Book Review: Turning Point
Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. I’ve was on a reading slump this summer, but as you can see from my last few posts, I have come out of it with a bang. The kids being back in school have given me a lot more time. I need to replace my Kindle though, since reading on my iPhone is a pain, and not everything is available in audiobook! As always, I want to share what I just finished with you! But enough about me, onto this specific review. Now let’s get to it!
Author: Jason Anspach and Nick Cole
Price: USD 4.99 (Kindle Edition)
Obtained: I bought this novel 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. Heck, I cribbed this summary from the back, and then I added 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!
Fight to Win. That’s the choice given to the Legion struggling to survive in a galaxy tearing itself apart. With their backs against the wall, the Legion initiates Article Nineteen to give the citizens of the Republic a hard reset. The archaic governing article of the Legion was designed to halt the corruption and ineptitude that always threatened to spill forth from the Galactic Core. But when the House of Reason aligns itself with the bloodthirsty zhee extremists, the Legion has no choice but to commit to a savage campaign of Total War.
Meanwhile, Captain Chhun and Victory Squad follow intelligence that could land a powerful blow against Goth Sullus and his fledgling empire. In another part of the universe Exo and Wraith, in a tenuous alliance, move unstoppably towards a slumbering fleet that could permanently alter the delicate balance of power among Legion, Republic, and Empire… or could just as easily eradicate the galaxy altogether.
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 new series popping up that follow this vibe, I’ve heard of them… but until I read them, I can’t recommend them. So, until then I will stick with the belief that there are other military sci-fi books out there, but none quite like this!
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, a few miscellaneous Shock Troopers and Exo. There was even a brief cameo from everyone’s favorite NetherOps agent, though I can’t say more without spoilers. 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. Unlike before, there wasn’t a whole lot of character growth from Chhun, he’s already morphed into his role as the Victory Team Leader. This lack of growth made his character even more enjoyable, which I didn’t think was possible. He’s fully come into his own, and we get to marvel in that in all its KTF glory. He was my favorite character in this novel, I enjoyed following him again! 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 in this novel. He’s still a beast, physically, but now we see an even more complex side of him that’s compassionate for the downtrodden while remaining ruthless with his enemies. He’s coming to terms with having feelings for Leenah and his erstwhile missing crew, re-devoting himself to the quest for her salvation. He’s not soft, mind you, just judicious on whom he decides to include in his family of choice. Overall, I felt disappointed in his choices in this novel, but his character came alive on the page. It was also nice to see him back in a combat role, getting in some series KTF-ing.
Exo: He’s the elusive former Victory Company legionnaire and a character I enjoy reading about. He’s an all-around killing machine, who takes care of people the Republic can’t admit they screwed over and booted out of the Legion. He was screwed over by his corrupt nation and joined the Black Fleet in a desperate bid to save the leejes he left behind. He was an extremely believable and sympathetic character, and I hated how the galaxy conspired against him. I felt like he was well rounded, and felt like he was the Every Man Legionnaire, reminiscent of the troops I met in the Army.
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. Unfortunately, we only got to see a little of her in this novel and aren’t likely to see her in the next one.
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 three-sided intergalactic war with Goth Sullus and the machines!
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, like the rest of the novels in this series, fit squarely within the scope of the military fiction that I love to read. I loved that this was an action-packed novel with a defined plot. The story is set as the galaxy is in turmoil, reeling from the events surrounding the Battle of the Tarragon Moon. Despite their best efforts at securing peace for their ungrateful galaxy, political corruption stymie’s them at every turn. Enough is enough, and the Legion Commander initiates Article 19, the reset button for the Republic. We get to see a war fought by the Legion war dogs after they were unchained and set free to do what they do; KTF. We see the world from the eyes of the survivors of Kublar, the tragedy that ignited the powder keg of the Republic. The plot was darkly fun, chalk full of tension and excitement as we waited on bated breath to find out if the Legion was up to the task of excising the pestilence that had infiltrated the House of Reason. 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 universe. 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. I can’t wait to start book eight, as I try to figure out the fate of the galaxy. And yeah, book nine is on pre-order so I will ride this train all the way to its final destination. 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. There was never a point where the plot was confusing, or that I couldn’t figure out what was going on. 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!
This is the seventh book in the Galaxy’s Edge Series, and I absolutely loved it. Each novel keeps getting better, and I’m more hooked than ever. 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 Black Fleet, Goth Sullus’s empire. We get to see how the weaponry and technology have evolved over the scope of this series. As the tech improved, the tactics adapted and overcame, something many authors forget to factor in. We also got to see more guerrilla combat from the scenes where Exo and Wraith/Keel stop a double-cross from the MCR. It was nice, reminding me of the hundreds of thousands of times I fought those street battles between the Stormtroopers and the Rebel Scum. For all the high tech of this universe, urban combat is still vicious and brutal for the troops involved. Aside from the combat, we get to explore more about the vividness of the world as Wraith and his temporary Shock Troop allies galivant around the galaxy. It leaves you, the reader, wanting to travel the galaxy in your own version of the Indelible VI! If it were me, I’d want Ravi there, but I like to hedge my bets! Who wouldn’t want to fly around in the Indelible VI? I was hooked, and now I want to know it all! I definitely see room for CosPlay and fandom for this world and can’t wait for my own Legionnaire armor! I could picture every setting described, easily envisioning myself living there. They described the world with plenty of details, and there wasn’t a scene where I couldn’t imagine what Anspach and Cole described. They’ve upped their game though, adding more sensory input to the mix; sights, sounds, smells, and feelings. 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.
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. They didn’t describe every blade of grass. Instead, 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 six 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! This is similar to what I said in the previous books, but their descriptive game has been superb throughout the series, and I can’t think of a place I’d like to improve it.
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.
I really loved this book, it was a lot of fun to read. It brought back the epic sci-fi battles that I acted out as a kid, laying in the grass playing with my action figures. This novel harkened back to what I loved about the first book Legionnaire. The vibe of this story was amazing, and I loved every nail-biting second of this novel! 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 in the previous novel, Prisoners of Darkness, it was hard to find fault with what the Black Fleet was trying to do. It was clear who we were supposed to root for, the Legion. The political entities were garbage, but the Legion was the beacon of hope in a galaxy shrouded in darkness. Unlike the last book, Goth Sullus was only the “big bad guy” in the loosest sense because he wasn’t the focus here. We did see some of the rot of the points tarnishing the Legion, but we had the satisfaction of watching them rectify things. The only real “good guys” were all in the Legion, but not the points in their shiny armor. The best part was watching the legionnaires climb back into their Mark IIs!
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. You’ll also get a free short story, Tin Man! 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’s troubled recall back into the fold, and the man’s decision to run for the galactic hills. The deadly literary duo of Anspach and Cole understand the culture of the grunt and don’t shy away from the consequences of war! The soldiers don’t come away unscathed, and we see that in Wraith’s behavior. His time on the edge of Republic space have scarred him, the things he did for his fellow leejes and too his fellow leejes haunt him. I even liked running into some old friends from the Kublar Era Victory Company, it felt like a family reunion. I am still not sure how I feel about Exo’s defection to the Black Fleet, but that is part of the fun! 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. Lots of them, sadly. Fighting the zhee wasn’t easy, not when the corrupt politicians outfitted them with the same equipment that the Legion wears. Rivers of blood ran throughout this novel, luckily this time it was the zhee murderers finally receiving the justice they so richly deserve. 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.
Other than a few typos, I didn’t really find any grammatical or technical issues with this book. My only real complaint was where they chose to end the story, it was more of a cliffhanger than I prefer. Since I didn’t have to wait a month like people that read it on release day, I shouldn’t really complain too much. As soon as I write this review, I get to jump in the book 8 and then the wait for the final story in the series won’t belong. I’ve also got two series that exist on the periphery to occupy my time once I catch up to the authors. Seriously though, if this is my biggest complaint can’t really be that bad. If you’re just starting the series, they’ll have finished this adventure story before you catch up with them.
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 occasional misspelled words and other inconsequential 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 wax paper. Then you’re put on the front lines, getting to be on the tip of the spear. In your first firefight, you’ll realize that the 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 rebel scum is 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 trooper 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!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.