Cobra Outlaw (Cobra Rebellion #2) (ARC)

coverI received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Cobra Outlaw

Series: Cobra Rebellion

Author: Timothy Zahn

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 320

 

Synopsis:

The Broom/Moreau family [don’t get me started on this whole Broom thing. I know Zahn is doing this to keep it from becoming patriarchal, but blast it, I started this series with a Moreau and I want to stay with a Moreau] is pretty much all over the place.

Some are on Aventine dealing with the Dominion of Man take over of the Cobra Worlds.

Some are on Qasama trying to enlist their aid against the Dominion.

Some are in Troft space, trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

And some are just in space running all over.

 

My Thoughts:

First, lets get all the ARC crap out of the way, because that has nothing to do with the book itself.

Netgally ONLY allowed me to send this to my kindle. Not to download it to Kindleforpc or to Adobe. Nope. Email only to my kindle. That rather irked me because I really, really prefer to download, put into Calibre, use the count-page plugin and then sideload to my kindle. Using the countpage plugin allows me to get a page count based on number of characters and page breaks, thus allowing me to have a uniform way to compare the books I’m reading. Not having that is like using your hand while it is asleep; you can do it, but everything is just a bit off.

Ok, on to the review proper.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, Cobra Slave. I felt like there were too many threads running at the same time for such a small book [small only in comparison!] and hampered each thread in what was told.

I really just want one, maybe 2 points of view for these books. It feels like Zahn is trying to write “bigger” than he can. The original Cobra had one viewpoint and one continuous storyline. Given, we’re 8 books in and 100 years later, but still, I LIKED the original formula.

On the plus side of things. This wasn’t boring like the previous trilogy [Cobra War trilogy]. There are several great Cobra action scenes [building hopping is one of my favorite Cobra abilities]. Also, the Trofts are being introduced as real characters, with one from the Unknown Demesne taking a large role near the end of the book.

Overall, a good solid SFF book by Timothy Zahn. As a caveat, I do hope that he stops writing the Cobra books soon. Don’t milk it because after reading what I have, I’d be satisfied now with the Original Trilogy.

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Unbreakable (The Chronicles of Promise Paen #1) (ARC)

cover I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Unbreakable

Series: The Chronicles of Promise Paen #1

Author: W.C. Bauer

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 399

 

Synopsis:

Promise Paen joins the Republic’s Space Marines to escape the bad memories from her home planet Montana.

Now’s she headed back to protect a place she’d rather forget about while her dead mother seems to be alive and well, in Promise’s mind.

 

My Thoughts:

This was an ARC [Advanced Reading Copy], so the misspellings and such [fourty anyone?] will hopefully be fixed in the actual release.

First. Bauer appears to have read and been greatly influenced by Mike Shepherd and his Kris Longknife series. Smart metal. By that name. A heroine who worries about not being a curvaceous sex kitten (though to be honest, this only happens once or twice, unlike every other chapter in Kris Longknife). The whole Brave Girl taking on Incredible Odds and Overcoming, Even if not Winning thing.

Thankfully, Paen is a local girl who makes good, not an interstellar debutante with a drinking problem.

Second, I’d REALLY like to find out more about the history of this universe. The little hints we’re given tantalized me while giving me just enough for this story. But I want more.

Thirdly, I removed and then added a star right at the introduction. I removed a star because he thanks Ronie Kendig [I have nothing personally against Mrs Kendig, I simply had a very bad experience with one of her books where expectations were taken out an airlock and hung, shot, drawn and quartered and then vaporized] and then added another because he appeared to be a Christian. It was a rollercoaster beginning.

Finally, I did enjoy this. There is a lot of action, a lot of “we’re outmanned, outgunned but we’re going to make them choke on us” kind of attitude. A hint of shallow romance [which I’m FINE with. Save that stuff for the likes of Austen, who can write a GOOD romance] and 2 big space empires just waiting to go at it.

As long as this series doesn’t turn into the Series That Never Ends [ala Taylor Anderson or David Weber], I’ll be looking forward to more by Mr. Bauer.

Tarkin (Star Wars) (ARC)

89bdb3e0b52da066249ad32cf3f48371 I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Tarkin

Series: Star Wars

Author: James Luceno

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 289

 

Synopsis:

This book is the dual story about past and present of Tarkin. The past is about his beginning of life and rise to power and the forces that shaped him while the present story is a little adventure about the beginnings of the Rebellion and the Deathstar.

Which I believe completely throws the book Deathstar under the bus continuity-wise, but eh, what else is new in the Star Wars universe these days?

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed Kenobi but not this. It was bland, not that interesting and I found myself constantly checking my Kindle to see how much more I had before I would be at the end.

Which, to be honest, is how a lot of Star Wars book are but it used to be that I could ignore that and pick out whatever good I could because I really enjoyed the Extended Universe. But with Disney’s eradication of the EU my fandom turned to distaste and hence my thoughts are no longer so charitable.

I’ve been reading a lot of Forgotten Realms recently and the Star Wars books reminds me of those but not as fun. I guess I was looking for this book to redeem the actions that Disney took and it failed beyond belief in that regards and as a story was just a typical Star Wars book.

With that being said, I think I’m pretty much done with the Star Wars book universe. Doesn’t mean I won’t read the occasional one, especially once the sequel movies come out, but I certainly won’t be waiting for each book to come out so that I can devour it.

A big fat ‘meh’.

The Gatekeeper’s Son (ARC)

a1a528b4784576d41018386aa593a01f I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: The Gatekeeper’s Son

Series: —–

Author: Chris Fladmark

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 313

 

Synopsis:

Junya [who I insist on calling Junior in my head] is the grandson of a billionaire, the son of a ninja and the Inheritor of a brand new power of the gods of light and darkness.

Another world is involved, lots of fighting, a cute chick and lots of YA’ness.

Junya must fight the minions of Light AND Dark, as he is the cross between them. He must save his grandfather, save his mother, destroy an evil monster and keep a legion of other worldly super ninjas from killing him, all at the same time.

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this for what it was, a boys’ fantasy novel. I don’t think I’ll be reading any more by this author but that isn’t a negative on his part. It just means that it is a bit too YA for me to handle.

It takes consummate skill to write a novel for both men and boys and as this is Mr Fladmark’s debut novel, he deserves credit for writing a very good boys novel.

Lots of fighting, your prerequisite cute girl, secrets out the wazoo, ninjas and a badguy who helps Junya for his own ends, *insert evil laughter*. That was the good stuff.

The 2 main issues for me were as follows:

1) Junya goes from being a shy, almost cowardly boy, to this strong young man who can manage a multi-billion dollar company with no real in between phase. It felt very awkward to me.

2) Junya’s father. He is in the story, but is so token that the reality is that Junya might as well have been raised by a single mother. He is supposed to be with them and part of their family, but he plays such a small part, even emotionally, that he comes across as a prop more than a real character.

Other than that, no real issues worth discussing. This is the beginning of a series, but it ends up just fine that I don’t feel the need to read any sequels. And the Series title is missing because Fladmark hasn’t given it one yet.

The Fatal Tree (Bright Empires #5 Final) (ARC)

3e75748517fbdc4eaa07d6ce8895f5fa I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: The Fatal Tree

Series: Bright Empires #5

Author: Stephen Lawhead

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Pages: 360

 

Synopsis:

All the Universes are ending, since Arthur bringing his wife back to life with the Spirit Well pretty much buggered up everything.

Now there is a Fatal Tree guarding the Well so the group can’t get to it and stop Arthur and set the Universe back on track.

Burleigh has a change of heart and tries to help the group.

In the end, everything gets back on track and Evolutiongod can continue its plan.

 

My Thoughts:

Thankfully, this series ends.

It felt VERY fluffy and it was hard to feel connected to any of the characters. My last book by Lawhead. Sometimes you just don’t want to review a book and this is one of those times.

Soulminder (ARC)

cover I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

 Title: Soulminder

Series: —–

Author: Timothy Zahn

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SF

Pages: 283

 

Synopsis:

Dr. Adrian Sommers lost his 5 year old son in a car accident and is convinced that if he could have had more time, he could have saved his son.

That idea turns into a full blown obsession and Sommers invents a device that can be a holding tank for the soul until the body can be healed and the soul returned.

Each chapter shows a different aspect of the implications of such a device.

 

My Thoughts:

In many ways, this is the book I have been waiting for from Zahn. Something that is science fiction’y but so theologically and philosophically laced that you can’t help but reflect on the implications of what the author is writing about.

Now, Zahn’s Mormonism shows through in how he presents the idea of what a soul is and so I deducted a half star because I really disagree on this and I think it is important.  It didn’t detract from the overall story though and if you’re not too worried about things like that, you probably won’t be bothered by this much at all.

The chapters were very reminiscent of old Asimov stories, as each chapter was a snapshot in time of one particular incident. In one sense this novel was a series of short stories that happened to all be about the same subject. I really like short stories when they are done right and most of these were done right.

So overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me think, even if just to figure out where and why I disagreed with Zahn and it presented some really good questions about ethics, morality and what is life.

I did take off a star because I thought the idea of the “airtight” security rather laughable. If it exists, someone somewhere can hack it, steal it or copy it. Reverse engineering might take years, but this book covers almost 20 years and the rewards would be astronomical.

And secondly, the ending was so deus-ex machina that I quite literally rolled my eyes. Inserted code can be found, no matter how cleverly hidden. The next generation is always producing a smarter genius *smiles*

But once again, Zahn produces a book that I can thoroughly enjoy and recommend whole heartedly.

The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire #1) (ARC) DNF

5fcfcf0eb75977a61ffe76c513fea38b I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review.

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: The Garden of Stones

Series: Echoes of Empire

Author: Mark Barnes

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 506

 

My Thoughts:

Due to the inclusion of certain subjects, I will not be finishing this book for religious and moral reasons.