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Extinction Inferno (Extinction Cycle: Dark Age #2) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony J Melchiorri

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Phew, now that was a ride!

In this book, the Allied States are only just beginning to tap into how organised their enemy is – and I suspect there is much more to come. Team Ghost, as always, are right in the thick of events – and run ragged – while Lovato once again has the task of investigating a scientific solution to the problem. Beyond that, Beckham and Horn try to hold their families and friends together, all while working out who is friend and who foe.

One thing I love in these books – which comes through very strongly in this one – is the “band of brothers” we get between Beckham and Horn. Those two have certainly been through the fire and come out the other side, and now they watch each other’s backs, no questions asked.

This book is, without giving away any spoilers…well, smack in the middle of a “dark age”. That is such an excellent description of this series in the Extinction Cycle. Wow. Not easy reading, but also highly addictive with non-stop action. And the next book is thankfully not too far away, because I really want to know the outcomes for quite a few of the characters in this one.

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Extinction Shadow (Extinction Cycle: Dark Age #1) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony J Melchiorri

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

This is a special book. I love that Smith decided to revisit the Extinction World, and that doing so has brought us another collaboration with Melchiorri. And all the things I’ve come to expect from a Smith novel are present here: military action, horror, solid science, and realistic characters.

What a treat it was to meet Reed, Kate and their friends eight years after Extinction War ended. With upcoming elections, life is guaranteed to be a bit unpredictable for a while, but I’m pretty sure no-one in the Allied States ever considered just how unpredictable. Team Ghost is once again in action, as well as new characters and new threats.

Five solid stars to this new entry into the Extinction World. I will be looking forward to the next book in the series.

Hell Divers V: Captives by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I’ll be honest: I was nervous to pick up this book. Given how HD4 ended, followed up by the title and cover of this book, I was hesitant to learn what happens next. This made it difficult to get into the book to start off with. Don’t get me wrong. My issues had nothing to do with either the quality of the writing or… or perhaps they had everything to do with it. In the Hell Divers series, Nick has created a cast of characters who have become dear friends. I feel I’ve been with them through their ups and downs, thick and thin, disappointments, losses, wins. And because of this and the direction of the story – for me, at least – it became increasingly difficult to contemplate more bad stuff happening to any of them. About the only thing that gave me the courage to plough on was reports I was hearing from others who had read it.

And was that faith well rewarded! I should perhaps have trusted Smith more… Don’t be silly. I do trust him. I’m just not so sure I trust some of those monsters he invents quite as much, though! And as is to be expected, this book is packed full of all types of monsters. But it’s also chock full of good people.

Given the self-induced rocky start, once I really got into the story, it settled right down into being a classic addition to the Hell Divers’ story – aforementioned monsters and all. I’m not sure if this is one of the shorter stories in the series, but it certainly went down a treat in the end. I’m glad to have read it, and I look forward to reading more about the further adventures of the Hell Divers.

PS: The dog’s fine!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Format: Paperback
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

This book was on my radar for a while before I bit the bullet and purchased it. Then it lay around for a while on my bookshelves before I picked it up. What was that they said about Willy Wonka?

I’d pick this up evenings mostly, just before bedtime, and cram in a few pages. Early on I was calling this book “my candy”. Just one amazing, awesome, rollicking adventure in cyberspace – and a trip down memory lane to boot. Now, I’ll freely admit, there are many many games, movies and books mentioned in this book that I haven’t played… but there were also quite a few I was aware of and even some I’ve played, watched and read. Regardless, I was taken back to my childhood and my teen years and those early days of computer games.

But it wasn’t really until the last part of the book that it really smacked me upside the head just what a great story is. Wade, Wade. What DID YOU DO!?!!? Talk about giving someone a heart-attack! Yep. Wade totally crept under my skin and before I realised it, I was heavily invested in his success. And though one knows the outcome from the start, that really didn’t help much!

Fabulous stuff. Excellent if one likes books about gaming.

 

Defiance by HG Chambers

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

After a wait while the book got written and prepared for publication, all I can say is, what a finale to this series! I enjoyed reading the first two books in this phenomenal, inventive world, and Defiance was really the icing on the cake. Finally pulling the different actors together in a showdown to end all showdowns, Chambers nevertheless packed in quite a few surprises. Expect the unexpected with this and you’ll do just fine.

While the ending wasn’t quite what I’d envisaged… it was better, suitably twisty, perfectly fitting the nature of the series.

For me, I see this series as a fine merger of science fiction and fantasy – which often makes for some very inventive worldbuilding in my experience. From the first book this has been a world that’s excited me with its possibilities, and as the series has gone on I haven’t been disappointed.

Thanks for the fun!