Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN. It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time. There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories. I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series. Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!
But enough about me, onto this specific review. Now let’s get to it!
Author: Chris Kennedy
Narrator: Craig Good
Price: $3.99 USD (Kindle Edition) & $1.99 USD (Audible Add On)
Obtained: I bought the story and audiobook combination from Amazon.
Rating: 5/5 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! This novel carries on after Janissaries, the first novel in The Theogony Trilogy. Lieutenant Commander Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs and his special forces platoon just returned from a three-month mission to the stars. The technology they brought back will help, but it won’t be enough to hold off the alien menace headed their way. Although they returned alive, they returned without finding any new allies or help in building the fleet necessary to ensure the Earth’s survival.
They’ve got to go back out to the stars.
“When the Gods Aren’t Gods” is the second book in “The Theogony,” a trilogy that takes Lieutenant Commander Hobbs and his special forces platoon to the stars, where they have found out that there is much more to Earth’s history than is written in the history books!
What do you do when myths become reality, and nothing you have ever been taught about history turns out to be true? How do you find the truth when everything you know is a lie? What is there left to believe in, when even the gods aren’t gods?
In this novel, we get more in depth with Shawn Hobbs, with the other characters in the series given secondary status. This novel didn’t lose any of the characters that were awesome in the previous books in this universe, nor did Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology awesome. Calvin Hobbs was a flushed out, three-dimensional character that I thought was a lot of fun. I felt like I could relate to him as a person, and was someone I would want to hang out with. While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death! Like his previous novels, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this science fiction military thriller. Here is a brief summary of the main character.
Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs: He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who becomes an instant war herp/celebrity once he got shot down during the opening salvo of the Sino America War. He got involved with the resistance and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force. These actions caught the attention of the aliens spying on humanity, and end with him being requested to lead humanities efforts to assist their new alien allies. In this book we follow him as he helps unify the Earth around the
Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character throughout this series!
Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel. The story is set in the post Sino American War world, after China invaded Seattle as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan. Immediately after the war ends, aliens make contact with Earth. We find out that most of Earths mythologies are actually aliens who visited humanity in its infancy and those who witnessed it and left told the stories of these “gods” to their people. As part of the quest to find allies in the pending war against the Drakuls, Shawn Hobbs gets to meet these aliens.
The premise was interesting and the set-up was well executed. We see a conclusion of the goal of a unified Earth and a one world government, which granted access to more bad assed advanced tech from the Psiclopes’s stranded on Earth. Chris covered the needed political gamesmanship very well, with the required non-action scenes not bogging down the plot. I would love to give some examples, but this is a spoiler free review!
With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible. Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech! On a happy note, this book ditched some of the aviation porn in favor of ground combat. This was excellently handled, with tactics that fit the world Chris created. I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how he executed it. I couldn’t ask for anything more; excellent premise, perfect execution and wonderful pacing! I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!
This is the second book in The Theogony Trilogy, and I’m still hooked on this world! Like in the previous novel in this trilogy, this world was very flushed out. I was especially pleased with the way Chris Kennedy handled the evolution from our current geopolitical status quo into the unified Terran Government created in this book. The new Republic of Terra conversion was handled well, I was sold on the way it happened. Even with a pending alien invasion, there was dissent and political gamesmanship. The changes were believable, and there was no waving of the hands to address the realities of geopolitics at the international level. There would be no panacea for the new world government, as each nation jockeyed for power. Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible. I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.
Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world. There were some scenes which were confusing, and difficult to envision, but like the last novel he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia with the need to move a story along. There were very few places where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which added to world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it. He was, alas, a little light on the details of what the various characters looked like. And he went overboard on the mythology and religion, which isn’t something I normally look for in my science fiction. Overall, I give Chris 4 out of 5 grenades in this category!
Like the previous novels, this audiobook was excellently executed. The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book. He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone. His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me. Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down. This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book. He must be growing on me? You might notice that my review of his performance has been the same for his last three books, and it’s because he provides a steady and consistent performance. Overall, I give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his performance.
I really loved this book, it made my drive very enjoyable and I was able to escape the multitude of bad drivers that littered the highways and die-ways. With this book, I listened to all but a few chapters, which is a testament to the quality of the audiobook.
Like the previous book in this trilogy, the cover was amazingly invocative. I love how the trilogy has a similar theme running through it, and picking military unit patches for the space marines definitely fit this book. I could definitely see this on some swag! The military culture shown in this book was spot on, even the ground combat. Such accurate portrayal of the tactics is rare, especially when coming from a sailor like Chris Kennedy. He wove the action in such a compelling way that you could almost forget that he was just a silly fly boy! As for the military equipment, well it was a lot smoother than the previous novel. None of the future tech was perfect, it didn’t always work and sometimes failed at the worst possible moments. That is a good thing, as it adds realism to his novels! As an additional plus, we got to play with his believable small unit tactics when the new Republic of Terra Space Marines were formed and used by Calvin Hobbs. Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel. I even stayed up to late, reading in the hotel bathroom once the kids went to bed!! It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering which grunt he bribed for the insight into how we think! This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again. Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel! But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!
If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it! Well, unless it motivates you to squeeze your fat body into your old uniform and you die from the shock to your system. And when you die, you end up in limbo, all alone. And since you’re alone, you go insane from the solitude. And in your insanity, you try to fly, but can’t. Instead, you’re left merged with the asphalt you fell onto at your failed effort to recreate Kitty Hawk. Stuck in the asphalt, your soul wastes away until there is no you left and you fade out just as Ragnarök begins. Yeah, it would suck to miss that so maybe you should tread lightly! Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you. But hey, at least you got to see eternity pass you by as you fade into nothing. On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you. Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from up there!
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 or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.