Exodus: Empires at War, Part II ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Exodus: Empires at War, Part II
Series: Exodus: Empires at War #2
Author: Doug Dandridge
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 283
Words: 107.5K



Synopsis:

The Royal Family are assassinated, leaving Prince Number 3 as the new Emperor. Only he’s out on a military ship about to go into battle against the aliens who beat the snot out of humanity 1000 years ago. With no way to use faster than light messaging, this story revolves around El Princeo escaping while lots of people die to ensure his survival.

And the scum sucking traitor who set up the Royal Family dies too.

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, this book could have been at least 25% shorter, if not more, if the author hadn’t felt the need to walk us through every excruciating step of the various space battles. For example, when Enemy Fleet #1 fires 100 missiles at Good Guy Fleet #2, we follow all 100 missiles to the bitter end. 50 get wiped out by 40 Good Guy Fleet anti-missiles. 20 are fooled by countermeasures and speed off into deep space. 10 are destroyed by close point defenses and then the final 10 blow up ships. (So kids, when a daddy missile and a mommy ship get together that’s how you get Space Debris. If you have any questions, go talk to your parents, ok?) And then there was simply over-explanation of every maneuver, every change in speed or gravity, blah, blah blah. I started skipping whole PAGES.

Then there was the sex scene. Any book that has a sex scene(s) I’m going to ding at least half a star for. But for the love of writing, if you’re going to do something, do it well! This scene felt like the thoughts of a 16 year old imagining what sex must be like. If you can’t write scenes like this (because you’re not a pornographer or filthy smut writer) then don’t include it at all. How hard is it to understand that? Gaaaaahhhh!

I called the first book “decent”. This one descended into low mediocre territory. I’ll be reading the third book but if it doesn’t sharply improve I’ll be abandong the series. I’ve got close to 100 books on my kindle and 250 (those do include the 70+ One Piece manga, but still) in my TBR pile in calibre, so I’m not hurting for books. I am working on dnf’ing series much sooner than I have in the past.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Pandora Paradox (Omega Force #12) ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Pandora Paradox
Series: Omega Force #12
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 247
Words: 82K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

It started with a revolution nobody had even realized occurred…

Its cruelty sparked a rebellion that everyone refused to admit existed…

Now, the Machine—a terrifying and relentless enemy—reigns supreme in the galaxy, and the real fight is just beginning.

Omega Force keenly feels the weight of responsibility for the Machine’s arrival in the quadrant, but even with the resources of the Blazing Sun organized crime syndicate backing them, there’s only so much the small mercenary crew can do against the malevolent AI that has already usurped control of most of the government.

With the Machine now firmly in control of the ConFed’s military, they are out of time and out of options. Captain Jason Burke knows that along with the Machine, something else came back from the outer regions… something he’s kept a secret from everybody, even his own crew. He knows that he likely has the power to stop the Machine in its tracks, but it means unleashing an equally uncontrollable force. As he struggles to know what the right thing to do is, he can’t help but fear that the cure could very well be worse than the disease.

My Thoughts:

I haven’t got much to say. This book was mediocre and has made me realize that Dalzelle and I need to part ways. Not because of any big issues but simply because I don’t feel his skills as a writer are good enough to keep on giving him chance after chance. I started reading him back in ’15 with Warship, the start of his Black Fleet trilogy. It was pretty good and I enjoyed the whole thing. Sadly, the sequels ended up relying on the main character from the first trilogy because they were lifeless.

What does that have to do with his Omega Force series? Well, I started that in ’16 with Omega Rising and here we are 12 books and almost 6 years later and his skill level still appears to be the same to me. I don’t mind if an author starts off rough. Go read Elantris or Mistborn by Sanderson or Monster Hunter International by Correia to see how some authors started out. Starting out as an author is rough work and with reviewers like me it’s even harder. But I expect improvement as an author continues their craft. If they have peaked at their first book or three and then plateau, that is not good enough for me. If you read 10-12 books a year then Dalzelle might just fit your needs. Just like any old pair of black cargo pants are going to work for me when I go to work. I don’t expect them to make me look like a buff sex god, I just want them to protect my legs from briars and thorns and to hold my phone and stuff. But I expect something VERY different if I put on my suit. I have reached the stage in my life when good enough is only good enough for a few books, not long term.

Therefore this is the last Dalzelle book I’ll be reading. I hope I can remember this when he puts out another book or series and I’m tempted to “give him another chance”. No more chances, this stuff is just not good enough anymore.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The End of the World (British Library Science Fiction Classics) ★★★☆☆

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 End of the World
Series: British Library Science Fiction Classics
Editor: Mike Ashley
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 237
Words: 87.5K



Synopsis:

The End of the World
Helen Sutherland

three dooms of london: London’s Danger
C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne

The Freezing of London
Herbert C. Ridout

Days of Darkness
Owen Oliver

Within an Ace of the End of the World
Robert Barr

The Last American
John Ames Mitchell

The End of the World
Simon Newcomb

The Great Crellin Comet
George Griffith

Two by Two
John Brunner

Finis
Frank Lillie Pollock

The Madness of Professor Pye
Warwick Deeping

Created He Them
Alice Eleanor Jones

There Will Come Soft Rains
Ray Bradbury

My Thoughts:

Yeah, this wasn’t half bad. Despite Ashley desperately trying to make this collection a CliFi oriented set of stories, seeing the world end over and over and over was pretty cathartic.

There were a couple of stories where the world didn’t end and I have to admit they kind of made me feel sad, on the inside. There were also several stories where “The World” was encapsulated into London. Typical tribalism at its most petty and annoying.

The bar was super low so I don’t really feel that saying this wasn’t half bad is much of a compliment. This series has felt like the literary equivalent of eating fried vegetables. Not the best tasting and not even good for you. Just one more to go in this series. It’s like the last leg in a marathon before crossing the finish line.

Go me!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Gods and Legionnaires (Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #2) ★★★★☆

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Title: Gods and Legionnaires
Series: Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #2
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Space Opera
Pages: 390
Words: 132.5K



Synopsis:

From Galaxysedge.fandom.com

The Coalition is reeling. New Vega and its other worlds have fallen beneath the boot of the newly allied Savage marines, and the death count continues to rise at a staggering rate. One thing is clear: the war to come will be a fight for the very survival of the species. For both sides in this conflict, now is the time to become what fate, and victory, demand.

The Savages—post-human monsters who believe themselves to be gods—are intent on remaking civilization in their own violent and pathological image. Yet their alliance is tenuous. Among the many tribes of the Uplifted, as they call themselves, the struggle for supremacy rages on. All know that in the end there can be only one tribe. One leader. One truth.

Meanwhile humanity’s last, desperate hope is the formation of a new kind of fighting force: The Legion. Those select few who are hardy enough—or foolish enough—to undertake the relentless, grueling, and merciless candidate training will have the chance to be transformed into mythical heroes… or die trying. They will be pushed beyond their physical and mental limits as they seek to survive an unforgiving planet, lost and derelict ghost spaceships, and worst of all, the cold, unflinching brutality of Tyrus Rechs. At the end of this crucible, only the one percent of the one percent will earn the right to be called ….. Legionnaires.

My Thoughts:

In many ways, this was 2 books. The first part, Gods, followed one Savage Marine from after his time on New Vega to a new joint operation by another clan of Savages. What the rest of the Savages don’t know is that the Savage Marine (who I’ll call Johnny) has been tasked by his masters to introduce a virus into the Savage Alliance to subtley draw all the savages under control of one clan, Johnny’s clan.

Between fights we get Johnny’s history from when he fled from Earth during the scattering thousands of years ago, to what happened on the Savage Ship. We also realize how technologically advanced in some areas the Savages are and yet how internally focused they are which only heightens their arrogance, paranoia and sense of godhood. Then you come to realize just much they’ve messed with their minds and you can’t believe a thing they think about themselves. It was intriguing and disturbing all rolled into one.

The second part was about the formation of the Legion itself. Nobody but Tyrus realizes just how brutal the training must be and that only a total bastard can forge others into being the tough mothers the galaxy needs at the moment. Opposed by the very Alliance that is placing their hopes on him, by his best friend Caspar and even by the very soldiers he is trying to train, Tyrus doesn’t let any of that slow him down or stop him. He has a job that only he can do and he’ll finish it.

While I enjoy a good military training montage, something about this one just didn’t quite grab me. Part of it is that Tyrus isn’t much of a person any more. There are a squadron of Legionnaires who we get to know which was good but it wasnt “quite” enough either.

Overall, this was a really enjoyble story and gave a lot of backstory. This Galaxy’s Edge universe continues to keep me interested and to tell a good story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Future is Yours ★✬☆☆☆

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 Future is Yours
Series: ———
Authors: Dan Frey
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF Thriller
Pages: 226
Words: 69K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

If you had the chance to look one year into the future, would you?

For Ben Boyce and Adhi Chaudry, the answer is unequivocally yes. And they’re betting everything that you’ll say yes, too. Welcome to The Future: a computer that connects to the internet one year from now, so you can see who you’ll be dating, where you’ll be working, even whether or not you’ll be alive in the year to come. By forming a startup to deliver this revolutionary technology to the world, Ben and Adhi have made their wildest, most impossible dream a reality. Once Silicon Valley outsiders, they’re now its hottest commodity.

The device can predict everything perfectly—from stock market spikes and sports scores to political scandals and corporate takeovers—allowing them to chase down success and fame while staying one step ahead of the competition. But the future their device foretells is not the bright one they imagined.

Ambition. Greed. Jealousy. And, perhaps, an apocalypse. The question is . . . can they stop it?

Told through emails, texts, transcripts, and blog posts, this bleeding-edge tech thriller chronicles the costs of innovation and asks how far you’d go to protect the ones you love—even from themselves.

My Thoughts:

I have seen the future. And it is narcissistic jackasses and emotionally stunted losers. This book was pushing the DNF line almost the entire time and I ended up reading it in one sitting so that I wouldn’t DNF it. Why didn’t I DNF it? Because I wanted to see the ending. And then I regretted that decision when I got there.

Both Ben and Adhi disgusted me to the core of my being. They adequately represented everything that I think is wrong in the world today and it was not one bit entertaining or fun to read about them. Personally, a good old fashioned apocalypse that killed them both, and millions and possibly billions like them, would be an acceptable solution to me. As characters they disgusted me that much. Not one shred of moral fibre was shown, not one tiny bit of backbone was revealed and Principles were jettisoned from the get-go. I actively disliked them the entire book. Even the ending where Adhi shows Ben a solution is so like him, he shoves all the responsibility onto Ben and it’s pretty obvious from Ben’s behavior in “the past” (which is the future) that we all know that the loop will continue. It was enough to make me want to use some profanity and tell them both to grow up and simply make ONE responsible decision in their entire lives.

The fact that Frey writes characters like these is reason enough for me to add him to my Authors to Avoid list. I don’t want to spend time reading the words of somebody who can think this qualifies as entertainment. I’ll give up fiction reading altogether before accepting something like that.

Read at your own risk.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Exodus: Empires at War, Part I (Exodus: Empires at War #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, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Exodus: Empires at War, Part I
Series: Exodus: Empires at War #1
Author: Doug Dandridge
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 255
Words: 103.5K



Synopsis:

Thousands of years ago, humanity began exploring the galaxy. A nascent empire was born. They encountered the Cara’carn, an alien empire that held itself to be pinnacle of life. The Cara’carn began a systematic slaughter of every system, world and moon that humanity had cultivated. Finally, all that was left was Earth. With 7 Ark ships, each equipped with a prototype FTL drive, humanity had to hope that at least one of the seven would escape and allow them to start over in an area unknown to the Cara’carn.

One ship did succeed. And they succeeded so well that Humanity became the dominant force in that galaxy and became a true Empire. Cara’carn became the bogeyman for the majority of humanity but the Empire never forgot that they had been driven away by a superior force. As such, they did their best to prepare for the inevitable clash when the two Empires met again.

This book chronicles the first encounters between the two Empires.

My Thoughts:

This was decent space opera. Dandridge did almost lose me because of the massive amount of POV’s that he decided to use. I understood why he needed to use so many, as trying to get a good picture of an Empire that doesn’t have instantaneous communications necessitates that, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And if he continues to use such a plurality in future books I can guarantee I won’t be continuing. But that’s neither here nor there.

I really wish I had more to say, but “decent” sums it adequately. Nothing really bad beyond the POV’s stood out to me and nothing really good stood out either. There is nothing wrong with being a “decent” story, it just makes it hard for the reviewer to say anything.

That being the case, I’m going to talk about the cover, because hey, why not? The layout reminded me VERY much of Mike Resnick’s Starship series. Not exactly the same but so similar that even though I had finished the Starship series back in ’13, these covers still reminded me of them. Starship was published from 2005-2009 and the Exodus: Empires at War series by Dandridge didn’t start up until ’12. So either they used the same cover artist (which is quite likely) or Dandridge pulled some skullduggery. While I always enjoy some good skullduggery, I’m going with using the same cover artist because nothing in Dandridge’s writing suggests an evil mastermind genius.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Moonrise (British Library Science Fiction Classics) ★★☆☆☆

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: Moonrise
Series: British Library Science Fiction Classics
Editor: Mike Ashley
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 258
Words: 99.5K



Synopsis:

Dead Centre – Judith Merril

A Visit to the Moon – George Griffith

Sunrise on the Moon – John Munro

First Men in the Moon – H.G. Wells

Sub-Satellite – Charles Cloukey

Lunar Lilliput – William F. Temple

Nothing Happens on the Moon – Paul Ernst

Whatever Gods There Be -Gordon R. Dickson

Idiot’s Delight – John Wyndham

After a Judgement Day – Edmond Hamilton

The Sentinel – Arthur C. Clarke

My Thoughts:

Boring, boring, boring. Many of these stories were more travelogues “in space” than any adventure story. I can imagine the moon just fine on my own thank you very much.

Yeah, not much else to say besides boring. I mentioned this in the Lost Mars review, but these stories are mostly in public domain and they are there because nobody cares enough to do the work to keep them punching out pennies for the author or their estate. If nobody is willing to do that minimal work, that should tell you a good bit about the stories themselves. Mainly forgotten stories that nobody will miss once they are completely forgotten.

So far, this series has felt like something thrown together by the editor to make a quick buck or to fill in some sort of hole in a publishing schedule. I will say, those vintage SF geeks will probably enjoy these, but I am not one of those people. I might enjoy old stories, but not because they are old, but because they are good. A vintage SF geek will enjoy the story because it is old, period.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Lost Mars (British Library Science Fiction Classics) ★★★☆☆

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Title: Lost Mars
Series: British Library Science Fiction Classics
Editor: Mike Ashley
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 222
Words: 84.5K



Synopsis:

The Crystal Egg – H. G. Wells

Letters from Mars – W. S. Lach-Szyrman

The Great Sacrifice – George C. Wallis

The Forgotten Man of Space – P. Schuyler Miller

A Martian Odyssey – Stanley G. Weinbaum

Ylla – Ray Bradbury

Measureless to Man – Marion Zimmer Bradley

Without Bugles – E. C. Tubb

Crucifixus Etiam – Walter M. Miller, Jr.

The Time-Tombs – J. G. Ballard

My Thoughts:

There’s a reason most of these stories are in public domain and not held on by copyright shenanigans. They’re unassuming and rather forgettable. Even with that statement, these stories were head and shoulders above the Moon stories. Ugh, now those were boring!

The one thing I have to keep in mind with reading this series is that these are foundational stories, something that other authors read and then built upon. You can’t compare a foundation to a gilded staircase. But you can’t have that staircase built solidly without the foundation.

One thing that stood out to me was the overall positive view of the authors. Even that weirdo Bradbury’s story, while twisted and creepy, was still very light. Heck, even Ballard, that evil sentient who rivals the devil himself, his story wasn’t depressing at all. Even saying that, I’ll still be glad when I wrap up this series.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Savage Wars (Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #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 & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Savage Wars
Series: Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #1
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF / Space Opera
Pages: 397
Words: 118K



Synopsis:

From Galaxysedge.fandom.com

The greatest conflict the galaxy has ever known…

They were the Savages. Raiders from our distant past. Elites who left Earth to create tailor-made utopias aboard the massive lighthuggers that crawled through the darkness between the stars. But the people they left behind on a dying planet didn’t perish in the dystopian nightmare the Savages had themselves created: they thrived, discovering faster-than-light technology and using it to colonize the galaxy ahead of the Savages, forming fantastic new civilizations that surpassed the wildest dreams of Old Earth.

Until the Savages came in from the Darkness…

When a Savage hulk lands on glittering New Vega, one of the crown jewels of the post-Earth galaxy, a coalition of planetary governments amasses their forces to respond to the post-human Savage Marines who’ve come to sack and enslave. But what the coalition forces find is something far more sinister than the typical Savage hit-and-run: this time, the Savages have come to stay.

Witness the intense beginning of THE SAVAGE WARS, the epic conflict, built into the lore of GALAXY’S EDGE, that will encompass over a thousand years of brutal fighting. Only the greatest military force in the galaxy can bring this war to an end… and the galaxy will never again be the same.

Experience the beginning of the Legion. Experience the Savage Wars.

My Thoughts:

This new trilogy starts before the Legion existed and before the Savages were vanquished. This mainly takes place on one world that has been invaded by the Savages. To this point, the Savages have always operated alone and conducted hit and run raids, sucking an individual world dry of all resources, including people. This time is different. They’ve set down roots. They’ve allied with other Savage clans.To date, the only way to destroy a Savage Ship has been to nuke the world and burn it to its underbed. And only one man has had the courage to do so, Tyrus Rechs. Declared an enemy of humanity, Rechs has his fans and detractors amongst the various politcal factions out in the galaxy.

Embedded secretly amongst the military forces, Rechs has a plan to nuke the planet. He has help from Caspar, another Immortal who has worked his way up to become an Admiral amongst one of the Factions. He covers for Rechs and gives him the opportunity to use the nuke.

Tyrus saves a small group of soldiers who then pledge themselves to help him get the nuke to the grounded Savage ship. Along the way they realize the Savages have put the entire population into cold storage as a food source. Rechs can’t bring himself to nuke the planet knowing the population is still alive. He does get the idea to start a military force made up of the best of the best and answerable to no one but himself. Thus the seed of the Legion is planted.

This felt like a long book. It was good, with some serious ground pounder military action but it just felt long, if you know what I mean.

Overall, this was another great entry in the Galaxy’s Edge universe. It was also a great peek into the far history of Tyrus Rechs. 1500 years is a long time. There are 2 more Savage Wars books, so we’ll have to see if we take great big time jumps or if it really focuses on the creation of the Legion. Either way, I’m looking forward to them 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rebellion (Omega Force #11) ★★★☆☆

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: Rebellion
Series: Omega Force #11
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 232
Words: 80K



Synopsis:

Lucky is starting to integrate into his new body but not consistently enough for Burke and the Crew to trust him with important roles on high stakes missions. However, that is taken out of their hands when the ConFed reveals its plans to wipe out the remaining fleet of the Empire it conquored in the previous book.

It’s up to Omega Force to put a stop to things and to start a galaxy wide rebellion before the Machine becomes powerful enough to rule unchallenged.

My Thoughts:

This is definitely a junkfood series. It’s light, fluffy, doesn’t fill you up, tastes good and when you’re done you wonder what you ate. And if you eat too much, you get sick. This Omega Force series is a big bag of Cheetos Puffs and 2-3 books is just the right serving. I have a feeling that 2 books is really the recommended Dr Bookstooge serving, but I’ll be finding that out next month when I read the 3rd (new to me) book.

But on to this book. My only “real” gripe is Dalzelle’s continual pushing of his other current series, The Terran Scout Fleet. It’s in this same universe and I “think” the main character is Burke’s son (not sure though) and I even understand why Dalzelle is trying to do it, but it just grates on me. Kind of like that guy who coughs “just that way” that annoys you for no apparent reason.

Honestly, describing this series as Cheetos is the best description and I feel no need to elaborate more. But for your edification and continual seeking after Knowledge, I’ll include a valuable link only available to everyone who is reading this (so feel very special)

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Omege Force Cheetos!

Rating: 3 out of 5.