Fighting for Space – Back to Saxon Andrew’s usual writing

Fighting for Space (Escape to Earth #2) by Saxon Andrew
My rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Fighting For SpaceDiscovering who your enemies might be is a task fraught with intrigue and errors. The villain today may be tomorrow’s hero. The way things keep changing, it’s going to take a score card to keep track of who is the next civilization to attack Earth.

However, something, or someone, is manipulating mankind and it appears they’re doing it to help Earth survive. Their handiwork is easily seen, after events unfold, but no one knows who it is or what their motives are. Once this mystery is unraveled, Lukas learns that Earth is being set up for destruction and the force coming to do it is unstoppable. All the assistance being given to him will not be enough to hold back the coming tide. Mankind has no choice but to fight for space and make the enemy fight for every inch. The action is unrelenting in Fighting for Space.

If you are a fan of Saxon Andrew then you will probably like this book. Personally I have to say that I was a wee bit disappointed. I had stopped reading books from this author because, even though I do like to read young adult material from time to time, every book felt just more like the same. The same in this case was (is) mainly naivety and overwhelming scenarios where galaxies and even universes are pitted again each other. Science is really non existent and “strategy” is mostly about how many reactors that can be fitted on a ship and whether it can fly fast enough or stealthy enough to defeat the enemy. I quite liked these kind of stories…for a while but you (or at least I) can only digest so many of them.

I gave this series a try because it sounded like it was going to be a bit of a depart from the previous book by this author and, indeed, the first book in the series was. However, this one is really back to the “old ways”.

The thrill of an alien, with somewhat supernatural powers, hiding on Earth is gone and we are back to fleet of millions of ships slugging it out in space. Ships are distinguished largely by which colour they are. The bad guys are made to see the light and turned into fierce allies in the blink of an eye and in the most naïve manner.

Bottom line is that this is a classical Saxon Andrew book and there is really little that distinguishes it from the rest of his many books. I do not like to drop a series in the middle of it but I am not really pressed to read the next instalment in this series when it comes out either.

The Circuit: Excecutor Rising republished

The Circuit Cover FinalQuite a while ago I published a review of The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno.

This book was, in my mind, a quite good debutant work. In particular the story was quite elaborate for an author making his first attempt. This is why, when I hear, from the author that, he had some issues with his publisher and that the book was retracted, and then that it was no republished again on most e-book sites that I would just make a mention of it on my site.

It Is now available on Diversion Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble as well as iBookstore as far as I can see.

The Belial Origins – Good fantasy, adventure and thriller book.

The Belial Origins (The Belial Series #6) by R. D. Brady
My rating: 8 out of 10 stars

The Belial OriginsA powerful relic was hidden eons ago to protect mankind. If it’s uncovered, our world will change forever. But the Fallen are on its trail. And they’re not the only ones.

The key to this ancient danger is none other than Victoria Chandler. No one knows who she really is, or more importantly, what her role is in the fight against the fallen angels. But Victoria’s time for secrecy is over. Now she must step out of the shadows and take her rightful place in mankind’s history.

Delaney McPhearson, Jake Rogan, and Henry Chandler’s fight against the Fallen will take them from ancient temples to natural wonders. But with every step, the danger will grow more severe and the stakes ever higher.

And in this battle, not everyone will be standing when the dust clears.

An enjoyable fantasy, adventure and thriller book. Like the previous book in this series, and unlike the first couple of books, there is no pretence to keep the presence of various good and evil supernatural powers a mystery any more. Angels, both good ones and fallen ones roam the earth and biblical personas and references abound. Naturally said personas and references are embellished quite a lot.

In general it is a good book. The familiar faces from previous instalments are back and we do finally get to know Victoria’s secret even though the road to there is a somewhat bumpy one. The author have built an interesting story around Victoria (whose name is really not Victoria but a more biblical one) and the entire biblical story of creation although I have to say that for some parts I found it a bit convoluted. In particular I was not too keen on the parts where Victoria had split up with her former partner due to differences of opinions and the bla bla about equality etc. etc. Felt like a cheap attempt to surf on popular politically correct opinions.

There is quite a bit of action in the book and not so much slow investigative work. The book runs pretty much full steam ahead to the grand finale which of course is not only the revelation of Victoria’s secrets but also the usual combat between good and evil and, as the book blurb indicates, sacrifices will be made. Most of the time we follow either Delaney or Victoria. The latter who rather early in the book ends up in somewhat of a predicament. The book pretty much closes the main story arc that we have been following since the first book in the series although it does not really close The Belial Series as a whole if one should judge from the actual ending as well as the author’s comments.

As I wrote, this is a good fantasy, adventure and thriller book. Perhaps not wow-great in my opinion but definitely above average and well worth reading. I am certainly interested to see where the author goes with this material now.

Kingdom of Heaven – Decent, even quite good but depressing movie

Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott on Cine+ Premier (CanalSat)
My rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Kingdom of HeavenKingdom of Heaven is an epic adventure about a common man who finds himself thrust into a decades-long war. A stranger in a strange land, he serves a doomed king, falls in love with an exotic and forbidden queen, and rises to knighthood. Ultimately, he must protect the people of Jerusalem from overwhelming forces – while striving to keep a fragile peace.

Kingdom of Heaven is a decent enough movie. It is even a quite good movie. It is also a quite depressing movie. At least it was for me.

The backstory of the movie is the eternal battle over the city of Jerusalem. That city is of course a tempting subject for makers of adventure movies given that it has been destroyed at least twice, been attacked 52 times, besieged 23 times and changed ownership 44 times.

Balian de Ibelin comes to Jerusalem (not really of his own will mind you) during a time when it was in Christian hands only to discover that most of the Christian noblemen are arrogant, warmongering assholes. Not only that but they are stupid beyond belief. The results are disastrous of course. The movie blurb is actually not very accurate. When Balian is at the point were he has to defend the people there is no peace, fragile or otherwise.

The movie is quite well done, no question about that. The scenery, the acting, all of it is on the level of a very good movie. It is not really an action movie though. More of a adventure/drama movie. Balian’s journey towards the final confrontation is a rather slow process and it is only towards then end, during the siege of Jerusalem, that the movie truly heats up on the action front. The siege of Jerusalem with its siege machines is quite impressive though. Not overdone with ridiculous CGI but well done.

It is also a depressing movie. The Christian noblemen, their disastrous behaviors and the equally disastrous end result makes me have a hard time to really like this movie. It is a good movie but I did not enjoy it as much as it deserves.

King of Thieves – Very good new series by Evan C. Currie taking off where Odyssey One ended

King of Thieves by Evan C. Currie
My rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Star RogueEarth’s survivors face devastating new challenges in the wake of recovering from an alien conflict. Battered and mourning tremendous losses, the once fractious peoples of enemy nations must work together to rebuild their shattered world—and prevent the possibility of their attackers’ return. What they don’t know is that a new, deadlier enemy unlike anything they’ve ever faced will usher in the dawn of another war.

Captain Morgan Passer commands the Rogue Class destroyer Autolycus, charged with an interstellar recon mission to detect traces of the repelled enemy while gathering information for the fortification of Earth’s defenses. What the expedition finds instead is a deeply disturbing mystery: a discovery that redefines everything they thought they knew about Earth’s place in the galaxy…and reveals deadly new horrors. In this original story set in the Odyssey One world, former enemies unite for their own survival, and Passer and his intrepid crew seek answers to help them save their people. Instead, they find that the invasion may be over, but the danger is just beginning.

Evan C. Currie is one of those (few) authors that almost never disappoints me. This book is no exception. This is a very good start of a new series in the Odyssey One universe. The book takes off not too far after the events in the last Odyssey One book. Actually, a lot of people will probably think of this one as “Odyssey One #5″. However, according to the author himself a fifth Odyssey One book is “Zero percent likely”. So this is obviously a new series.

Although we get a brief appearance of our well known hero Eric Weston, the main character in this book is, as the book blurb indicates, Captain Morgan Passer of the new (or is it old?) Rogue Class destroyer Autolycus. If you are wondering about the name of the ship you have to brush up on your Greek mythology (I had to). He is not the only one in the spotlight in this book though. There are several others, a female commander from what used to be the enemy and a marine commander who used to do his best to try and kill said enemy for instance. A half-crazy prima donna and genius scientist rounds off the ensemble creating some interesting personal chemistry issues.

So it is a whole new team that embarks on adventures in the same universe as Odyssey One. The Drasin have been repelled, for now, but they still lurk out there and the Autolycus is sent to out scout for potential future dangers. As can be deduced from the book blurb they find quite a few things and that is not necessarily good news.

The book starts off like a scientific expedition, then turns into somewhat of a horror and suspense story to finally explode in quite a bit of action. Most of the action is marine grunt action and it is well done but I would have preferred a larger portion of ship action myself. Not that the Autolycus is left entirely out and the chief have to play around with various unstable compounds that you normally do not let loose on a space ship (or anywhere else for that matter) in order to save the ship.

Previously mentioned personal chemistry issues comes into play of course. I especially like the rather nutty science genius. The book is nicely written as usual from Evan C. Currie and it is a good mix of adventure, suspense, horror and action with almost entirely likable characters. Actually, I do not think there was any non-likable characters event though the science genius tried hard to be one. I especially liked the more or less total absence of stupid politics. Humanity have been standing on the edge of the eternal abyss and this time they appear to have learned their lesson…finally.

On the whole this is a very good book and a good start of a new series taking off where Odyssey One finished. Personally I would not have minded a bit more space action (I known the author is quite good at it) but it was still a very enjoyable book.

Lines of Departure – Fairly solid military science fiction

Lines of Departure (Frontlines #2) by Marko Kloos
My rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Lines of DepartureVicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the Solar System…

Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is North American Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go.

After surviving a disastrous space-borne assault, Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony—and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun.

Andrew Grayson’s adventures continues in Lines of Departure. This book series is yet another of those apocalyptic visions of our future were incompetent politicians have created an unsustainable welfare state which is about to come crashing down on them. Well, at least that is pretty much the backdrop. The book is, luckily, not really about said welfare state but about Andrew Grayson, his (mis)adventures in the North American Defense Corps and, of course, about the fact that Earth is about to be steamrolled over by the planet grabbing aliens from the first book.

Of course the humans cannot (yet) unite even when faced with such a dire threat and it does not help that a good chunk of the political as well as military leadership are incompetents assholes. The book blurb states that Andrew’s ship is packed with malcontents and troublemakers. I would say that this is not entirely correct. It is packed with people that opens their mouth when previously mentioned assholes gives them irresponsible and even immoral orders. Anyway, as you may guess it all ends up in a big clusterfuck at which time the aliens make their timely appearance. That is of course when it is time to bring out the really big guns. To bad they have to find one first…

The book is well written and it feels more focused than the previous book. Andrew is not jumping around all the time for instance. Well, he is being given assignments making him fly all over the place but he is not changing his role dramatically as he did in the last book and which I found a bit far-fetched. The action is not bad at all. A fair amount of the book is non-combat oriented though and Andrew spends quite some time with his mother and doing a lot of talking about the sad state of the more and more dysfunctional society around him. As I wrote, it was quite well written and it did not bother me too much but all the dialogue as well as monologue about this was sometimes on the limit of being a bit too much.

The book ends with quite a bit of fireworks as well as some surprises and a rather big cliffhanger. I cannot say that the cliffhanger surprised me enormously though and it will be interesting to see what will happen next. One thing that annoyed me tremendously was the fact that, despite knowing the threat there seemed to have been little work going on to actually counter it. Sure a few improvements to weapons and suits but nothing really worth much. Several years were supposed to have passed after all and the basic science behind the fireworks at the end of this book was not really very innovative in that anyone could have figured that one out and it would be rather easy to make a much more efficient “real” weapon along those lines.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable book and I have put Frontlines #3 on my to read list already.

A Show of Force – Great book…except for a few things

A Show of Force (The Frontiers Saga #13) by Ryk Brown
My rating: 8 out of 10 stars

A Show of ForceThe liberation old worlds…
The addition of new allies…
The fall of a regime…
The death of a trusted friend…

The Aurora begins clearing a 20 light year sphere of safety around Earth, taking out Jung forces as they liberate the core systems. However, Captain Scott and the Alliance quickly discover that not every world wants to be liberated, and the Jung have a few surprises of their own.

Chapter 13 in The Frontiers Saga is as enjoyable to read as most of the books in the series have been. It is great entertainment and I definitely liked this book except for a few things that I get to.

The book starts off right away with the Alliance giving the Jungs a good beating. There is plenty of action in this book and, for once, the Aurora is not totally shot to pieces. At least not right away. A decent amount of the action is down on the ground, either in the form of the Ghatazhak liberating former Jung worlds or Jessica on undercover and infiltration work on the next Jung world to liberate.

As the book blurb states some inhabitants are not all that eager to be liberated but, to be honest, that does not really play an enormous role in the book. Most of the book is more straightforward action and strategic decisions in order to achieve the 20 light year sphere. The action is good, very good, and the writing and characters are as enjoyable as always.

Naturally not everything goes exactly as planned and, as the book blurb also states, the Jung have a few surprises as well. Not all of them being of the kind that involves lobbying ships, missiles and blunts instruments at each other. I found this “other” surprise to be an interesting twist and it ties together some of the events on Earth with Jessica’s experiences when working undercover as well.

However, there are these “few things” that I mentioned. A minor gripe is that they are going through Ghatazhaks at frightening speeds, sometimes due to reasons I found not to be very valid. It is as if the shooting up of the Aurora now have been replaced by killing off Ghatazhaks. A less minor gripe is that Jessica, in my opinion, during her undercover work is behaving somewhat amateurish in that she is opening her mouth rather quickly and spilling details about jump drives and god knows what to people who’s integrity have hardly been satisfactory proven. Actually she is not the only one behaving amateurishly from time to time.

Then we have the situation in the Pentaurus cluster where the “nobles” are stirring up things and everything, quite frankly, goes to hell. This I could have been without. It was a totally unnecessary element of the story. It also created quite some sadness and losses and I felt that this book did not at all end on a happy note due primarily to this and, since I am a sucker for happy endings, I really did not like this.

If not for these issues, especially the latter, this book would have earned another star for me. It is still a good book though and, as is often the case, these gripes are due to the personal opinions and tastes of myself. I am indeed looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

My personal ramblings about books (especially Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy), computers, gadgets and movies

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