Dead Silence ★☆☆☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Dead Silence
Series: ———-
Authors: Stacey Barnes
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 319
Words: 109.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher & Me

Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed―made obsolete―when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find is shocking: the Aurora, a famous luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick search of the ship reveals something isn’t right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Messages scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold on to her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

Turns out everything was caused by a machine put on board the ship by a rival company that was supposed to make everyone feel dread and uneasiness. The ship used a new alloy and the interactions between the machine and ship drove everyone insane.

Claire survives as does her loverboy and they get rich and own their own shipping company. The end.

My Thoughts:

I went into this with very high hopes. Both Mogsy and Maddalena had reviewed it and while there were some little things that niggled at me, what they wrote sounded fantastic.

Things started out really great. I’m talking Event Horizon levels of great in fact. Which is exactly what I wanted and was looking for. Then I find out the main character is insane, so I can’t trust a word coming out of her mouth, then the whole “scary” situation gets “scyenzesplained” to me and THEN romance right at the end where the man knows exactly what to do and what to say like he’d read the main character’s insane mind and was pretty much the perfectest man ever.

It blew my mind. In a bad way. I was pretty angry in fact. To go from people ripping their own eyeballs out to scyenze to romance was more than I could take. Stacey Barnes took a space elevator ride straight to my Authors to Avoid list with this book. What gets me is that it DID start out so fantastic. WHY did she have to go and change things and ruin everything? I could smell the hotdog. I could see the hotdog. Then the author gave me a celery stick and acts like it was that all along. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

So if you want a scary story that is ruined by scyenze and romance, this is definitely the book for you. If I cared more, I’d cross post this review to all sorts of other platforms just to give people fair warning. But in about 10 years nobody will ever remember this book, because it truly is that bad. I’ll step aside and let Time be the author’s executioner.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Feast and Famine ★★✬☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Feast and Famine
Series: ———-
Authors: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 157
Words: 60.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover and TOC

In Feast and Famine Adrian Tchaikovsky delivers an ambitious and varied collections of stories. Ranging from the deep space hard SF of the title story (originally in Solaris Rising 2) to the high fantasy of “The Sun in the Morning” (a Shadows of the Apt tale originally featured in Deathray magazine), from the Peter S Beagle influenced “The Roar of the Crowd” to the supernatural Holmes-esque intrigue of “The Dissipation Club” the author delivers a dazzling array of quality short stories that traverse genre. Ten stories in all, five of which appear here for the very first time.

Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Feast & Famine

3. The Artificial Man

4. The Roar of the Crowd

5. Good Taste

6. The Dissipation Club

7. Rapture

8. Care

9. 2144 and All That

10. The God Shark

11. The Sun of the Morning

12. About the Author

My Thoughts:

That’s right, there’s a reason I’ve been avoiding Tchaikovsky for the last year or two. While he can tell some good stories, he also really digs the knife into Christianity. Not organized religion, or Buddhism, or Islam, or any other religion, just Christianity. I “think” I could handle it if he were an equal opportunity mocker, but he’s not. He really lets fly with the story “Rapture” and I realized that while the other stories might be interesting that my time with him is done for good now.

If I need any more fixes of Tchaikovsky, I’ll just go and re-read the Shadows of the Apt decology.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Gathering Flame ★☆☆☆☆

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Title: The Gathering Flame
Series: Mageworlds #4
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 371
Words: 136K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

The Mageworlds are plundering the civilized galaxy. One planet at a time. First, their scoutships appeared above the outplanets. Raiding parties followed, then whole armadas bent on loot and conquest. The Mages break the warfleets that oppose them. They take entire planets. Who can stop them?

Not Perada Rosselin, Domina of Entibor. She’s the absolute ruler of a rich world and all its colonies, but Entibor’s space fleet is too small to mount a defense. And Perada herself, just back from school on distant Galcen, is almost an outworlder in her own court.

Not Jod Metadi, the most famous – or notorious – of the privateers of Innish-Kyl. Jos can fight the Mages and he can best them one on one, but his preferred targets are cargo vessels, not the dangerous and unprofitable ships of war. Metadi stays clear of the Mageworlds’ battle fleet – when he can.

Not Errec Ransome. He understands the Magelords better than anyone. But there are some things he’ll never tell – and some things he’s sworn to himself that he’ll never do again.

Now, the Mages have attacked Entibor. That was their first mistake…

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this prequel about the parents of the characters in the previous three books. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much and in some ways I was very disappointed.

Perada’s two sons aren’t Joss Metadi’s. They were conceived for political reasons. In fact, one of them is Eric Ransome’s and Metadi just shrugs it off. I REAAAAALLLLY disliked both parts of that.

By the end of the book Entibor is a slag heap and the mages did it by using hundreds of mage circles on Entibor to move the tectonic plates and thus destroy the surface of the planet. It was pretty cool if you think about it.

Then there were the 2 women who I thought were just friends. So that line got crossed and put the authors on my to avoid list. Honestly, I’m almost glad that happened so I didn’t have to muster up some fake enthusiasm to continue on with the rest of the series.

While this series started really strong for me, it has gone downhill with each successive book and with this one stepped right off the cliff face. Well, time to go find another series to try.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

And On the Eighth Day ★★☆☆☆

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: And On the Eighth Day
Series: Ellery Queen
Authors: Ellery Queen
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 128
Words: 55.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

It’s April 1944 and Ellery Queen has been working for the military making films in Hollywood. Driving through Death Valley on his way home, his car breaks down. Stumbling over a rise in the desert, he encounters an odd man who seems to come from an earlier time, and is welcomed into his community as a sort of prophet. Queen must root out a growing corruption while operating within the limits of an alien world and comes to the realization that evil can invade the most guarded of people’s hearts and societies.

My Thoughts:

Really? Ellery is an idiot, gets lost in the desert, comes across a cultic commune and solves a murder mystery that would destroy the commune if the cult leader had let it and then he just leaves? And once the murder took place, even “I” knew what had really happened (the cult leader covering for his protege so as to not leave the commune without a leader in the coming years) but good ol’ (c)elery for brains couldn’t? Sure, he’s supposed to be exhausted from writing propaganda during WWII, but come on!

This was a real mix bag of Christian aphorisms mixed with actual Scripture from the Bible mixed with pagan philosophy while referencing such people as Josephus and Pliny (the Elder or the Younger not being specified).

I did not enjoy this. I’ve decided that unless the next Queen book is a 4.5star read and completely blows me out of the water, that I’ll be done with this series.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

ps,

I have NO idea what that cover is supposed to convey. I didn’t like this book and so I chose the most unappealing cover I could find for it. If you like this cover, please drop me a comment telling me why and giving me your doctor’s name and number so I can get you some emergency psychiatric care.

Jim Henson: The Biography ★☆☆☆☆

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: Jim Henson: The Biography
Series: ———-
Authors: Brian Jones
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 591
Words: 215K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson

He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

This extraordinary biography—written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family—covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson’s family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives, Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub.

An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing, his love of fast cars and expensive art, and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well founded.

An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.

My Thoughts:

This is getting a 1star instead of the dreaded 1/2star & the tag “worst book of the year” simply because I learned a LOT about Jim Henson. Having seen what I have of Muppets, Fraggle Rock, etc, I can clearly see Henson’s fingerprints now that I know what to look for. That part was quite interesting and I think it will make my viewing of future movies and shows that much richer.

However, my main problem with this book wasn’t about or with Jim Henson, per se, but more with the author, Brian Jones. This was technically a biography but more than that, it was a puff piece, a love letter, a psalm of worship from an acolyte to his god. When somebody tells the life story of someone else, they have a duty to tell ALL of that life story, not just the good parts.

Any bad parts of Henson’s life was mentioned in one sentence when it occurred and then glossed over or ignored for the rest of the book. When interviewing people about Henson, only the most positive things were included, even from his wife, who he had separated from and was sleeping with other women. Every statement about Henson was positive and every statement by other people was positive. While I could have accepted that Henson led a charmed life and was charismatic and talented enough to draw everyone into his wake, people are people and have bad things to say. I’m not saying Jones should have been a muckraker or that I was looking for a smear campaign, but what I read wasn’t real in the sense that it simply didn’t present reality as we know it. Henson’s brother died. It got maybe 2 sentences then and maybe 4 out of the entire book and Jones never showed it affecting Henson.

Jones was given access to the Henson life in terms of private journals, etc and I suspect part of the deal was that he would only write good things. It was like reading cotton candy by the end of the book. Even Henson’s swift death by a virulent strain of pneumonia shows him as a giant teddy bear having his back rubbed by his ex-wife (technically not ex as they never divorced) and his death being some big “oopsie”. The tone of the entire book is fluff. While I learned a lot about Henson, and like I said before I think it will make my watching of his works that much more informed, I did not like being “handled” by the author as I was.

To end, if you want to learn about Henson, you can read this book and you’ll learn a lot. If you don’t mind literary cotton candy, this will work perfectly for you. If you want a full picture of Henson, try some other book because this author point blank refuses to give you that picture. I am very disappointed with how this turned out.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Twice in Time ★★☆☆☆

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: Twice in Time
Series: ———-
Authors: Manly Wade Wellman
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 168
Words: 47K



Synopsis:

From FictionDB.com

While vacationing in Italy, 19-year-old Leo Thrasher rashly experiments with a radical new science. The result: he “reflects” himself 500 years back in time and must deal with life in the middle ages as he strives to return to the present. And in the 20th century, the memoirs of Leonardo da Vinci are unearthed.

My Thoughts:

This was my third foray into the works of Manly Wade Wellman and I have to admit, I’ve been nothing but disappointed. Unless I can get my hands on the Silver John series or the John Thunstone series, I’ll not be reading anything else by Wellman.

This book was stupid. The main character, Leo Thrasher, goes back in time, without giving it any thought and turns into Leo da Vinci. Makes me wonder if Tim Powers read this story and if it influenced his Anubis Gates any? If not, it’s a remarkable coincidence.

So, Leo. He descibes his time mirror and goes into detail of what went into the making of it (super rare elements, machined metal parts measured down to the micrometer, etc, etc) and he somehow expects to be able to make one to return, in Italy in the 1500’s? What kind of idiot is he? A big ultra-stupid idiot, that’s what kind. It was just one ridiculous situation after another that either had me rolling my eyes or shaking my fist. I realized what Wellman was doing (ie, Leo was Da Vinci) about halfway through and I probably should have seen it much sooner. But I was distracted by all the stupid idiotic stuff going on.

I had higher hopes from Wellman. But the three books I’ve read by him have all been juvenile, simplistic, stooooopid and not entertaining. Adios amigo and don’t let my lightsaber hit you where the Good Lord split you.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The King of Plagues (Joe Ledger #3) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@30%

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Title: The King of Plagues
Series: Joe Ledger #3
Editor: Jonathan Maberry
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 492 / 160
Words: 151K / 50K



Synopsis:

DNF@30%

My Thoughts:

By the 30% mark Maberry had used the term “hate crime” 15 times. I quit reading when he used the term to justify a muslim special forces guy beating people so badly that they ended up in the Emergency Room because they used words he didn’t like. It’s called Free Speech, for good AND bad. When you start telling people what words they can and cannot say or use, you have entered the Deep State.

So adios Maberry, you confirmed my fears about you and I’ll be avoiding you like the plague from now on.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Consent to Kill (Mitch Rapp #6) ★☆☆☆☆

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Title: Consent to Kill
Series: Mitch Rapp #6
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 514
Words: 174.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia & Me

In Flynn’s previous novel, Memorial Day, CIA counter-terror operative and assassin Mitch Rapp uncovered an Al-Qaeda plot to use a nuclear weapon obtained from abandoned Russian nuclear storage bunkers. The ultimate goal was the destruction of Washington, D.C., and Rapp was forced to torture the only man who knew the details of the plan: Waheed Abdullah. Rapp then faked Waheed’s death to prevent the Saudi Government from learning of it and rescuing him, while preserving a useful source for himself. To keep Waheed from being discovered, Rapp puts him in an Afghan prison.

However, this plan backfires: Waheed’s father, Saeed Ahmed Abdullah, a billionaire Saudi businessman and a jihadist himself, learns that Rapp has “killed” his son. Saeed beseeches Saudi Prince Muhammed bin Rashid for help. Rashid puts Saeed in contact with a former East German Stasi officer, Erich Abel, and Saeed puts a $20 million contract on Rapp’s head.

Abel, through his contacts, approaches two assassins, a husband and wife team, Louis Gould and Claudia Morrell. For $10 million, they agree to kill Rapp. Claudia, who is pregnant, specifically asks Louis not to kill Rapp’s wife, Anna, as she is also pregnant. Louis agrees, and both leave for America.

In Washington, Rapp is angered by the new Director of National Intelligence, Mark Ross, who authorized surveillance of Rapp’s co-worker and friend, former Navy SEAL Scott Coleman. Ross sends the IRS to investigate Coleman, and requests Coleman’s personnel file from the Navy. Ross has ambitions to the presidency and views his current position as a stepping stone to the White House. He has no respect for Rapp because of Rapp’s reckless actions and, despite his contributions, wants to fire him.

Rapp decides to visit Ross to stop his investigation of Coleman, but he loses his famous temper when he finds a satellite photo of Coleman and discovers his friend was an active topic of interest. He physically holds the National Security adviser by the collar and slaps him with a folder holding Coleman’s files. Rapp warns Ross not to interfere with the War on Terror. His words fall on deaf ears, though, and Ross decides that he must fire Rapp. Since Rapp has the president’s full support, Ross decides he has to do it carefully.

Later, Rapp injures his left knee during a morning jog, and encounters the assassins Gould and Claudia, both dressed as bicyclists, examining his house. Rapp doesn’t suspect anything and continues limping back towards his house. The next day, Rapp undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery. He and his wife Anna come home and as they settle down in their house, Louis detonates a bomb that kills Anna and throws a severely wounded Rapp into Chesapeake Bay where he is saved by a nearby boater. The CIA fakes Rapp’s death and takes him to a safehouse to recuperate.

In a secret meeting with Irene Kennedy, Director of the CIA, President Hayes tells Kennedy that Rapp has his consent to kill any and all people involved in the murder of his wife.

Saudi Prince Rashid, who is visiting U.S., finds out from Director Ross that Rapp is in fact not dead. Ross carelessly informs Rashid of Rapp’s safehouse location. Rashid orders his assistant, Saudi intelligence agent Nawaf Tayyib, to kill Rapp and Abel. Tayyib hires Latino gang leader Anibal Castillo to kill Rapp at the safehouse. Tayyib then goes hunting for the go-between Abel with two of his men, to sever the chain of contacts leading back to the prince.

Castillo and thirteen of his men attack the safehouse. Rapp kills all of Castillo’s men, then wounds Castillo and brings him in to be questioned. Through different leads Rapp discovers Saeed was the one who put a bounty on his head.

Rapp goes to Afghanistan and gets Waheed out of prison, giving Waheed the impression that it is a hostage exchange. Rapp has Waheed unknowingly wear a vest full of explosives. As the released Waheed embraces his father in the street, Rapp pulls out a detonator and blows Saeed and Waheed and twelve of Saeed’s bodyguards to pieces.

The CIA in the meantime has found out about Erich Abel’s role in hiring the assassins and sends Rapp to Abel’s office. There Rapp finds Tayyib torturing Abel’s secretary for information on Abel’s whereabouts. Rapp kills Tayyib’s men, and he and Coleman capture Tayyib. A conscience-stricken Claudia is revealed to be the one who gave the CIA information on Abel.

Abel’s secretary reveals to Rapp and Coleman that Abel is in Austria. Rapp flies there and captures Abel at his mountain retreat and tortures him for information. Abel reveals that Rashid was the mastermind behind the plot. He also gives information on the assassins. After hearing this, Rapp, who has become much more violent and vengeful after the killing of his wife, burns Abel alive inside the house.

Rapp travels to Spain where Rashid is staying. Coleman bribes Rashid’s guards, who are British SAS sympathetic to Rapp, to let them in. Rapp completely covers Tayyib’s body with explosives and drops him off in front of the mosque where Rashid is staying. Once Rashid’s personal guards have Tayyib in custody, Rapp detonates the explosives, killing Tayyib and all the guards. Rapp finds Rashid and beats him severely before he puts a thermal grenade in his mouth and pulls the pin, melting Rashid’s head.

In the epilogue, set nine months later, Rapp trails Louis and Claudia to Tahiti. Claudia has had her baby and Louis has retired. Rapp aims a gun at Louis’s head, but once he hears that the baby was named after his deceased wife, he realizes she would not want her death avenged like this. He turns and leaves Louis, Claudia, and Anna unharmed. He then throws the gun into the ocean and continues walking down the boardwalk outside.

My Thoughts:

The reason this gets a 1star from me, and the reason for my “Oh no!” Currently Reading post a couple of weeks ago is because Rapp’s wife is killed in this story. And she was pregnant.

I knew this event was going to happen at some point. The kind of character that Rapp is and his public outing of his job in earlier books made this even inevitable. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or to like the fact that the author bowed to the inevitable instead of fighting against fate. I almost dnf’d the book right then and there when it happened. As it is, I’m pulling this series from my reading rotation and going to think about if I want to continue with it.

Flynn has really disappointed me with this. I was hoping he was going to take the harder writing road and make things work with Mitch as a married man since he’d chosen to make him a married man. It just felt like he threw up his hands and said “Oh, this is too hard. I’m going to do the easy thing”. Have her wounded, have her divorce Rapp, but don’t kill her and their baby. It just felt wrong.

The rest of the story didn’t really matter to me. I didn’t really notice it. I was just seething. And that is why I’m going to wait until next year to make a decision about continuing the series. Emotional reactions are a fact of my life but I refuse to be controlled by them.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Breakout ★★✬☆☆

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: Breakout
Series: ———-
Author: Paul Herron
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 237
Words: 88.5K



Synopsis:

Publisher’s Blurb

Hurricane Anna: a superstorm made up of two Category 5 hurricanes coming together to wreak unprecedented havoc along the eastern seaboard.

When the superstorm hits, the correctional officers at Ravenhill flee, opening all the cell doors and leaving the inmates to fend for themselves as the floodwaters rise. But Jack Constantine, an ex-cop serving ten years for killing one of his wife’s murderers, isn’t going to just lay down and die. Not when his wife’s two remaining killers are among the prisoners relocated to the Glasshouse to ride out the storm.

Meanwhile,

Kiera Sawyer, a Correctional Officer on her first day at work is the only officer left behind when the others flee. Sawyer rescues Jack and offers to team up. If they can make it to the Glasshouse they might just survive the hurricane. But that involves making their way through the prison, fighting off eight hundred blood-crazed inmates as the building fills with water and the wall crumble all around them

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, when I was done reading this I was left disappointed. For a slightly more positive review, check out Mogsy’s Review from earlier this year.

This was a big action’y story with tons of tension and drama. I didn’t find the two main characters quite up to snuff though. Jack is a tortured ex-cop ex-military, who didn’t hear a bloody thing when his wife was killed. Wouldn’t want him on guard duty! And for an ex-military guy, forgetting that the prison had an armory was just unforgivable. I don’t expect all military characters in books to be Special Forces level, but come on, weapons?!? Then we come to Lady Guard Sawyer. She’s an attractive female guard in an all male prison, most of whom are in for a VERY long time. And they pretty much leave her alone when all hell breaks loose and everyone is free. Now, if she had been raped, I probably would have dnf’d the book, so I appreciate that. But at the same time, outside of one token badguy doing some vaguely nebulous “a wimminz” thought, there was nothing. It rang as false as a wooden nickle.

A decent read but nothing more. I won’t be reading anything else by Herron on purpose.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Every Sky A Grave (The Ascendance #1) ★★★☆☆

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: Every Sky A Grave
Series: The Ascendance #1
Author: Jay Posey
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 302
Words: 115K



Synopsis:

From Skybound.com & Me

Far in the future, human beings have seeded themselves amongst the stars. Since decoding the language of the universe 8,000 years ago, they have reached the very edges of their known galaxy and built a near-utopia across thousands of worlds, united and ruled by a powerful organization known as the Ascendance. The peaceful stability of their society relies solely on their use of this Deep Language of the cosmos.

But this knowledge is a valuable secret, and a holy order of monastics known as the First House are tasked with monitoring its use and “correcting” humanity’s further development. Elyth is one such mendicant, trained as a planetary assassin, capable of infiltrating and ultimately destroying worlds that have been corrupted, using nothing more than her words.

To this end, Elyth is sent to the world Qel in response to the appearance of a forbidden strain of the Deep Language that was supposed to have died out with its founder over seven hundred years prior. What she finds on the backwater planetoid will put her abilities to the test and challenge what she knows of the Deep Language, the First House, and the very nature of the universe.

Elyth can’t kill Qel due to the work of a man known simply as eth ammuin. So her first task is to find and kill him. She fails. Then she finds out that the Great House given the responsibility of dealing with technology is using eth ammuin to gain the knowledge of the Deep Language. So now she has to rescue him. Then she finds out that the planet is under interdict and is going to be destroyed so she and eth ammuin team up. They save the planet, Elyth realizes how shallow the First House’s knowledge really is and decides to go her own way.

My Thoughts:

I went into this book with some huge reservations. Posey had abandoned writing his Outriders series in favor of starting this. I also didn’t realize this was a start of a new series and thought it was a standalone. It works well as a standalone but it isn’t. I have to ask myself, why should I trust him to finish this series when he’s already shown he’s more than willing to stop writing a series just because he feels like it?

On the other hand, this is the same author who wrote the Legends of the Duskwalker trilogy that absolutely blew me away.

Unfortunately, my reservations held more true than my cautious optimism. There was nothing “wrong” with this book but it was slow and I felt like I was reading about a space ninja experiencing satori for the first time. I’ll get into that in the next paragraph. While I was reading this I kept having flashbacks to Way-Farer and not in a good way. Way-Farer was good rousing fun that has kept me entertained several times and every time I simply tear through it. This? This was not rousing fun. It was plodding and I didn’t tear through anything. In fact, the 300 pages felt at least double that, if not a bit more. The philosophizing that was interesting but shallow in Way-Farer here is explored in depth and in all seriousness, like Posey felt he had some message to convey. It was ludicrous.

That exploring of transcendentalism’ish and satori and eastern thought wouldn’t necessarily been a bad thing but the first thing after the book is done, in the author’s afterward, is him thanking Jesus. Eastern thought and Christianity are utterly opposed at the basic level. While people continue to try to meld them in various ways, the only way it works is if you butcher what the Bible teaches about the very nature of God Himself and Jesus. It’s not that I’m opposed to Christians writing about things they don’t believe in, but the studied seriousness that Posey gave in this book, while proclaiming Christ, was disturbing.

I realize I’ve been pretty harsh and yet still given this 3 stars. I did enjoy reading the story, with all the issues mentioned continually impinging on me and I didn’t think it was bad writing at all. It just wasn’t up to the level of story telling that I fell in love with in Legends of the Duskwalker.

I think I’ll be passing on any more of these Ascendance books and wait and hope that Posey eventually goes back and finishes up the Outriders. I can wait, I’ve got plenty of books in my tbr.

Rating: 3 out of 5.