Kill Team (Galaxy’s Edge #3) ★★★★☆

killteam (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: Kill Team
Series: Galaxy’s Edge #3
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Space Opera
Pages: 340
Words: 85K

 

Synopsis:

From Galaxysedge.fandom.com

The Battle of Kublar rages while Victory company is extracted by the Mercutio. On the destroyer’s hangar deck the remains of Doomsday Squad spy an assault shuttle preparing to attack the Ohio-class ship bombarding the planet. Chhun, Exo, Wraith, and Specialist Kags convince the shuttle crew to let them join the assault. The marines agree, and the Ohio-class ship is boarded and captured by the legionnaires and Republic marines. The boarding parties recover snippets of data regarding who planned and executed the MCR attack.

Two months earlier, X, leader of the Nether Ops office known as the Carnivale, is preparing a new assignment known as Operation Ghost Hunter. X explains the mission to an operative code-named Tom Delo. Tom’s mission is to infiltrate the illegal arms market on Ankalor and follow the chain of contacts to the supplier who is providing the Mid Core Rebellion with their weapons.

Tom discovers the man behind the supply is known as Scarpia and begins to track him. His first contact is a local enforcer known as Frogg, who leads him to a talkative reported named Steadron. On the way to the Night Market, they are attacked by Zhee, humanoid aliens with a long history of religious zealotry. At the Night Market, Tom learns that the bombs that destroyed the Chaism and Camp Forge were MAROs, portable anti-matter bombs, and finds the republic officer going by the street name Abo can sell him two for three million credits each. On the way to the delivery site, Tom learns more about Frogg, who was once a legionnaire who was so uncontrollably violent that he was dishonorably discharged from the legion.

Frogg takes Tom to meet Scarpia, who gives Tom a mission: plant one of the acquired MAROs on the Chiasm and the other at Camp Forge. Tom goes through with the mission in order to secure his place in Scarpia’s inner circle, but increasingly chafes against his orders from X. Still, orders are orders, and Tom continues in his undercover role.

Lt. Chhun and Captain Ford get their first bit of down-time on the Mercutio and are introduced to Legion Commander Keller, who confirms the permanence of their new ranks and introduces to Captain Ellek Owens. Owens works for Dark Ops, a clandestine office that specializes in assassinations and spycraft. Owens is creating a Kill Team to go after the MCR rebels who destroyed the Chiasm and invites Chhun and Wraith to be part of it. Both accept.

Their first mission is on Kublar, along with Andien Broxin who they now learn works for Nether Ops. Andien retrieves a data cell from the Chiasm that reveals that the ship was destroyed with a MARO, difficult to get except through the illegal arms market.

Back aboard the Merutio, Owens, Chhun, and Wraith start picking troops for their squad, including Kags, Twenties, Masters, and Exo. Getting ahold of Exo is difficult as Capt. Devers has ordered Exo to be court-martialed for assaulting him on Kublar. Owens visits Devers in sick bay and violently convinces him to release Exo from the proceedings which Devers does.

Tom takes the freighter Hoplyte to meet Scarpia at Smuggler’s End, his private estate on Pthalo, with Illuria, his concubine, and attendant friends and staff. Over the next days, Scarpia alludes to a much bigger plan, one to sell the leaders of the MCR the equipment they need to launch a major attack against the Republic, while Tom and Illuria spend time together and grow closer.

Owens’ kill team travels to Utopion and locate Exo, who agrees to join the team. Their trail leads them to the various links in Tom Delo’s chain of contacts who are intercepted and interrogated one by one.

Back on Pthalo, Scarpia finally tells Tom the big plan: loading up a stolen republic corvette with crustbuster bombs and crashing it into the House of Reason on Utopion. Tom is taken aback by the magnitude of the plan but stays with his cover, agreeing to be part of it. A preliminary mission is to kill the officer who sold the MAROs to Tom back on Ankalor. Tom and Frogg take the Hoplyte to Ootani Station and succeed in killing Abo, but Frog loses control and kills three legionnaires as well. Tom arranges an escape for them aboard a life pod.

On Ankalor, Owen’s kill team is sent to interrogate the Zhee militia leader who knows the whole story of the MCR attack on Kublar and the weapons deals leading from and up to it. Missing the Zhee, they do locate Steadron who tells them the Zhee’s name: Jarref Varuud. Andien contacts Varuud who reveals Scarpia’s place in the sales and Owens declares that bringing in Scarpia is now the kill team’s primary objective.

Tom tries to figure out how to deal with the new situation; he can’t let the House of reason be destroyed as it would mean the destruction of the republic, but he can’t blow his cover, either. His relationship with Illuria deepens and she tells him the rendezvous point for the corvette-bomb: Makchuria, and also agrees to send a coded message to X via RepubNet when she heads off world on a shopping trip the next day.

Now that the location and nature of the attack is known, Owens’ team begins to train for it aboard the Intrepid, Owens’ base destroyer. They fail repeatedly using standard legionnaire doctrine and agree they need to change their tactics to board the corvette in time to avert the attack.

The day of the rendezvous, legion super-destroyers gather at Makchuria but no corvette is in sight. Tom learns from Scarpia that he merely told the MCR leaders he was on board with their plan but has actually sold the corvette to the Zhee who have a different plan in mind, a suicide mission. The corvette is actually going to Ankalor to board a battalion of Zhee fanatics and then head to Utopion. The Intrepid detects the corvette jump in above Ankalor, and changes course to pursue without the support fleet at Makchuria.

Over Utopion, Owens’ kill team boards the MCR corvette while Tom Delo takes over the bridge, and together they kill the zhee rebels and avert the attack.

Back at the Carnivale, X closes the book on Operation Ghost Hunter and Tom returns to his wife, and his daughter, Prisma.

 

My Thoughts:

Good stuff! Star Wars lives again.

I am getting really strong Karen Traviss and the Republic Commando vibes here. Except it is all good, not mixed with hatred like Traviss had for Star Wars. These Legionnaires are what the 501st should have been like instead of thugs for Vader. It is GOOD to see some heroism.

That being said, I can afford to have some complaints. First, I still mix characters up. Between first names, last names, code names and nick names, half the time I am not keeping track of who is who. Kind of annoying. Second, and bigger for me, is how the authors have chosen to skip around in time. In this book we return to the aftermath of the first book AND a timeline leading up to the first book AND a timeline leading up to the second book. I can understand why the authors wrote it this way (it keeps things moving and keeps the readers interested and doesn’t get caught up in sloggy moments) but I really like moving from Point A to Point B to Point C in a straight line. None of this connect the dots for me, thank you very much.

I wasn’t excited while I was reading but I was completely satisfied by the end. To put this in food terms (here’s a shoutout to Lashaan who always ribs me (ha!) for these food analogies), this was like a serving of Cheesecake Factory Loaded Baked Potato Tots.

CCF_Social_LoadedBakedPotatoTots (Small)

Those suckers are good! I always get them when we go to the Cheesecake Factory for our anniversary and to be honest, I’ve thought about ordering 2 or 3 servings and making that my main dish. Dipped in the sriracha sauce, mmmhmmmm! It’s not like the cheesecake, but it is warm, satisfying and filling.

I continue to be happy with these books and how the authors are handling everything (even if I don’t like how the timeline is handled). There are 9 books in this series, several spin off series and a standalone novel or two. Thank goodness it is all listed over at the Fandom page! As long as the quality stays up to par, I should have plenty more adventures in this Dumpster Fire of a Galaxy Far, Far Away!

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Galactic Outlaws (Galaxy’s Edge #2) ★★★★☆

galacticoutlaws (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: Galactic Outlaws
Series: Galaxy’s Edge #2
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF / Space Opera
Pages: 422
Words: 105.5K

 

Synopsis:

Galaxysedge.Fandom.com

The Battle of Kublar rages while Victory Company is extracted by the Mercutio.

7 years later…

Prisma Maydoon and her warbot/droid servant, KRS-88 (Crash) arrive on Ackabar aboard the Viridian Cyclops, a freighter piloted by Captain Hogus and his Wobanki co-pilot, Skrizz. Ackabar is in the midst of a Republic police action, but despite the obvious danger Prisma is focused on finding a bounty hunter. During the fighting, Crash helps Prisma locate Tyrus Rechs, an ill-reputed bounty hunter in the port city. Conflating reputation with competence, Prisma and Crash head through the battle find Tyrus Rechs. Rechs for his part is in the field hunting a pirate known as Junga Doobantu and wondering about the choices he’s made in life.

Meanwhile Aeson Keel, captain of the Indelible VI and his holographic co-pilot Ravi land on Bantam Prime. Keel intends to pose as the bounty hunter Wraith to deliver a number of Mid-Core Rebel prisoners to the local republic legion company. However, Keel isn’t entirely forthcoming with the legionnaires: he is smuggling princess Leenah of Endura and her escort, General Lem Parrish in the ship’s secure hold, both of whom are deeply involved in the Mid-Core Rebellion against the Republic. Keel heads away from the ship to contact the local legion and poses as Wraith to find the legionnaires only to kill them when things go badly. The legion responds by sending reinforcements (including a tank) after the Indelible VI.

After a brief firefight, Keel manages a parley with legionnaire Lt. Lynne Pratell. He convinces her through clever misdirection to pay him (as Wraith) for the prisoners who he actually releases (as Keel) and avoid retribution for killing her legionnaires. Too late, one of the dying legionnaires informs her about the double cross and she vows to destroy Keel, one way or another. A flight of Preyhunter fighters pursue the freighter as it tries to achieve orbit, and the freighter escapes with some damage.

Keel allows Leenah and Parrish the run of the ship while in hyperspace. It turns out that Leenah is a skilled ship’s mechanic and she repairs the Indelible VI’s damaged shields. Arriving at Pellek, Keel contacts local pirate king Lao Pak, but not before he kills several of Pak’s men. Keel is surprised to learn that there’s no bounty or ransom for Leenah, as everyone on Endura has the title of Prince or Princess due to a local custom. He’s less surprised to learn that the Republic has a bounty on his head, courtesy of Lt. Pratell, for his actions on Bantam Prime. Pak tells him about the real prize these days, a 250 million credit bounty on a warlord known as Goth Sullus, for killing the Maydoon family. Keel keeps Leenah on board and abandons Parrish with Lao Pak, who tells him where to find his pet hacker, Garret Glover.

Still on Ackabar, Prisma and Crash locate Rechs just as another firefight breaks out between him and Junga’s crew Rechs grabs the girl and escapes on his ship the Obsidian Crow, with Crash (and Skrizz) following.

On Pellek, Keel heads to Tannespa spaceport and convinces Garret to come along on his new mission. As they talk, Garret recounts a job reprogramming a warbot for the wealthy and well-connected Maydoon family. Keel does the math and puts Garret up to talking to his contact at Trident Corp., the company which sponsored Maydoon’s reprogramming work, in hopes of planning a next move, or lining up a new job. At the Trident offices they meet Aldo Kimer (and his bodyguard/receptionist, Sentrella) who claims he knows nothing and shoos them away. A short time later, Keel, posing as Wraith, forces, Kimer to admit that he did reprogram the warbot for Maydoon’s child and that the warbot can be tracked, and that he subsequently told Goth Sullus everything to save his life. Keel gets Garret to track Crash across the galaxy, as Leenah completes repairs Keel’s ship.

Rechs, with Skrizz, Prisma and Crash in tow, jump into hyperspace to escape a fighter attack. During the lull, Prisma tells him about to her vow to seek revenge against Goth Sullus, the warlord who recently had her father, Kael Maydoon killed on the planet Wayste. She tells him about the Maydoon family’s last days on Wayste, after Kael Maydoon took the post of sector defense minister and how Sullus’s black armored mercenaries destroyed an entire settlement to make sure he died. Rechs, convinced that the girl’s intentions will literally ruin her life, decides on another path for her. Rechs decides his next destination is En Shakar.

En Shakar is an ice world, the home of Mother Ree, who Rechs (aka General Rex of the Republic Legion) rescued from the hands of the Cybar and the Republic’s political machine many years ago. It’s Rechs’s intention to leave Prisma with Ree and her monastic disciples but the girl refuses to be left behind. Rechs tries to describe the soul-killing evil of hunting people for profit but she will not be dissuaded from the path she’s chosen. Rechs accepts that hunting Goth Sullus will cement a relationship between them and rid the galaxy of a true evil. The bounty on Sullus is real enough and Rechs figures he might as well go big as he heads toward the end of his career (and probably his life). In their parting moments on the planet, Mother Ree tells Rechs that the mercenaries who work with Goth Sullus are from the Brotherhood of Vengeance and he can find them on Telos, the site of a huge campaign toward the end of the Savage Wars.

Heading to Telos, Rechs picks up more resistance from pirates and shows Prisma how to use the gun turrets in the Obsidian Crow to shoot them down. From that point on, he takes her under his wing, teaching her what he knows about tactics, equipment, and fighting.

Keel arrives on En Shakar after Rechs has gone, and Mother Ree tell him where Rechs is headed, but also that Keel will eventually have to choose whether to follow Wraith’s path or Aeson Keel’s. Finally she tell him that the Maydoon girl is to be found on Tusca.

At Telos, Rechs contacts the Brotherhood and uses a combination of psychology and extreme violence to convince several of the mercs to tell him all they know about Goth Sullus and the troops who accompany him. All Sullus’s shock troopers are former legionnaires, expert soldiers who kill without remorse. It’s a mobile operation, but their last known base was on Andalore, the site of another great battle that Rechs fought.

At Andalore, a Republic sector capitol, Rechs finds that they’ve jumped into a tense battle between Republic legionnaires and Brotherhood mercenaries. Rechs, Skrizz, Crash, and Prisma fight their way into the guarded compound to find Wraith, Leenah, Garret, and Ravi heading them off. Rechs orders Crash to shoot, but Garret’s remote programming prevents Crash from carrying out the order and temporarily scatters the pursuing legionnaires.

Wraith/Keel and Rechs put their cards on the table and exchange information. A Republic Admiral, Silas Devers, is on his way to meet Sullus. Wraith wants to kill Devers and Rechs has agreed to kill Sullus, so an alliance of sorts is called for. As the discussion closes, Rechs declares that both teams now work for him.

As fighting between the Brotherhood and the legionnaires resumes, Rechs sees a black-robed and hooded figure escaping with a data core, a device that houses the memory for the sector defense computers but can’t figure out why a thug like Sullus would want it. Rechs concludes that Sullus is a much bigger player than he thought, and gets the idea that he knows who Sullus is. Sullus escapes in his ship, Siren of Titan, and Rechs is left wondering how he’s going to fight off the legion troops.

Keel meanwhile is leading his new and expanded crew back toward the Indelible VI, and tricks a legion patrol into thinking Wraith is taking away prisoners. The ruse is discovered however and the legionnaires open fire, forcing Keel’s crew to fight through the ruined compound to escape. Prisma responds badly to the new surroundings and people on the ship, but Rechs and Keel work together to bracket the Siren of Titan as Rechs pays Keel the bounty for Sullus.

On Tusca, Keel sets a trap for Devers, intending to snipe at him from cover while Siren of Titan is docked at the spaceport, and confirms the presence of the ship but not Sullus himself. More legionnaires arrive and a firefight ensues. Rechs learns from a Brotherhood merc that Sullus has already left while a heavy mech begins a counter-attack. Rechs tells Keel to take Prisma and leave the system as Devers arrives. Keel agrees after ground fire chases Devers’s shuttle off.

Aboard his ship, Keel prepares for his assassination of Admiral Devers, donning his old legion gear as he leaves the ship and takes Twenties’ old N-18 sniper rifle with him. But as he prepares to make the shot, he is discovered by legion patrols, who attempt to capture Prisma. Ravi defends her but “dies” after absorbing multiple blaster hits.

Rechs, sensing the problem, draws the legionnaires and mercenaries to his position, calls the Obsidian Crow to him, and activates a distortion bubble in his armor as his ship detonates a Romula nuclear mine. Keel gives up his dream of revenge and escapes with his crew as Rechs, barely alive, confronts Goth Sullus. He learns that Sullus is after the War-Mind, a swarm of automated war drones, the key to which is stored in Prisma’s DNA, triggered by the data globe he took. Sullus reveals that he’s not out to fix the Republic, just to destroy it.

Sullus finally meets Devers and several other Republic admirals and tell them they may begin their attack.

 

My Thoughts:

For the record, that synopsis is over 1600 words long. Somebody is a real fan of the series to have taken the time to think that out and type it up. Thank goodness that my power as Dr. Lord Bookstooge allows me to copy/paste effortlessly now that No-Internet has been banished.

When I started reading this I have to admit I was taken off guard, as this was not the MilSF I had gotten in the first book. The tone was different, the characters were all new to me (at first) and it wasn’t about the Legions doing Legion’y things. This was about outlaws and bounty hunters and a princess and a rebellion and a little girl looking for revenge and killer robots, etc, etc.

Then it clicked with me. The first book was pure setup, the prequel book as it were. This book was what the series is meant to be like. It was meant for fans of Star Wars just like me, who had been burned and turned their back on the franchise for a variety of reasons.

Everywhere I turned was another reminder of Star Wars. The thing is, it didn’t turn me off. It was executed in such a way that it made me happy. It was what I expected from Star Wars. There is even a mysterious, robed figure with the name Goth Sullus.

I loved this story. The only downside for me was near the end, when a LOT was going on, that it felt very disjointed. I’d think I was going to read about Characters X,Y & Z in a spaceship and then when we’d switch over to their viewpoint they’d be on the ground and I was wondering how it happened.

The first book hooked me with the promise of generic MilSF, but this book has gotten its claws in me. While I’m pretty bitter about Star Wars, I feel like this can fill that void, or at least soften that hardness inside. You can’t ask for more than that for any franchise.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Odysseus Ascendant (Odyssey One #7) ★★★☆½

odysseusascendant (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: Odysseus Ascendant
Series: Odyssey One #7
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 303
Words: 81.9K

 

Synopsis:

The Empire is done with playing around with the Priminae and their unknown allies (ie, the humans). They send an entire sector fleet to take the territory of the Priminae and to find the lone homeworld of humanity. It is up to Weston and his small group of ships to stall for time by playing tricks and being ingenious with the resources they do have.

Odysseus, the sentience on the starship of the same name, is learning what it means to be part of a group, as it must work with the humans occupying the ship. At the same time Gaia is in contact with another cosmic entity she simply calls Saul, an entity that seems apathetic (at best) or even inimical to humanity. Saul introduces himself to Odysseus at the very end of the book and pretty much just mocks the kid.

Weston and his allies hold off the Empire for a month but finally the Empire makes it to the Priminae homeworld where the remaining ships helmed by Weston prepare for a do or die last stand. Only to have the Empire’s commander pull a fast one and head to Earth. Where the Earth pulls a rabbit out of a hat with Project Prometheus and is able to wipe out any object in known space with the power of a sun. They give the Empire Commander a stand down ultimatum and he wisely takes it.

The book ends with the Commander vowing to find and destroy this super-weapon and Earth and the Priminae taking a breath and gearing up for the long haul of a fight.

 

My Thoughts:

Overall, I was pleased with my read. It was typical Currie and the action was pretty good. He dips his toes into the subject of transgender and shows what a woke author he is by including a whole conversation of 2-3 paragraphs. Token-warriors, Unite! I am opposed to the whole transgender movement and even I found it insulting.

However, while I enjoyed the action, it is become evident that Currie is just going to keep writing these as ideas strike him. With a name like Odysseus Ascendant I kept waiting for the named Sentience to do something “Ascendant”. I think my idea of Ascendant has been ruined by how it was used in the Malazan Books of the Fallen, ie, ordinary ascending into the super. Oddyseus never ascends in that sense. I kept waiting for the ship to develop super powers or do something fantastic in the battles but nope, he just “learns” stuff. Throw in the deus ex machina of Project Prometheus and I just kind of rolled my eyes.

I won’t be reading any more by Currie. What pushed me over the edge was the introduction of “Saul”. We met Central, then Gaia and the Odysseus, but to introduce another being, and to leave neon bright signs of “mystery, mystery, mystery” that even Scooby and the Gang could pick up on was a direction that I just didn’t care for. I also changed the genre designation from SF to Fantasy. Currie goes from a science setting to a deeply fantastic setting where the only explanation, an honest one, is “magic”. Sure, he covers it up with quantum this and that and science blather, but the real meaning is “magic”.

“A Decent Read” about covers this book and series. It is no where near ending but I simply don’t have the patience or reading availability for just decent reads. If you like open ended military SFF, then give this a whirl. I think book 8 just came out recently?

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Dark Sky (Keiko #2) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@5%

darksky (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: Dark Sky
Series: Keiko #2
Author: Mike Brooks
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 352/DNF@5%
Format: Digital Edition

 

My Thoughts:

Captain Ichabod Drift and the crew are on a Federation world enjoying the money they got from the hidden accounts in the previous book. Ichabod is approached by the Business Man/Crime Lord of the world and hired to pick up some financial data from another world in the system.

When the Crew arrive, they find out the contact is being blackmailed to do the Crime Lord’s dirty work. He threatens the crew with withholding the info unless they take him and his husband offworld to a safe world.

★☆☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Dark Run (Keiko #1) ★★★☆½

darkrun (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: Dark Run
Series: Keiko #1
Author: Mike Brooks
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 434
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Ichabod Drift is the proud owner of the Keiko and the master of a rather disparate and ragamuffin crew. Before Drift became Drift however, he was someone else, someone who worked for the Federation and committed acts in their name that they disavowed. Having faked his death to escape that life, Drift is dragged back into it by his former boss. All Kelsier wants Drift to do is deliver a package to Amsterdam at a very specific time while avoiding all the tedious stuff like inspections, etc that Earth has setup. Kelsier is also paying quite handsomely.

With no way to say no, Drift agrees and counts on the greed of his crew to overlook any issues. They succeed in getting the package to Earth but don’t quite make it in time to Amsterdam. As they’re preparing to dump the cargo out in the middle of the city, they cut of the locks and discover a nuclear bomb. They immedately head out to sea and dump the bomb, where it explodes and starts a worldwide panic. The crew hide and shake the truth out of Drift. Nobody is happy with him, not at all. They all vow to get revenge on Kelsier.

With some help from their onboard hacker, the crew of the Keiko get GIA (Galaxy Intelligence Agency) credentials and forged letters telling any locals to help them out. They track Kelsier down to a hidden fortress and with the help of the local army, take him out.

The book ends with the crew deciding to stay on board and stay loyal to Drift, as they all have their own little secrets.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a very fun read and I’m thankful to SavageDave for bringing this to my attention.

I am having a hard time finding the words that I want to use for this review. This was a solid book, there was nothing wrong with it, I enjoyed it but at the same time nothing really got me excited about writing about it. I would definitely recommend others read it but I can’t really muster up the “oomph” to write the why’s and wherefore’s. I know, my apostrophes don’t really fit, sue me.

A captain with a past, a misfit crew, a first officer that is super competent yet has secrets all her own, the Laughing Man (the galaxies most efficient killer who has an electronic tattoo of a skull over his face to hide his identity), a nuclear bomb, cage fighting, an extremely diverse ethnic crew (not something I look for in my reading but I know a lot of shallow puss buckets do these days) and some good old fashioned fighting, well, this has it all. I’ve seen comparisons to Firefly and I think they’re pretty apt. I didn’t feel like I was reading a Firefly fanfic though. On the otherhand, I enjoyed Firefly, and Serenity, but it didn’t bother me that the show got cancelled so maybe I’m not a big enough fan to comment on whether this is Firefly fanfic or not.

If it is fanfic, well, I’m just going to kill myself then. Because I hate fanfic, I mean with a loathing and scorn that only an aristo can summon up for pathetic plebes doing really stupid and pointless things. His Grace, Lord Bookstooge, despises Indies and Fanfic. You may now bend the knee.

If you like space opera in any form, you’ll probably enjoy this. I did and I’m looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders #1) ★★★☆☆

fortressinoriion (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: The Fortress in Orion
Series: Dead Enders #1
Author: Mike Resnick
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 306
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Nathan Pretorias, a secret agent for the Democracy, has returned from yet another impossible mission. Well, parts of him returned. Now he has been tagged to carry out a truly impossible mission:

replace the war chief Michtag, the universal dictator of the aliens fighting humanity with a clone raised by humans and trained

Nathan assembles his own team of specialists, all misfits in one way or another. They make their way to the super secret fortress on the super secret planet deep in the Coalition. They kidnap and replace General Michtag and successfully make their way back to the Democracy.

Where Nathan’s superior presents yet another impossible mission, a mission only the Dead Enders can take on.

 

My Thoughts:

While I absolutely loved Santiago and the Widowmaker series, this reminded much more of the Starship series. Space Opera at its most mediocre. There simply wasn’t any tension. While Resnick excels at telling a myth style story set in the future, he’s not so good at just telling a character story.

For an impossible fortress and impossible mission, everything went off without a hitch. No matter how good your team is, something is going to go wrong and everything is going to be flubbed up. That just didn’t happen here and so like I said, there was zero tension. If there had been a lot of action or something else, even that could be gotten past, but there really wasn’t much else.

Resnick seems to be very hit or miss for me and I have a feeling this Dead Enders trilogy is going to be a miss. I hope I am proved wrong, but I’m very much getting the same vibe from this book that I got from the middle Starship book. That does not bode well. I’m still giving this 3stars for the newness of the story but if the second book is just as blasé, I’ll be dropping the rating accordingly.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Conventions of War (Dread Empires Fall #3) ★★☆☆½

conventionsofwar (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: Conventions of War
Series: Dread Empires Fall #3
Author: Walter Jon Williams
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 688
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Caroline Sula survives the destruction of the secret government and the Naxid takeover. She begins the counter-insurgency which leads to her becoming planetary governor of the former Capital World of the Praxis Empire. She leverages that to get a promotion and to get her own spaceship command. She uses the new tactics and does well in battle. She still has feelings for Gareth but in the end loses out to Gareth’s new wife, who has given birth to his son. She decides that the military life is the life for her.

Gareth Martinez does “fights in space” and wins and stuff. The Naxid’s end up unconditionally surrendering. Gareth doesn’t so much choose his wife and son over Sula as much as he is ambushed by the family and given no choice. Really pulls at the heart strings /sarcasm.

The Empire is at peace but everybody knows that it is only a matter of time before another war breaks out as each species tries to figure out where it stands now.

 

My Thoughts:

This book was almost 700 pages and it shouldn’t have been a jot over 300. It was simply too long without enough real story to fill it up. I found myself skipping whole pages of descriptions of almost everything and I didn’t miss one part of the essential plot. So much of the writing just felt unneccessary and almost filler-like.

The fighting, whether with Sula planet side or Gareth in space, was good stuff. However, there was zero tension and you knew they were going to win in one way or another. When you read about their second battle and you’re only on page 300, you KNOW they win. Instead of the Batman roller coaster from Six Flags (where you go upside down multiple times and do all sorts of twisty turny, stomach churning twists), this was much more akin to the Pirates of the Caribbean kiddie ride at Disneyworld. Slow and sedate and enjoyable. But not thrilling by any stretch of the imagination.

There is a whole murder mystery sub-plot that occupies most of Gareth’s time and once again, it felt like padding. You have a whole Space Empire in turmoil and we get a murder mystery? It made the Naxids seems like caricature bad guys since Gareth was able to spend so much focusing on a mystery rather than fighting against them. Once again, it totally destroyed the tension.

The whole Gareth/Sula thing. That really bugged me. I mean, really bugged me. Gareth made his vows to Terza, his new wife and she is now pregnant. Tricked or not, Gareth said the vows and made the decision. Then when Sula decides to pursue him and it appears that he might divorce his wife to be with her and the whole Family ambush right at the end of the book where he decides to stay, it felt like I had eaten one of Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler’s Mystery Sausages (Discworld reference there btw).

Each book in this trilogy dropped a half star for me. I think the quality and style of the writing was exactly the same for the whole thing whereas I was expecting improvement. So it’s not that each book gets worse, it’s that each book doesn’t improve in any way or live up to the premise held forth in the first book.

The cover is the best part of the book and that is a damning indictment no matter how you look at it. * very sad face *

★★☆☆½

bookstooge

 

Deathstalker (Deathstalker #1)

58b49936760d81db97bae214f562782fThis 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: Deathstalker

Series: Deathstalker

Author: Simon Green

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 531

 

 

Synopsis:

Took this from the book page itself:

Owen Deathstalker, last of his line, is a quiet man, a historian, remote from the stench of corruption and intrigue surrounding the Iron Throne at the head of the galaxy-spanning, tyrannical Empire. And then, inexplicably, Deathstalker is outlawed, forced to flee from one end of the Empire to the other. And as he does so, he discovers that resistance is growing, everywhere, to the Iron Bitch on the Iron Throne.

That is actually a really good summary.

 

My Thoughts:

Space Opera! Pure, unalloyed, unadulterated, unashamed, Space Opera!

Corrupt Human Empire. Telepaths, other ESP’ers, clones, all without rights. Feuding lords. Rebels and Rebellion. Laser guns AND swords.

And just to make sure this was completely over the top, a spaceship that was also a stone castle. A Castle, In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

This was just fun to read. I did have to laugh, as the cover said something like “huge novel” or something [this was originally published in ’95] and it was just over 500 pages.

Story-wise, this moved along very nicely from viewpoint to viewpoint and kept things fresh. Solid writing and good ideas made for a very good start to this series. And the revelations along the way promise to make the future books interesting as well.

I’m very satisfied with my read of this.