Friday, January 31, 2014

Review::The Saving Mars Series Books 1-3 By Sidney Swanson

The Saving Mars Series (Saving Mars, Defying Mars, Losing Mars)The Saving Mars Series by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Saving Mars Series Books 1-3 By Sidney Swanson

As I mentioned before I love this series and Sidney Swanson's style of writing. Unfortunately its interfering with a goal I had set to make it through at least the first ten Honor Harrington novels by this time. I'm on book 9 of that series and I keep putting it down to read these Mars books. So I might just as well finish these three and move on to Books 4 and 5 before the final novel comes out.

The adventures of Jessamyn and Pavel continue as they draw all variety of people into the web of intrigue; that is the mutual agreement that long ago took place between Mars and Earth.

Jessamyn Jaarda is the hotshot pilot and book worm from Mars who with her brother, Ethan, and a crew of Marsian Raiders set out in the Red Galleon past the star-wars like array that is meant to keep them in their place. The trip comes with a cost as they lose a companion ship the Red Dawn to the laser array that is designed to shoot anything heading away from Mars. Jessamyn is able to use her skills as a pilot to get Red Galleon past the array, but it looks like her cavalier piloting might be part of what lead to Red Dawn's destruction.

The Red Galleon and crew have to take on both missions now the one to trade for fuel and the one to shut down the array of satellites around Mars.

Mars and the Marsians have their problems. Earth has long ago abandoned all efforts to make Mars livable and those who refused to return to Earth were left to die. Political issues between those who stayed and Earth gov escalated combative situations resulting in the array of deadly satellites that are there to keep anyone trying to leave Mars from doing so. The Marsians are trying to finish the job of making Mars livable but it's not going well so every 40 year approximately they take the valuable Tellurium to Earth and trade illegally for ration bars which is the only sustenance that the Marsians have. Somehow the ship they take can contain enough ration bars to get their controlled community through the next 40 years. This time they are early because of an accident that burned most of the remaining rations.

Life on Earth has changed dramatically. In part due to the failure of the Mars Project the Earth has drawn inward and come up with a different solution. Due to a technique that requires lots of Tellurium. The citizens of Earth have technology that allows them to transfer their minds from one body to another. (This is almost sounding like a nod to Edgar Rice Burroughs Mastermind of Mars Where Ras Thavas is the mad doctor who switches out peoples brains with other people and even animals.)Here in the Saving Mars universe we find special rules that everyone is allowed to live out their lives the four bodies with intervals of 18 years totaling seventy-two and then they are retired. (Euthanized) They live to eighteen then two-body out to a fifty-four year old body while they apprentice.(sorry whilst is just one of those fingernail on blackboard words for me.) At seventy-two they three-body out to a thirty-six year old to preform useful work. At fifty-four they four body out to an eighteen year old bodies to enjoy semi-retirement before they are fully retired.

Yes, I can see where this could all go wrong in a hurry, but in this world it appears to work. I say appears because there are some people at the top of the food chain who control this and have been abusing it. This whole plot point figures heavy into the relationship between Earth gov and Mars gov so it becomes critical to the rest of the story.

Lucca Brezhnaya runs the Earth gov- from Budapest; there are others who seem to be above her but she's the one who seems to run things. Pavel is her nephew whom she seems to be preening for a future in the government. Lucca is a part of the problem while Pavel is too naive to be aware at this point.

Pavel and Jess are on a course to a head-on collision of the two worlds. The people of Earth have been led to believe that there is no one left living on Mars. The people of Mars think that Earth has been mostly indifferent to their existence possibly because they don't know they're there on Mars. But past political posturing might tell a different story and when these two collide something will have to give.

Jess will find a lot of time to regret some of her hastily made decisions and their outcomes. She'll also end up losing a lot to complete the mission.

Pavel will have to set his whole world upside down just to begin to believe what the Marsians are telling him.

And Lucca Brezhnaya will be out for blood.

While some elements of the plot are a bit fantastic, that fantastic tends to stay within its own rules while creating a compelling group of players who are all trying to do their parts while following their own hearts.

Book two is primarily Jessamyn's struggle between love and country (planet). There is plenty of intrigue and plotting on both planets. It might be that what seemed like accidents in the past have really been part of a larger plan.

Jess has to fight the system to get a chance to return to save her crew-mates and to try to see Pavel once again.

With a round of great characters Cidney Swanson weaves each of these stories separately into individual stories that stand well by themselves, but they have these left over questions that take you into to the next book. Each book stands well alone. The reading is entertaining and compelling enough that you want to move on to the next book as you finish each one.

This is great fiction for those who like Mars stories and who enjoy books for the characters who people them. Those who like their science (pure/hard) might struggle though there is a reasonable amount of it here. I'd recommend this for SFF fans and romance and adventure and YA book lovers.

For those who like the characters in a book to come flying up out of the pages at them.

J.L. Dobias

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review::Saving Mars (The Saving Mars Series 1) by Cidney Swanson

Saving Mars (Saving Mars, #1)Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saving Mars (The Saving Mars Series 1) by Cidney Swanson

I loved this this book. So much that even though I had purchased it as an individual before the triple pack came out, I went ahead and purchased the tri-pack. It's quite worth it.

I've already read and enjoyed the Ripple trilogy by Cidney and having loved that so much I purchased the saving Mars book 1 to get me started into that group of stories. I had let it set for a while I was doing other things and reading other things, but once I started reading Jessamyn Jaarda's story I couldn't put it down.

I think it's been noted by some that they felt the story has incredible science and I can see how that objection works what with having Mars being reliant upon Earth for food and having the entire population of Earth believing that no one is left alive on Mars, despite the food raids that Marsian's perpetrate every so many years.

Fortunately for me when I read I look for good character development. All the primary characters in Saving Mars are quite well crafted. But that doesn't stop me from appreciating the story including everything mentioned above.

Marsians are shown as more down to Earth type people than the people on Earth but they've had to scrape for their existence ever since the Earth decided to abandon its attempts to change Mars to something livable. The Marsians are still working toward that goal, but until they can do that they have to sneak to Earth to obtain food. Sneaking to Earth is complicated by a network of satellites that might be described as star-wars technology set up around Mars to destroy anything trying to leave Mars. It has long since passed the projected time that Earth Governments expected everyone who remained on Mars to die.

Against the odds and with the food raids they survive and they have developed a school to teach pilots to fly past the barrier to get to Earth to barter for food with Tellurium. Jessamyn is one of these pilots, but she also just an average teen who feels the need to prove herself.

When a fire destroys a majority of the supplies of food Jess and her brother and several others are chosen to break through the barrier and bring back food. But this time they also mean to break into the center that controls the star-wars satellites and bring the barrier down.

On earth there is a strange cultural shock of a sort in that everyone can and is pressured to switch bodies through consciousness transfer which is assisted by the use of tellurium. The transfer facilitates young people to older bodies supposedly for experience and ultimately for older people to gain younger bodies. There is an age limit for everyone to the age of 72. Most of Earth population seem to be alright with this although as the story progresses it seems fraught with peer pressure and in some cases court mandate with criminals. The whole concept seems a bit seedy and invasive with some lingering insidiousness that begins to rear its head.

This is a tightly woven story with a satisfactory conclusion despite that its being a part of a series. There's enough left open to want you to pick up the next book and get started right away. This is typical of Cidney's writing and I expect the best from her in the remainder of the series.

I'm a definite fan and I hope this makes you read this novel and become just as much a fan.

Great YA and Adult SFF with maybe more focus on fantasy; fans of these types of books should really love these. Even Romance readers should like this, though the Romance does not dominate.

If you like immersion into characters then you can't go wrong with this one.

J.L. Dobias

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review::The Lost Hero (Book One of the Heaven Saga) By Marcus Johnson

The Lost Hero (The Heaven Saga, #1)The Lost Hero by Marcus Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Lost Hero (Book One of the Heaven Saga) By Marcus Johnson

I loved this story and I loved the character of Brian Peterson and despite some of the major road bumps I gave the whole work five stars because I felt that overall the author did well enough toward entertaining me and the final portion of the book was a means of acquitting his transgressions.

That much said not everyone will love this story there are a number of reasons the least of which might be the Heaven Saga part. It's almost misleading in away, yet not at all if one were to accept any notion of Heaven as being mythological. This seem to be written largely from the point of view of someone who is an atheist. This means that all religion though treated as interesting is also dismissed as mythological.

Another interesting aspect of the myth of beliefs is the misguided notion that a democracy by way of the US of A is the only way for people to obtain true freedom, not to mention trying to reverse engineer it through having someone unfamiliar with the concept trying to make sense of the declaration of independence in relationship to deconstructing a monarch. I would at the very least want in future episodes to see how poorly this works and perhaps a stand down and at the very least a healthy look at using the British model for people who are familiar with a monarchies. (I'll grant that the notion is going from a fascist like society to anything with more freedom, but in this case these people obviously have a Queen. I'll give the author benefit in that he's proposing the change over time.)

The next thing might be the cultural backstep. By that I mean that this reads more like a rework of the old ideas seen in such greats of Sci-Fi as Flash Gordon. Male hero swept from Earth into incredible worlds with Bird men no less and with some that are like lion men or cat men. And of course the requisite world of all women. I just recently finish a story where the meter moved the other way with a female protagonist who seemed like a female Lothario. Now I see the wide swing back into the male Lothario in his dream world.

I'm not sure which way I would have preferred to see things. Perhaps I should be happy the author didn't try to make too much of the old trope of all female society with major infighting for possession of the one male. On the other hand it sort of dilutes a whole potential area of conflict to have it look like everyone will be mostly okay with him hopping from bed to bed. Instead we get this kind of hot and cold running theme that almost reaches the edge of the bubble and then backs off. A sort of delicate dance.

The story starts out with the alien Greys and alien abduction from Earth which some people might be getting tired of. What is interesting in this story is the back-story to those aliens. There being a number of higher races that first enter space and create a Confederation of world for those who obtain interstellar flight which all sounds familiar. But since the Greys are one of the advance races in this space race they have opted out of the Confederation. (They in fact have some sinister objective and they seem to be the only ones violating the rule to keep Earth isolated.) Apparently Earth is too violent for these people and has been isolated. No one should be approaching Earth to view or research them. This seems to be a convenient plot point for the Greys who don't feel they have to abide by those rules. Brian the abductee is saved by the Kalaidian's and later he saves a few of them to sort of balance out the scales.

It quickly moves on to more of a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon type story. Brian can't be returned home and as it turns out he looks almost to fulfill some prophecies of their myths. Brian is a good looking and likeable guy stuck on a ship of all females because for some reason the males of the Kalaidian's have all died off. This begins a portion that might put some people off because it just looks like a stack of one trope after another. It's not until later where these things are all sorted out and better explained that things begin to make sense and really get interesting.

Brian has access to a strange phenomenon that is referred to as Berserker. Brian kind-of loses it while in battle and kills everything nearby. There is something that happens with the eyes and by the description its something that happens because of Nanos that have been injected into him by the Kalaidians for both health and strength and the ability to understand languages. The problem with this is that, before the injection, while aboard the Grey ship Brian does something similar that results in his killing all the Greys aboard the ship. This could almost look like a plot hole and maybe gets explained in future episodes.

A big caveat in this book is the Grammar spelling punctuation thing. I was less annoyed than some people by the missing words and sometimes extra words and missing parts of words that cause the sentences to be difficult to read. It definitely looks like this book could use more editing. Most annoying to me was the use of lied for lay there are seven instances that it should have been lay and it would be less annoying if there were not the three instances where lay was properly used at the beginning. It's almost as though the first few chapter received some editing that the remainder didn't get.

Now to get back to what I liked. In the back part of the book as the author hits the action packed climatic scenes he does a tremendous job of drawing the reader into the story and for me that made most of the above become excusable. But that's for me and other readers will have to read this novel themselves to decide what they think.

As for the length of the story; it is definitely novel size and one thing that would be more helpful than the page count would be an approximate word count. Page counts and even location numbers within the kindle tend to be deceiving sometimes. I'm certainly happy it wasn't longer because there is a bit of exposition at the end that reveals the political and religious elements quite strongly that I'm grateful didn't get carried too far. So this is a novel that is probably just at the edge of the best size for this type of novel.

This is a good story for fans of SFF with the emphasis on Fantasy and a leniency toward editing problems.

J.L. Dobias

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review::Flawed Gods by Angela B. Mortimer (Flawed Gods Series Book One)

Flawed GodsFlawed Gods by Angela B. Mortimer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flawed Gods by Angela B. Mortimer (Flawed Gods Series Book One)

I'm not even certain in what genre I should put this book. It has elements of Science Fiction and Fantasy with a healthy dose of fantasy. Then it has elements of Romance, but more on the end of explicit sex though I have seen worse. Finally I came to the conclusion that the main character Doella is a female version of a Lothario. It's similar to taking The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt and inserting a female in his place.

This is a good read with some interesting ideas and occasionally touching the boundaries of the comfort zone.

One problem I had with it is that just as with Casanova I had a great difficulty feeling anything helpful or hopeful for Doella. Well it's not quite true because I did feel for her at the beginning; since she seemed to be mourning the death of Paul. Of course as the story unfolds that compassion is lost quite quickly.

Doella is masquerading as a human named Louise Baker. We find that she is really an anthropologist for a race of beings living on Varos. They have been tweaking and accelerating mans development not just on Earth but on Earth of several parallel dimensions. She and her people have bracelets that enhance the power they have to travel through these dimensions. Doella is a hands on anthropologist in the worst sense and she has been going native more than she probably should.

To lighten things up we discover that the world of Varos is conducive to promiscuity in the early years of development. Conversely when they marry they marry for life, but they seem to be encouraged to play the field. To this end Doella has been experimenting with love with some of her co-workers and apparently a large number of the subjects of her study. Enough that one character seemed to rightly suggest she couldn't give an accurate number. And it seems that even though she a number of times marvels at the possibility that she might be so beautiful that men would fight over she also somehow seems to have the same attitude as Casanova in that she seems to think she is gods gift to man.

She is engaged to Takos but despite efforts, Simune has rebuked her efforts; while she has engaged in a relationship with Carnos. Carnos has been imprisoned by the Varos in the interlamina, which seems to be the area they travel through between worlds and dimensions. Carnos may have been guilty of causing the humans to become more aggressive, possibly causing most of the current strife on the Earth planets. We later find that his confinement is not being handled quite as everyone thinks.

When they discover that Carnos might have slipped from his cage Doella begins to wonder if he might be responsible for the deaths of many of her lovers on Earth. I mention all of this because there are some questionable things that occur that made me feel uncomfortable with the character of Doella.

Carnos escapes into the dimensions or parallel worlds and lures Doella, because he loves her, and he traps her with him. He takes away her bracelet, which is something that is very important to her as it protects her and gives her the power to go where she wants to go. Somehow she seems alright with this for way too long even though she constantly moans about the loss of the bracelet to herself she doesn't confront Carnos. She does still love him, but this is like kidnapping and with her powers taken away it makes it that much more heinous. Eventually she seems happy to go along with him rather than question his tactics.

When they meet Sark a member of a race of Hyclos she has already attempted relationships with several other men and decides to include Sark. In many cases as this progresses she regains and loses her power bracelet. Since it protects her when she has it, the only feelings and concerns I've had for her is that somewhere along the line she's bound to get a nasty venereal disease.

There finally comes a time with one character where things push Doella too far and she realizes, for at least a while, the error of her ways. Almost coming to a point of redeeming herself. But truly as with Casanova there is no help for her.

Despite the dalliances and promiscuity the story has a plot and it's a fairly good one. I'm not all that sure about the resolution of the main plot, but it does fit the character and the story, so there is that. Though Doella does not come off very likable she is a unique character and a very interesting female protagonist.

Now for the caveats; for those a bit particular about Grammar issues. There are some style issues and grammar problems with long sentences and punctuation and lack of or wrong punctuation. Those are also my own week spot, so if I notice them it usually means something. There are several missing words or in some cases extra words that don't seem to belong (enough of these to go beyond my usual threshold).

This could have used another edit and I would give it a five star.

This is an okay romance for mature adults and a good Fantasy for SFF fans who can tolerate the style choices. It is definitely not hard science fiction.

J.L. Dobias

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review::Nightmare in Morocco by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton

Nightmare in MoroccoNightmare in Morocco by Loretta Jackson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nightmare in Morocco by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton

I love a suspense story and this one delivered for me.

Noa Parker has a history with Morocco and it's not a pleasant one. The last thing she wants is to conduct a vacation tour there. Of course she's about to be presented with several other last things she wants and it's only going to make things worse.

I loved that this started with her dying brother leaving all his money to her and asking her to take care of his troublesome adopted teenage daughter. Noa begins to suspect that the young girl has been stealing from her father when several valuable possession come up missing when she does an inventory. She reluctantly honors her brothers wishes and takes the girl with her to her home in Spain.

When they return to Spain and then to Morocco for the tour and people on the tour start getting robbed it's not difficult to connect the dots. But it gets complicated when there are several more suspicious dots on the tour. There are enough suspects to fill one hand at least. Soon things become deadly and it looks like someone is trying to murder someone on the tour.

I loved the development of the fragile relationship that Noa has with Cathy and then the strained relationship she has between her and a coworker and one of the tourists when they start making advances toward her. She has a preference but he seems to also be a suspect. There is a point where Noa has so many suspects she doesn't know who to trust.

This novel is definitely a suspense and romance.

There is the caveat that there are some Grammar problems. Probably around a handful that I found distressing and usually these involved punctuation.

Unfortunately within the first two pages there is one sentence where the punctuation effects the meaning of the sentence and I could only guess what the authors meant to say. I think I figured it out but if it was the other way around it would have been an odd twist of the image I thought they meant to make.

This novel is a good easy read for any fan of Suspense and Romance though the romance is probably a bit on the light side.

J.L. Dobias

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Review::Journey of Fate by Tracey Pooler

Journey of FateJourney of Fate by Tracey Pooler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Journey of Fate by Tracey Pooler

I'm fairly certain somewhere I read that this was science fiction but it's not its fantasy though I could go for some inclusion into SFF with emphasis on fantasy. Needless, I liked this one a lot after making the half way mark.

This is one of those book someone might throw down about halfway through thinking that this is too sappy and fantastic a storybook fairytale with prince charming taking the poor girl away from her horrible life and a force marriage.

Well it's not quite that but it does have the appearance of a fairytale that starts with the protagonist around afire listening to an elder telling them all a fable of a sort. The fable includes the story of the Theos and the Theos warrior with the blackheart and hatred for the Chorikos.

And Cierra's life as we see it from the start is not so bad. Her parents love her and her father even goes so far as to teach her some self-defense which might be considered a bit odd for the mores of their world. But soon a brother comes to fill that gap of a missing heir and when she has reached the age of marriageability her father naturally arranges a marriage. How is he to know its to someone who has threatened her in the past.

In the mean time she's met her prince charming Thymos, whose name she doesn't obtain for quite some time and when she finally gets it she knows it seems familiar but she can't quite put her finger on it. So when she runs away and runs into Thymos she begins the road to a fairytale marriage that is soon to begin a path of strife. Cierra is Chorikos and Thymos is Theos and Thymos' mother won't allow such a marriage.

Worse than that, Cierra soon finds out she may have married the devil himself.

It takes halfway through the book before the magic starts. Both literal and figurative. Anyone giving up on it early will miss all of that. Some things and people are not as they seem and the author has carefully tried to be sure the reader only discovers these at the same time as the main character obtains them. That may have some readers questioning how a person might not know that their good friend whom their mother didn't like was actually a stepbrother.(I'm not sure he didn't it's just that as it is given to the reader the first time it's not all that clear.) There are other revelation like this that come along and if the reader sticks with the story it all starts to make sense.

Overall it's a well told tale though some plot decisions for the storyline leave opening for people to leave the story early before seeing things unfold. Cierra starts out almost looking to be a bit whinny though I was fully empathizing with the indignation about the arraigned marriage and quite on board about avoiding that. And it did become interesting when that went from out of the frying pan and into the fire so Tracy Pooler's path taken to get there is commendable though slightly dangerous toward keeping the reader interest.

Great Fantasy for Fantasy and SFF lovers if you can stick with it.

There are a few grammar problems, less than a handful that I found. But more distressing is that the ebook has scene changes that have no warning and it was extremely jarring causing me to have looked back to figure out where I was in the story.

J.L. Dobias

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review::Tritium Gambit (Max and Miranda) By Erik Hyrkas

Tritium GambitTritium Gambit by Erik Hyrkas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tritium Gambit (Max and Miranda) By Erik Hyrkas

I've said it before and I'll continue saying that humor is subjective and so are novels like this when they are slathered in it. This one also contains a lot of pop references. And the novel itself reads like a redo of Men in Black movies. Add in a little Buckaroo Banzi and Howard the Duck.

The plot if fairly simple; Max and Miranda are the two loose cannons of the Intergalactic Secret Service. They hunt down aliens that land on earth with the intent of causing havoc. They are both in visiting their injured partners and are about to be assigned together because some desk jockey thinks they might just finish each other off.

Captain Johnson is their commander and Wendy is their mission coordinator. And before they can leave the ground they pick up one more member to the team, Tyler, an old acquaintance of Max. Max is not excited about any of this because he'd rather work alone.

The Agent are all non-human or part human with special abilities that help in their work to secure Earths blissfulness at being unaware of alien influences.

The story contains a lot of references to actors and singers and movies and other pop references as it goes along. The characters wear tee shirts with some sort of pop references.

I could have probably given this an easy five star had the characters engaged me just a bit more than they did. I'm not exactly sure why I couldn't get into them enough to really care about what happened to them. If they'd captured my attention it would have made up for some of the uneasiness I felt with the plot. The humor again is subjective and I could catch most of it but sometimes I wasn't sure. There is a place half way through the novel when I feel like it enters some really poorly constructed MMORPG when Max, who has extra life and health, has to go on a quest to acquire 100 special snakes in order to get enough fuel to get them back to Earth.

Overall it was interesting though. And Max is nearly indestructible what with having four hearts and all. Although he could die he still is almost the perfect indestructible character whose only flaw seems to be that he gets all of his partners injured; sometimes fatally.

It's a fun read SFF mostly fantasy that stretches your limits with suspension of reality. If you can catch the pop references and the humor it will add to the enjoyment. (one small spoiler::) It all comes to a satisfactory conclusion leaving room for you to decide when you want to pick up the next installment of the adventures of Max and Miranda.

J.L. Dobias

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review::Deja Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One)by Ian Hocking

Déjà Vu: A Technothriller (The Saskia Brandt Series, #1)Déjà Vu: A Technothriller by Ian Hocking

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deja Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One)by Ian Hocking

I really truly loved this novel. It started out a bit slow and almost pedantic but that sometimes is the nature of these psychological thrillers. If I were to take Philip K Dick and Lewis Purnell Davies and then throw in a healthy dose of excellent writing skill I'd say we have Ian Hocking and Deja Vu all wrapped up in a neat and tidy package.

The story starts out with Saskia Brandt being pulled off her vacation for special assignment with the European FIB. Only when she makes it to the office she finds herself being framed for her secretaries murder, with the added bonus of using her detective skills to discover that what looks like a frame might be the real thing as she catches herself in an image; committing the crime.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for something that is more twisted and on psychological thin ice that's waiting for Saskia. Add to this her newest assignment of bringing in David Proctor while trying to deal with personal revelations and that alone is wild, but we add in a bit of time travel and some virtual reality.

I found his description of the virtual reality quite interesting:

If a race of intelligent beings had evolved in this universe, and developed science, their physicists would discover that matter is continuous, not discrete. Their astronomers would find that their planet is the only planet, their star the only star. They would correctly place themselves at the centre of the universe. Should they build a computing machine, it would never outrun the computer that ran their universe: and what, indeed, would they hypothesize the limiting factor to be? God?

Hocking, Ian (2011-03-06). Déjà Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One) (Kindle Locations 535-539). Writer As A Stranger. Kindle Edition.

Ian Hocking has a richness of language that shows up often in a peculiar turn of phrase that elicits specific unique images.

Such as:
The mimetic cloud of fines rendered the springy crunch of the undergrowth perfectly.
Coffee with memory.

Hocking, Ian (2011-03-06). Déjà Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One) (Kindle Location 635). Writer As A Stranger. Kindle Edition.

At first it's difficult to know what to make of Saskia when we discover that she's a criminal convicted of some unknown crime who's memory was wiped to make room for a second memory from a donor. The first memory is suppressed and the second memory is custom arraigned so that the FIB can use her as an agent. They keep her under their thumb by suggesting that the crime is so bad that she wouldn't want those memories to ever return. They are kept in check by an imbedded bio-chip that contains the custom recollections of the donor. Her handler claims he can blow that chip away anytime she gets out of line. This causes her character to appear one dimensional and It makes it difficult to relate or feel any empathy for her.

But as it unfolds we begin to see the battle raging inside her head and as the story progresses we find that there are many more crimes here than those she thinks she needs to avoid remembering.There's a web of intrigue and lies that mixed with critical traumatic memories that give us that point we need to dig in and get a feel for the real character.

There's a second protagonist in the story, David Proctor. And I would almost swear there is a special pop reference in the text at one point. David is talking to a computer named Ego::

‘Sing me a song.’
‘Which song?’
‘Just a moment.’ There was a beep and David heard a crackle. The earpiece was picking up Ego’s attempt to access the Internet via the wireless telecommunications

‘Alright, forget it.’

Hocking, Ian (2011-03-06). Déjà Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One) (Kindle Locations 1206-1207). Writer As A Stranger. Kindle Edition.

This novel should interest any fan of the Psychological Thrillers and SFF. It's sometimes a slower reading than some because you have to pay particular attention to details, but it's worth it.

Definitely looking for more from Ian Hocking.
J.L. Dobias

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review::The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough(Book1) Tim Flanagan

The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (The Moon Stealers, #1)The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough by Tim Flanagan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough(Book1) Tim Flanagan

I liked this book, not loved and not hated. This could have been a lot better than it was but there were some style decisions that got in the way. I could have let some of that slide if there had been a serious effort at editing the whole work.

This is a sort of Dystopic future horror novel that has a lot of bloody gory scenes like you get from the usual zombie terror movies. It starts out almost like a juvenile fiction but quickly takes that horrible turning twist into something that at the very best is Young Adult. It reads like a parallel story of young adult to juvenile fiction because there are two separate stories going though it that center around the same sleepy little town.

The characters are not greatly fleshed out but they are interesting enough to draw the reader in though it takes a little time for that connection to grow and then the author seems to toss it aside in favor of making room for the tense drama of the horror. The story and plot itself are quite interesting and stand well on their own.

The problem lies in the serious number of awkward sentences. I have read many books that have long sentences and when handled well they can really enhance the flavor of the story. These sentences leave a bad taste in the mind. There are a huge number of comma splice sentences that have trouble keeping the same thought throughout and should have been separated into their respective sentences. The sentences that did carry the thought throughout were often not punctuated at all or poorly punctuated. There might be a handful of other grammar problems but the bulk of the problems are these strangely constructed sentences. I could live with one sentence paragraphs if they were constructed properly but too many times I was baffled by them.

As a side note there is an oddity here that runs throughout and it includes the use of the word whilst. Again had there been some consistency maybe I wouldn't have noticed, but the word whilst shows up 66 times and the word while shows up 22 times. In all instances they are interchangeable so the question is; since we use whilst so often why even bother with while. And of course for me the oddity of it is that I was fully aware of all the whilst while I read but did not notice the whiles so much. Now had the while been used as nouns only then that would have made sense but since both are use in conjunctions and the place within the sentence is mostly the same with the same meaning it just raises a question of why not stick to the one over the other.( This is just me and has nothing to do with the quality of the work.)

So if you like YA dystopic horror with all the gore this will fill the bill but be warned that it seems to fall into that new genre of serial novels that Amazon seems to have spawned and I think that the four books in the series could easily have been two without overwhelming the reader. At least they are each over a hundred and thirty pages which is twice the usual 60 page ones I have seen; that always end poorly.(Cliffhanger-ish)

J.L. Dobias

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Review::Rebel Heart by Lizzy Ford

Rebel HeartRebel Heart by Lizzy Ford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rebel Heart by Lizzy Ford

I enjoyed this novel and that was quite a surprise all things considered. Though I usually try not to let a cover influence me the cheesy love story cover was a bit of a put off. I was expecting a major romance novel. And that might be a problem for some because the romance is not so much the major part. The story idea was interesting and though the plot plodded along at the beginning there was a break point partway through where it picked up and became interesting.

I'll issue my usual warning that there are grammar issues in this novel. The upside is that there are less than a handful that I found. So if there are any more than that the story does a fair job of hiding it. It could be argued that the character of Lana (Angel) was not well fleshed out but I think that would be in error. She really is well fleshed out and she's just not the heroin that some might expect from today's enlightened media. She's a bit unprepared for battle, but that's what makes her what she is and it's fairly consistent though she does improve near the end, which is all you can really ask of the author.

Brady(Guardian) is the opposite and is everything that we want in a male protagonist although we waffle between his loyalties enough to make protagonist a questionable title. It's mostly amusing to see the dance that goes on between guardian and angel as they fall for each other. (There is one place where Lana might lose some respect from the readers during this romantic battle.)

I will agree that this novel needed more to help flesh it out and that it does suffer a bit in the plot with lack of extensive world building. But it's not hard to follow and the story is pretty linear and though somewhat economic it tracks well enough with the length that it does have. The romance doesn't distract too much though in one place I might have called it a bit cheesy, it mostly adds to the conflict a bit as they do their little dance.(Over all it's more a style decision that makes this a light suspense and if it had been fleshed out more I would have expected more from the suspense and romance and the world building.)

Mr. Tim although mostly a good guy is a big villain here in that he didn't help Lana much by shielding her life to the point that she actually needed the guardian, but at least knowing that, he did make plans. I think once parts of the plot begin to clarify it's easy to see why he trained her for what he trained her for and that puts her in a position of importance and unfortunately one of great danger.

The world of the future has a strange precarious balance between the East and West of the country and everyone is freely blaming the rebels for everything that goes wrong. But the PMF militia are possibly the only people who can save things when someone begins strikes across the east coast.(Even though they have to bear the brunt of the blame.)

While Mr. Tim and the president head west he leaves Lana with the VP. Lana is the main controller of resources throughout the east and it's that position that places her in the right place to find out what is really happening. With nothing but the will to survive she strikes out across a war torn nation to deliver vital weapon control to responsible hands. But she soon has to question who those responsible hands might be.

This novel is for those who like their suspense novels just a bit light and only a marginal amount of romance. There is even the element of Dystopic future here for those who enjoy that genre.

A great light suspense novel with light romance and an entertaining read.

J.L. Dobias

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review::Echo's of Honor by David Weber (Honor Harrington series Book 8)

Echoes of Honor (Honor Harrington, #8)Echoes of Honor by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Echo's of Honor by David Weber (Honor Harrington series Book 8)

As always I love this book even three times around. If reading this in order or reading it by itself I always have to keep In Enemy Hands close at hand. These are a companion set that have to go together and they are the turning point for me for these novels.

As I have mentioned before I got invested in the Honor Harrington Series because I like the character of Honor Harrington. Probably in honesty I liked the idea of the character. This was early 90's and we were already seeing many inroads with female characters by then. This character promised to be something almost unique with, and I have to be honest here, being modeled after a famous male character in fiction, Horatio Hornblower.

Honor may have started out as a comparison to that character but it almost seems like David Weber did a sly trick here by further developing the character of Lester Tourville who is with the Peeps but has a brash personality that almost sounds as calculated and colorful as the person Horatio Hornblower had to create when he was around his men.

Throughout this series the character of Honor Harrington has been always best portrayed to us through those who work and die or live around her. It's difficult most of the earlier books to really see her inner self through her own point of view because of the persona she had to maintain to keep the cool calculated person who always tried to do the best with what she was given. These middle novels give us more insight into Honor and a better look at her from within her head as she has to adapt to the new circumstances of being a prisoner of war and trying to keep her head above water.

Even though she has the title of Admiral she has to work hard to maintain the necessary discipline that it takes to drive a multinational force of ex-prisoners to their top form.

David Weber does a tremendous job of creating a world and all the parts that make it run both politically and militarily. Even for someone who is trying to follow the battles and not trying to make comparison's to famous sea battles or plot-lines from other famous fiction it becomes evident that David has a grasp of his world. (Although it's about this time that he does make the admission that he has begun to find it a daunting task to keep up with.)

The Peeps are still in flux, they just don't know it, rebellion looms. There are many characters who are being brought in with strong character and sound values and starting to twist the reader's view of the Peeps. The Manties still have their split in the political arena, but the military is slowly galvanizing and partly because of Honor having dragged Hamish out on the carpet about his views of the plans of Horrible Hemphill. There is still room for that conflict to rekindle, though.

Hamish Alexander has as much as admitted his love for Honor, to himself, despite his loyalty to his wife. Honestly speaking Honor has been way to busy to dwell on the feelings she'd sensed through Nimitz from Hamish.

With everyone certain that Honor is dead they try to move on and forward. It's difficult to say that some decisions that are later shown to be fateful might have been influenced by this frame of mind, but we do get to see the Honor Harrington Medusa class superdreadnoughts come off the line from the Grayson Space Navy's joint effort with Manticore.

The war is winding up on both sides with all the players being showcased in their good and evil glory while Honor is struggling to get out of Hell.

Superb addition to the Honor collection definitely a great read for any fan of Honor Harrington. It's a given that if you have been indoctrinated to these books to this point they will just get better. You must love the Political intrigue and the military buildup descriptions and have at least some understanding of the universe itself.You either love it or hate it by now and it's all pure David Weber.

As always I suggest a person start at Baslisk Station and go from there. If you make it past the first five in the series you're doomed-in a good way.

J.L. Dobias

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review::Draykon: Book 1 (The Draykon Series) by Charlotte E. English

Draykon (Draykon, #1)Draykon by Charlotte E. English

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Draykon: Book 1 (The Draykon Series) by Charlotte E. English

I really liked this novel. This is not my genre of choice but I think because I had recently read a few books on dragons this came up as a possible choice. This has a sort of YA feel to it at the beginning, but as it develops so does the writing. It took a while to get into this one and it took a while for the world building.

I thought the character of Llandry was quite interesting. She come off as sort of shy and reserved to almost a point of being debilitated by it. I've met a few of these people and Llandry seemed quite real in her fears and anxieties.

I had some difficulty identifying what race Llandry was (perhaps fairy because she has wings) Her parents seem to be a mix but maybe it was just that some have wings and some don't that made this confusing for me.

Eva seems to be of the human race, at least several times human is the word used to associate with her and those she works with. They are sorcerers and summoners.

I was confused about the realms they lived in.

Seven realms are mentioned in the story and shown by the map; they consist of the Daylands and the Darklands. Daylands are kept under the daycloak and Dark under the night cloak. By the map it would be easy to infer that Irbel, Glinnery, Orlind, and Nimdre are of the dayland though the glossary only mentions Irbel and Glinnery. It also seems infer-able that Glour, Orstwych and Ullarn are of the darklands but that is not made clear by the glossary.

In the text we see this which maybe clears up a bit of how the seven are divided.

[Quote]You of Glinnery are Daylanders, as are Irbel and, as far as we can tell, Orlind. Glour, Orstwych, and Ullarn are Darklanders of the Lowers. Only Nimdre has no allegiance: we live halfway in between, faithful neither to one nor the other.[/Quote]English, Charlotte E. (2011-08-31). Draykon (Draykon Series) (p. 282). . Kindle Edition.

Orlind is otherwise mentioned as mostly closed off from people.

To add to the confusion there are the Upper Realms the Middle Realms and the Lower Realms. From the glossary it might be easy to infer that the Upper Realms and Lower Realms are separate from each other and might be existing in intersecting planes to the Seven Realms but its not absolutely clear that the Middle Realms is another plane or the plane of the Seven Realms and the Middle are not in the glossary.

In the glossary Upper and Lower are referred to as Off-Worlds, which reinforces the thought that the middle realm might be the Seven Realms.

[Quote]Nobody knows whether they originated in the Uppers or the Lowers or the space in between: the Middle Realm, which was once a chaos of conflicting influences from both sides.[/Quote]English, Charlotte E. (2011-08-31). Draykon (Draykon Series) (p. 282). . Kindle Edition.

The plot itself became predictable to me about halfway through. The character of Llandry had some similarities in her obsession with the Gem stones with Gollum of Tolkein's Lord of the Ring Trilogy. It interfered with the romance of the story since it was difficult at times to see that her wish to travel with Devary was equal part an attraction to him and her obsession. Predictably the obsession gets in the way of a lot of things.

The predictability of the outcome of the story is important in this novel. I don't want to hand it out because some people might cry spoiler, but I really think the reader has to pick up on this or they might eventually cry Deus ex machina. This novel is far from that, but you do need to pick up on a few things within the plot as it goes along or it will certainly look that way.

I would really love to give this five stars but I am afraid that my confusion about the Realms has caused it to be downgraded and though this may seem unfair, I can't give this five stars when I went away confused about something that is very important to the plot since there is a speculation about whether the upper, lower and middle were meant to be separated as they are. (That's if the middle is the Seven Realms.)

Great fantasy novel for fantasy lovers with well fleshed out characters for the story and I'm looking forward to the next two novels and hoping that they help resolve my confusion.

J.L. Dobias

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review::Right Ascension by David Derrico

Right AscensionRight Ascension by David Derrico

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Right Ascension (Edge of Apocalypse) By David Derrico

I won't say I loved this and I won't say I hated it. It sort of falls between and definitely falls short of what I expected from the description. And unfortunately it's one of a few that I have to agree with the assessment of many that it seems like a rewrite of some of the popular Sci-Fi out there. But if you enjoy the lighter softer side of Sci-Fi it can be an enjoyable read.

Perhaps the biggest problem for many people who found objection is that it doesn't quite live up to the standards of those softer lighter Sci-Fi and even the description it gives itself.

I think also it was a bit jarring to have it start the first chapter with two characters that were probably the most engaging characters and then kill them off immediately. (That's a bit of a spoiler and I'm sorry, but this is an important difficulty with this story.) Chad and Krystal have this thing; two hotshot pilots that are almost on opposite ends of some dipole and yet have this potential chemistry. I got invested in these two and felt really bad when the rug was pulled. Having that happen somehow negated the sympathy I should have felt for the characters who lost these two people. (Well in this case the one who lost Chad since there is no back or forward story involving Krystal.)

The writing is not bad. There is always room for improvement, but honestly it was not anything I felt needed massive amounts of work. It was good and solid with some half way fleshed out characters and some interesting ideas. But I would also agree with people that there are elements too familiar in the makeup of the crew that keep steering the mind to known characters of known Sci Fi.

Also we have a, to be blunt, death-star only owned by the supposed good guys and of course this is a key point in the plot because it is supposedly the death-star that has garnered some superior alien attention. The massive ship Indominable with the doomsday weapon (the omega cannon) that destroys entire planetary systems. Since it's existence causes the mysterious alien race to attack Earth it's key to the plot.

There are a number of elements of this story that are familiar to Sci-Fi fans so the real meat for this novel is the issue of the Moral part. The question of what if everything you have been told about the war with the Korgian Star System was not quite true? What if heroes in the war had to make judgement calls and they weren't the best calls? What if the heroes that saved the day come out smelling a bit tainted? This is what makes this story unique and better. The problem is that it's glossed over too quickly and never fully addressed and then the holier than though people who are taken aback do something later that might actually seem almost but not quite as bad as their predecessors. And that transgression seems to go right over their heads.

We won't even mention that so far as the reader is told these aliens who attack might not know what has been done with this weapon and are only concerned about what it might be used for. And a bit later we do have to ask the question of why they waited 40 years to do something.

If felt like many plot possibilities were missed and many glossed over too quickly for this to come out well as a moral tale. This might be disappointing to people expecting the moral tale to be the bulk of the originality of the story. Perhaps book two will delve into this issue with more clarity.

Sci-Fi fans who like the soft side and don't mind close resemblance to popular fiction should enjoy this as light Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It could have been better and might be in book two, I'm just uncertain where the author is headed with the plot and moral issues. The only way to know for certain is to read the next one.

It is a shame to see some people have left reviews saying they couldn't finish the book, I didn't find it to be bad enough to throw it down and not finish.

J.L. Dobias

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review::Gunship by John Davis

Gunship (Gunship, #1)Gunship by John Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gunship(Book 1)by John Davis

I think I download this while I was looking for steam-punk novels, this is not steam-punk. It's more like Firefly with caveat's galore. It might remind some people of Firefly and some people might actually enjoy it. But there are a lot of strange style choices and sense of some sort of rush that starts from page one and goes right through the thing.

The sense of rush itself could be good but in this case it's just damaging. With the style of writing and everything that John Davis wanted to stuff into this story I would have to go against my usual rule of limiting the size and say that he should have made this story much larger to give him time to develop characters and the story in more expansive way. It's really hard to explain without having someone read the story. You have to read this to see. I think that if he'd chosen a style that would have condensed his writing to essentials maybe the length of the story would then work.

The ebook had some other problems that may or may not have been style choices. Either way it causes difficulty reading the story. There are dramatic scene changes that are not separated in any way except the immediate jar (sometimes) that I got while reading. Sometimes I may have gotten scenes mixed in with each other because there was no way to delineate the scenes. Since on occasion a scene break does show up I have to strongly suspect that the missing scene changes may have just never been there, but it's often not quite fair to assume that with a kindle document because the process of conversion often does lose those dramatic spaces.

There is an entire section where we get a shopping list view of every character on the ship and possibly their motivation and such so that this doesn't have to be dealt with in the story and I would rather see something like this developed throughout the story instead of munged into one hill of description. One result for me is the feeling that every motive and every character seem to have been rushed out and I think that creates the feeling of the characters being flat though if the reader goes back to that section they can almost see they are slightly fleshed out. It really ruined the sense of romance for me in the love interests.

I did enjoy the tension of the battle at the end. The climax is helpful in giving the story a bit more depth. I did end up with some issues about how things developed but the largest is a bit of personal preference. I don't mind the female protagonist fighting in dresses and such. It's a common feature of games and comic books. What I have a problem with is when there is clearly no reason for the female to chose that. If it so happens that the battle starts while everyone is at a ball or dance or some swank function then, yes, what they have on is what they have on. In this story in the final scenes there was no logical reason for the character to show up for battle in a red dress. She knew she was going, everyone had time to get ready, and she should have been wearing the same thing the rest of the troops had and maybe even some battle armor. That said she should have been wounded, hurt, bleeding and sorry that she ever wore a dress into battle.I'm pretty sure there is no mention of the red dress being lined with battle armor.

Lastly and this I would not have complained about if the author had made this novel longer with more depth to the characters, but he didn't. This trilogy probably should have been one book and it should have been reworked and condensed. Or it should have been longer with more built in character development. This leaves you hanging, which again is not always a bad thing, but in this instance it seems inexcusable. This is like a short story or at best a novella. It is definitely not 358 pages as is listed. It's probably closer to 100 pages 120 at best.(I'm not sure where they get these page counts from and a word count is a lot better to judge by.)

For those who are concerned about grammar and spelling errors this is not the book for you.

Fans of Firefly who don't mind some light reading with striking similarities might appreciate this. It's sort of SFF with extreme emphasis on the Fantasy part. The vampires, zombies , and pirates are not well defined enough to really be that recognizable and if you don't mind a lot of bloody action then you might enjoy this if you do like Vampires, Zombies and Pirates.

Some more editing, tighter writing, and a bit more character development with a true page count of 350 pages would really help this book. It has a lot more potential.

J.L. Dobias

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review::Timebound(the Chronos Files)by Rysa Walker

Timebound (The Chronos Files, #1)Timebound by Rysa Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Timebound(The Chronos Files)By Rysa Walker

I like this novel because for me it was a sit down and start running kind of novel. It has an interesting protagonist thrust into an interesting situation. (One that requires the suspension of some reality.) Of course it's a time travel novel, which are becoming a dime a dozen, so it's greatest strengths are the characters in the story. Time travel plots tend to all end up the same with a lot of potential for paradoxes and parallel or alternate worlds spawned from careless actions when traveling in time.(This is why we should never go back in time.)

There seems to be a bit of controversy involved in this story and part of the premise and I will try to stay away from that because I did not see what some people seem to see.

What I loved about this novel is it did something that few recent novels-new novelists-have been able to do. I was so interested in the story itself and the direction the plot was going and my investment in the character that I wanted to read faster than my usual pace, because I wanted to get answers to all the questions my mind was asking. This could in a way be a detriment because it could lead to scanning, which is just plain evil. I reigned it in and read slow enough to keep things in focus.

What I loved next was anomalous for me in that it was the love story because it's sort of split and almost fractured. The main character ends up with two interesting love interest; one that is here and now and real the other not quite so much. I don't usually gravitate to romances. But I was really interested in the details of the building of the crisis which was the series of time-quake like events that were leading to paradoxes and the explanation for how they protect themselves from the effect.

Another interesting thing that doesn't usually happen in my reading is that I got to chapter 17 and thought-I could almost be happy even had it ended then-yet there are 24 chapters and we really haven't done much in time travel by then. It wasn't that I wanted it to end it was just that it could have worked as an end if the author had wanted to leave things hanging.(A number of recent stories I've read have ended worse than this would have if it had ended at chapter 17 and I would have been interested in purchasing the next novel.) So big bonus for me because we got the whole 7 chapters of time travel.

What I liked about the time travel part was that the bulk of it was a single time episode as far as the protagonist is concerned. (There was one character that did describe the sort of time bounce effect where he'd done several recurring trips before success.) For the most part this did not involve a lot of time bouncing which is nice for a change.

One thing that I did find a little odd is that someone is selling a 2.99 review of this novel, which may have fueled some of the rougher reviews. I am not sure if this book requires an in-depth analysis that the reader should pay for. The author did do a lot of research for the time travel part so perhaps that's what that review book is about.(I have not yet decided if I really need to go there so I don't know what value that review has.)

If you love romances and time travel novels you should love this one. If you want to get involved with the controversy that's up to you. I found it to be a thoroughly engrossing read that I couldn't put down.

I definitely want to read more that comes from Rysa Walker.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Revies::In Enemy Hands by David Weber (Honor Harrington Series Book 7)

In Enemy Hands (Honor Harrington, #7)In Enemy Hands by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Enemy Hands By David Weber (Honor Harrington Series Book 7)

As far as the honor character I really do enjoy the first three book much more than the rest. But in regards to the whole story and series this book is a pivotal part and it does have much more of depth into Honor's Character than I might have previously given it.

This is a long book and it carry's on the tradition of Political Military suspense thriller that David Weber has been building from day one. Everything that seemed extra and unnecessary begins to fold out to useful purposes. There is a lot that is going on with shifting loyalties and shifting party preferences within the military and political climate of many of the worlds that make up the Honor Universe.

We get to see Honor lose a decisive battle and we get to see the real evil of the new regime running the Peeps.

We also get a jarring chapter where through Honor's head we get introduced to the major players aboard her vessel that will ultimately go into battle. I really am not a fan of the shopping list character descriptions but I am willing to be forgiving when the book is already well beyond 500 pages, which this one is. That sense of needing to rush was probably too tempting as opposed to making many more pages and feeding us the information through the action.

There was a lot to handle here and in a small way the description, which comes from Honor's POV out of her head does help in a small way to give us more depth to Honor's character.

This Honor is more apparently vulnerable to the reader this time and I think that helps. She still makes most of the right decisions, but things go poorly and she has to face the consequences. These vulnerabilities have always been there, but her success have always managed to push them most of the way into the background.

I think at this point in the series if you are a fan of Honor Harrington that these books will stand well and be appreciated. I also can see that for someone who jumps in at this point or some future point it might become a daunting task to get into the stories.

Fans of Honor Harrington should love this one SFF Military Political Sociological and even Psychological fans might find this one and the next to be of interest.

Once again for the Horatio Hornblower fans this book parallels one of his in the sense of being a prisoner of war. But as for me any other similarities to Horatio Hornblower it goes well over my head. I have yet to get the enthusiasm to try to assemble a library of those works.

J.L. Dobias

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review::Honor Among Enemies by David Weber (Book 6 Honor Harrington series)

Honor Among Enemies (Honor Harrington, #6)Honor Among Enemies by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honor Among Enemies by David Weber (Book 6 Honor Harrington series)

Having no power for 8 days seemed like the prime time to catch up on the Honor Series. Honor Among Enemies seemed like the turning point for me. The previous 5 my mind would go numb and white noise would start when all the exposition about tactics and armament would begin. I know they are important to the big plot of the series but I was in this for Honor. This book David Weber seems to have perfected whatever it is he's been trying to do all this time, because I am becoming more focused on what is happening in all the other stories that go on in here.

Honor Among Enemies has 40 pages (over 12K words) and two chapters before Honor even shows up. But instead of throwing it down in disgust I read the forty pages and was somewhat entertained. This time being about my third read with this book I have the advantage of having tried to pay attention to what goes on in the exposition. This book has about 8 strong stories within it dealing with various characters who eventually intersect with Honor somewhere along the way and it might be the first book to begin down the path of romance for Honor and Hamish, which is a long and rocky winding twisted road.

This is the first book that when in Honor's POV I actually noticed some character outside of the stiff rigid character she always has to portray. Most of how we see Honor from her own POV is the front she puts up to deal with the tension of the serious situations she is always confronted with. Sure we saw her break down a few times over the death of Paul, but even then we did not see the depth of her personality. Most of the time that depth comes from how others see here through their adoration, appreciation, and idolization of their commander. We also begin to see the growing plot pertaining to Nimitz and the other treecats as something more than just curious pets linked to their human.

As much as it sometimes pains to have to wade through all the politics and intrigue, the flavor for me now has turned toward what I always loved about Alexander Dumas writing. And we are even being introduced to some very interesting Peeps in this book, all preliminary steps toward moving into the next book In Enemy Hands.

I also begin in this and the next novel to be able to appreciate how David Weber manages to almost seamlessly move his POV in and out of multiple character's heads, with no apparent warning, as a scene shoots by . There are a few places where if when I wasn't quite wrapped into the story I had to stop and backtrack to make sure I was really in someone else head just a half page ago.

Overall this book is probably not that much different from the others and it's likely that I just have finally settled into how David Weber tells his story. I still lack the background in CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower series to make any comparisons though I have managed to do some homework in that area because I usually run afoul of someone in the camp who adore making comparisons.

I'm not sure that I'd be able to make many comparisons to the characters themselves other than at best Honor could only thinly be compared to Horatio. As to the battles its a tough decision since CS Forester put Horatio into few if any situation where he'd be in any historical battles, which makes it more difficult to determine if his battles were of any importance at all especially since he was often out of communication with England and not always up to date with the current diplomatic situations. Honor on the other hand does fight in areas that seem of less concern and yet all her battles become historically important in the stories. Also Honor doesn't have a dowdy husband at her home port that she cheats on.

Anyway this is great stuff for those who like their SFF with military-tactical-suspense and drama.

J.L. Dobias

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