The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter (Riyria Chronicles #4) ★★★★☆

32177852This 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 Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter
Series: Riyria Chronicles #4
Author: Michael Sullivan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 344
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Royce and Hadrian are hired to avenger the death of Genevieve Hargrave who is the daughter of Gabriel Winter, a rich merchant. She married Leopold Hargrave, the Duke of Rochelle and Winter is convinced that Leopold married her for her dowry and then murdered her. But no body has been recovered. So Winter wants the duo to find out what happened to her and then avenge her death with a fountain of blood, a fountain he is willing to pay for with everything from his coffers.

Once the duo reaches Rochelle, things don’t quite add up. At the same time the head of the Church of Novron is calling for a new King and every noble must be present to be in the running. This leads into Church politic’ing and a desire for revenge by a Mir, a half-human, half-elf named Villar.

Villar wants to murder all the nobles, take over the city of Rochelle and make it the capital of a new Mir city-state. What looks impossible isn’t so when it is revealed that he has the help of dwarves who can bring stone golems to life.

All this time Genny is alive and held captive by a faction of the Mir who just want equal rights in the town and a peaceful resolution to everything.

Everybody collides in a finale of bloody death but thankfully Hadrian and Royce rescue Genny, she is reunited with her husband who really does love her and events are set in motion that will have repercussions in the Riyria Revelations series.

 

My Thoughts:

Most Important!

This ebook says it has an ISBN of 978194336317 but if you can count, that is only 12 numbers. The hardcover I got through the Kickstarter has the correct isbn listed as 9781943363117. Goodreads still has it wrong. Business as usual for that place!

/End Important!

I really enjoyed this read. The banter, the danger, the mystery. It all came together just like every other Riyria book has. There is a flavor, a tone, to the these books and Sullivan keeps it unique and never strays from it. I like that.

I also liked that we didn’t have to wait until the end to know if Genny was alive or dead. She had her POV almost from the beginning and while it lessened that particular mystery, it simply increased the tension on other parts as I tried to figure out WHAT was going on and who was motivated by what.

I tore through this in about a day and a half. Kind of sad since I had been waiting 2 years since Death of Dulgath but hey, I’m not going to waste time artificially stretching my read out. I paid my money and I’m going to get my enjoyment Right Now!

Now that I’ve read this, I kind of want to re-read all 6 Riyria Revelations books and the previous 3 Riyria Chronicles books. Just to get a fuller picture. Also, to see how Sullivan’s writing has progressed. Well, maybe in a year or two. Honestly, I’d really like to wait until there are 6 Chronicles books to balance the Revelations books and then have a go. But since Sullivan is independently releasing these through Kickstarters and he has contractual obligations for other books, I doubt that will happen any time soon.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

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The Human Factor (Omega Force #8) ★★★☆☆

humanfactor (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 Human Factor
Series: Omega Force #8
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 250
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Jason and Omega Force are back and on track. Only to get pushed off a cliff when they find out that human bounty hunters are looking for Jason.

Humanity has allied itself with a little known species and has been given the slipdrive and a new planet. All the aliens want in return is the old drive from the ship that Burke destroyed in Savage Homecoming. This is all being done in secret with only a select few knowing about the wheeling and dealing. One of those select few cuts her own deal with the aliens, takes over the colony planet and strongarms Earth into making her its ruler.

Now it is up to Jason, with no help, to save Earth again. Of course, one of the girls saves his bacon. But is it the former military captain who is now an Admiral, or the Pretty Pretty Princess? The mystery, the enchantment, the romance of it all!

By the end of the book Earth and everyone on it now knows they are a 1bit player on a very large stage.

 

My Thoughts:

The Galactic Princess girl from the previous book is pretty much dismissed. Kellea saves Earth but only because Lucky writes her a note telling her that Jason still loves her. Come on, a fracking battle robot has better relationship skills than these 2 humanoids? I don’t like relational drama in my books. Jason is still acting like an 18 year old boy instead of the man he is. For all that the Princess was the focus of the previous book, I also didn’t like how she was just shelved when it wasn’t convenient for her to be around. It felt VERY heavy handed by the author especially after how she was so played up before.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the rest of the book. Probably one of the best Omega Force books so far. There is so much potential here and it’s really only limited by the author’s imagination. I hope he’s up to the task of thinking of new, cool storylines and doesn’t fumble and turn this into one of those “it’s obvious the author has no idea what to write so he just threw some stuff onto the wall to see what sticks” kind of things.

Writing relationships is definitely not Dalzelle’s strongpoint and I hope that he either does a lot of practice and gets better or just leaves it alone in future books. If he can avoid making “relationships” a prop in his stories, he’ll probably be ok.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

Redemption (Omega Force #7) ★★★☆☆

redemption (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: Redemption
Series: Omega Force #7
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Taking place 3 years after the previous book, Omega Force has fallen apart due to Cristoff abandoning one of the Omega Force members when they can’t fulfill one of his missions. Jason tries to keep the team together but when he can’t, he gives up, moves to a beach front world, becomes a delivery boy with Lucky the robot and pretty much lets himself go. He also completely burns his bridges with Kallea when rescuing Crusher.

When the princess for another galaxy spanning Empire, rivaling that of the ConFed, is kidnapped, it appears that war is going to happen and billions could die. The princess’s handmaid escapes, on Jason’s old delivery ship, he’s involved whether he wants to be or not. The only way to rescue the princess and prevent interstellar war is to get the gang back together. But when one Super Power wants you dead and a clique within the other is plotting to take over, things might be harder than expected.

But Omega Force always gets the job done. And with this job, they have the thanks of the King of an Empire, with “mysterious” problems along its other borders. And a princess that has the hots for Cap’n Jason. * wolf whistle *

Almost like Dalzelle is setting up future story installments.

 

My Thoughts:

This starts off with a barely functioning Jason, drunk as a skunk getting helped along by Lucky. It was rather disconcerting, as we don’t get WHY Omega Force fell apart until some time later.

In many ways, this felt like Dalzelle ran out of ideas for within the ConFed and so kind of rebooted the whole Omega Force thingamajig. I didn’t feel that it was handled real well, especially with how things with Kallea went down. Relationships, even fake ones in books, shouldn’t get treated like a drama prop.

Other than that, this was exactly the same in tone as all the previous Omega Force books. If I was in a cranky mood like I was when I read Dark Matter I’d probably rip into this more. But I don’t expect much from these, so I don’t have to give much in a review. These are like Forgotten Realms for Science Fiction.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Secret of the Phoenix (Book 6)
  2. Return of the Archon (Book 5)
  3. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  4. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  5. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  6. Omega Rising (Book 1)

 

Iron & Blood (Expansion Wars #2) ★★★☆ ½

ironblood (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: Iron & Blood
Series: Expansion Wars #2
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 362
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Darshik have declared war on the Federation and taken over the star system Juwel and its single human occupied planet of Juwel.

A force of Marines reached the planet’s surface but none of their supplies did. Jackson Wolfe must run the barricade that the Darshik have set upto deliver vital supplies if the Federation wants to keep Juwel under their control.

A taskforce, under the control of Edward Rawls, is tasked with providing support to Jackson to give him fighting support. It was supposed to be led by Celesta Wright, but she has been pulled to transport the Federations top diplomat to another meeting with the Ushik.

Rawls’ cowards out, leaving Jackson high and dry. The Ushin ship is destroyed by a stealth Darshik ship so Celesta heads back to support Wolfe. Everyone fights and kicks the Darshik’s butt. They also discover a huge construct on the planet, which appears to be a Quick Terraforming Device, ie, it will only take 10 years to convert the atmosphere to something the Darshik can use.

The Federation Wins. And it is revealed that the Ushin and the Darshik are the same species but controlled by very different ideologies.

 

My Thoughts:

I hate to say this, but I think that Jackson Wolfe is back into the storyline. While the plot was split between him and his protege Celesta, it “felt” like he had a greater part. Dalzelle really tried, in the previous book, to create another “hero” character with Celesta Wright but he just didn’t have the same handle on her that he had on Jackson Wolfe.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Wolfe. He was what drew me into Dalzelle’s writing with his Black Fleet trilogy. But a really good author can create another character and still keep you invested. I think that Dalzelle is a good author but has not yet reached that “really good” peak yet. I was really hoping he’d break that barrier and that Celesta Wright would be someone who could carry the story on her own shoulders. She was more of a really good supporting character this time around.

The space battles were pretty good. Having the super-stealth Darshik ship was awesome and I really liked how the characters reacted to having such a threat around. There was a tiny bit of ground based battles with the marines and some Juwel militia against the Darshik, but it wasn’t much. I’m a ground forces kind of guy, so more on-planet fighting would have been nice. However, the main characters are all starship captains, so ground fighting is not going to be a thing.

Right on the covers of these books it says it is a trilogy. I suspect that there will be another trilogy after this to wrap this storyline up. You just can’t start an interstellar war in book 1, scratch the surface of it in book 2 and wrap up things in book 3. That might have worked with the Phage in the Black Fleet trilogy, but that was a different series. But I am looking forward to the final book in the Expansion Wars trilogy, whenever it may come out.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. New Frontiers (Expansion Wars Book 1)
  2. Warship (Black Fleet Book 1)
  3. Call to Arms (Black Fleet Book 2)
  4. Counterstrike (Black Fleet Book 3)

Secret of the Phoenix (Omega Force #6) ★★★☆ ½

secretphoenix (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: Secret of the Phoenix
Series: Omega Force #6
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Jason Burke and the crew of the Serenity, dang it, the Phoenix, are hired by an archeologist to transport her to her former dig site and provide protection. She seems very familiar with the team and ship, provides very little concrete information about herself and at every stop Jason and Crew stumble onto other beings trying to kill them.

Turns out the archeologist’s father Indiana [ha, just kidding] was the former captain of the Phoenix and he knew it’s secret: that it was carrying 1 of the keys for a gigantic star destroying weapon. Now Omega Force has all 3 keys. They decide to go to the Death St…..errr, Super Weapon and destroy it.

The problem with that plan is two-fold. One, the ConFed want the key and the weapon and are chasing after Omega Force with a whole bloody fleet. The second problem is that the Super Weapon is actually a sentient AI and it doesn’t WANT to be destroyed.

But the A-Team, no, no, no, OMEGA FORCE is nothing if not resourceful and it’ll take more than Skynet…errr, the Sentient AI and a war fleet to prevent them from carrying out their mission.

As you can tell, I got this mixed up with a LOT of other stories.

 

My Thoughts:

For all of my snide asides above, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. Probably the most of the series so far in fact.

I did have a big issue though, so lets get that out of the way. If you have a key that is split into 3 parts and only those 3 parts can give access to a Super Weapon, WHY THE PHRACK DO YOU BRING ALL THREE KEYS TOGETHER? I would think that destroying the key/s you have would do the job of keeping the Super Weapon out of everyone’s hands? Why risk someone recovering the most valuable resource in the quadrant/sector/galaxy/universe/whatever or stealing it from you? It just made zero sense to me.

Now, it did make for a great story. So I give Dalzelle that. This was thoroughly fun with plenty of space fighting as well as individuals on the ground. I prefer a good ground pounder battle myself to space ships zipping around going “pew, pew, pew”, so the Galvetic Marine battles were nice.

This was definitely the ending of one chapter for Omega Force. With Book 9, Revolution, having come out recently, I know that there will be at least a second chapter to this series. While not original or mind blowing, it is good escapist fun in space.

On an unrelated note, I know that Crusher and the other Galvetic warriors don’t look like this, but this is what I always picture them as:

judoon

 

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

  1. Return of the Archon (Book 5)
  2. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  3. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  4. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  5. Omega Rising (Book 1)

New Frontiers (Expansion Wars #1) ★★★☆ ½

newfrontiers (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: New Frontiers
Series: Expansion Wars #1
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 274
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Humanity has survived the Phage. Unfortunately, the old Confederation breaks apart due to various members involvement in attracting the Phage. At the same time that humanity is fracturing apart, 2 new alien species suddenly appear. One wants to be a partner with humanity. The other was in thrall to the Phage and worshipped it. So they want to destroy the creatures that killed their god.

Celesta Wright, Jackson Wolfe’s protege, has been sent out to explore and then in a joint military venture with the allied aliens against the genocidal ones. Problem is, it turns out the two alien races are in league and it is a vast trap to destroy humanity’s space fleet capability so that we can be gobbled up at leisure.

Bucking command and taking risks, Wright saves the fleet and on her return finds that Jackson Wolfe has been reinstated in the military, against his wishes. Politicians are playing their games even while humanity is once again facing extinction.

Where’s a good Theocracy when you need it?

 

My Thoughts:

This was a decent successor to the Black Fleet trilogy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. There were several instances of people just doing stupid things. It wasn’t just the politicians either. That always brings things down for me.

The space action reminded me a lot of the space battles in Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series. Sometimes I miss the zam zoom space lasers and explosions of Star Wars’esque battles. “Physics” is only SO enjoyable.

Since this is going to be a trilogy and not an unending series, Dalzelle had better get the story in gear and move things right along. This book felt like setup for another set of hostile aliens to fight humanity. Better be good.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

  1. Warship (Black Fleet Book 1)
  2. Call to Arms (Black Fleet Book 2)
  3. Counterstrike (Black Fleet Book 3)

Return of the Archon (Omega Force #5) ★★★☆☆

archon (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: Return of the Archon
Series: Omega Force #5
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 325
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Crusher, the biggest, (almost) baddest member of Omega Force has a secret. And it catches up to him in this book.

He is the Archon. The military leader of his system, who was exiled to keep the peace between the warriors and the politicians. As usual, politicians have botched things up even more and a small select group has been tasked with bringing Crusher back so he can restore the balance. Crusher must rescue his mentor, figure out a way to stop this mess from getting any bigger and make the choice of whether he will be staying with Omega Force or not.

And there is a someone working behind the scenes with their own agenda.

 

My Thoughts:

My initial thought was that the Archon was some super villain from one of the characters’ past. Return of the Archon just SOUNDS ominous. So imagine my surprise when it turns out Crusher is the Archon and the Archon is supposed to be one of the good guys keeping peace between various warrior factions and the politicians in his star system.

This was a cracking good adventure story filled with prison breaks, ship to ship battles and a whole warrior culture just about ready to boil over. We also get to see the aftermath of Lucky [the battle synth robot] sparring, friendly like, with some of the warriors. I hope that in future volumes Dalzelle has the skill to actually write a good one on one battle scene between 2 high powered beings. It would definitely increase my enjoyment of the series as a whole.

I was thinking of bumping this up to 3.5stars because I enjoyed it more than the Brother Cadfael book I had just finished, but when comparing it to the other Omega Force books, it was right in line with them, so my rating stayed at 3. Which isn’t a bad thing. Bookstooge’s Ratings Explained

The writing was the best so far. The verbal fighting between members of the OF, which I found off putting in a previous book, was still here but conveyed in such a way that it didn’t come across as two people hating each other and being forced to get along. It came across as 2 team member with widely varying personalities being in the same small space. That in itself is reason enough for me to keep on reading this series. I feel like this book was better crafted than the previous ones but it is hard to tell objectively. I do know that with this book I would recommend the OF series to someone, whereas before I would have danced around the issue.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

  1. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  2. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  3. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  4. Omega Rising (Book 1)