Book Review: Sword of the Legion (Galaxy’s Edge Book 5)

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Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. I’ve been in a reading slump, but as you can see from my last two posts I have come out of it with a bang. Though lately, life has been chaotic, I have enjoyed the reading I have fit into my schedule and wanted to share what I just read! I’ve finished writing my second novel for the year and sent it off to the editor, so I’m pretty happy. I’m hoping both of these will come out later this year. But enough about me, onto this specific review.  Now let’s get to it!

 

Title:  Sword of the Legion (Galaxy’s Edge Book 5)

Author:  Jason Anspach and Nick Cole

Price:  USD 4.99 (Kindle Edition)

Obtained:  I bought this novel from Amazon

Pages:  332

 

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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!

 

The time has come for galactic patriots to choose their legacies. In this novel, Captain Chhun’s Dark Ops squad is reunited with Wraith, which was awesome! I mean, the band was back together again! This bad-ass team was entrusted with the task of denying Goth Sullus the shipyards he so eagerly desires. But when the mission doesn’t go as planned, Chhun and Wraith must find a way to stop the Black Fleet’s advance—even if it costs them their lives. Meanwhile, an old friend from Nether Ops executes a covert operation that will turn the focus of the Last War of the Republic in a terrible new direction. We’ll see daring heroics, sacrifice, and courage come together as the Legion attempts to contain the fire sparked at the Battle of Tarrago.

 

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 continuation of 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 X, 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 again followed a small group of characters, which I find is how I like this universe. We again meet Chhun and Wraith, the Endurian princess, and the lost little girl bent on revenge. There was even a brief cameo from everyone’s favorite NetherOps agent. All of the characters were a lot of fun to spend time with again, and made me want the book to never end (hint, hint)!

 

Captain Cohen Chhun: He’s a grizzled veteran officer of the numerous campaigns, but he felt real and not one of those stereotypical military killers.  He was badass, a consummate professional and genuinely good officer for his troops.  He’s the kind of guy you’d want on your side in a firefight, and he seems to be more relaxed and less of an ass than he was in the first novel. I would definitely say we’ve seen some character growth from Chhun, as he grows into his role as the Victory Team Leader. This growth made his character even more enjoyable in this book than he was in previous ones. In this instance, it just seems like his growth is part of the larger Dark Ops culture. Less parade ground, more covert assassin.  In the previous reviews, I said that the lack of growth from Chhun felt like they’re building something huge, and boy was I right! Wow, he was one of my favorite characters in this novel!  Overall, I really liked him and felt like there was so much more to come from him!

 

Wraith/Captain Aenson Keel/Captain Ford: He’s an enigmatic character, former/current Legion officer and all around killing machine. The multiple personas that he portrays on his covert quest to blend in with the local rabble he was tasked with watching felt mildly schizophrenic but in a good way. I felt like his character became deeper and even more complex. He’s still a beast, physically, but now we see a side of him that’s compassionate for the downtrodden and ruthless to his enemies. He’s not soft, mind you, just judicious on whom he decides to kill. Plus, he gets to play with all of the coolest toys in the galaxy and tweak his nose at the corruption that the Republic has become!

 

Prisma Maydoon: She’s a young girl/woman who sometimes seems to be a teenager, and sometimes appears to be only nine or ten. It’s easy to feel sorry for her and to see her potential as she ages, but for now, she’s annoyingly useless. In previous novels, she was a wanna be bounty hunter bent on revenge, being trained by T-Rex himself, but in this novel, she’s a helpless wretch who’s just in the way. She’s got the key to a secret weapon buried inside her, but she definitely leaves you wishing it’d been given to anyone else but her.

 

Andien Broxin: She was a Nether Ops Agent and an interesting character, but I never felt like she was fully developed. She was an enigma, an unfathomable spook hiding in the shadows. I don’t really feel any connection to her, but I understand her role in the larger plot arc, so I sort of went along for the ride. Plus, her crew of misfit killers was mildly entertaining.

 

Leenah: She’s a wonderful character that we didn’t get to see enough of. She’s an Endurian princess, from a planet where everyone is royalty, and the royal title won’t even buy you a stale ale on a mid-Core planet. She’s an awesome mechanic, who can fix anything and make it better than it was when it rolled off of the factory floor. She’s a former rebel, who hasn’t changed sides, so much as she’s just tried to make her way in the unforgiving galaxy. Growing up poor, she just wanted options and the chance to survive and thrive. She was one of my favorite characters and definitely needs more screen time.

 

Overall, it seems like the return to the main team we started within Legionnaire. I give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes the survivors of this massive Battle of Tarrago!

 

 

Plot: 

The 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. This book was like most of the military fiction I love to read, it was an action-packed novel. The story is set as the galaxy is in turmoil, reeling from the arrival of the instability caused by Goth Sullus’s arrival. We see another side of the Battle of the Tarragon Moon. We get to see this from the view of the Kill Teams that were operating in the peripheries of the previous novel. We see the world through the eyes of the Victory Company survivors of the Kublar affair. The plot was fun, creating tension and excitement. It was never boring, and the characters and universe behaved in a way that made sense for the worlds the authors created. It was a good set-up and well-executed premise that held my interest from the first sentence. They built on what came before this novel, allowing the plot to grow and expanded. I can only image bigger things coming from the Galaxy’s Edge world. I think that this is partly because I’ve become conditioned to these large expansive worlds because of the copious amounts of space opera that I read.  Maybe your mileage will vary, but it’s definitely worth checking this book out. As you can tell by the gushing, I really got into this book. 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 Nick Cole and Jason Anspach 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the fifth book in the Galaxy’s Edge Series, and I absolutely loved it.  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. Some of the details that seemed inconsequential in previous novels suddenly show themselves to be important and depth to the world at the edge of the galaxy. It definitely made me want to become part of the larger world. I liked reading about the technology used by the various services, and how they’ve evolved over the scope of this series. This is especially true with the anti-aging technology used by the Victory Company Kill Team guys, and show a change in the technological lay of the land. Through Wraith/Keel, we get to see some of the other tech from this universe, available to anyone with the credits to burn. I still love the battle armor, and wouldn’t mind a set for my birthday! The vividness of the world leaves you wanting to travel the galaxy in your own battleship. Who wouldn’t want an ion cannon to forge your own galactic empire?  I was hooked, and now I want to know it all! I definitely see room for CosPlay and a fandom for this world, and can’t wait for my own Legionnaire armor! Think they come in 12XL? They described the world with plenty of details, and there wasn’t a scene where I couldn’t picture it.  They didn’t reinvent the wheel and built on the existing tropes of science fiction. They just made it sexier! 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 Nick Cole and Jason Anspach created. 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. They described things across the sensory spectrum; sights, sounds, smells and even how the world felt. This is how it’s done, and I hope to get that good someday. While I could visualize all of the characters, I would still love it if the authors shared artists renderings for them. Unlike previous books, the spaceships in this one were described in a more vivid way, nothing was left for you to make up. They gave you the building blocks you needed to see it for yourself. One huge plus for me was Nick Cole and Jason Anspach’s descriptive use of language, a skill they’ve carried through the first four books as well. They balanced the explanation of this new world with the need to move a story along. 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. The author’s description of their universe was evocative, and enough to please rookies and uber fans alike! 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.  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 battles that I acted out as a kid, laying in the grass playing with my action figures. This was definitely a lot closer to the fast-paced space combat full of explosions and the fog of war than the previous four novels, which was awesome. It built on what I liked about Legionnaire (Book 1), Kill Team (Book 3) and Attack of Shadows (Book 4). There were no deep messages, or political themes, just good clean fun. Like the previous novels, this story was compelling and made me want to know more. Unlike the previous novel, Attack of Shadows, it felt like I knew who to root for. I knew who the bad guys were, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Like the previous novels in this universe, the first thing that caught my eye was the fantastic cover. Seriously, they’re all amazingly compelling. If you want to learn more about them, the Galaxy’s Edge mailing list will show you how the covers evolved to their final version. This was one series where I wished I weren’t color blind, 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 don’t know if the authors are setting that trend, or following it, but I don’t care because we the readers are winning on this front! The Galaxy’s Edge covers reminded me of the iconic science fiction covers I loved as a kid, or the movie posters from the action adventures I watched when I was supposed to be studying. When I finally have a dedicated office or man cave, I’m decorating it with these covers!  And whenever they sell swag, that too!

 

Now onto the book itself! The military culture shown was spot on, just what I’d expect from an Army veteran. Nobody felt like cookie cutter clichés or parodies of the warrior, and the ethos was spot on. I liked how they handled Wraith/Keel’s harsh transition back into the Legion fold, it felt realistic. This deadly literary duo clearly understand the culture of the grunt! 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. My god, lots of them! Rivers of blood ran throughout this novel, luckily this time it was the rebel scum dying in droves. The action was intense, and the characters responded as you’d expect in those circumstances. Moving right along, the ground combat described was primal, and immersive. It was everything you want from the genre. The battle scenes were believable, gripping and I never felt like the author missed a chance to get creative with the tactics. It was textbook KTF, the mantra of the Legionnaire! Kill them first! Such a detailed portrayal of the tactics is rare.

 

Seriously, I realize I’ve gone full fanboy, but the authors have definitely raised the bar for military science fiction authors everywhere. Even with the flaws of this novel, it was still leaps and bounds above most of what’s out there! I was hooked from the first page because they wove the action in such a compelling way that you wanted to jump into the page and join the party. Some of that was because I’m already invested in this world, but if you’ve been following me, you already know that. 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 this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it inspired you to serve the Legion.  And you enlist, get kitted up, only to realize that your armor is made of shiny wax paper. Then you’re put on the front line unit, getting to be on the tip of the spear. Except, you find out that the officers in your company are all Points and can’t take a crap without a sergeant to hold their hand. Then, in your first firefight, you’ll realize that the untrained LT leads you straight into Goth Sullus’ ambush. Then you realize that your pretty uniforms won’t save you. And then the other shoe drops, you figure out that the weapons aren’t calibrated, and you can’t hit the broad side of a barn. But, alas, every Shock Trooper traitor’s a crack shot. Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you. Or maybe you’ll be okay? I mean, you could be the first leej to make it out alive? 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.

Sleeping Legion

 

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