The Empire’s Corps (The Empire’s Corps #1) ★★★☆☆

theempirescorps (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Empire’s Corps
Series: The Empire’s Corps #1
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 505
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Stalker leads a disastrous rescue attempt on a slum on Earth and ends up with thousands of civilians dead. When he speaks “Truth to Power” (so help me my eyes almost rolled out of my head at the bloody cliched phrase) he and all 80+ of his marines are exiled to a planet on the rim of the Empire, Avalon. He is given a huge budget by the Marine Commander and very vague instructions.

The Empire is tottering and the rim planets will soon be on their own. Marine Commander hopes that Stalker and his marines can keep Avalon from falling into barbarity.

Once on the planet, Stalker is faced with the problems of an entrenched political/economic elite who want to keep thing the way they are even while that path is leading straight to revolution. Stalker deals with the bandits, then deals with the Opposition forces and the Council all in one fell swoop.

The book ends with a Space Navy ship dropping off a note telling Avalon that the Empire will be sending no more ships to them for the foreseeable future.

 

My Thoughts:

PG’s Rambling has been reviewing this series on and off even though he’s more of a spaceship kind of guy while I prefer the ground pounder action. And that is exactly what this book, and series I assume, is all about: Space Marines during the decline of a galactic empire.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

“Truth to Power”. For fracks sake, responsible people don’t use that hackneyed phrase, only people like the Occupy movement, ie, those with too much time on their hands and no drive to actually support themselves. Thankfully, it was only used 2-3 times but that was just 2-3 times too much. Nuttal also writes about homosexuality enough that I won’t be surprised if I end up dnf’ing this series in another book or two. Thankfully here it was not “PC homosexual character spewing modern liberal cant, CHECKMARK”. He also writes about brothel’s and prostitution and they are both legal in this book universe. One of the characters opines “It’s ok as long as they “want” to get into that business”. It never works that way and always ends up as a legal sex slave trafficking. I was more concerned about the attitude behind it than that it was included. There was also one sex scene that was used as a plot device, so I can’t accuse it of being completely gratuitous, but another one like it in any future books will push this out of bounds for me.

Now on to what I did like.

80 highly trained marines on a backwoods world. Nuttal makes as much hay with this as he can and I loved every second of it. They are like wolves going through a pack of puppies.The fighting was awesome and Nuttal doesn’t make the mistake of writing the bandits or Opposition as complete chowderheads. They are clever and when they have armaments equal to the Marines, a real threat. One thing I was kind of edgy about was how the bandits raped a lot and it was definitely used as a device to make them “Despicable”. It was never described in detail but I just found it bordering on the tasteless with how it was written.

The politics side of things felt a little too pat and easy but considering that Captain Stalker has had to deal with Earth Politics, whatever Avalon throws at him isn’t nearly at the same level. I do appreciate that Nuttal doesn’t try to make his badguy characters to be grey, ambiguous “oh, those poor misunderstood” type of badguys. They are bad, period. Thank goodness for that.

Nuttal is an indie, as far as I can tell, but besides the repeated misspelling of “deport” and its various forms, nothing stood out (depot and depoted were the main culprits). At 500 pages, I was expecting a lot more than that in all honesty. I enjoyed his writing style and his characters had enough depth so they were unique and not just the same character with a different name.

I do look forward to reading more in this series (there are 14 books and it appears that book 14 is the final book) and if it works out, I’ll probably be trying other series by the author.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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Threshold (Chess Team Adventure #3) ☆☆☆☆ ½ DNF@39%

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Threshold
Series: Chess Team Adventure #3
Author: Jeremy Robinson
Rating: 1/2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 351
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Did Not Finish at 39%

 

My Thoughts:

“So, what, Christianity is founded on a magical charlaton?” (Jack Sigler)

“Jesus spent his childhood in Egypt, as did Moses, so it’s possible both men found some ancient source of knowledge and used what they learned to perform amazing miracles.” (Hercules)

Yeah, I’m done with this.When Christ’s Divine Nature is denied, then I stop reading. I will also not be reading any more by Jeremy Robinson.

☆☆☆☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Pulse (Book 1)
  2. Instinct (Book 2)

Kraken Rising (Alex Hunter #6) ★★★☆ ½

krakenrising (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kraken Rising
Series: Alex Hunter #6
Author: Greig Beck
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 449
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Chinese try to kidnap Alex’s son. They fail. The Chinese are “secretly” mining in Antarctica and come across a signal from a long lost sub that was an American stealth prototype. They send in their version of Elite Special Forces and also send warships. The Americans aren’t going to let them steal even more technology and send in Alex Hunter and then another HAWC’s team AND warships.

World War 3, with nukes, is about to happen.

Aimee Weir knows what’s under the ice and she is supposed to guide the HAWC’s team. Alex is on his own and the Chinese Special Forces have NO idea what they are in for. The mimic from Under the Dark Ice isn’t dead, isn’t stupid and it wants to play with its food. Eventually, all the survivors band together and flee in the missing sub. The kraken follows and fights the chinese fleet. They destroy it but are so hurt that they can’t stand up to the American fleet. Everyone goes home. Just like that. Really.

Alex and Aimee and their son are all reunited and the glimmer of a family life for all 3 is possible.

The End of the Series.

 

My Thoughts:

This series comes full circle. In the first book Alex Hunter meets Aimee Weir and the monster under the ice and they barely escape with their lives. This time around they have something to live for, namely, their son.

My biggest complaint was how stupid 2 of the characters acted. The leader of the Chinese Special Forces was such a fanatic that everything was an American plot meant to trick him, somehow. He was almost a caricature instead of a viable human threat. The other problem character was one of the HAWC’s who won’t take orders from Casey and constantly questions her and undermines her. The HAWC’s are supposed to be the Special Forces of the Special Forces and this guy comes across as a green marine just out of boot camp with a huge chip on his soldier. I can’t see Jack Hammerson allowing someone like that into his elite unit.

Really good fights and some “old favorites” of the monster variety. The black worms that eat you from the inside out make a dramatic visit and were probably more memorable to me this time around than the kraken.

The overall plot wasn’t as lean or taut as some of the others and while nothing felt like padding per se, there were times that some movements/actions/descriptions felt unnecessary.

This book ends on such a note that it could be considered the end of the series. While there might be future Alex Hunter or Son books, this was a good place for me to end. Beck hasn’t written any new Alex Hunter books since this and has written other books in other series, so I suspect his interest in this character is done. It is always better to wrap things up while they’re still fresh than to let them sit and stink like a week old fish.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Hammer of God (Book 5.5)
  2. Gorgon (Book 5)
  3. Black Mountain (Book 4)
  4. This Green Hell (Book 3)
  5. Dark Rising (Book 2)
  6. Beneath the Dark Ice (Book 1)
  7. Arcadian Genesis (Book 0)

Instinct (Chess Team Adventure #2) ★★☆☆☆

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Instinct
Series: Chess Team Adventure #2
Author: Jeremy Robinson
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 365
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A rogue Vietnam General comes across a super plague that he weaponizes. He uses it against the President of the United States and that sets the stage for the Chess Team. They are sent in to find a cure [as the plague has the potential to wipe out mankind within 2 years] but of course nothing can go easy, or they wouldn’t be the Chess Team.

They run across a Vietnam special forces who are dedicated to wiping them out. They come across monstrous, devolved neanderthals who are all female and who eat humans and rape men to continue their race. They also come across a lost scientist who has started his own race of neanderthal/human hybrids and who wants the plague to succeed so his “children” can rule the world.

That is a lot to overcome. Plus the burden of saving the whole world. Phhhh, just a day’s work for the Chess Team.

 

My Thoughts:

This was easily on track to being a 3.5star adventure. Then the author started talking about shoving guns down the throats of Fox News anchors and calling them fear mongering haters, or something close to that. That tanked this for me. It makes me suspect the author is a dickwad and someone I’d gladly punch in the face. But rather than give in to my baser instincts to hunt him down and beat him to within an inch of his miserable life, I chose to let it go. You don’t see ME threatening to KILL anyone just because I don’t LIKE them. Beatings are VERY different from killing.

On to the book then.

Pretty good adventure and action. The devolved neanderthals and their Lost City of Blah, Blah, Blah and how they used to be Masters of Humanity was a bit much for my taste in conjuction with the whole Plague Wiping Out the Whole World thing, but hey, it’s better to have too much adventure than not enough.

Lots of fighting, lots of guns and stuff. What I expect and what I like in a military action/adventure story. And Bishop, the guy who got super human powers in the last book, he gets his head ripped off, regenerates and comes back badder than ever. And gets a “magic” crystal so he doesn’t go all ravening zombie anymore. Quite convenient that. I guess the neanderthals were good for something.

★★☆☆☆

bookstooge

  1. Pulse (Book 1)

Hammer of God (Alex Hunter #5.5) ★★★☆☆

hammer (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Hammer of God
Series: Alex Hunter #5.5
Author: Greig Beck
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 115
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Someone has access to multi-kiloton nuclear bombs [of the size and type to be able to wipe out Jerusalem]. They also have access to beings of unhumanness that can carry these bombs to wherever they are needed to go, without stopping, without food, without water, without detection and without being susceptible to gun fire.

Israel will not stand for such a threat to exist without striking back. But even their special forces can’t deal with giants who apparently can’t die because they’re already dead. Enter the HAWC’s, led by Alex Hunter.

Now, the combined forces, that are both disavowable by their respective countries, must find the terrorists who are creating these nukes and the alchemist who is creating the undead carriers. It comes down to Alex Hunter, the Arcadian, to take down a thousands year old alchemist who wants to rule the world while inhabiting Hunter’s superior body.

Yeah, like the Arcadian is going to let THAT happen.

 

My Thoughts:

As I was reading this near the beginning, I thought this would make a great full length novel. At 115 pages, it is a pretty good novella. Near the end I changed my mind and was glad it was as short as it was. While these books are never studies in character development, this felt particularly card-boardy.

There is a difference between telling a good story and telling an engaging story. An engaging story utilizes all aspects of the authorial craft whereas a good story can follow a formula, cut a few corners and still keep your interest. This was a good story.

I have to admit, I have been hoping that after this many books and this much writing experience, that Beck would have learned a bit more about writing characters. In many ways, Beck reminds of the likes of Christopher Stasheff or even Robert Asprin. Both are solid B level writers but they never rose above that. I am beginning to think that Beck has found his level and will never get any better. I’m not going to stop reading these Alex Hunter books, mind you, but I’ll be adjusting my expectations accordingly.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

  1. Gorgon (Book 5)
  2. Black Mountain (Book 4)
  3. This Green Hell (Book 3)
  4. Dark Rising (Book 2)
  5. Beneath the Dark Ice (Book 1)
  6. Arcadian Genesis (Book 0)

Pulse (Chess Team Adventure #1) ★★★★ ½

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 
Title: Pulse
Series: Chess Team Adventure #1
Author: Jeremy Robinson
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 335
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Ridley wants to live forever. All he needs to do is find the head of the mythical hydra and turn his science team onto it. When a U.N. Team finds it, Ridley steals it, kills the team and kidnaps one of the scientists. Unfortunately for Ridley, said scientist is the best friend of Jack Sigler

Jack, better known as King, is the head of a super-secret Special Forces group, led by the anonymous Deep Blue. Each member has a Chess piece designation and they are the top of the top and so dark that even a Black Hole looks white compared to them.

The Chess Team swings into action and carnage ensues. Volcanoes blowing up, humans going crazy with super regenerative powers, killer capybara’s, a restored Hyda and Hercules. Yes, Hercules. He’s real as the hydra. Ridley’s Security Group is almost as good as the Chess Team so hopefully between them both, they can take down a creature that is immortal and can regenerate.

 

My Thoughts:

Why this book hit the spot, I don’t know, but my goodness, it was pure action/adventure with a dose of mythicalness that caught my imagination with guns, guts and glory. The closest series that approximates this is Greig Beck’s Alex Hunter series. But while that is mediocre and just ok, this was pure awesome.

I know I’m kind of babbling but I’m having a very hard time nailing down why I liked this so much. There were guns, big guns and lots of gun battles. There were human monsters. There were monster monsters. There were dastardly bad guys and super heroic good guys. There was a secret society. And Hercules.

All those things came together in the perfect way. I don’t know if future books will affect me the same or if anyone would like this book as much as me, so take all this blathering enthusiasm with a big dose of reality.

Cheers!

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

Arcadian Genesis (Alex Hunter #0) ★★★☆ ½

arcadian (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 
Title:       Arcadian Genesis
Series:    Alex Hunter #0
Author:   Greig Beck
Rating:    3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre:     SF
Pages:     79
Format:  Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

An item is uncovered in Russia. It appears to be a source of unlimited power. The Russians are working on it and discover it is an incubator, not a power source. In the process, they bring on board a scientist, who used to be a Chechnian whose family was killed by the Russians. Said scientist steals the power source and contacts the United States, all to spit in the eye of the country that killed his family. What he doesn’t know is that by removing the power source, the creatures inside begin to awake and grow.

Alex Hunter is sent on a mission with a team of HAWC’s to recover the scientist. The HAWC’s run into a Russian team who are also intent on recovering the scientist. Hunter gets shot in the head, but the bullet first passes through the alien device. In a comatose state, Hunter is prepped for a super soldier project, codenamed Arcadian, that “might” save his life.

Thus begins the legend of Alex Hunter, the Arcadian.

 

My Thoughts:

I waited to read this prequel for a some time, just because I wasn’t sure when it was published, and was too lazy to look it up, and didn’t want anything revealed that might impact future books. In all honesty, this would be a good place to start with Alex Hunter, even before Beneath the Dark Ice. Nothing is spoiled and it does a good job of showing exactly how things worked out to make Alex a working Arcadian.

As a short story/novella, this has just the right amount of action, tension and drama. It is on par with the other Alex Hunter books. Not much else to say really.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Beneath the Black Ice
  2. Dark Rising
  3. This Green Hell
  4. Black Mountain
  5. Gorgon