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



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.



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



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




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 *




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




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.