Hey Space Cadets, a quick update on my series. The first two novels in The Sleeping Legion Series are live and I’m hard at work writing book three. I hope to have it to my editing team by the end of January 2017, unless life kicks me in the shins again. For today I bring you the first in my planned book review series. As I read something good, I’ll review it and recommend it to you. Instead of boring old stars, I’ll rate it on a scale of 1 thru 5 grenades. Obviously the bigger the boom the better!
Author: Jason Cordova
Price: $4.99 USD but it’s available for free in Kindle Unlimited
Obtained: I received an ARC for an honest review on Amazon, but liked it enough to buy it once it went live.
Rating: 4/5 Grenades
First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel. I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing! In a nut shell, this is a book about family, no matter what. The Espinoza’s believe that in the end, family is all that remains. It was a theme throughout the book and was very believable, the author executed this well. There was also an underlying theme of loyalty to country versus loyalty towards one’s own interests. It became increasingly clear that the author felt that duty above all was key, which fit nicely into the world he created.
Fundamentally, Gabriel Espinoza’s story arc is about his man’s undying love for the woman of his dreams. While I wouldn’t call it a traditional love story, Gabriel’s love for his fiancée is one of the driving forces of this novel. She is the be all, end all, of his existence and the impetus for his story arc. When he fails a genetic purity test, they decide to head off to the outer planets where the discrimination is less onerous and the laws are less strict. The hope was that they could remain in peace, but that wasn’t meant to be. War loomed on the horizon! But seriously, would we have it any other way.
The final character arc was for Andrew Espinoza, a clandestine government operative for The Dominion of Man. His arc was a bit more complicated, and left me wondering throughout the book which path he’d take. He’s torn between his duty to his Emperor and his familial loyalties. During the course of the book Andrew must infiltrate a rich and powerful clan to determine if they are plotting against the Dominion of Man, but while undercover he discovers something far darker and more dangerous is lurking in the shadows. All of this ties in with the rest of his family, but I couldn’t explain it without putting out spoilers. If Andrew interests you, read Wraithkin!
In the end, one brother must save himself; the other must save the universe. But can either survive long enough to achieve their goal? Well, read the book and find out!
The two main characters are Gabriel and Andrew Espinoza, who are both citizens in the Dominion of Man.
Andrew Espinoza: I found that I liked Andrew a lot, I could relate to him – he would fit with many of the grunts I served with. Hard when he needed to be, but able to be one of the guys when things were calm. I can’t speak to his time as a spook, but his characters were certainly believable. If he showed up on my door step, I’d drink a beer with him no problem. I can’t describe him, other than shorter and stronger than his peers from other planets, which left me filling in my thoughts on his looks. I would have preferred a better description of him; however, it didn’t keep me from reading the rest of the book. He was insanely loyal to his Emperor, which seemed odd since his nation was actively discriminating and discarding his younger brother and others like him. That part was hard to swallow, but I get the impression that it will be addressed in books two and beyond. Overall, the character was very well rounded and I liked him
Gabriel Espinoza: I initially disliked this character – I saw him as a spoiled brat. As he grew I came to at least understand him. His woe is me approach didn’t last too long enough to make me throw my iPod, where I read with the Kindle App. That’s a plus! Again, as with his older brother, I don’t have a firm handle on what he looks like. I prefer to be able to visualize him, but if that’s my biggest complaint we’re okay. As for his believability, I never quite bought his obsessive loyalty to the Emperor and the system that was actively discriminating against him for his genetic impurities. It felt off, hollow somehow. Maybe it will become a thing in book two, answering the question once and for all? I can say that I will buy his books to find out! One good thing in his favor was that he was a sympathetic character. He lost his whole world when the genetic test said he wasn’t “Perfect” and it had to suck to be forced to open your eyes and see the harsh reality of the world around you. It made him well rounded, but again…I didn’t particularly like him.
This was an action-packed novel, it never really lagged for me. I read it from start to finish in one setting because I couldn’t put it down. I believed that the tactics worked for the novel, the action was believable and the story flowed seamlessly from one plot point to another. Wraithkin was easy to follow, and I was never confused by what was going on. The only real part of the plot which I didn’t quite buy was the obsessive loyalty, despite the foul treatment from the system. I would like to think I would rise up and be an agent of change, rather than just accept the status quo. Who knows, either way it was a part of the plot that didn’t hit the sweet spot for me.
I found the world building to be well done, there were parts I didn’t like but it was believable. I desperately wanted the citizens to rise up against the system of Perfects vs Imperfects, but it was unfulfilled. Who knows, maybe the author wanted us to hate that part of the Dominion? I could envision myself in this world, but I’d probably be kicking the applecart over in a hundred million ways. The only part I couldn’t buy was the obsessive loyalty to the Emperor. I know, I sound like a broken record but that’s the thing that I just couldn’t accept.
Other than the lack of descriptions of how people looked, the rest of the world was very easy to visualize. This one section the author got right!
I think that the easiest way for me to explain my thoughts, is to tell you how I received the novel. I was given a free ARC (advanced reader copy) eBook a week before the novel went live. In return, I was to post an honest review on Amazon for the author on the day it launched. I loved it, gave it 4 out of 5 Stripes because he hooked me. I went on to buy a copy, because I liked it enough that I wanted to support the author. It’s an amazing romp through Jason Cordova’s sick and twisted imagination, and I found I was a fan. In all honesty, this is a book I would happily recommend. Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel! Some novel’s I’ve known to only like enough to check out from the library versus buying it. Or I’ll suggest you read it in KU where you’re not out too much cash. Not the case with Cordova’s world.
If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out! You won’t regret it! Well, unless it keeps you up all night and you’re late to work… and then your boss fires you, because you became a book addict and a rabid Jason Cordova fan. Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you. Be warned, but enjoy the high!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.