This was almost as good as the previous two books. I hadn’t realized it had been just over a year since I read book 2 though. Which leads me into my first issue.
Names. There was not a glossary or character list at the beginning of the book. Usually I don’t care about that, but when single names get tossed about, with a military designation, it would be nice to know WHO that person is. It wouldn’t be an issue if this was a completed series and I was reading them every month or two, but with a year between reads, it would have been nice to have a character list. And a sum-up of the previous book, even 2-3 paragraphs to remind me what has gone on.
Second, and final issue, was that things seemed a bit dragged out. I found myself skipping descriptions of “whatever” and sometimes even conversations if they didn’t seem 100% on point to the plot. I suspect Shepherd would have gotten a “what a simplistic book” if he HADN’T added all those extra bits, so maybe he just can’t win? But drag is something to be aware of.
The battles, once again, were the high point. All ground force fights, ranging everywhere from remote mountain tops to a subway system with mecha. The Tavali military calls up some of its retirees to help out Erik and Co on a planet and man, that was awesome. Pitched battles in slum’y areas. Buildings toppling, explosions, etc, etc. It was glorious.
While I know that the Drysines are needed in the fight against the Deepynines, I’m still rooting for someone on board Erik’s ship to blow Styx to kingdom come and back. It feels like having Skynet on board; it’s just waiting to turn on you and kill you. Brrrrrr. I don’t care if Styx becomes a hero, I’ll think of it as a badguy to the bitter end of the series.
Another thing I liked was that no one came across as stupid. Sometimes you’ll get a lazy author who makes the characters act in such a way, to propel the story onward, that you wonder if the character is an idiot. None of that here. Professionals all around and acting like the adults they are written as. Bravo to Shepherd for that!