The Third Lynx (Quadrail #2) ★★★✬☆

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: The Third Lynx
Series: Quadrail #2
Authors: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 266
Words: 99.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org & Me

The Third Lynx starts several months after the events of Night Train to Rigel. Having destroyed the hub world of the Modhri, Frank Campton is riding the Quadrail with Bayta, his traveling companion and friend, when a murder occurs on the Quadrail car which he is traveling on. The victim is a middle-aged man who had proposed a deal to Compton a few hours before.

Turns out some valuable art pieces of an unknown race are actually parts of a weapon that can go undetected through the Quadrail sensors. Frank and Bayta must capture the remaining pieces so it can’t be reverse engineered. They stop the pieces from falling into the hands of the Modhri’s walkers, only to discover there is a whole planet filled with the weapons, and not only weapons, but spaceships as well.

My Thoughts:

When I originally read this back in ’08 I stated that I hoped Zahn would dig a little deeper into the universe he’d created here. Having read the whole series I know he didn’t but oddly enough, knowing that actually allowed me to enjoy this a bit more this time around.

I wasn’t worried about trying to read a cracking fantastic scifi detective story. I just had to enjoy a decent sf detective who was as laid back as if he’d been smoking blunts his whole life. Despite many protestations to the contrary, at no time did Frank Compton ever come across as worried or afraid. I’m afraid he was lit to the max.

Whatever relationship Zahn was trying to create between Frank and Bayta came across as weird, uncomfortable and just plain awkward. It felt like watching two 13 year olds trying to talk to each other. It was almost as uncomfortable to read about as it seemed to be for them to actually do.

And I still had a good time reading this. Weird huh?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail #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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Night Train to Rigel
Series: Quadrail #1
Authors: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 279
Words: 105.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The story starts with former government agent, Frank Compton, meeting a young man who drops dead at his feet. Compton finds a ticket to a strange, interstellar train called the Quadrail. During Compton’s ride on the Quadrail he falls asleep, and wakes up in the custody of the spiders, the operators of the Quadrail. The Spiders explain to Compton their worries of a weapon of mass destruction, which may be able to bypass their Quadrail security. Compton agrees to help, and is given a pass for the Quadrails and they assign him a traveling companion named Bayta, who has a strange talent for being telepathic in her communication to the Spiders.

Frank Compton discovers the power behind the Quadrail system: an ancient civilization called the Chahwyn. On the course of his travels on the Quadrail, he learns of the existence of the Modhri: the equally ancient enemy of the Chahwyn. The Modhri has its mind bent on controlling the galaxy.

My Thoughts:

When I read this originally back in 2006 I was still under the impression of my youthful foray into Zahn and thought he was an exciting and blockbuster of an author. As such, I didn’t enjoy this back then as I was still expecting something from Zahn that he had never given. That something is excitement. I have come to realize that Zahn is a dull writer. He has fantastic ideas, writes correctly and is an absolute work horse, but you’ll never come out of one of his books pumping your fist and screaming “Oh yeah, that was AWESOME!” If you do, well, I’m guessing either you are 12 years old or your life is even more boring than mine.

So with all of that whininess, it was just to explain that I went into this re-read with a much more accurate set of expectations. I wasn’t disappointed. I read a good Future Detective story with lots of talking points and just enough barely there action to keep me awake. Having read much of the “mystery” genre, and specifically the “detective mystery” genre, this made a lot more sense. Didn’t make it any more exciting, but it did make sense.

Having bumped this up 1/2star, I think I’m going to go through the entire series. I wasn’t sure when I started, but I did enjoy this enough to warrant looking at the other books.

I’m using the original cover for this review. In ’06 I remarked how ugly it was. It still is, isn’t it? I know it’s hard to see in that little pix, but sandy colored nobodies without an ounce of attraction to them isn’t going to draw the readers in. HOWEVER, I was looking for a different cover and the new one is even worse, if you can believe it:

How boring and unattractive is THAT?!? Publishers certainly do move in Mysterious Ways….

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Judgment at Proteus

Judgment at ProteusJudgment at Proteus

Quadrail #5

Timothy Zahn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

At the end of Book 4, when Zahn introduces the return of the badguys, I had no idea how he was going to wrap it all up.

He does simply by having the bad guys be small in number [which totally makes sense], it just wasn’t made obvious in Book 4, so my mind immediately jumped to huge, galaxy spanning numbers.

Anyway, this was just one “I see your plan and have planned for your plan” scenario after another.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot once I got into the story but am glad Zahn wrapped things up. Compton has had enough imo…

Domino Pattern

Domino Pattern
Quadrail #4
Timothy Zahn
SF
4 Stars
epub, 229 pages

this confirms it. Zahn is officially trying his hand at the mystery genre while staying in Scifi. Overall, it reminded me of the Asimov book Caves of Steel. It was well written, interesting, kept moving along without getting hung up on inconsequential details and ended well while at the same time setting up BIG things for the future.

So now Compton and friends are in league with a modhri. And it looks like the big bad aliens who ruled for a millennium or more a long time ago are coming back.

Zahn ratchets up the threat level in each book. I have to wonder if he is contracted to write “x” number of books in this series? I just hope it ends well. This is a good solid addition to a Zahn library. I enjoyed it more than Third Lynx or Odd Girl Out.

Odd Girl Out

Odd Girl Out
Quadrail #3
Timothy Zahn
SF
3 stars
379 pages

Compton and Bayta help a girl who is part of a group. This group is in symbiosis with a variant of the Mhodri, in an attempt for the Chahwyn to create an army of their own to fight back against the Mhodri.

This was so filled with “I know that they know that I know that I will do this to…” that it was just confusing. Read the first 2 or 3 chapters, read the last 3 chapters, and your have the story in a nutshell. I enjoyed this only because I enjoyed the previous 2 books in the series. Pretty blase work though. I really hope Zahn ups his game in any forthcoming Quadrail books or I’m afraid they just won’t be worth reading.

The Third Lynx

The Third Lynx
Quadrail #2
Timothy Zahn
sf
3 stars
350 pages

Sequel to Night Train to Rigel. Going to be a series, that is for sure. The Modhri tries to get its ‘limbs’ on some sort of weapon. Compton and Bayta draw a little closer. Ends with Compton realizing that there is a whole world of hidden spaceships and weapons for the Modhri, and he has to keep it secret.

The whole flavor is very light and almost fluff. I am looking for a little bit more depth and substance from Zahn. This universe has a lot to offer, I hope that Zahn utilizes it appropriately.

Night Train to Rigel

Night Train to Rigel
Quadrail #1
Timothy Zahn
SF
84 / 3stars

These Quad Rail series covers are butt ugly. But it is a good story.

Aliens, an evil hivemind, a galactic railway whose secret is only known to one species and one man to solve it all. Reminded me of 1920’s mystery, just “futurized”.