Defiance (The Spiral Wars #4) ★★★☆½

defiance (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: Defiance
Series: The Spiral Wars #4
Author: Joel Shepherd
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 475
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Lisbeth Debogande is being held hostage by one Faction of the Parran. This Faction wants to force her brother Erik, star captain gone rogue with a drysine queen on his advance ship, to support them in their bid to become the primary Faction of all Parrans. Lisbeth makes the best of a bad situation and begins learning about the Parran and ends up as the liason between them and the humans on Eric’s ship.

Erik, meanwhile is dealing with a Drysine queen that has a datacore that it wants decoded. And that will lie to get what it wants. A secret moon base (thankfully no ewoks are included!) at the bottom of a gravity well is the only place where Styx, the queen, can decode the datacore they stole in the previous book. It is called Defiance, hence the name of this book.

At the same time the threat of the Deepynines (another machine intelligent race) increases as the Deepynine/Alo/Sard alliance is revealed in attacks on Parran ships and stations, wiping out all lifeforms.

Erik and Crew, along with various Parran military powers, lead the Deepynines to the moon to prevent further genocide of other planet bound Parrens. This gravity well gives the humans and parrans a chance to destroy the deepynines while Styx awakens the moon and its defenses. Huge battle, deepynines defeated, massive death toll among the humans and parrans, lots of secrets revealed which show that most of galactic history is a lie. The Drysines were allied with a LOT of biological races, against most of the other Machine races.

Styx, in the process of decoding the datacore, finds out where the Deepynines might have come from and its square in the middle of unknown territory held by biologicals so scary that they make the race that destroyed the Earth look like puppydogs.

 

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, almost the exact same issues that I had with Kantovan Vault appear in this book as well. I read that back in August and 7 months later, it would have been REALLY nice to have a character list so when I needed a refresher on who was who I could have it at my finger tips. It isn’t needed for every single character to ever appear, but a list of all the major players, that would just be nice, especially since the ending of this book shows that this is turning into a possibly Never Ending Series kind of series.

My second issue is the author’s fascination with detail. I DON’T need pages of how the Parran political process works and all the cultural ramifications and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It wasn’t badly written mind you, but my goodness, between that and all the descriptive padding, a good editor could have cut out 75 pages. These books need to get a bit leaner. Shepherd is bulking them up unnecessarily and the fast pace bogs right down to almost zero at times.

The things that I did like from the first book are still in place. When Shepherd does his action scenes, whether in space or on the ground, man, it grabs me by the throat and just chokes the living daylights out of me. The last 40% of this book was like that. It was just too bad it took that long to get there. Hence my complaining about the bloat.

I like the characters. Lisbeth is growing up, Erik is coming into his own, even if his ship is destroyed from under him by the end of the book. Other characters are growing or moving away. Trace Thakur took a major departure from the line I was expecting. She and Erik suddenly went all brother/sister feeling instead of the romance that I “thought” was developing. Skah, the little fuzzy alien teddybear child, is getting suckered in by Styx and I’m wondering how Shepherd is going to use that plot line. It better not end in Skah’s subversion to machine or something. Styx shows herself for the lying, genocidal machine bug she really is. Eveyrone is going on about how bad the deepynines are and how they NEED Styx even while acknowleding that Styx is actually a worse threat; she’s just contained. We’ll see how the revelations about the Drysine and biologicals change my outlook, but I’d still put a bullet through her braincase. Machine intelligences are bad, period.

I enjoyed this the same as Kantovan Vault but with the same faults, I can’t give it the same rating. Shepherd didn’t learn anything, so this book is getting knocked down half a star. I just hope the next book improves.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Advertisements

Kantovan Vault (The Spiral Wars #3) ★★★★☆

kantovanvault (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: Kantovan Vault
Series: The Spiral Wars #3
Author: Joel Shepherd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 545
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Erik is in the middle of Tavali space, under the protection of a special branch of the Tavali armed forces. They are searching for a data core of an old Drysine Queen so that the queen on board, Styx, can become fully functional and help in the fight against the Alo, who seem to have been suborned by the Deepynines, another supposedly extinct machine race.

The Tavali are even crazier in their politics than humanity and some of their sub-allies are just plain nuts. The long and short is that Erik’s sister is kidnapped, which forces him to mastermind a break-in of the Tavali’s most secret treasure cave, the Kantovan Vault. Within said vault is a journal that will help Styx find the data core and the Tavali military gain the upper hand against their civilian counter parts.

Of course, the Tavali military doesn’t know that Erik has the help of Styx, a Drysine. The Tavali have specially trained units to deal with remnants of Drysine machinery and if they know that Erik has an active Queen, well, he and his crew have as much chance of surviving as I do if I pissed straight into the sun.

Yeah, no chance.

 

My Thoughts:

This was almost as good as the previous two books. I hadn’t realized it had been just over a year since I read book 2 though. Which leads me into my first issue.

Names. There was not a glossary or character list at the beginning of the book. Usually I don’t care about that, but when single names get tossed about, with a military designation, it would be nice to know WHO that person is. It wouldn’t be an issue if this was a completed series and I was reading them every month or two, but with a year between reads, it would have been nice to have a character list. And a sum-up of the previous book, even 2-3 paragraphs to remind me what has gone on.

Second, and final issue, was that things seemed a bit dragged out. I found myself skipping descriptions of “whatever” and sometimes even conversations if they didn’t seem 100% on point to the plot. I suspect Shepherd would have gotten a “what a simplistic book” if he HADN’T added all those extra bits, so maybe he just can’t win? But drag is something to be aware of.

The battles, once again, were the high point. All ground force fights, ranging everywhere from remote mountain tops to a subway system with mecha. The Tavali military calls up some of its retirees to help out Erik and Co on a planet and man, that was awesome. Pitched battles in slum’y areas. Buildings toppling, explosions, etc, etc. It was glorious.

While I know that the Drysines are needed in the fight against the Deepynines, I’m still rooting for someone on board Erik’s ship to blow Styx to kingdom come and back. It feels like having Skynet on board; it’s just waiting to turn on you and kill you. Brrrrrr. I don’t care if Styx becomes a hero, I’ll think of it as a badguy to the bitter end of the series.

Another thing I liked was that no one came across as stupid. Sometimes you’ll get a lazy author who makes the characters act in such a way, to propel the story onward, that you wonder if the character is an idiot. None of that here. Professionals all around and acting like the adults they are written as. Bravo to Shepherd for that!

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Drysine Legacy (Book 2)
  2. Renegade (Book 1)

Drysine Legacy (The Spiral Wars #2)

Drysine Legacy - Joel ShepherdThis 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 & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Drysine Legacy

Series: The Spiral Wars

Author: Joel Shepherd

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 471

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Federation starship Phoenix and her crew are on the run. But not on the run from just the Federation it seems. Various alien species are attacking them, for various reasons. Add in the apparent rise of an ancient machine race, and the discovery of their ancient foe on board the Phoenix and it is apparent that Erik Debogande and the rest of the crew are onto something much bigger than they ever thought.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this just as much as the previous book. Having to face a choice of resurrecting a monster machine race to fight another monster machine race is just “ugh”. Possible subjugation of all biological life or certain subjugation.

The action was awesome. The huge battle at the end between the various Hacksaw forces with the Phoenix kind of dodging between was spectacular. Space Marines [always my favorite] versus horrible alien killing machines that ruled the Universe millennia ago.

I thought that this book wrapped up the series. All major issues were taken care of and while the whole “genocidal machine killers” wasn’t, that aspect was big enough to have its own trilogy or even a series. When looking at the authors website though, it appears that this will be a trilogy. Not sure what the 3rd book will be about and still be a wrapping up point. Oh well, something to look forward to once it actually gets written.

I’ve enjoyed these 2 books enough that I’ll be hunting down others by Shepherd and giving them a go.

Renegade (The Spiral Wars #1)

Renegade - Joel ShepherdThis 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: Renegade

Series: The Spiral Wars

Author: Joel Shepherd

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 451

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

 

1000 years ago, Earth was destroyed by a hostile alien race and humanity was on the brink of extinction. With the help and aid of 2 other alien races, humanity began a war of genocide against the killers of earth. We won. They are forever gone. We then moved on to punish the masters of that race. They surrendered after a galaxy wide and protracted war. Their power of the Spiral Arm of the galaxy was broken.

 

Erik Debogande is a third pilot under a famous Captain. When that Captain disappears and then Erik is framed for his murder, Erik, along with a Marine commander who knows more than she lets on, takes control of the ship and begins a race of survival against an unknown enemy who has plans unimaginable. What the Phoenix and her crew find out will change the History of the Galaxy, and potentially its future.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Whoooo! This was a thrill a minute book! Several times my adrenaline levels rose and I could feel my heart racing. And it wasn’t because of caffeine or the such. The writing was just good enough to pull me right into the action and make me feel like I was there.

 

The idea of humanity losing Earth and the such brings me back to the times I’ve watched Titan, A.E. and I still love that movie. This story was about AFTER.  And man, does humanity kick butt. Of course, being a young race, we’re being manipulated and this story is showing how we’ve been manipulated and what we can possibly do about it. Another thing I liked; machine civilizations inimical to biological life. That is just cool.

 

Overall, this was a great SF book with lots and lots of fighting.