Lord of Light ★★☆☆½

lordoflight (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: Lord of Light
Series: ———-
Author: Roger Zelazny
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Humanity has made it through the stars and to a new planet. At least, one spaceship did. But on this planet, they found it inhabited by incorporeal demonic beings, other sentient beings of various powers and the crew of the ship all gained mutant powers. Combining these powers with their technology, they became veritable gods and began the conquest of the world.

They conquered. They rule. They live in heaven while the rest of humanity starts the cycle of civilization all over again.

One of the gods, the Buddha, Sam, opposes them at every turn. He starts new religions, he tries to jump start innovations. Sam is killed, many times, is sent to Nirvanna, goes into hiding and eventually weakens them enough that humanity can begin remembering its heritage.

This is the story of the Lord of Light throughout the ages as he opposes the gods in many different ways.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve never been a big fan of Zelazny. I was introduced to him in my early teens through the Amber books. I was too young and didn’t understand them and stopped at book 2. When I read the whole series again decades later, I was very underwhelmed. So I wanted to try one more of his books to double check my opinion. Yep, Zelazny is not for me, at all.

While I was reading this I felt like I was reading a combination of John Wright’s Count to the Eschaton series and Dave Duncan’s Seventh Swordsman. Both of those obviously came much later but since I had read them first, well, the punch from this was gone.

Zelazny was obviously in love with Buddhism when he wrote this and it miasmates from almost every word. No, “miasmate” is not a real word, but I’m having the problem of getting across the bone deep stench that permeates a dead corpse and somehow applying it to this story.

There was nothing technically wrong here. I just don’t like Zelazny’s style and his choice of conveying a Science Fiction story was sideways instead of being told straight forward. So I can now say with 100% certainty that I don’t like Zelazny’s writings and I’ll never read another again.

If you’ve never read any of his stuff, this might be a good place to start. It is a standalone and showcases his style to the tee. With the Amber you’re potentially committing to 10 (albeit very short ones) books. Chances are if you like this you’ll like his other stuff. My experience also leads me to think that if you don’t like this,you won’t like his other stuff as well.

★★☆☆½

bookstooge

 

 

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Hand of Mars (Starship’s Mage #2) (★★★★☆)

handofmars (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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Hand of Mars
Series: Starship’s Mage #2
Author: Glynn Stewart
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 279
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Damien is sent to a planet, as an Envoy under the tutelage of a full Hand. They are ostensibly looking into terrorist activity but in reality are on planet to arrest the governor who is corrupt as they come. What the Hand nor Damien realize is that the Martian Navy personnel have been co-opted by the governor as well.

This all leads to the death of the Hand, the destruction of her ship and crew and Damien on the run in a hostile world where his only allies are the “terrorists” he was publicly investigating. He has to survive the governer and his forces, the Martian navy and it’s corrupt Captain and the rebels.

Making an alliance with the rebels, Damien gets off a message to the King, who sends out a force of sufficient size to handle the rogue Navy. Damien must take care of the governer and his forces so that the arriving Navy, with its marines, don’t have to invade the planet. Things get complicated when one of the governer’s loyal generals has nukes planted under 7 of the major cities and threatens to blow them all up if the Martian Navy doesn’t leave.

Damien “does magic” and things get all straightened out.

Dang. I was hoping to “play a game of Thermonuclear War”. That Broderick was a pansy and I would have shown him up by WINNING the game I played!

 

My Thoughts:

I actually enjoyed this more than the first book, mainly because this was one single novel instead of 4-6 “episodes”. However, I kept it at the same rating because Damien has power jumped so high, so fast that the suspense wasn’t really there.

I am really enjoying this mix of magic and technology. Stewart has combined them in a way that doesn’t annoy me or set my teeth on edge. It is also just fun. The story is full of fighting and trials and battles.

There really isn’t much else to say. I enjoyed this, it was fun and Damien is a bit too powerful.

And speaking of too powerful, now I’m off to read some Eyeshield 21 manga, ha!

0d75ded8-4c77-4295-9588-aa351c983dafI could have totally won that game!

 

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Starship’s Mage (Book 1)

Starship’s Mage (Starship’s Mage #1) ★★★★☆

starshipmage (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: Starship’s Mage
Series: Starship’s Mage #1
Author: Glynn Stewart
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 337
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Damien Montgomery has graduated from the Mage Academy. Unfortunately for him, every other graduate is a family member of the ruling family and they get all the prime picks of starships to be mages of. At the same time, a freighter, the Blue Jay is ambushed by pirates and it is only by the sacrifice of their mage that they escape. That mage was the youngest son of the System Governer. Who then blacklists the freighter and it’s Captain, David Rice.

Thus is born a most convenient pairing. Unfortunately, Rice is running from organized crime, as he got the son of a crimelord killed. The mob is pursuing the Blue Jay and only by illegally modifying the runes does Damien save the ship and the crew from yet another ambush. This tampering gets him thrown in jail. The crew of the Blue Jay break him out when they find out that a Hand of the Emperor has been assigned to strip Damien of his magic.

Now on the run from Imperial Forces, the Mob and bounty hunters, the Blue Jay must figure out a way to survive. Unknown to them, the Hand is actually wanting to recruit Damien for his ability, not strip his magic.It all comes to a head when two opposing Crime Lords and the Imperial Fleet collide.

Damien survives and comes under the tutelage of the wise and benevolent Mage King of Mars.

Now isn’t that cute?

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this quite a bit. So I’m going to lead with my complaints and then end on a good note.

Stewart shows his big government love and goes all starry eyed at how wonderful and benevolent the Mage King and his Hands are. The Imperial Worlds that all accept the Mages are keystones of civilization while the few worlds that won’t allow mages on them are corrupt, backward horrors. There is one world that was based on Libertarian principals and Stewart really shows his contempt for personal freedom there. Everyone carries a firearm and children begin training at a young age and Stewart manages to convey his utter horror at such a thing. My goodness, imagine a whole world where people are actually trained in how to use guns?!? I’m in shock. Just think, they might resist the Benevolent oversight of a Government that knows better than them. I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about such a travesty. And the romance. Damien gets involved with a crew member and then at the end when he’s off on his merry way to become the protege of the Mage King, it is like “hey,nice knowing you. Goodbye”. It would have been better if there had been no “romance” than something like that.

Once you get past that, things are pretty smooth sailing. This was originally a 5 part serial, so each part is a complete story that tells its tale while propelling the overall arc. It was like 5 rather long chapters. It worked out really well but it also convinced me that I am right in avoiding serials. I need the one long story narrative for me to keep interested.

Ok. The fighting was good stuff! The Blue Jay was the underdog the whole time so they had to get creative. Damien was the major force behind that, but other crew members handled creative thinking as well. From personal gun battles on space stations to major ship engagements, Stewart kept me very well entertained.

The whole “magic” thing just kind of “was”. It ws vaguely explained as eugenecists from long ago messing around with genes and human atrocities committed. From their experiments came the Mages. Magic came from Super Science. Just go with it. It is not a major point of the story so the less time you think about it, the better.

I am looking forward to the rest of this series. Because come on, does it get much better than Mages making Starships jump through space? The only thing that would have been better is if Damien invents himself a light sword. I’m hoping that happens later.

On an unrelated note, my reviews are getting longer, much longer. I apologize to my future self and to anyone else who happens to read these.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles #2) ★★★★ ½

dunemessiah-review (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:       Dune Messiah
Series:    Dune Chronicles #2
Author:   Frank Herbert
Rating:    4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre:     SF
Pages:     340
Format:   Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Paul Atreides is Emperor of the Galaxy. His Fremen have swept planets under his rule and nobody can stop him. For Paul can see the future and how do you fight a man who can see THAT? The answer appears to be, very carefully and with layers upon layers of plots.

The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, the Bene Tleilax and Princess Irulan are all in to bring the downfall of Paul Atreides, who seems to be on the cusp of attaining godhood. They attack his family through Chani. They subvert his Quizarate. They foment rebellion amongst the Naibs who cannot deal with the rapid change of climate on Dune. They tempt Paul himself with the gola of Duncan Idaho, the man who gave his life to save Paul.

And Paul sees this all and knows this all and he doesn’t know how to stop seeing the future. He is walking a path of least resistance, the smallest amount of chaos but as the Navigators found out in Dune, that eventually leads to Stagnation. So Paul lets the future happen and hopes that his children can somehow change things.

And as a blind Fremen, he walks out into the desert to die.

 

My Thoughts:

Some seriously wicked crazy plotting going on here. Not everyone is happy with Emperor Paul. In fact, most of the power groups aren’t. We get introduced to the Bene Tleilax, a group/race of people that are, in essence, shapechangers. They can also mimic those they change into. The Bene Gesserit are upset because their little breeding program is off the rails; what’s the point of creating a superman if you can’t control him? The Spacing Guild, CHOAM and the Landsraad are all pretty put out as Paul exercises supreme authority and they have to do what they’re told.

I really liked how Herbert figures out a way to make it possible to blind someone who can see the future. If nothing else in this book impresses you, the fact that Herbert doesn’t make Paul unassailable should make you re-read Dune with new eyes.

There was a lot of philosophy talk being thrown around. There was a lot of political machinations going on. This had nuances and creases and folds that were not only not apparent in Dune, but were pretty much unthinkable. Herbert completely throws Paul under the bus because that is the only place he can go.

Alia plays the second biggest role here, in my opinion. She’s not quite as powerful as Paul and is constantly trying to catch up to her big brother. That isn’t very ominous until you’re doing a Re-Read. Then it becomes the scary music in the background. In many ways it seems that Paul does nothing to try to stop her. But that is a “thing” for him. He is hemmed in by prophecy of future sight and so he is so afraid of meddling with others and somehow damaging their free will.

Free will is about having the choice. Not all the choices, not clearly spelled out, not with all the knowledge of the consequences. Free Will means being able to say “yes” or “no” to something. Even while bemoaning the future sight, Paul still had Free Will. He just didn’t want to face the consequences of taking a different path and so he didn’t.

And so like in our world, one generation of heroes must make way for another.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

  1. Dune
  2. Dune Messiah Review from 2012

Star Nomad (Fallen Empire #1)

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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 & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Star Nomad

Series: Fallen Empire #1

Author: Lindsay Buroker

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 253

Format: Kindle Digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Alisa Marchenko has been left behind on a pohdunk world, recovering from her injuries. Inexplicably, there are NO armed force bases on the world or anyone she can turn to to return home. So she is forced to link up with some strange mechanic lady, find an old abandoned spacefreighter, take on passengers AND figure out how to work with an Imperial cyborg who is camping out in her chosen spaceship.

All Alisa wants is to get to her home planet and see her daughter again. But she can’t do that while she has beefcake all over the place and pecs galore to ogle. Poor Alisa. She is so insecure and unable to take care of herself.

 

My Thoughts:

I went into this thinking it was going to be a cool SF adventure. It was billed as “for fans of Star Wars or Firefly”. That should have been more than enough warning.

What I got was a story about a woman who is insecure, incapable of taking care of herself and obsessed with her imaginary relationship with a former enemy soldier. And I mean, totally imaginary. Oh, and don’t forget his pecs.

If you like a romance book, without sex, and wrapped in a Science Fiction wrapper, this is the series for you. Considering there are at least 8 books, I guess “somebody” is buying these. Maybe people who like pecs.

star25full-custom

Savage Homecoming (Omega Force #3)

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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 & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Savage Homecoming

Series: Omega Force #3

Author: Joshua Dalzelle

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 261

Format: Kindle Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The synth that initially found Jason on Earth, who was all set to betray, backstab and sellout Jason, is back. With a vengeance. The synth knows where Earth is, knows who to mess with to manipulate Jason and its got some new allies. Big hitters that can wipe out the tech of a whole planet.

So Jason has to save Earth, save the girl, save his new connection with the alien government who is funding Omega Force and come to terms that he can never go back to Earth again. That is a lot to put on one man’s shoulders.

 

My Thoughts:

The odd thing with these Omega Force books is that I tend to enjoy them overall but not in bits. In other words, I liked Savage Homecoming taken in its entirety and the idea, but if you were to ask me when I was reading Chapter Q if I liked it, I’d probably be “meh”.

Earth is menaced and even while Jason single handedly saves them, he’s now a wanted man because he gets blamed for bringing the aliens to Earth in the first place. That sounds just like the humanity I know and hate, doesn’t it?

The woman “mysteriously” referred to in previous books shows up and my goodness, I did not like her. It is now wonder she and Jason are ex’s. She does what she wants without thinking of the consequences or about what she is trying to accomplish and Jason just goes along with it.  Thankfully, she gets relocated back to earth and we won’t, hopefully, have to deal with her in future books. This sets things up for Jason to hook up with the alien Captain instead, at least she acts like a mature adult.

The various battles were pretty good but Omega Force had a lot of petty word fighting amongst it’s members. Not banter, but spiteful little girl style spats. It really seemed out of character and I’m not sure exactly what Dalzelle was trying to accomplish with it.

star30full-custom

Heirs of Empire (The Scourwind Legacy #1)

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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: Heirs of Empire
Series: The Scourwind Legacy #1
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The leading general of the Special Forces of the Empire commits a coup. The only survivors of the Scourwinds are the 2 youngest. With help from another rogue Special Forces agent and remnants of those loyal to the Scourwind name, the Scourwind youngsters must go from children to a man and woman in charge.

The general’s reasons for the coup are only hinted at and much greater threats seem to be looming in the wings. This world is enclosed by the God Walls. But that only means that there are things OUTSIDE the walls that those within should be afraid of.

 

My Thoughts:

For whatever reason, this just hit ALL the right buttons for me. It is one of Currie’s better books, as he seems to be getting better with more experience.  This wasn’t deep, it wasn’t emotionally moving, it isn’t something that I plan on re-reading multiple times, if even once.  But as I was reading along, I just had a blast!

If you’ve read Card’s Pathfinder trilogy, the whole God Wall thing is pretty transparent. However, since I loved that trilogy, that just boosted it up in my eyes. It was only mentioned in this book along with some vague mutterings about “threats” but it is patently obvious that things are just ramping up.

The special forces agents are pretty cool. Half jedi, half super-soldier, half wild cards. That is a lot of halfs 🙂 The rogue Agent that helps the Scourwind kids is a cliche for Currie, ie, a strong woman that takes no prisoners and gets the job done.  Several ideas from previous series are used as well but it didn’t come as recycled, but just little pointings back. Kind of like how an artist will use the same color palette for certain subjects.

While this novel tells a particular story, ie,the Fall and Return of the Scourwinds and only takes a couple of months, it is still very much a setup book. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.

star45full-custom