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.

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Mission to Moulokin (Icerigger #2) (Project Reread #10)

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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: Mission to Moulokin

Series: Icerigger #2

Author: Alan Dean Foster

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 280

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Project Reread:

I am attempting to reread 10+ books in 2016 that I have rated highly in the past. I am not attempting to second guess or denigrate my younger self in any way but am wanting to compare how my tastes have changed and possibly matured. I am certainly much more widely read now [both in the good and bad quality sadly] than then.

I will hopefully be going into the reasons for any differences of opinions between then and now. If there is no difference of opinion, then it was a hellfire’d fine book!

Links may link to either WordPress, Booklikes or Blogspot, depending on when the original review was.

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

Having survived Tran-ky-ky for a year, Ethan Fortune isn’t that keen on going right back to his planet to planet sales job. He does refuse Collette DuKane’s proposal of marriage but more because he realizes that he’ll resent her power and constant on-the-go lifestyle than because she is fat.

This book is about Ethan, September, Milliken, Hunnar and the Slanderscree trying to put together a Trannish coalition so that Tran-Ky-Ky can be given membership into the Commonwealth. Unfortunately for them, greedy humans, self-serving tran and one particularly insane tran, stand in their way.

On their journey, they discover information that makes it imperative that Tran-Ky-Ky joins the commonwealth, for the good of all Tran the world over.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, this held up to my previous reading

and stayed at 4 stars. I used the link to my review at Booklikes because my original review on blogspot, which has been transferred to wordpress, was a Year by Month list. I wasn’t keeping track online yet and was just using a paper notebook. Once I started online, I had to copy out everything since 2000 and it was easier to do a year at a time instead of each individual book. Just goes to show how my reviewing style has changed and grown over the years:

This was much weaker than Icerigger both in terms of adventure and interesting characters. The already existing characters are pretty static and the new characters who show up are there to either cause problems, be killed off or act as allies, nothing more, nothing less.

On the adventure side of things, it just didn’t grab me the same way. There is a battle at Moulokin that wasn’t nearly as good as the battle between the Horde and the Settlement in Icerigger and the Slanderscree’s overland journey didn’t nearly match up to the journey to Brassmonkey from the previous book. There is still a lot of action, it just wasn’t as good. I can’t pin it down any further than that, sadly.

Overall, while I enjoyed this read and am glad I made it part of my Project Reread, I don’t think I’ll be reading it again. It is time to let this sit and relax with all the other books I’ve read.

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Alternate: Complete Omnibus

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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: Alternate

Series: —–

Author: Ernie Luis

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 206

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Time Travel Exists. And there is a company self-tasked with keeping the Time Line on track. But when one man is sent back in the past to stop a rogue agent and sees his daughter saved, he will do whatever is necessary to keep her alive this time.

Unfortunately for Grey, he is a newcomer and a pawn in a much larger game that will determine if Humanity has a future, or not.

 

My Thoughts:

Whoooowheeee!!!! This was one wild ride. We follow several viewpoints throughout the story but Grey is the main character and the death of his daughter is THE defining moment in his life. It is the point around which everything, past, present and future, revolves for Grey. That aspect came through beautifully. His love for Hanna, even to the point of giving her up to her alternate “him” so that his alternate wouldn’t have to go through the pain of losing Hanna like Grey did, was perfect.

Even while that was the main story, the Real Story was about the man who invented Time Travel, Rickman, and his search for Redemption for allowing his friend to die in the first time travel incident. The book takes place in 2030, with 2020 being the second line and 2010 where everything starts. It gets messy and complicated and hit things just right for me. Rickman’s long game is to stop time travel altogether. I thought how the author dealt with alternates/paradoxes/etc was masterfully done and he’d obviously put some thought into how things might work.

Now, with all that praise, this book still lacked some polish and that special “something” that just makes a book great. I don’t have any complaints about the book except that it could have been better. This was Luis’s debut novel and while it showed, it also showed GREAT promise for any future writing. He does have several short stories under his belt, but I’ll be waiting for his next novel.

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The Hermetic Millennia (Count to the Eschaton Sequence #2)

63716d82a70f4aa37481d2157185a01cTitle: The Hermetic Millennia

Series: Count to the Eschaton Sequence #2

Author: John Wright

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 400

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

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 & librarything.com/catalog/BookstoogeLT by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Synopsis:

The smartest man in the world goes to sleep so he can survive until his wife comes back. However, his enemies, the Hermeticists, wake him up every couple of hundred years by running amok.

In the main story, Montrose is taken captive and used as a translator as his captors search for the Judge of the Ages, ie, Montrose. Montrose learns everything he can so he can wreak his awful and terrible vengeance upon these interlopers, only to realize in the very end that as smart as he is, he can still be outsmarted.

Ends on a cliffhanger.

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers

I did not enjoy this as much as Count to a Trillion. Part of that was the dreamlike aspect of the sequence of time. It reminded me a lot of Wolfe’s The Wizard Knight with it’s asperger syndrome main character.  It was disconcerting to have chunks of time and events passed over and simply ignored, for no apparent reason.

The overview of humanity over 7000’ish years was really interesting. Each Hermeticist got their chance to create a humanity they thought were best. Each time Montrose was awakened and set forth events to combat their ideas, which led to the downfall of said race and the arising of a new. Finding out that he was being tricked each time to reveal a strand of super-duper-puper math was something else. While Montrose is the main character and you are kind of rooting for him, he’s still an arrogant jerk so the schadenfreude was strong in me.

Make no mistake about this though, this was humanistic to its core. As such it reflects the base values of such a system. There were also times where it just felt like the author was indulging himself a little too much in his own fancy.

The cliffhanger ending was not appreciated. That was the main reason I bumped this down 1/2 star. Anyone who had read both the books so far is definitely going to continue the series. To end it like that smacked of one book being artificially broken up.

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The Parasite

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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 Parasite

Series: —–

Author: Neal Asher

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 134

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Jack is a space miner and in the process of getting some space ice, gets infected with something. Something that heals him, makes him stronger, makes him smarter but also something that will control his reactions in dangerous situations. Problem is, the parasite thinks thatany fear from Jack is a dangerous situation.

Jack was supposed to go into quarantine, but the head honcho didn’t want the space ice to go into quarantine as well, so Jack walked free. Now the World Health is after him, as well as the Head Honcho trying to cover up his tracks. Because Jack is contagious, contagious beyond belief and people are dying by the bucketload.

 

My Thoughts:

This novella exemplifies everything I like and don’t like about Asher, all boiled down into one little story. On the hand, we have action and violence literally exploding everywhere. Asher does Ultra-Violence with a deft hand that while occasionally making me cringe never feels overboard to me, unlike say the Jack Reacher books. On the other hand, you get the interminable whining about Free Will from at least one, if not more, character.

For me, just because I am not choosing to make my heart beat but it does it on its own, doesn’t mean I don’t have free will. Non-Total Autonomy doesn’t negate Free Will for me. I suspect the differences we hold on Free Will boil down to our views and thoughts on God. Surprise 😀

On the story itself. If you’ve ever wondered about trying Asher but were intimidated by the 14’ish books divided up into sub series and so threw up your hands and never tried, THIS is the story to try to see if you’ll like him or not. It is self-contained but show cases his writing style and his ideas in one easy to digest sitting.

Glad I got around to reading this because I have to wait until March of ’17 for his next Polity book to come out.

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Alien Morning DNF@20%

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Title: Alien Morning
Series: —–
Author: Rick Wilber
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: DNF
Format: Hardcover edition

 

My Thoughts:

Due to some of the subject matter, I did not finish this book nor will I be reading any more by this author.

 

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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?