The Wrath of the Great Guilds (Pillars of Reality #6)

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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 and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 

Title: Wrath of the Great Guilds
Series: Pillars of Reality #6
Author: Jack Campbell
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 280
Format: Digital edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers!!

Mari and Alain must face the combined might of both Great Guilds and the Empire in an attempt to stave off the Storm of Destruction prophecied.

Dividing her army in parts, Mari sends the majority of it to another city and only takes a small force, but many great arms, with her to Dorcastle. There, she and Alain inspire the troops, unite the factions and fight off dragons and gatebuster bombs.

Dorcastle has 7 walls. Mari’s forces are pushed back to the final wall and are about to lose even that when the other army she had separated out arrives to rescue them, turn the tide and allow the Daughter of Jules a complete and utter victory.

Now Mari can allow her world to develop technologically and the first thing they do is use the world far speaker they found in an earlier book. And someone answers back.

 

My Thoughts:

Almost all of this book was the battle scene at Dorcastle. Close to 60% is my guess. It was great. Much like Minas Tirath’s 7 walls, Dorcastle provides plenty of room for lots of action. Mages and their dragons, Mechanics and their bombs, the Empire and their numberless cohorts, all fodder for the advanced weaponry Mari brings with her. It also showcases how she utilizes Mechanics, Mages and Commons, with all their various strengths and weaknesses. Alain’s vision of Mari is constantly at the forefront of his mind and Campbell never lets the reader forget it.

This is definitely young adult but I did appreciate the fact that Alain and Mari were married a book or two ago. The romance was there, but it wasn’t angsty, unsure love. It was growing, committed love that wasn’t based just on their feelings.

There were only 2 things I didn’t care for and I knocked off a 1/2star for each.

First, Campbell loves big, powerful, DUMB villains. Much like in his Lost Fleet series, where the 2 “official” sides do the same thing over and over and the main character Jack “Black” Geary, takes advantage, here we have the Heads of both the Mage’s Guild and the Mechanic’s Guild doing the same thing in the big battle that has NOT worked before against Mari and Alain. It just made the Guild leaders seem incredibly inept and stupid and you wonder how someone so dense got to the place of authority that they are in. Of course, it might have something to do with Campbell being a retired navy officer and perhaps reflects his actual experience with higher echelon officers. Pure speculation on my part though.

Second, no character development. It has taken me over 25 books of Campbell/Hemry to realize this (Lost Fleet, Lost Fleet:Beyond the Frontier, Lost Stars, JAG in Space, Stark’s War) so it kind of came as a shock to really realize that he can’t write growing characters beyond a certain point. It is the kind of writer he is and he needs to write accordingly. And now that I know this, I will also adjust my expectations accordingly.

Now I know I’ve highlighted the negatives mostly. But obviously, I’ve stuck with this 6 book series until the end and given the final book 4 stars. That does say a lot without me having to write a lot. Nothing in this book is going to make you feel that you wasted your time or overturn all the good in the previous books. This is a good solid book to end a good solid YA series.

star40full-custom

 

 

bookstooge

  1. Review of Book 1

  2. Review of Book 2

  3. Review of Book 3

  4. Review of Book 4

  5. Review of Book 5

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The Servants of the Storm (Pillars of Reality #5)

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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 WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes(maybe) & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

Title: The Servants of the Storm
Series: Pillars of Reality #5
Author: Jack Campbell
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Great Guilds are trying harder than ever to get rid of Mari and have joined hands with the Empire, even though that will probably spell their demise. Guilds and Empire both realize that Mari has a source of hidden tech and they all want it for themselves. Mari, Alain and 3 others must make a daring journey back to Marandur to rescue the texts.

Mari must also balance her presence in Tiea by making it her base of operations but without taking over the monarchy. It doesn’t help that another Heir to the Throne shows up and starts taking over.

But in the end, all roads will lead back to Dorcastle and Alain’s visions.

 

My Thoughts:

My least favorite of the books so far. Not to say this was bad in any way, it just didn’t keep me riveted like the previous books. I’d find myself putting the book down and checking my feed or something.

Part of that was the continued reiteration of Alain’s “mage’ness”. I get it, he doesn’t show emotion. Or, he sees emotions in others that isn’t easily visible to non-mages. There were a couple of other things as well that Campbell has repeated since book 1 that just started to bother me. I’m guessing part of it is that I’ve read this much closer to book 4 than book 4 was to book 3, etc. You follow me there?

The final “meh” was the cover. They changed the format. It used to be all brown with a square of the characters in the center. It was very striking. With this one, while keeping the same cover artist/style,  they’ve added that big blue swathe and “Jack Campbell” that just overpowers the other stuff.  Phracking publishers!

Ok, on to the good stuff.

The action continues strong. There is a fantastic submarine/gun/ship/crossbow/magic/river battle as they escape from Marandur that is as good as any of the battle scenes so far. There was also a memorable one on one fight scene between the royal siblings that really showed off their different upbringings since the fall of Tiea.

Overall, a good penultimate book in the series. Nothing here dissuaded me from wanting to read the final book or from highly recommending this to any lovers of SFF.

star35full-custom

The Pirates of Pacta Servanda (Pillars of Reality #4)

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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.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Pirates of Pacta Servanda

Series: The Pillars of Reality

Author: Jack Campbell

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 322

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Mari and Alain must gather a group of mages, mechanics and skilled commons so they can begin fixing the world, by fixing the place where it truly began to break: The Kingdom of Tiae.

But Mari must not only convince other mages and mechanics to work together but she must convince those still in Tiae that she is not just some rogue, upstart mechanic trying to be a warlord. All the while the Mechanics Guild and the Mages Guild are both still hunting her and Alain, using any means possible to stop them, including pirates and dragons.

 

My Thoughts:

Thoroughly enjoyed this. I continue to be impressed. Mari and Alain make a very dynamic duo but they aren’t perfect nor does their love “conquer all”.  The romance between them isn’t sappy and it really strengthens the tension in the story.

The action continues strong. Fighting pirates on the sea, yet another magical dragon, assaulting a Mechanic’s Armoury and finally a warlord’s host. It just never lets up.

I think that Campbell can write a duo more convincingly than he can a single character. The Lost Fleet series and the Lost Stars series are a very compelling first case and this series backs that up. It is like he can allow his characters greater leeway by bouncing off of another character, all the time, instead of being a pillar of Heroism all on their own. Even if I’m completely out to lunch on this, I still like the series where Campbell uses dual main characters.

I also just found out that the rest of the series [2 more books] is out. So I’ll be getting those pronto and putting them into my High Priority list on my kindle. Which means that maybe I’ll be done with those 2 books by February? What a tough life, eh?

 

The Assassins of Altis (Pillars of Reality #3)

1f7b7ebbf793a70672f695421db4fb4aThis 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 & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

Title: The Assassins of Altis

Series: Pillars of Reality

Author: Jack Campbell

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 329

Format: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Mari and Alain have escaped Marandur. But they are constantly on the run from the Guilds. They must make their way to the Tower of Altis, where there are records that can help Mari, who has now accepted her role as the Daughter of Jules, decide how she will proceed to stop the Storm and save Dematr.

And she and Alain get married.

 

My Thoughts:

Each time I start these books, I wonder if I’m going to like it and that maybe THIS is the time that Jack Campbell lets me down. I don’t know why. I suspect some of it has to do with it being young adult and I’m just naturally suspicious of that label.

However, THIS book was not THAT book. It did not disappoint.

In fact, I would describe this as a madcap flurry of fights and “barely made it” escapes. It also showcases Mari coming into her own as the Daughter of Jules and how she actually IS bringing Mechanics, Mages and Commons together.

With the political situation here in the US, I realized that this book is about Hope. Not about someone who will promise you what you want or even say they agree with what you believe. I think that spoke to me more than anything because I am fast losing hope that humanity can keep on muddling on without catastrophic consequences.

On a completely different note. With the revelations about the origins of the Mechanics, it was made evident that this whole series is based on one of Campbell’s short stories in his book Ad Astra. In that story, a spaceship emergency lands on a planet, where the crew turn the ship rules into a religion and force the passengers to be their servants. It was one of those “ah ha!” moments that I do enjoy so much.

The Hidden Masters of Marandur (Pillars of Reality #2)

f41d6272ea4002c4531384b5c424e517This 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 & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: The Hidden Masters of Marandur

Series: Pillars of Reality

Author: Jack Campbell

Rating: 4 of 5 Battle Axes

Genre: SFF

Pages: 369

Format: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Mari and Alain come back together, after their respective guilds attempt to kill them, rather directly in fact.

While Alain accepts that Mari is the Daughter of Jules, Mari hasn’t made her mind up just yet. She just wants to help make things better.

They go on a couple of adventures, the final one being to find old records that might give them an edge, technologically. Because they need an edge of some sort if they’re going to go up against the two most powerful Guilds in the world plus an Empire!

 

My Thoughts:

When I read Firefight by Sanderson last month, I stated that even Sanderson couldn’t make me like YA. Well Sanderson, meet Campbell. He’s made me like YA for 2 whole books AND had me rate them pretty high.

This was a great continuation from Dragons of Dorcastle. It wasn’t quite as gripping, as we know the characters and some about the world, but the growth of the characters was done so that I liked it, which is hard to do. I did like the action scenes and the time in the forbidden city of Marandur was good.

I also like the fact that Campbell doesn’t dance around the whole super attraction between 2 young people. Mari and Alain want to get it on! Pretty bad. But instead of promulgating the false idea that sex equals love, or some such tripe, Campbell has them act like thinking adults. And controlling themselves. Too many times ya characters don’t control themselves, probably because the author is as hormone ridden as the characters, but Campbell holds up something better. I liked that.

In the little section of “Also by Jack Campbell” it lists the name of the 3rd Pillars of Reality book and then under that states “Books 4-6”. Which means he’s got 6 books worth for this series. Given his penchant for 6 [ie, Lost Fleet, etc], I trust they will all be good.

The Dragons of Dorcastle (Pillars of Reality #1)

1a5d5fd0ecf4a05e246ce2f46d5bb14fThis 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 & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Dragons of Dorcastle

Series: Pillars of Reality

Author: Jack Campbell

Rating: 4 of 5 Battle Axes

Genre: SFF

Pages: 336

Format: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Mechanics Guild and the Mages Guild have run of the known world. And they hate each other and teach their acolytes to act as if the other guild is nothing but a fraud.

So what happens when a young Mage and a young Mechanic have to rely on each other to survive? Why, this excellent story is what happens.

 

My Thoughts:

I really like Jack Campbell’s SF. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I realized he’d started another series that was SF, Fantasy, Steampunk’ish and YA.  I went into this with almost zero expectations of enjoying it and not a little trepidation.

Thankfully, I enjoyed myself immensely.

A lot of adventure, a lot of action, lots of hints about big bad things in the Future and a nice little bit of teens falling in love for the first time. That can be real nice if handled with a deft hand and not with buckets of emotional slop.

I’d really like to write more because I had such a fun time reading this. But honestly, I don’t feel the need to express WHY I enjoyed something. I simply note that I did enjoy it. Now, the opposite isn’t true. If I don’t enjoy something, there is a much better chance of me detailing the WHY of that.  I know part of it is that I don’t need to remember why I liked a book, just that I did. I do like to know why I didn’t like a book however, as in most cases in 10 or 15 years I forget what the book was about and if the premise sounds interesting, I need to know why not to try it again. Sometimes my mind is a funny place.

Looking forward to the already written sequel already.