Book Review: Red Rabbit Presents #1: Science Fiction for the People Issue!

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Outer Space HeaderHey Space Cadets, how’re you doing?  I’m good, trying not to die from this stomach bug. I’m still writing, but I’ve also spent a lot more time reading this summer and wanted to share what I have enjoyed lately. Here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. This review was also a discussion on the Sci-Fi Shenanigans Podcast, so watch for that to drop. My co-host will also be writing a blog with his thoughts on this collection, which I will share here as well. It should be fun to see two different reactions to the same stories. Continue reading

Book Review: Team Yankee

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Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. I’ve been busy with life, but I am hoping I can hit the ground running once the summer is over and I can throw my kids at the public school system!  I’ve got a few open projects, but Chris Winder and I are whittling that pile down! I hope to get back to publishing novels soon. I’ve been reading the stories submitted to the anthology I’m hosting, and wow there are some good ones!  I can’t wait to get that to you this December!!  Finally, if you don’t listen to our podcast, you should check it out!  We’ve had some fun guests whom I’m sure you’ll love listening too! But enough about me, let’s get to this review! Continue reading

Book Review: We Happy Few

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SpaceHey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. I’ve been busy with life, but I am hoping I can hit the ground running once the summer is over and I can throw my kids at the public school system! I’ve got a few open projects, and I hope to get back to publishing novels soon. I’m debating whether or not to hold off releasing novels for the rapid release strategy model of marketing. Finally, if I didn’t mention it, my story was accepted for the next Four Horsemen Anthology. Continue reading

Book Review: The Red Tide

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Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes or something!  I will hold what I made in book three; loads of action, some surprises and a lot of exploding goodness.  Don’t believe me?  Operation Breakout is live!  Now I’m working on the last two novels in The Sleeping Legion Series and outlining my next project.  More of that to come soon!

 

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

 

Title:  The Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle

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.

Pages:  290

 

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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.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel is a very Red Dawn-esq story of what it might look like if America was invaded.  In Chris Kennedy’s twisted imagination, China uses an attack on America to hide their campaign to reclaim Taiwan.  It works, and an unprepared America quickly loses the Pacific Northwest.  But despite how bloody things get, they can’t crack the will of the American people.  Will the United States get Seattle back?  It will, if a shot down F-18 pilot, a retired Navy SEAL, and a platoon of Army Rangers have anything to say about it.

 

 

Characters: 

While it seemed like there was no main character in this novel, there were three that we’re told to watch for on the books blurb.  So here goes a review of those people!

 

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs: He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who gets shot down during the opening salvo of the war and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.

 Ryan O’Leary: He is a retired US Navy SEAL who’s taken to the hermit lifestyle when an invasion of his home forces him back into the fight.  When Lieutenant Hobbs is shot down, he rushes to save him and together they take on the world.

Army Ranger Platoon: Just your average group of grunts who join in on the mayhem to resist the occupying forces.  The provide the troops that O’Leary and Hobbs lead into the mouth of the Chinese Dragon.

 

While the novel’s blurb says that these were main characters, it didn’t really feel that way.  There are too many characters popping in and out of this story, which meant I didn’t really get behind any of them.  This made it even more important for the premise of the story to be compelling, but Chris provided that.  The characters that were there felt hollow, because we only saw them briefly before they died.  I was helped by my time in the service, because it let me relate to the characters but I don’t know that someone without my background would get out of the characters what I did.  I will say, however, that even though there were too many characters to get close too I didn’t notice it until I sat down to write this review.  Because the pace of the story kept me hooked, and deprived me of sleep, I’ll give the author 4 out of 5 Grenades.

 

 

Plot: 

Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in modern day Seattle and follows a series of events that lead to China invading as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan.  If you don’t know, the US has treaties with Taiwan that state America will defend the nation from China in the event of an attack.  It was an interesting set up and premise, which had shades of Red Dawn in it.  I loved Red Dawn, and consequently I loved this story.  With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  I will say that the Chris Kennedy, a retired Naval Commander and fighter pilot, spent a lot of time addressing the air war.  I’m not qualified to judge those situations, but from the outside looking in it was credible, which is all I needed.  Why is the critique of the military in the “Plot” review section?  Because in a military fiction novel, the tactics are integral to the plot.  In this section, I give Chris 6 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the second book I’ve read by Chris Kennedy, but I loved the first book written by him that I read so decided to give this one a chance.  Further, this novel had solid reviews so I was sold, and gave it a chance.  I wasn’t disappointed!  After this novel, I went and bought every one of his published novels.  This world was very flushed out, but it was set in the modern world so it had the advantage of the readers pre-existing world view.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series, and see where the war with the occupying forces in Chris’s world goes.  This novel has been placed in the science fiction section on Amazon, but in the first book in this duology we see none of it.  Other than that one complaint, it was a great book and I can’t wait to read the second book in this series, [Occupied Seattle].  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.

 

 

Description: 

This book was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  However, in some places Chris went a little over board with the explanation of the various military minutia.  Maybe this is because I already know about some of this and don’t particularly care about military aviation?  Others might have a different opinion here?  Regardless, these flaws didn’t distract from the book to such a degree that I wouldn’t finish the series.  While parts of it were a flop for me, I still give Chris a B+++ in this category!

 

 

Narration Quality:

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.  The voices of the various characters were cheesy and wonky, but overall it kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  I would give him a 4 out of 5 grenades for his explosive performance.  The only reason it wasn’t a 5 Grenade experience was the lack of voice acting for the various characters.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, though the head popping was a bit jarring.  However, this wasn’t really an issue for me because the story was so engaging that I couldn’t put it down.  This novel was awesomely written and the cover was amazingly invocative.  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, especially the nicknames, even though the author laid it on a bit thick.  Again, with such a compelling story you won’t notice!  As for the military equipment, well it was like a Naval Aviators porno, the amount of details given but I was able to skim over these details so I could enjoy the action in this story.  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris Kennedy’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wishing that his therapist had a therapist.  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!

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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Book Review: The Ember War

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Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  I’m currently taking a break on reading the Honor Harrington Series to read The Ember War Saga by a fellow Army veteran, Richard Fox.  He seems to be pretty successful, so another author whom might have something to teach us all.  I always want to read novels by well written authors, because I mine everything I read for useful skills.  Nothing has really changed on my end, so I won’t bore your ear holes with gibberish.  Instead, let’s jump right into the nuts and bolts of the story.

 

Title: The Ember War

Author: Richard Fox

Price: $3.99 USD (Kindle Version) or $2.99 (Add on Audiobook)

Obtained: I bought the novel, but also received the audio version for free from Podium Publishing.

Pages: 426 pages

 

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Rating: 5/5 Grenades

5 Grenade

 

Summary:

This book shares the story of Marc Ibarra, an alien probe, Marine Lieutenant Hale, Captain Valdar, and the star cruiser Breitenfeld.  The alien probe arrives to help Marc Ibarra prepare Earth for the coming invasion.  A series of events and political assignations end with two super powers fighting for dominance and an arms race.  Ultimately this prepares the Naval forces for what was to come when they fight this mysterious enemy force. The survivors of humanity had been tasked to escort a colony mission, but disappeared, only reappearing where they’d left.  Only, it wasn’t the same year they’d left.  They’d returned 60 years into the future, with Earth wiped out and an alien invasion.  If you want to know more, read the book!

 

Characters:

There were three main characters in this novel; the star cruiser Breitenfeld, Captain Isaac Valdar, Lieutenant Hale, Marc Ibarra and the alien probe.  Like most novels with multiple POVs, each one served a unique purpose in the evolution of the plot.  Each of these characters were well written, and you could feel enough depth to make them believable.

 

Breitenfeld: While the ship didn’t have any personality, per say, she was such an integral part of the story that she began to have agency and personhood.  I was never a sailor, but I understand our swabbie friends have said similar things about current naval vessels.  Like all good weapons of war, human and machine, she begins to show her age as she progresses through the plot.  Scars, however, show her character as she bleeds oil and vents atmosphere to protect her crew.  The way Richard Fox describes the ship, you could almost believe it was a sentient being!

 

Captain Isaac Valdar:  This character allowed you to see the naval action of the story, always at the tip of the spear in the war against the Xaros alien probes.  His position as the ships commander make it extremely plausible for him to be in any action that directly involved the Breitenfeld.  He was a troubled man, who’d lost his entire world when Earth was wiped out.  I could feel his pain, and it became my pain as I read his story.  As an author, if you can make your audience emotionally invested in your characters, you won.  Richard Fox did his job, and this character was extremely well flushed out.

 

Lieutenant Hale: This character allowed you to see the action of the story, always at the tip of the spear in the war against the Xaros alien probes.  His position as one of the junior Marine officers, and a member of a special forces wing of the Marine Corps makes it extremely plausible for him to be everywhere when the Gauss Rifles start firing.  He was a bit too ‘gung ho’ and competent for a junior officer but otherwise he was flushed out.  Admittedly he had a competent senior NCO at his side, but I would’ve preferred to see the LT make a few mistakes so we knew he was, in fact, actually still an LT!  I’ll honestly admit, I was an enlisted NCO and the author was an Army officer so some of this is merely a matter of perspective.  That aside, the character was likeable and well thought out.  I felt he was believable and he showcased the authors own time in the US Army.  Overall, an extremely well flushed out character.

 

Marc Ibarra/Alien Probe:  We meet the unnamed alien probe and a young Marc Ibarra at the beginning of this story, and while they don’t get a whole lot of face time they’re both so integral to the story that I feel like they’re defacto main characters.  They were flushed out, with just enough information to be believable and yet vague enough we could picture them as embodiments of character archetypes we know and love.  They were just the sort of shady that keeps you up at night, and conspiracy theorists spinning circles at the possibilities.

 

Plot:

This plot moved along at a steady pace, I never felt like it slowed down, which I loved.  I loved the detail and precision that Richard Fox payed to the military technology.  Further, I liked that he didn’t get bogged down in the science of space travel.  He didn’t ignore it, but rather he didn’t get bogged down in it like hard science fiction stories do.  As a reader, I don’t care how the space flight works, just that the author had a reason that it did.  This novel was heavier on the ground operations than the space combat, but none of it felt lacking.  While this novel changed POVs several times, it never felt jarring and the shifts were easy to follow.  I read this novel as an eBook, and listened to it as an audiobook via the Whisper Sync feature via Amazon’s pairing with Audible.  The plotting was definitely five out of five grenades for me.

 

World Building:

The world building of this novel was expertly done, and it never felt like it was done as an “info dump.”  I felt like the world building in this novel was solid, there was just enough to understand everything.  I could picture most of what he described, though it started in “modern” America, which helped me a lot.  However, with regards to the space technology, it was persuasively written, believable and fun to imagine myself joining.  Now I want my own Gauss Rifle!  There were some parts where I felt it was lacking details, but as a lover of stories I recognized them as hooks for what I expect to happen in later novels.  I can’t really say anything else here without spoiling it for people who haven’t read the stories, but the world building was a solid five out of five grenades.

 

Description:

Much like the world building, the detailed descriptions were solidly done.  I could envision what he wrote, and I can’t wait for the graphic novel out of this universe!  Hint, hint Richard!  I definitely feel like the descriptions of this book set the standard, balance the not enough against the too much.  In regards to description, this was a success for the author.  I’d give this section four point five out of five grenades.  There was room to make the descriptions really pop, but it didn’t hurt the overall story for me.

 

Audio Quality:

I received the audiobook free as a proof of concept from Podium Publishing while in we were in negotiation for my own series.  In fact, the quality of this production was why I pushed Boss Man to agree to the contract.  The only real complaint the accents of the various characters made them slightly difficult to understand.  Because of this, I couldn’t tell you a single call sign for the pilots in this novel.  Full disclosure, I lost some of my hearing while in the service, so this might just be my own issue.  Besides, if this is my only complaint, I call it a win!  Five out of five grenades.

 

Overall:

In spite of my issues with the accents from the narrator, I really enjoyed this novel.  The story kept me hooked, and made me want to read the rest of the series.  I’ve bought book two and three already!  This wasn’t a novel to revolutionize the world, but that isn’t why I read military science fiction.  I want explosions, gun fights and cool stories.  A few cool aliens wouldn’t hurt, and in every regard Richard Fox delivers!  I would even recommend that you buy the novel in the digital AND audio format!  Some novel’s I’ve only like enough to check out from the library, but this one you’ll want to buy for your reading pleasure and keep to read again.  This was a solid 5 grenades.

 

 

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 you fall asleep while driving and wreck your vehicle.  And while you’re stuck on the side of the road your boss calls and fires you because you’re late.  Without viable employment, you become a rabid fan, blowing your life savings buying all gazillion of his novels in this universe.  And then, while looking for a job the alien probe arrives… and well, you know what happens.  Then, you’ll try to tell your friends but they’ll think you’re insane and lock you up in a funny farm.  And then they give you good drugs, making you see even more of the aliens, forcing your spirit to carry on in the limbo as your body sits in a drugged-out comma, restrained by your straight jacket.  With nothing left to lose, you astroproject in Richard’s office because he ruined your life.  But you go insane at the futility because he can’t see or hear you.  Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be warned, but enjoy the happy pills!

 

 

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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Book Review: Exigency

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Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  I’m currently outlining Maternal Vengeance, the fourth novel in my Sleeping Legion Series.  I wanted to take a second away from that to share my review of the last novel I read, and recommend it!  Tomorrow I will have a new World Building Wednesday, and I’ll share some super exciting news with you!  Nothing else has changed on my end, so I won’t bore your brain buckets with gobbledygook.  Instead, let’s jump right into the nuts and bolts of the story.

 

Title: Exigency

Author: Michael Siemsen

Price: $3.99 USD

Obtained: Bought on Amazon on the recommendation of a friend

Pages: 440

 

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Rating: 4/5 Grenades

4 Grenade

 

Summary:

This novel tells the story of several scientists, who travel light years on a one-way trip to an Earth-like planet.  Their mission was to study the two species of intelligent lifeforms on the surface from their orbital station.  One of the species was an isolated people embarking on civilization and building their world’s first city.  The other species was a brutal race of massive predators, spreading across the dominant landmass.  The scientists believe this species is destined to breed and eat their way to extinction within a few centuries.  After almost a decade of observation, disaster struck the orbiting station and only two crewmembers eject successfully.  Drifting down through a dark alien sky, the pair realizes their escape pod launched not toward the safety of the city, but to the other side of the planet.  They ultimately touch down deep inside a land no human could possibly survive.

 

Characters:

There were many secondary characters, but I’ll limit my review to the two main ones.  The characters were exactly what I would expect from a group of scientists, but that meant they weren’t necessarily as likeable or personable.  The author does get credit for their believability, but much of this is to be expected from this sub-genre of science fiction.  Overall, the character development was one of the two reasons this was a 4 Grenade book for me, instead of a 5.

 

Minerva (Minnie): She was, hands down, the main point of view character and John was her supporting cast.  She has been diagnosis with HSPD, some new psychotic condition that forces her to remain on medicine to maintain her sanity.  Why would you send someone like this into space?  I don’t know, because the author never told us.  She was whiny, annoying and I didn’t really like her but I didn’t want her to die either.  She was well rounded, not very likeable, and shouldn’t have been anywhere near a space exploration mission.  She was believable, as a character, but I kept yelling “Why isn’t she back on Earth?”

 

John: This character was very thought out, although he came off as a bit too perfect for my tastes.  The usual “Mr. Awesome,” who sails through life until Thing X in the story requires divergence from his life’s trajectory.  He was strong at times many would have broken down, and I didn’t feel like we had enough back story to justify his actions.  Overall, it wouldn’t have bothered me if he got struck by lightning and tied.

 

Plot:

The story was disjointed at times, though I can’t tell you how without ruining the plot.  It was high octane on the drama, an even mix of internal angst and outside forces.  Though, if strange aliens wanted to eat you, you’d be pretty angst ridden as well so I can’t fault that artistic choice.  While I did think it was disjointed, the novel was easy enough to follow so that might just be a personal preference on my part.  And for all its faults, which might not be flaws for some people, the story kept me riveted.  I couldn’t put it down, even as I wanted to throw Minnie off a cliff!  I read this in just under two days, which is pretty quick for me.  Again, other than the character development, this was a solid plot that was well written.

 

World Building:

This was another area where the author excelled!  The world was vivid, I could imagine all of it and I wanted to see it on the big screen.  The world was fleshed out, and totally believable for the circumstances.  I could envision myself fighting the Hynka and dealing with the more advanced Threck.  The strange colors and toxic environment would be fun to visit, like an alien safari!  But obviously, only if we were well stocked and had food and water for the entire trip!  I have nothing to say here, this was a solid 5 Grenades.

 

Description:

The author also got this right, the descriptions were spot on, and added to the desperate vibe the unwittingly unintentional colonists were enduring.  I would love to go into more details, but I strive for spoiler free reviews.  Overall, if this is ever made into a movie the script writers won’t have to worry about imagining things because Michael Siemsen gave them what they needed!  Another 5 Grenades for this category!

 

 

Overall:

In an effort to be fully transparent, I half listened and half read this novel.  Whysper Sync I think it’s called?  Some books are better suited for that, a lesson that I learned with this book.  The audio narration WAS superbly done, since I brought it up.  Heck, I wouldn’t mind if Julia Whelan wanted to narrate my books, I certainly wouldn’t say no!  If you love audiobooks, give Julia and Podium Publishing a shot, they’ve seem to figure out the magic formula.  While I gave the book 4 Grenades, the audio narration gets 5!  One of my main issues, aside from the characters, was the use of alien languages.  I get it, you want to show your world building and how things are different but if you invent translation programs in your world, we don’t need to bog us down with the language.  Move on, tell the story!  However, the story and the plot is something the author got right!  If I rated the plot separately, he would have a solid 6 Grenades out of 5, it’s that good!  If you like science fiction, with some of the science on full display, you need to buy this book!  Heck, give the audio book a listen as well!

 

 

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 Michael Siemsen fan.  Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT leave you starving.  Then again, it COULD be one heck of a weight loss plan!  Be warned, but enjoy the high!

 

 

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 screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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Book Review: Wraithkin

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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!

 

Title: Wraithkin

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.

Pages: 302

 

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Rating: 4/5 Grenades

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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.  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!

 

Characters:

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.

 

Plot:

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.

 

World Building:

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.

 

Description:

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!

 

Overall:

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!

brown_bess

JR

 

 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.