Twilight Herald (Twilight Reign #2) ★★★☆☆

twilightherald (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: Twilight Herald
Series: Twilight Reign #2
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 564
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Some city is a convergence point. Fell powers are gathering, whether crystal skulls or beings of power. It is all being orchestrated by some non-god, non-demon entity who hates the gods and wants to show mankind how powerless the gods are. It does this by enspelling an entire city to go mad and to kill as many people as possible.

Lord Isaak is there to gather up a spare crystal skull, or two, if he can manage it. Various characters from the previous book are also there on different pretexts, but it all comes down to everyone being manipulated by this being.

Where Lord Isaak was supposed to be the Savior of Prophecy but isn’t due to him breaking the chains of Fate in the first book, a new white eye is claiming the title. The same white eye that killed Lord Baal, Isaak’s mentor.

All the main characters survive the city’s destruction but alliances aren’t as strong and it looks like the New Savior is a protege of this Entity, the Shadow.

 

My Thoughts:

Enjoyed this but still had some serious issues.

The style choice for paragraphs. In a chapter there might be several changes between characters or location and this change is only shown as a new paragraph. The problem is that it is exactly the same paragraph style as when you stay with one character and you have multiple paragraphs. It is very disconcerting to be reading along and then realize that you’ve changed character, time or place with NO warning. There are multiple ways to accomplish, most of them quite easy, so I’m guessing Lloyd didn’t read his own book after he wrote it.

My other main issue is how big, epic AND mysterious this is trying to be. A lot of things are thrown at the reader with no explanation and where this worked for me in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (due to excellent writing and just enough hints to keep you from falling on your face) here it feels like the author has just left crucial information out of the readers grasp. I was really struggling to figure out just what was going on. It doesn’t help that half the time I’m re-reading a paragraph or two to readjust my thinking about WHO I’m reading about now.

What I did enjoy about this book? Let me tell you.

A whole city going mad due to a malevolent spelled carved into the walls of a theatre and in the flesh of the playwright. Near the end Isaak ends up calling 5 aspects of Death to protect him and his allies and ends up having to face down several of the Aspects. The whole idea of a shadow entity working against EVERYONE for goals only it knows. A white eye that can kill legendary vampires and not blink twice about it.

This time attention is scattered around more and I wish things had focused more on Isaak. He’s definitely growing on me as a character and I’d like to see some real character growth, as he’s at the age where that happens quickly and shows quickly as well.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Under My Heel (Kurtherian Gambit #6) ★★★☆½

undermyheel (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: Under My Heel
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #6
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 306
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

BA and Michael and the rest of the Queen Bitch’s Guard must take down the Forsaken so that they can begin dealing with the potential threat from space. At the same time the military has begun sniffing around the AI project. BA is going to have to accelerate her plans in acquiring a secure military base where she can move the AI and begin producing prototype starships.

The remaining son of Michael, the most powerful of the Forsaken, sets a trap for the Guard and eventually BA herself. BA and her crew get to test themselves against a whole host of nosferatu and have a test run of their new attack ships.

Of course BA and Co are successful, in just about all their endeavors. The ambush is unsuccessful, the military base is procured, the prototype ships a success and the AI is moved into the Ether and begins learning with TOM as a (rather unsuccessful) gatekeeper.

 

My Thoughts:

The profanity is just stupid. It’s not amusing, it’s not actually profane, it’s just an ignorant stringing together of as many curse words as possible. It felt like a teenager trying to show how tough he was by saying everything he knows he’s not supposed to.

I had fun reading this even while knowing the outcome. BA is just so powerful. But that is ok because I’m not reading these for dramatic tension but for butt kicking action, which is delivered in spades.

Sorry, I just don’t feel like writing and I really don’t have anything else to say. These are popcorn books. So if you like that, great. If you want epic fantasy or {L}iterature, then this won’t do it for you. It really is that simple.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Never Forsaken (Kurtherian Gambit #5) ★★★☆☆

neverforsaken (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: Never Forsaken
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #5
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 328
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne (henceforth BA), must deal with bringing the Were into her elite Guardian Group. Pete takes on that chore and he and another recruit slug it out at the end of the training for Alpha status. Pete takes it and BA finds out from TOM that the Were are actually another line of nano-tech from a competing Kurtherian clan. BA and Tom experiment with Pete to give him a man-beast form. They are successful

BA also deals with having a dog be in the medical pod and having TOM messing with it. It seems to be a battery for the Etheric and allow BA to travel 1000’s of km at once instead of just mere kilometers.

BA also tracks down two of the top Forsaken in South America and deals with them. She rescues Michael in the process and as penance for not dealing with the Forsaken centuries earlier puts him in charge of South America.

The 2 scientists awake their AI. Bobcat begins working with a rocket scientist to develop a strike craft for both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial purposes.

 

My Thoughts:

Once again, I had a blast reading this. It still does feel like Anderle is putting too much of various characters into the books, hence cutting down the time we get with them. The balance isn’t right.

Also, while I enjoyed this as much as the previous books, if not more due to BA taking out the 2 top Forsaken, the rushed nature of this volume really stood out. Several spelling errors, sentences that weren’t cleaned up or had had 2 ways to go and weren’t completed properly, little grammar things here and there. I’ll keep reading as long as I enjoy the story but these little things make me leery of recommending the books because it screams “unprofessional”.

Lots of fun and excitement as long as you don’t mind the indie lack of concern.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Outcast (The Empire’s Corps #5) ☆☆☆☆½

outcast (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 Outcast
Series: The Empire’s Corps #5
Author: Christopher Nuttall
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 443
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Due to some of the subject matter included by the author, I will not be continuing with this series nor with this author.

 

My Thoughts:

3 or 4 throw away sentences. That was it.

Gahhh, the hits just keep on coming in. February is turning into one sucky month for book reading.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Odysseus Awakening (Odyssey One #6) ★★★★☆

odysseusawakening (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: Odysseus Awakening
Series: Odyssey One #6
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 318
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Empire sends out another expeditionary force and they head out to a small Priminae system to gather information. A small Priminae fleet with the new hybrid human’priminae technology attempt to stall the fleet in hopes that more reinforcements will arrive.

Commodore Weston and the (very) small Earth fleet make a rescue run and eventually drive off the bigger Imperial fleet, but not before the Imperial Fleet gets a data core dump from a captured Priminae ship.

And at the very end of the book, Odysseus manifests.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, such pulpy spaceship and space marine fun! Obviously, from having read about the Priminae world consciousness and Weston learning about Earth’s world consciousness, I was not at all surprised when a ship consciousness happened. I just don’t know how it will impact the storyline in later books.

Earlier in the month I complained about Croma Venture and the whole Spiral Wars series by Joel Shepherd being a never ending series. As I was reading this book I had to stop and question myself as to why I didn’t feel the same about this Odyssey One series. One part is that each book in the Odyssey One series is at least 25-35% shorter than in the Spiral Wars. I don’t feel like I’m “investing” my time in these, I’m just having a short fun read. Secondly, each book here is an almost self-contained story. While we learn little bits about the Empire or the Priminae, etc, Currie is NOT trying to setup galaxy spanning Empires and boring me to death with politics between them all. Thirdly, the focus of each book is on itself instead of feeling like nothing but super long setup for the NEXT book, which then repeats. I feel satisfied with each of the Odyssey One books where I really didn’t with the later Spiral Wars books.

If you want romance, look elsewhere. If you want deep characterization where every thought and possible permutation is hashed out inside a character’s mind, look elsewhere. If you want a grand space opera with a good balance of ship to ship fighting and ground pounder action, then look here.

I don’t ever plan on re-reading this series and usually that means only a 3.5 rating. However, after realizing just how stingy I am with my ratings, (3.31 average in 2018 for goodness sake) I’ve decided that if I enjoyed the heck out of a book, then it deserves 4 stars. So 4 stars with the caveat that this is not great literature. It also isn’t a waste of time. So decide which is more important to you and choose.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Croma Venture (Spiral Wars #5) ★★★★☆

cromaventure (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: Croma Venture
Series: Spiral Wars #5
Author: Joel Shepherd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 477
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Crew of the Phoenix, with the help of the alien Parren, have found a remaining stronghold of the machine race Drysine. Styx, the last surviving Drysine queen, begins making surreptitious work on the facility and ends up with a new queen. She gives the responsibility of negotiating with the Parren to this new queen, named Layla. Lizbeth Debogande is also the only human currently negotiating with the Parren and she and Layla form a friendship. Lots of politics happen and it turns out that the ruling house of the Parren made a deal with the Deepynines (another machine race that was very hostile to all organic life) and blamed lots of stuff on the currently rising House, the House that Layla is negotiating with. Betrayals happen and it is revealed to all the Parren that 25,000 years of their history was based on a lie. This leads to a huge powershift that allows the House both Layla and Lizbeth are dealing with to become the Head House.

The Tavali, another alien species that Humanity had been at war with, reveal that their whole civilization has been infiltrated by malicious genetic code. Probably by the Deepynine/Alo alliance. Humanity finds itself infiltrated as well. The only species that everyone knows about that can solve a problem of this magnitude are the Rhee. Unfortunately, the Rhee make everyone mentioned so far look like toddlers at a daycare. The Croma are at war with the Rhee and Erik Debogande, captain of the Phoenix, hopes to make contact with the Croma and see if they can get any information on this gene infiltration.

More politics ensue and factions come into play and the Phoenix is used by the Croma and one of their ally species, the Corbi, to further their own ends. This leads to an attack on a gene splicing station in Rhee territory where the Corbi and Croma have told the Phoenix that a huge database exists, which might have the cure for the gene infiltration. Major Trace Thakur is left behind when the Rhee counter-attack with ships just as good if not better than the Phoenix and Styx finds herself outmatched. Turns out the Rhee have gone the route of hybridization and are as much machine race as organic now.

The book ends with the Corbi letting the Phoenix know that they have an operation that can rescue Major Thakur, if Phoenix can get to the Rhee main world and pick her up.

 

My Thoughts:

I did enjoy this book. The action was great and even the politics were edged with action instead of being dry and dusty. I would consider this much closer in tone to the first book than book 4.

That being said, and despite rating it 4stars, I will not be continuing this series until it is finished. Shepherd shows in this book beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no end-game scenario in play. There is no Final Goal, just the Next Goal. I guess I have more of an issue with the series than this particular book. Shepherd still goes on and on about descriptive scenery that I simply skimmed over. Since I still enjoyed the book, that means that descriptiveness was not at all necessary but a choice on his part.

Once Shepherd decides to get his act together and actually finish this series then I’ll go and read the rest of the books. But until then, I’m done with this series and done with this author. I’ve enjoyed my reads but it is not good enough for me to be willing to keep being strung along.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Bite This (Kurtherian Gambit #4) ★★★☆½

bitethis (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: Bite This
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #4
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne and Crew have a lot to do.

One of their smaller companies has created an AI but didn’t tell anyone. They shut it down so there was no chance of it going all Skynet on the world. When BA finds out, she puts her father and some others on the case as they need some super intelligence to help guide them through the coming minefields.

The Company needs a military base as a “Corporate Headquarters” so they can start bringing their own people together, to work and to protect. If any nation state learns what BA is doing or capable of, they’re going to have to protect themselves. They also need a place where scientists can start studying TOM’s spaceship. The spaceship itself needs to be moved from the mountainous area to a secure birth on the super yacht.

BA has given the responsibility of getting Europe back under control to Stephen, another of Michael’s direct children. He has to deal with young vamps on the edge of becoming Forsaken as well as Pack politics. European Were haven’t been dealt with for decades and they are thinking that maybe vamps aren’t tough as all that. Stephen shows them WHY vamps are top of the food chain and Europe starts to settle down.

And if that isn’t enough, one of Michael’s direct children, now a Forsaken in South America, is attacking BA using political connections. BA has to figure out who the politician is and where this Forsaken is actually located. Then she can deal with both of them. Just to complicate things even more, it looks like this Forsaken has a secret formula for making Nosferatu more intelligent and even stronger.

 

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, while reading this, I had the Beach Boys song “Fun, Fun, Fun” running through my head. And BA’s daddy doesn’t take the t-bird away, so yeah, lots and lots of fun.

I complained about the last book introducing a ton of characters really quickly. Thankfully, it pays off here. The book cycles through quite a few POV’s which is only possible because of all the new people. I still say Anderle could have done it a bit slower but it isn’t something I can complain about in this book. Gabby the vampire ends up in the medical box and becomes an alpha vamp probably on the level with Michael. I’m surprised that BA isn’t running some of her own crew through the box to build up a small army of loyal alpha vamps. I consider BA to be Vamp Zero and maybe she doesn’t want any alphas going wild and blowing her cover and destroying her chance to bring the world up to readiness to deal the the enemy aliens. I don’t know. I do know that I would be biting my loyal guards until they were all vamps, especially since they would be daywalkers.

The whole AI storyline is just getting going. There is lot of relocation and talking and plans but the switch hasn’t been thrown yet to bring it back online. I’m definitely interested to see where this plot line goes.

There is a battle scene where Gabby saves a german shepherd by giving it her blood. BA also gives it her blood. So we’re going to end up with vampire dogs. I’m guessing Anderle will use them as Nosferatu detectors and such. I really didn’t care for this inclusion, as I’m not an animal person.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this. At under 300 pages, I felt like I just raced through it. I know Anderle has this series in omnibus editions with 3 books in each and I’m tempted to go that route just so I can get a big long draft of BA kicking butt. I know I won’t though, as I’d rather stretch things out and stay a little hungry than burn out. Nothing worse than burnout.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)