Reading Books For Fun

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Outer Space HeaderHey Space Cadets, how are you doing? I’m doing amazing and wanted to post another blog updating you on my comings and goings. I’m cranking away on my writing and hope to be able to share more with you soon. The co-author and I are playing with methods of kicking our speed up a notch and I’m getting back into the swing of exercising again. Continue reading

My “To Be Read” List

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Hey Space Cadets, how are you doing?  I’m doing well; reading, writing, and doing the dreaded adulting. I’m busy working on the final editing for my super-secret project, so I’m keeping this post short and sweet!  I’ve listed several individual books that are next on my list, and the series which I’ll be slogging my way through.  Thought it might be fun to share, and invite everyone to read and review these books with me!  Join the conversation on all things in the Sci-F Nerdom!

  Continue reading

Book Review: Powered (Mech Wars Book 1)

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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 going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars Continue reading

Book Review: The Dark Star War (Codex Regius Book 3)

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Codex Trilogy Worlds

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN. It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time. There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

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

Book Review: Beyond the Shroud of the Universe(Codex Regius Book 2)

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Codex Trilogy Worlds

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN. It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time. There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

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

Title:  Beyond the Stroud of the Universe (Codex Regius Book 2)

 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:  412

202887860

 

Rating: 4/5 Grenades4-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!  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel carries on after The Theogony Trilogy, and is the second novel in follow-on The Codex Regius Trilogy.  Lieutenant Commander Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs has saved Seattle, traveled to the stars, saved a few heirs to various interplanetary royal houses and forged new alliances with alien races.  Was a little “down time” to work on the project too much to hope for?  Obviously, because what kind of boring work would that be?

A mysterious race from an alternate universe has allied itself with the Jotunn, and the alliance is set on destroying the Aesir and bringing about Ragnarok. With an ability to jump between universes and unstoppable time-based weapons, the Efreet seem invincible. The Vella Gulf is the only ship to survive its first meeting with the Efreet…but only through a fluke of luck.

Worse, Lieutenant Commander Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs has just found out the Efreeti home world is the same planet in their universe as Terra is in ours. If true, the Efreet could cross into our universe at any moment and annihilate the Earth without any warning. Terra lies defenseless!
Calvin and the crew of the Vella Gulf have a surprise for the Efreet, though; they have returned to Terra with the ability to cross between the universes like their enemy. Armed with personal transporters and jump modules for their ships, they’re now able to take the fight to the Efreet. But will they be in time to prevent Terra’s annihilation?
As the Efreet continue their inexorable onslaught on all fronts, Calvin only knows one thing. The answers to all their questions lie beyond the shroud of the universe.

Codex Trilogy  Characters: 

In this novel, we get more in depth with Shawn Hobbs, with of the rest of the original characters in the series given secondary status.  As many of the original secondary characters die gruesome and bloody deaths, we meet new and interesting people for Chris Kennedy to kill.  This novel didn’t lose any of the characters that were awesome in the previous books in this universe, except by natural attrition, nor did Chris Kennedy sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology, The Theogony Trilogy, and now The Codex Regius are awesome.  Calvin Hobbs was a flushed out, three-dimensional character that I thought was a lot of fun.  He’s so flushed out at this point, maybe we should advance him to four-dimensional!  I still felt like I could relate to him as a person, and was someone I would want to hang out with.  At this point, I was a little worried at his mental health as he doesn’t seem to react to the extreme losses that routinely occur around him, but I think this was done intentionally to keep the universe feeling fun.  Seriously, this is my seventh book with Calvin and I still want to read more of his adventures!  It’s sad to think that there’s only one book left before I have to wait for the author to write the next series.  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  The author, Chris Kennedy, calls them secondary characters but he kills so many of them off that they might as well be red shirts.  Here’s a summary of the main character.

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs:  He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who becomes an instant war herp/celebrity once he got shot down during the opening salvo of the Sino America War.  He built on that as he led several successful ground assaults, aerial missions and various other death defying combat roles in the mission of the Republic of Terra.  By now, the battles he was involved with during the Sino American War seem like child’s play.  He’s fought the blood thirsty Drakul’s who want to eat him and managed not to get killed by flying snakes who wanted to sacrifice him to their gods.  He’s fought giant Jotun, lizard looking Efreet, and so many other aliens that you’ll lose count of all the blood and gore he’s had to wipe off his boots!  In the strange world he finds himself, he must constantly adapt as old allies become enemies and enemies become allies.  He’s basically become the space opera version of Machiavelli, but with more charm!

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character throughout this new series!

 

Plot: 

Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in the universe after Earth got involved in the war between the Jotun and the Aesir.  The Republic of Terra barely survived the battle, loosing too many ships and is again on the verge of losing it all.  Humanity is again confronted with the fact that most of Earth’s mythologies and fairy tales were actually tales of aliens who visited humanity in its infancy.  As the Terran Navy is returning from helping their allies, they find that their new enemy is just behind the veil of Earth and plans must be made.  Again, the premise for the series was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  We watch the crew of the TSS Vella Gulf stumble into a mission they were unprepared for and the cost in lives is impressive.  I’d honestly asked myself a few times how the ship even managed to stay in one piece, but they’re a hearty lot!  I would love to give some examples, but you should just buy the series and find out for yourself!  I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how he executed it.  The pacing was excellent and there was never a slow moment.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; excellent premise, perfect execution and wonderful pacing!  I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

World Building:

This is the second book in The Codex Regius Trilogy, and I’m still hooked on this universe!  I’m thrilled to be back into this universe that I love so much.  Like in the previous trilogy, this novel had a very flushed out world.  It was consistent, made sense and sucked you in.  I loved the way he handled inserting new aliens into the world, and letting them become part of the larger world.  I liked that these new species, planets and technology made sense and it didn’t feel like they were added just to have shiny things.  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 Chris created.  It was a fun ride, that made me wanna suit up… which is the goal of action/adventure authors!  It didn’t take itself too seriously, which allowed you to focus on the fun which is why I read in the first place.  I wouldn’t mind the warrior package that the space marines get with their implants either, hear they take off a few pounds!  I give the world building 6 out of 5 Grenades.

 

Description: 

Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  The only scenes that were confusing and difficult to envision were the color schemes in the alternate/parallel universe.  I believe this was my color blindness getting in the way, so I’m giving that part a pass.  Also, like the previous novels, he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia 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 world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  The author’s description of his universe was so evocative that I began imagining alternative tactics that the author didn’t use.  It was a little bit distracting, but it’s a sign of an amazingly built universe.  I didn’t find any issues with the descriptions, except for the previously mentioned color issue.  The world he created evoked visceral emotions, heck I wanted to get my implants and join up again after this novel!  As an author, Chris Kennedy was still lite on the details of what the various characters looked like but by now I just didn’t care.  I wanted the action, the adventure and the PEW PEW!  Overall, I give Chris 4 out of 5 grenades in this category because he missed some chances to get creative with the tactics.  I won’t list the things I thought of, so he has room to play in the trilogy that follows this one. 

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novels, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  He must be growing on me?  However, not to nitpick, but there were a few places were the voices didn’t match the characters. They didn’t match how they were previously, but it only happened twice. And in case you notice that my review of his performance has been similar for his last six books, it’s because he provides a steady and consistent performance.  Overall, I give him a 4 out of 5 grenades for his performance.  Sorry, but that messed up voices drew me out of the story momentarily.

  

Overall:

I really loved this book, it made my drive home from my brother-in-law’s wedding very enjoyable – I was able to escape the multitude of bad drivers that littered the highways and die-ways.  With this book, I listened to half of it on the road, which is a testament to the quality of the audiobook.  Like with book one, I wanted to take a road trip just to have an excuse to listen to the next book!  My wife shot that one down, so I’ll stick with mostly reading book three in this series.  Like the previous trilogy, the covers in this one were amazingly invocative.  I like how Chris Kennedy made the trilogies covers work together.  I’ll post an image after the review so you can check it out!  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, even the ground combat.  I feel like the author missed some chances to get creative with the tactics which had me screaming and is the only reason the book wasn’t a five-star review.  Such accurate portrayal of the tactics is rare, especially when coming from a sailor.  Seriously, the author weaponized the awesome power of the PEW PEW for this gripping halfway point for The Codex Regius Trilogy!  He wove the action in such a compelling way that you could almost forget that has become the standard for this awesome author!  Basically, Chris 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.  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 go looking for your own aliens.  And on the search, you drive to Area 51 and try to push past the gate guards.  Which would mean you’d get shot, since those guards have big scary guns.  The guards, amped up on Red Bull unload a full clip into you, turning you into Swiss Cheese and leaving you to bleed out on the burning hot asphalt.  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!

Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

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

JR

> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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Book Review: The Search for Gram (Codex Regius Book 1)

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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 a member of the TRMN. It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time. There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

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

Title:  The Search for Gram (Codex Regius Book 1)

 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:  402

1914995891

Rating: 5/5 Grenades

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!  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel carries on after The Theogony Trilogy, and is the first novel in follow-on The Codex Regius Trilogy.  Lieutenant Commander Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs has saved Seattle, traveled to the stars and forged new alliances with alien races.  With the latest war concluded, he turned his attention to deciphering the strange rod an ancient alien civilization gave him as a test.  Was a little “down time” to work on the project too much to hope for?  Obviously, because what kind of boring work would that be?

Whelp, no rest for the wicked and something, or someone, is destroying starships from the alien Aesir race.  The elven Aesir are in need of help, and all of the signs point to Calvin as the hero they need.  He’s tired, sick of being the “hero” everyone seeks but just to stubborn to walk away and retire.  Calvin has already defeated the merciless Drakuls and saved Earth from alien invasion, but is he prepared to face this unknown challenge?

As the Theogony trilogy comes to a close, a new chapter for Calvin is set to begin. “The Search for Gram” initiates the “Codex Regius,” a trilogy that will once again take Lieutenant Commander Hobbs and his Special Forces platoon to the stars. Not even the universe can hold him this time!

  

Characters: 

In this novel, we get more in depth with Shawn Hobbs, with the other characters in the series given secondary status.  As many of the original secondary characters die gruesome and bloody deaths, we meet new and interesting people for Chris Kennedy to kill.  This novel didn’t lose any of the characters that were awesome in the previous books in this universe, except by natural attrition, nor did Chris Kennedy sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology, The Theogony Trilogy, and now The Codex Regius awesome.  Calvin Hobbs was a flushed out, three-dimensional character that I thought was a lot of fun.  He’s so flushed out at this point, maybe we should advance him to four-dimensional!  I still felt like I could relate to him as a person, and was someone I would want to hang out with.  Seriously, this is my sixth book with Calvin and I still want to read more of his adventures!  I’m sad to think that they’re only two books left.  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  The author, Chris Kennedy, calls them secondary characters but he kills so many of them off that they might as well be red shirts.  Here’s a summary of the main character.

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs:  He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who becomes an instant war herp/celebrity once he got shot down during the opening salvo of the Sino America War.  He built on that as he led several successful ground assaults, aerial missions and various other death defying combat roles in the mission of the Republic of Terra.  By now, the battles he was involved with during the Sino American War seem like child’s play.  He’s fought the blood thirsty Drakul’s who want to eat him and managed not to get killed by flying snakes who wanted to sacrifice him to their gods.  In the strange world he finds himself, he must adapt when old allies become enemies and enemies become allies.

Overall, I will give these characters 6 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character 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 the post Drakul invasion world where the Republic of Terra barely survived becoming food for predatory aliens.  Humanity is again confronted with the fact that most of Earth’s mythologies are actually tales of aliens who visited humanity in its infancy and those who witnessed it and left told the stories of these “gods” to their people.  As the Terran Navy is returning to the Mworry home world part they’re again confronted by another alien who want the great “hero” Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs to assist them on a dangerous mission.  Again, the premise for the series was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  We watch the crew of the TSS Vella Gulf stumble into a mission they were unprepared for and the cost in lives is impressive.  I would love to give some examples, but you should just buy the series and find out for yourself!

With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech!  This book kept gave an even balance of the ground combat that I love reading about and added in equal parts spaceship porn.  Loads of explosions, action and all kinds of gooey dead aliens.  A few red shirts from the ranks of humanity get the ‘privilege’ to suffer glorious deaths for Terra.  It was all excellently handled, with tactics that fit the world Chris created.  I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how he executed it.  The pacing was excellent and there was never a slow moment.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; excellent premise, perfect execution and wonderful pacing!  I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!

  

World Building:

This is the first book in The Codex Regius Trilogy, and I’m still hooked on this universe!  I’m thrilled to be back into this universe that I love so much.  Like in the previous trilogy, this novel had a very flushed out world.  It was consistent, made sense and sucked you in.  I loved the way he handled inserting new aliens into the world, and letting them become part of the larger world.  I liked that these new species, planets and technology made sense and it didn’t feel like they were added just to have shiny things.  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 Chris created.  It was a fun ride, that made me wanna suit up… which is the goal of action/adventure authors!  I wouldn’t mind the warrior package that the space marines get with their implants either, hear they take off a few pounds!  I give the world building 6 out of 5 Grenades.

  

Description: 

Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  The only scenes that were confusing and difficult to envision were the color schemes in the alternate/parallel universe.  I believe this was my color blindness getting in the way, so I’m giving that part a pass.  Also, like the previous novels, he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia 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 world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  Well, except for the previously mentioned color issue.  The world he created evoked visceral emotions, heck I wanted to get my implants and join up again after this novel!  As an author, Chris Kennedy was still lite on the details of what the various characters looked like but by now I just didn’t care.  I wanted the action, the adventure and the PEW PEW!  Overall, I give Chris 6 out of 5 grenades in this category because he definitely stepped up the PEW PEW!

 

 Narration Quality:

Like the previous novels, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  He must be growing on me?  And in case you notice that my review of his performance has been the same for his last five books, it’s because he provides a steady and consistent performance.  Overall, I give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his performance.

 

 Overall:

I really loved this book, it made my drive home from my brother-in-law’s wedding very enjoyable and I was able to escape the multitude of bad drivers that littered the highways and die-ways.  With this book, I listened to all but a few chapters, which is a testament to the quality of the audiobook.  Heck, now I want to take a road trip just to have an excuse to listen to the next book!  Like the previous trilogy, the covers in this one were amazingly invocative.  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, even the ground combat.  Such accurate portrayal of the tactics is rare, especially when coming from a sailor like Chris Kennedy.  Seriously, the author weaponized the awesome power of the PEW PEW for this gripping start to The Codex Regius Trilogy!  He wove the action in such a compelling way that you could almost forget that has become the standard for this awesome author!  Basically, Chris 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.  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 go looking for your own aliens.  And on the search, you drive to Area 51 and try to push past the gate guards.  Which would mean you’d get shot, since those guards have big scary guns.  The guards, amped up on Red Bull unload a full clip into you, turning you into Swiss Cheese and leaving you to bleed out on the burning hot asphalt.  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!

JR

> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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Book Review: Terra Stands Alone (The Theogony Book 3)

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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 a member of the TRMN. It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time. There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

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

Title: Terra Stands Alone (The Theogony Book 3)

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: 448

Terra Stands Alone 1

Rating: 5/5 Grenades

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 carries on after When the Gods Aren’t Gods, the second novel in The Theogony Trilogy.  Lieutenant Commander Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs and his special forces platoon just returned from their eventful second mission to the stars.  The technology they brought back will help, but it won’t be enough to hold off the alien menace headed their way.  And things just got more urgent, because the Drakuls have found the Solar System.

A merciless race, there is nothing left once the Drakuls have conquered a civilization except the bones of its dead.  When the first Drakul exploratory ship emerged from the stargate, Earth’s days became numbered.

Although Lieutenant Commander Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs and the crew of the TSS Vella Gulf came back with a battleship from their last mission, it won’t be enough to defend the Solar System from the Drakul menace.  The Mrowry and the Terran artificial intelligences have run the numbers…and Terra has come up wanting.

The crew of the Vella Gulf knows what a Drakul invasion means: the end of civilization as we know it.  Can they find a way to stop the devastating onslaught of the Drakul fleet?  Even their new allies, the Mrowry, think Earth’s salvation is unlikely.  The Earth has more enemies than it can count and no prospect of aid.  In the face of extinction, Terra Stands Alone!

 

Characters:

In this novel, we get more in depth with Shawn Hobbs, with the other characters in the series given secondary status.  This novel didn’t lose any of the characters that were awesome in the previous books in this universe, nor did Chris Kennedy sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology and now the Theogony Trilogy awesome.  Calvin Hobbs was a flushed out, three-dimensional character that I thought was a lot of fun.  I still felt like I could relate to him as a person, and was someone I would want to hang out with.  Seriously, this is my fifth book with Calvin and I still want to read more of his adventures!  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  Because I’ve mentioned how my military service has helped me understand these books, it is important to note that by now Chris Kennedy writes novels so accessible anyone could read them.  I think that was the case before, but my wife, who had to listen to books 2 & 3 of this series, mentioned this book was easier than the second for her.  She’s never served in the military, and thought that here he made things even more accessible.  Here is a brief summary of the main character.

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs:  He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who becomes an instant war herp/celebrity once he got shot down during the opening salvo of the Sino America War.  He built on that as he led several successful ground assaults, aerial missions and various other death defying combat roles in the mission of the Republic of Terra.  By now, the battles he was involved with during the Sino American War seem like child’s play.  In the strange world he finds himself, he must adapt when old allies become enemies and enemies become allies.

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character throughout this series!

 

Plot:

Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in the post Sino American War world, after China invaded Seattle as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan.  Immediately after the war ends, aliens make contact with Earth.  We find out that most of Earths mythologies are actually aliens who visited humanity in its infancy and those who witnessed it and left told the stories of these “gods” to their people.  As part of the quest to find allies in the pending war against the Drakuls, Shawn Hobbs gets to meet these aliens.  Except the war isn’t “pending” anymore, they’ve found Earth.

Again, the premise for the series was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  We see a conclusion of the goal of a unified Earth waging war against the Drakul in a desperate bid for survival.  Chris covered the needed inter planetary political maneuvering very well, with the required non-action scenes not bogging down the plot.  I would love to give some examples, but you should just buy the series and find out for yourself!

With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech!  This book kept some of the ground combat that I love and added in some more spaceship porn.  Loads of explosions, action and all kinds of gooey dead aliens.  A few red shirts from the ranks of humanity as well.  It was all excellently handled, with tactics that fit the world Chris created.  I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how he executed it.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; excellent premise, perfect execution and wonderful pacing!  The only bad part was that the series came to an end!  I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

World Building:

This is the third and final book in The Theogony Trilogy, and I’m still hooked on this world!  Kinda sad that it’s over to be honest.  Like in the previous novel in this trilogy, this world was very flushed out.  I loved the way he handled the evolution of alliances that led to the salvation of Earth from the threat of being food for the Drakuls.  Hey, it’s not a spoiler when you know the main character has another trilogy in his future!  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 Chris created.  It was a fun ride, that made me wanna suit up… which is the goal of action/adventure authors!  I wouldn’t mind the warrior package on the implants either, hear they take off a few pounds!  I give the world building 6 out of 5 Grenades.

 

Description:

Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  There were some scenes which were confusing, and difficult to envision, but like the last novel he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia with the need to move a story along.  This book didn’t have a single place where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which added to world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  The world he created evoked visceral emotions, heck I wanted to get my implants and join up again after this novel!  As an author, Chris Kennedy was still lite on the details of what the various characters looked like but by now I just didn’t care.  I wanted the action, the adventure and the PEW PEW!  Overall, I give Chris 5 out of 5 grenades in this category!  Seriously, he was only one more PEW PEW scene away from 6 grenades people!

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novels, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  He must be growing on me?  The only issue I had was that the scenes where characters used a stage whisper were hard to understand.  An easy fix was available, I pulled off the road and popped open the novel with my Whysper Sync and then went back to the audiobook!  Further, you might notice that my review of his performance has been the same for his last three books, and it’s because he provides a steady and consistent performance.  Overall, I give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his performance.

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, it made my drive home from my brother-in-law’s wedding very enjoyable and I was able to escape the multitude of bad drivers that littered the highways and die-ways.  With this book, I listened to all but a few chapters, which is a testament to the quality of the audiobook.

Like the previous book in this trilogy, the cover was amazingly invocative.  I love how the trilogy has a similar theme running through it, and picking the crest for the new Republic of Terra definitely fit this book.  I could definitely see this on some swag, but I always think “this could be on a t-shirt” so take my opinion with a grain of salt!  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, even the ground combat.  Such accurate portrayal of the tactics is rare, especially when coming from a sailor like Chris Kennedy.  Seriously, the author weaponized the awesome power of the PEW PEW for this thrilling conclusion to the Theogony Trilogy!  He wove the action in such a compelling way that you could almost forget that he was just a silly fly boy!  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  Thankfully, traffic was bad so I was able to listen to the whole novel on my drive home.  Wow, it’s so good the novel makes you thankful for crappy road conditions!  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering which grunt he bribed for the insight into how we think!  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it motivates you to squeeze your fat body into your old uniform and you die from the shock to your system.  And when you die, you end up in limbo, all alone.  And since you’re alone, you go insane from the solitude.  And in your insanity, you try to fly, but can’t.  Instead, you’re left merged with the asphalt you fell onto at your failed effort to recreate Kitty Hawk.  Stuck in the asphalt, your soul wastes away until there is no you left and you fade out just as Ragnarök begins.  Yeah, it would suck to miss that so maybe you should tread lightly!  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  But hey, at least you got to see eternity pass you by as you fade into nothing.  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from up there!

 

 

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

JR

> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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