Book Review: Galactic Outlaws (Galaxy’s Edge Book 2)

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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 currently going on, and we get points for page reads.  I’m thrilled as it prompted me to read more, as I’ve let writing get in the way of reading!  In addition to reading more in the last few months, this month I’ve been working the editorial revisions for book four, the final book of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout and For a Few Credits More are live!

But enough about me, onto this specific review.  Now let’s get to it! 

 

Title:  Galatic Outlaws (Galaxy’s Edge Book 2)

Author:  Jason Anspach and Nick Cole

Price:  USD 3.99 (Kindle Edition)

Obtained:  I bought this novel from Amazon, upon hearing about it from the Keystroke Medium vlog.

Pages:  424

Galactic Outlaws

 

Rating:  5/5 Grenades

5 Grenade

Summary:

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.  Heck, I cribbed this summary from the back, and then I add my own twist!  And not even much of one, since most of the books I read have kick butt descriptions (aka blurbs).  If the blurb doesn’t catch my eye, then I tend to skip the book unless a friend recommends it.  Generally speaking, my goal is to provide a spoiler-free review, so here goes nothing!here

 

This novel, Galactic Outlaws, is the second in the Galaxy’s Edge series.  This book takes place seven years after the Battle of Kublar, the topic of the first novel, Legionnaire. If you haven’t read the first book, click here, where I’ve reviewed it!  In the follow-on to the hit Legionnaire, we meet a young girl who’s searching the crime-ridden gutters of seedy starports for a hero. She wants to hire someone to help her avenge her father’s murder. Her mantra, justice delayed is justice denied. A short jump away from Prisma Maydoon, a double-dealing legionnaire-turned-smuggler navigates a treacherous course past Republic lackeys. He manages to sneak past wanton space pirates. All in search of an epic payday. And somewhere deeper into the galaxy’s edge, a mysterious bounty hunter waits for them both… for redemption? Or revenge? The voices in his head won’t say which.

 

In a nutshell, this book has it all: sleek starfighters, exotic aliens, loyal bots, blasters, scoundrels, heroes, and powerful enemies in a thrilling adventure that will take you back to that magic place from a long time ago.

 

If you like epic space opera, with a side of military science fiction, you should read this series.  Plenty of explosions, with authentically gritty combat.  If this sounds like your flavor of badassery, then you’ve come to the right place!  This novel is a brilliant introduction to the Galaxy’s Edge Universe, where they fix everything George Lucas broke in this Star-Wars-Not-Star-Wars adventure.  I wish I could give you an easy comparison, if you enjoyed Book 1, buy this book but I really feel like Nick and Jason broke new ground here.  They’ve revived that sense of newness and fun that we loved as children, that brought most of us to the science fiction genre!  There are other military sci-fi books out there, but none quite like this!

 

 

Characters: 

In this novel, we meet a small cast of characters, all of whom we meet in their first-person point of view. Instead of a cluster of legionnaires, we have a space pirate, a bounty hunter, and a young girl/woman out for vengeance. Sadly, we don’t get to meet Legionnaire Sergeant Cohen Chhun in this book. I liked him, and hope they bring him back! In this book, the new characters feel like real people, who you could relate to. When they cried, I cried. When they laughed, I laughed. Everything you want from your fictional characters! But let’s move past the platitudes and talk specifics. There were several main characters in this novel, so I’ll break them down for you.

 

Aeson Keel: He’s a grizzled bounty hunter, who is perfectly willing to do business with the Mid-Core Rebellion and the Republic. He’ll double cross both, if the monies right, and not lose a nights sleep over it. He’s a quick draw and a crack shot, as befits someone who works closely with the infamous ex-leej, Wraith. We met Wraith in Legionnaire, and Keel helps him fulfill his contracts. He’s the kind of guy you wouldn’t gamble with or trust with your daughter, but you’d want him on your side in a pinch. There is a lot I could say about Keel, but I promised a spoiler free review.

 

Tyrus Rex: He’s an enigmatic warrior monk, who uses his bounty hunter status to rid criminals from the galaxy’s edge. He’s seeking to fight the slow fade out of his dotage, and the vague wisps of memory fragments. With his Mark 1 Legionnaire Armor and a bevy of durable weapons from the Golden Age of the Republic, he kicks ass and takes names. He’s a scarred veteran of numerous campaigns, who felt real and flushed out. Don’t get me wrong, he had the allure of mystery about him. But it never came across as hollow or lacking depth. I never felt like he was just one of those stereotypical military killers.  He was badass, whose mere visage populates the nightmares of many ne’er do wells.

 

Prisma Maydoon: She’s a young woman-child who watched her father gunned down by bad guys in scary black legionnaire armor. She vows revenge against the man in the black cape who led them. She’s adopted the mantra that justice delayed is justice denied and seeks to hire the best bounty hunter that money can buy. Prisma once told her dad that she’s “almost a woman,” but the rest of the cast of characters refer to her as an innocent child. I never could pin down her age, but I think she’s around 12 years old.

 

Goth Sullus: Your prototypical bad guy, who we don’t really meet, except through the lens of the main characters. He’s dark and scary, someone who drives the plot and makes the second Galaxy’s Edge novel resonate emotionally with you.

 

In conclusion, I think that these characters were well fleshed out and three-dimensional.  They all added to what is clearly a vast and expansive universe.  All of the characters were a lot of fun to get to know and made me feel countless emotions.  I felt like I could relate to them as people, and I would love to hang out and drink a beer with them. Except for Prisma, she’s too young to drink. We’ll leave her on the ship and drink her rum ration too!  I’ll give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades. I can’t wait to see where the author takes them all throughout this new series!

 

 

Plot: 

Like most of the military fiction, I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in a galaxy far, far away in a Star-Wars-Not-Star-Wars Universe. The grand premise for this series was to take the kind of Star Wars stories we used to love, strip out all of the political messaging, and just tell fun tales.  Escapism and enjoyment, under the banner of intergalactic science fiction.  We again get to see the world through a first-person point-of-view, which didn’t even bother me this time around. And we see the world from multiple points of view. Like in the previous novel, you feel the chaos and confusion that combat and intergalactic intrigue brings. It was a good set-up and well-executed premise that held my interest from the first sentence.  The plot grew and expanded from where we left it in Legionnire, and I can only imagine even bigger things coming from the Galaxy’s Edge world.  The author balanced the action, with the exposition and world-building, so the story never felt flat.  Unlike the first book, I never felt confused by the universe, as the world felt intuitive and you cohereuld so easily immerse yourself in the book. This book answered any remaining questions from book one in regards to world building, and it did this without negatively impacting the plot. I think that I’ve become conditioned to these large expansive worlds because of the copious amounts of space opera that I read. I only remind you of that, to point out that your mileage may vary on some of the ways I adapted to this story. With the fast pacing, this action-packed adventure story never slowed down and left you wanting more. I’m seriously concerned about the withdrawal symptoms I’ll experience when I catch up and finish the  4th book.

 

As you can tell by the gushing, I’m still addicted to this universe.  I couldn’t put it down, the plot was that compelling.  I really loved the premise, and more importantly, I enjoyed how the execution.  The pacing was excellent, and there was never a slow moment.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; a unique premise, perfect execution, and incredible pacing!  I again give Cole/Anspach 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the second book in the Galaxy’s Edge Series, and I absolutely loved it. It was even better than the first book, which I also loved.  Can I say that enough?  Okay, back to the nitty-gritty of the review.  This novel had a very fleshed out world that was consistent, made sense and sucked you in. The authors kept everything that was awesome about book one and kicked it up a notch.  I loved the way they handled inserting new tidbits about the larger universe and history in such a way that you didn’t even notice. Okay, I noticed because I was looking for it but their insertion of the world building was subtle.  I took a few notes for my own series that I’ve had floating around in my head for the last five years or so.  While there were still new and unexplored corners of Anspach and Cole’s massive and immersive universe that were grayed out or as yet unexplored, you never felt like you were missing anything important.  Some parts weren’t there, but rather than detract from the world building, it made the universe feel that much larger. For example, there’s a lot of historical reference to the Savage Wars. You know it happened, and we continually learn how brutal it was. But having the picture of it resting on the mantel, versus an info dump in this series, makes the universe feel massive. Don’t get me wrong, I want books on that time period, but this style of world-building works.  It definitely made me want to become part of the larger world.  Seriously, can I buy some Galaxy’s Edge swag?  Well, yes I could if I clicked here and snuck the credit card out of my wife’s cold dead hands!  LOL!  Okay, she’s not THAT tight-fisted… but she’s close!

 

Okay, back to the world building!  What else can be said?  I was hooked already, but Anspach and Cole set the hook deeper and dragged me out into deeper waters!  I’m more convinced than ever that there’s room for CosPlay and a fandom for this world, and can’t wait for my own Legionnaire armor!  Think they come in XXXL?  The co-authors described the world with plenty of details, and there wasn’t a scene where I couldn’t picture it. Everything that was good about the first book remained, and they’d just added on for extra credit!  They didn’t reinvent the wheel and built on the existing tropes of science fiction.  They just made it fun again!  The last book focused on the Legionnaire’s, but this one was more of a Han Solo, Not Han Solo action adventure.  And yeah, we all know Han shot first!  Even Anspach and Cole couldn’t mess this up!  But they took the good from that hack Lucas and made it better!  Who needs Star Wars anyway, we have Galaxy’s Edge!  Overall, the world building was well done, and I was sold on the way it happened.  It felt believable, and the characters fit within the universe Cole/Anspach created. I’ve already started the third novel and pre-ordered the fourth!  Oh, and I’ve gotten my wife interested in reading this one!  Like before, this was a fun ride that made me long for a spaceship of my own to command… which is the goal of action/adventure authors!  Like most of the stories I read, this one didn’t take itself too seriously, which allowed you to focus on the fun which is why I read in the first place.  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.

 

 

Description: 

I have to give it to the authors, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  He described things across the sensory spectrum; sights, sounds, smells and even how the world felt. This was done with perfection that only comes from seasoned writers and includes some solid editing.  He continued with what worked from book one and kicked it up by a factor of five.  This is how it’s done, and I hope to get that good someday.  While I could visualize all of the worlds, I would still love it if the authors shared artists renderings from this immersive world!  The world was just so awesome that I wanted to SEE it as the authors envisioned it.  If it’s only a tenth as cool as what I pictured in my head, it would be worth every penny.  Last time I mentioned that this writing duo went lite on the details on how everyone looked, but this time they did better.  The balance of descriptive exposition and info dumping was perfectly executed.  The spaceships that we meet in this book were excellently described, and you could easily envision yourself strolling their passageways. They improved upon the descriptions for the legionnaires and their kit.  This section was even better than the last book.  To be honest, I’m not sure how they get better in book three.  Another huge plus for me was Nick Cole and Jason Anspach’s descriptive use of language. They balanced the explanation of this new world with the need to move a story along and then kicked the excellence up a notch.  This book didn’t have a single place where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which added to the world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  You could almost smell the ionized ozone from the epic space battles as the dilithium crystals went supernova.  The author’s description of their universe was evocative, and kept my uber-fan status for another round!!  The only slight drawback of how descriptive they were, it was was a little bit distracting.  Seriously, it made you wanna take a moment and explore every nook and cranny, but that’s a sign of an amazingly built universe.  And a little birdy told me that they DO intend to explore those nooks and crannies!  I’m hoping to learn more about T-Rex and the Savage Wars!  In summary, I didn’t find any issues with the descriptions and was impressed by the literary skills of the authors.  The action was gripping, and the story was fun.  If you want the action, the adventure, and the PEW PEW, then this is the book for you!  Nick Cole and Jason Anspach brought it, they were definitely their A game.  I give them 5 out of 5 grenades in this category.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, it was a lot of fun to read.  It brought back the epic space romps I read and loved as a kid.  No deep messages, or political themes, just good clean fun.  I even found myself hiding in the bathroom so I could read this book while I was supposed to be editing my own book!  Shh, don’t tell Boss Man!  I’ve gotten my wife hooked, now she wants to read the series with me!  Think I can get her to make some Leej armor with me?  I mean, if we make our own then I can make it Quad XL!  Hell, if it helps convince you, I’ll admit that I started a Galaxy’s Edge Fan Club on Facebook.  I liked it that much!  If you want to talk shop with his, pop on over and say hi!  Click here and apply to join!  Come one, come all, seriously!

 

The story was compelling and made me want to fly my own spaceship.  If I hide the ship from my wife, can I still be the captain?  Let’s be real, my fighting days are over, and any semblance of command authority left when I hung up my stripes.  Sigh, think the wife will at least let me be the first officer?  But hey, I could forget that while I read this book and pretend I was still my own man!  I could be young and spry again, capable of chewing lead, spitting out bullets and walking through fire.  Definitely gave me a case of the feels, and I found myself wanting to be a part of it all.  I couldn’t afford to be a paying member of the Galactic Legion, but at least I could serve in an auxiliary role by starting the fan club!  Think I can be the next Porkins?

 

I don’t want to come on too strong, but I loved this book.  It’s right up there with Terry Mixon’s Empire of Bones series.  Maybe there’s just something about a few old Army guys telling stories that I love?  When I read this book, I mourned the loss of the brave warriors killed in battle.  And with this much action, well there were a lot of corpses laying around.  But that’s just your average day around Tyrus Rex, galactic badass.  I raised my micro-brewed beer, toasting in their honor!  This was my second Nick Cole and Jason Anspach novel, and I’m sold.  Bought book three and the pre-order for four!  I think I’ll be hanging one of their book covers on the wall of my man cave if my wife lets me have one!

 

The first thing that caught my eye was the fantastic cover, it was amazingly compelling.  Seriously, if I weren’t colorblind and art dumb, I’d add a section to the book review template on the covers because so many of them are kicking butt these days!  I know I said this about Scott Bartlett’s cover too, but the caliber of covers is certainly improving, and this book just kicks Awesome up a notch!  They reminded me of the fun comic images I loved, or movie posters from the action adventures I read when I was supposed to be studying.  When I finally have a dedicated office or man cave, I’m decorating it with these covers!  I’ll hide it on the back of the door, so she can’t see it!  Better to beg for forgiveness and all!

 

So, onto the book itself.  The military culture shown was spot on, just what I’d expect from an Army veteran.  The corruption of big governments seemed like what you’d expect, especially if you’re a student of human nature.  The irreverence of the ex-leej characters fit with many of the disillusioned veterans you’d meet in hundreds of VA waiting rooms.  Nick and Jason made it clear that their world was flushed out, and didn’t fall into some of the traps most military sci-fi did.  The troops run out of ammo, dumb luck happens, and good soldiers still die.  Sometimes the good guys do bad things, and there are emotional consequences for their actions.  Nothing happens in a vacuum in this universe, and it makes the story that much better for it!  Moving right along, the ground combat described was primal, and immersive.  It was everything you want from the genre.  The space battles were believable, gripping and I never felt like the author missed a chance to get creative with the tactics.  Lots of dodging, banking and all the other big science words I’m too dumb to understand!  I just kept thinking, “whirlybird go pew pew,” as I read along.  Luckily Nick is a nice guy, who handed me some crayons and drew me a few visual aids to speed along my comprehension!  If you ask nicely, maybe he’ll draw you one too!  This book was textbook KTF, the mantra of the Legionnaire!  And some ZOOM ZOOM for the spacers out there reading this!  Such a detailed portrayal of the tactics is rare, and this second novel in the universe didn’t disappoint.  It was nice to add another universe to the list of ones I can read over and over again!

 

Seriously, I realize I’ve gone full fanboy, but the authors have definitely raised the bar for military science fiction authors everywhere.  I was hooked from the first page!  They wove the action in such a compelling way that you wanted to jump into a Preyhunter and fly off into the icy blackness of the void!  Basically, they had me hooked from the beginning and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!  I give this novel a 5 out of 5 grenades!  If it weren’t cheating, I’d give it 6 grenades!

 

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it inspired you to fly your own beat up old junker. You know, the one you bought from that honest used vehicle salesman, he’d never lie to you!  And with your super cool ship in hand, you decide to be a space pirate. You seek to get the fastest parsec score this side of the Lucas Galaxy! But your rusty old bucket really is just a pile of junk. And when you hit the throttle, you leave behind parts of your ship in your wake. And that thrift shop space suit? Yep, it leaks. So when your last critical system fails, well you become a floating popsicle. But at least you leave a sexy corpse!  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  Or maybe you’ll be okay?  I mean, you could be the first person the used car salesman was honest with?  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome just MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from the end times!

 

 

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Galactic Outlaws (Galaxy’s Edge Book 2)

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