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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WARRIOR WEEKEND: Chris Kennedy

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Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets! Not much happening on the home front, except more writing.  So as I have nothing to add to the equation, let’s talk about today’s featured veteran!

I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES.  You might remember him, I’ve previously interviewed him about his publishing house but today we focus on him, not his business.  The introduction will be the same, because Chris Kennedy hasn’t morphed into someone else in the interim but for those of you who missed his earlier interview, check it out here.  If some of this is repetitive, then your memory is longer than most people’s online these days!  Kudos to you!

To help you appreciate why I chose to interview him, let me tell you more about Chris.  He is a bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author and speaker.  Chris Kennedy is also a former naval aviator (we forgive him for not going Army) and elementary school principal.  Chris’ stories include the “Occupied Seattle” military fiction duology; “The Theogony” and “Codex Regius” science fiction trilogies; and the “War for Dominance” fantasy trilogy.  You can also get his free book, “The Death of Atlantis,” at his website.

 

Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy

Chris has been called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists (including yours truly) on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions and writing guild presentations.  He is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, “Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores,” as well as the leadership training book, “Leadership from the Darkside.”  You can find out more about having him talk to your group here.

Chris lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his wife and family.  He is currently working with the Navy to help shape Navy training processes for the year 2025.  He is the holder of a doctorate in educational leadership and master’s degrees in both business and public administration.  On a more personal note, like so many in the Indie Writing Circle, Chris is very willing to mentor new writers (though they all likely regret accepting my friend request!) through his social media presence.  He’s an overall decent fella, the kind you’d enjoy doing business with.

Now for the man, the myth and the legend to speak for himself!

 

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Without further ado, let’s gzet this interview cranking!

 

Tell me a little about your military service?

I am a retired naval aviator who spent 20 years in the service. About half of my flight career was spent flying A-6E Intruder attack jets off the carrier and half was flying the EP-3E ARIES reconnaissance aircraft. I have over 3,000 hours of flight time and over 300 arrested carrier landings. Even though I’ve retired from active duty, I’m still closely tied to the military, as my day job is managing the curriculum for enlisted sailors learning to maintain the FA-18 Hornet fighter jet.

How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?

Having spent time in two communities, I have a good feel for how a number of services operate, and have worked closely with a number of organizations in each branch of the military. While I certainly know and can write aviation (including space fighters!), I’m also passingly conversant on other military specialties, as well.

Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books?  If so, how?

Absolutely, it does. With me, you get authentic actions and communications, as well as knowing what it’s like to have to “embrace the suck.”

When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

I started about four years ago. Writing wasn’t something I’d always wanted to do, but something that just kind of happened. One day, I had an idea that I thought would make a great book or two, and rather than throwing that idea away, I pursued it to its conclusion (it turned into Red Tide and Occupied Seattle).

Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?

I don’t know that I have one story that is my favorite, but lots of little parts of each. If I had to pick one, I would say, “Terra Stands Alone.” It showed I could bring a series to a successful conclusion (I think so, anyway), and I also got to use A-6E Intruders in the story.

How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?

I’m sure all of them have at least a little piece of someone I’ve known in the service, as I draw upon lots of people I served with when I’m writing.

How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?

I don’t know how many actual scenes were inspired by my service, but the interactions in all of my scenes, how people relate and talk to each other, definitely are inspired by my service.

Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you?  Has it helped you process your experiences?

The only negative I took with me from my service was how I felt about a couple of the leaders I served under, and choices they made which I knew were wrong. Certainly the leadership book I wrote was very cathartic in letting some of those things go.

If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I think that Shawn Hobbs and I would get along well together. In addition to serving with him, I’d also love to have a beer with him, too. That Dan Knaus guy is all right, too, but then again, he’s a red shirt of someone I actually served with.

If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I don’t know that I could keep up with Master Chief O’Leary, and he always seems to be getting into the kind of “life-or-death” situations I always try to avoid.

What are you currently working on and when do you expect it to be ready for publication?

I am working on an anthology in the Four Horsemen universe called “A Fistful of Credits” which has some great names in it, like Brad Torgersen, Chris Nuttal, Terry Mixon and Doug Dandridge in it, among others. It will be released on June 30 and is going to be great! I also have a full length novel in the series, “The Golden Horde,” which will be released about six weeks after that.

How can people find you?

 

I hope you had a great time getting to know Chris. If this convinced you to find out more, look him up—he’s a heck of a guy!  If he doesn’t respond quick enough, bombard him with stories about nonsense!  Mwahahaha!!

 

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: 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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Book Review: When the Gods Aren’t Gods (The Theogony Book 2)

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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: When the Gods Aren’t Gods (The Theogony 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: 432

1119129791

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 Janissaries, the first novel in The Theogony Trilogy.  Lieutenant Commander Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs and his special forces platoon just returned from a three-month 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.  Although they returned alive, they returned without finding any new allies or help in building the fleet necessary to ensure the Earth’s survival.

They’ve got to go back out to the stars.

“When the Gods Aren’t Gods” is the second book in “The Theogony,” a trilogy that takes Lieutenant Commander Hobbs and his special forces platoon to the stars, where they have found out that there is much more to Earth’s history than is written in the history books!

What do you do when myths become reality, and nothing you have ever been taught about history turns out to be true?  How do you find the truth when everything you know is a lie?  What is there left to believe in, when even the gods aren’t gods?

 

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 didn’t sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology awesome.  Calvin Hobbs was a flushed out, three-dimensional character that I thought was a lot of fun.  I felt like I could relate to him as a person, and was someone I would want to hang out with.  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  Like his previous novels, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this science fiction military thriller.  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 got involved with the resistance and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.  These actions caught the attention of the aliens spying on humanity, and end with him being requested to lead humanities efforts to assist their new alien allies.  In this book we follow him as he helps unify the Earth around the

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.

The premise was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  We see a conclusion of the goal of a unified Earth and a one world government, which granted access to more bad assed advanced tech from the Psiclopes’s stranded on Earth.  Chris covered the needed political gamesmanship very well, with the required non-action scenes not bogging down the plot.  I would love to give some examples, but this is a spoiler free review!

With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech!  On a happy note, this book ditched some of the aviation porn in favor of ground combat.  This was 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!  I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

World Building:

This is the second book in The Theogony Trilogy, and I’m still hooked on this world!  Like in the previous novel in this trilogy, this world was very flushed out.  I was especially pleased with the way Chris Kennedy handled the evolution from our current geopolitical status quo into the unified Terran Government created in this book.  The new Republic of Terra conversion was handled well, I was sold on the way it happened.  Even with a pending alien invasion, there was dissent and political gamesmanship.  The changes were believable, and there was no waving of the hands to address the realities of geopolitics at the international level.  There would be no panacea for the new world government, as each nation jockeyed for power.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  I give the world building 5 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.  There were very few places where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which added to world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  He was, alas, a little light on the details of what the various characters looked like.  And he went overboard on the mythology and religion, which isn’t something I normally look for in my science fiction.  Overall, I give Chris 4 out of 5 grenades in this category!

 

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?  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 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 military unit patches for the space marines definitely fit this book.  I could definitely see this on some swag!  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.  He wove the action in such a compelling way that you could almost forget that he was just a silly fly boy!  As for the military equipment, well it was a lot smoother than the previous novel.  None of the future tech was perfect, it didn’t always work and sometimes failed at the worst possible moments.  That is a good thing, as it adds realism to his novels!  As an additional plus, we got to play with his believable small unit tactics when the new Republic of Terra Space Marines were formed and used by Calvin Hobbs.  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  I even stayed up to late, reading in the hotel bathroom once the kids went to bed!!  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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Book Review: Janissaries (The Theogony 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:  Janissaries (The Theogony 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:  408

 

Janissary Cover

 

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 carries on in the world of the Occupied Seattle duology with the same cast of characters.  The war with China, the Sino American War, was over and Lieutenant Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs just wanted his life to get back to normal.  As the hero of the war, he had a small ream of paperwork to fill out, a deployment with his Navy F-18 squadron to prepare for, and a new girlfriend to spend some quality time with.  Life was good, until the aliens showed up.

The aliens had a ship and needed to get to their home planet, but they didn’t have a crew.  They had seen Calvin’s unit in action, though, and knew it was the right one for the job.  There was just one small problem–a second race of aliens was coming, which would end all life on Earth.  Calvin’s platoon might want to do something about that, too. Having won a terrestrial war with 30 troops, winning an interstellar war with nothing but a 3,000-year-old cruiser should be easy, right? “Janissaries” initiates “The Theogony,” a trilogy that will take Lieutenant Hobbs and his Special Forces platoon to the stars.  It will also show them that there’s much more to Earth’s history than is written in the history books!

 

Characters: 

In this novel, we see more focus given to Shawn Hobbs with the other characters in the series given secondary status.  Given the amount of head hopping in his previous series, I would say there was a lot of improvement here.  Even better, Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology awesome.  With this change, Hobbs was flushed out, and I felt like I could relate to him as a person.  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  Like his previous novels, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this science fiction military thriller.  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 got involved with the resistance and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.  These actions caught the attention of the aliens spying on humanity, and end with him being requested to lead humanities efforts to assist their new alien 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, 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.

The premise was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech!  Also, again I’m no aviation savant, so I just went with how convincing the story was.  I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how Chris Kennedy executed it.  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 Theogony Trilogy, and I’m already hooked.  Like in the previous novel in his Occupied Seattle Duology, this world was very flushed out.  Unlike before, this series takes the past the world as we know it and into one that’s simply amazing to think about!  The changes were believable, and there was no waving of the hands to address the realities of geopolitics at the international level.  There would be no panacea for the new world government, as each nation jockeyed for power.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  I give the world building 5 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.  Unlike his previous world, he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia with the need to move a story along.  There was never a place where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which I enjoyed.  He was, alas, a little light on the details of what the various characters looked like.  And he went overboard on the nicknames, though it was an improvement over the duology.  Overall, I give Chris 5 out of 5 grenades in this category!

 

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novel, 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?  I give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his performance.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, though that bastard Chris Kennedy kept me up all night because when I hit the 80%-mark I couldn’t stop.  But, I mean, who needs sleep right?  Like the previous duology, the cover was amazingly invocative.  It was a unit patch for the space fighter squadron.  I could definitely see this on some swag!  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.  As an additional plus, we got to play with his believable small unit tactics with the Ranger platoon and foreign Special Operations guys and gals that were ported into the unit manning the spaceship.  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’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering at his mental stability!  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: Occupied Seattle

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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:  Occupied 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:  295

 

1882453055

 

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.  In this book, we see the conclusion of the fight with the People’s Republic of China.  We see a wrap up of all of the previous plot threads and it’s a gloriously explosive conclusion!

 

 

Characters: 

In this novel, we see more focus given to the three main characters so I would say there was a lot of improvement here.  There were three main characters; Shawn Hobbs, Ryan O’Leary and the Ranger Platoon they lead.  In the first novel there were too many characters popping in and out of this story, and it was distracting.  Not the case this time, and I could finally get behind them.  Even better, Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Red Tide awesome.  The premise was just as compelling, great job Chris!  The characters were flushed out, though there were still plenty of red shirts and death!  Like the last one, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this military thriller.  Here is a brief summary of the characters, check it out!

 

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.

 

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes these characters with the next series.  The author wrote The Theogony Trilogy and The Codex Trilogy with these characters, and I’m thrilled!

 

 

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.  Occupied Seattle was the conclusion of the story, and it was even more explosive than the book one in the duology!  Like before, I again give Chris 6 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the third book I’ve read by Chris Kennedy, and they just keep getting better! Like the previous books, I wasn’t disappointed!  Like in the previous novel in this duology, this world was very flushed out.  However, 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.  Once I found out that this story transitions into a story of first contact, I was ecstatic!  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.  Like the first novel, this novel was placed in the science fiction section on Amazon, but in this book’s duology we see none of it.  Other than that one complaint, it was a great book and I can’t wait to read the next trilogy in this universe, The Theogony Trilogy.  I give the world building 5 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.  Again, in some places Chris went a little over board with the explanation of the various military minutia.  It wasn’t as bad as before, but it was still there.  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 4 out of 5 grenades in this category!

 

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novel, 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.  I would give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his explosive performance.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, even more than the last book because there wasn’t any of the previous head popping was a bit jarring.  Like the previous book in this duology, 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.  It wasn’t as bad as the previous book but it was still a bit overdone.  If you want to use a nickname, then we don’t need the full name, but it wasn’t as noticeable as before.  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’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering at his mental stability!  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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