Archives

Fringe Runner by Rachel Aukes

fringe-runnerSource: ARC from author
Format: Paperback
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

After the colonization of Mars and Europa, it took us fewer than five generations to reach beyond our solar system and discover new planets capable of supporting human life. Too far away to be governed under Earth law, the Collective was formed. Several hundred years later, the Collective has expanded to a thriving system of six inhabited worlds, but power struggles are common, and a seemingly inevitable interplanetary war looms on the horizon. It’s nearly impossible for the working class to make ends meet.

Aramis Reyne is one of the working class. An old space captain hounded by arthritis and war memories, he struggles to make enough credits to feed his crew and keep his ship flying by running mail and supplies to the farthest, most dangerous reaches of the Collective known as the fringe. When he’s offered a no-questions-asked contract to pick up a package, he jumps at the opportunity. But, he quickly learns that he should’ve asked questions…and that there are far worse things in the Collective than being broke.

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very exciting book. Just how I like my science fiction action.

In Fringe Runner Aukes has created an excellent socio-political scenario as a backdrop to the real story, and to match that, a motley crew of misfits and ne’er-do-wells with pasts to their names. And a whole load of heart. Reyne is a sympathetic space captain who runs into events that aren’t of his making. And finds himself a kingpin in a plot that has far-reaching consequences. How far do old loyalties and ambitions extend? And what prices must be paid to achieve his dream?

Great action, fantastic villains and some surprises nestle in this story. For space opera lovers, with a good helping of space piracy.

 

Advertisements

Pirate Bound by Carysa Locke

Pirate BoundSource: Copy from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Talented Pirates have suffered loss. Some years ago a deadly virus swept through the female Pirates, decimating them. Now the Pirates face extinction since they have few viable females to bear talented children. Then the Pirates come across two female Talented, Sanah and Nayla, exhausted and wary, who have escaped from a Talented organisation known as Veritas. Nayla is a biokineticist, able to heal on a cellular level, who’s Talent is required by their brother Niall – working for Veritas – for it’s killing abilities.

What a fantastic story. Each of the main characters, and a few of the secondary characters, are well developed with differing personalities, goals and desires. Dem’s qualities as a protective hero make him very endearing, and I enjoyed his internal battle with his Talents. That really made me chuckle. Cannon was an extremely insightful Pirate King who really keeps his finger on the pulse. It would be nice to one day read more about him, and also about Treon, Dem’s enigmatic brother.

Inventive and well-written, I hope to read many more books about the Telepathic Space Pirates. This definitely checks all my boxes in space opera, psychic talents and romance. This is excellent stuff right here, reminiscent of the best of Anne McCaffrey.

Pax Imperia by Mike Smith

Pax ImperiaSource: Own collection
Format: ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Commander Jonathan Radec has finally obtained everything he ever wanted in life. However, in a cruel twist of fate, just as he reaches out for his most heartfelt desire, it is torn from his grasp forever.

“For only he who has experienced ultimate happiness, can completely understand the deepest depths of absolute despair.”

Jon has always trusted those closest to him implicitly. It has long been his greatest strength, but one that his enemies have come to realise is also his ultimate weakness. For it is always those closest to you whose betrayal cuts the deepest.

In a horrific, pre-emptive strike at the very heart of the Imperium, the Senate is completely wiped out. In the aftermath of the attack, surrounded by the cries of the dead and dying, destiny once again reaches out its long arm, forcing Jon down a path he has long resisted. For, ever since the day he first set eyes upon Sofia, Jon has been destined to stand above all others.

As the last Emperor of the Imperium.

Jon has already fought through the very depths of hell itself and out the other side to save the ones he loves. Now, to save his family, he will gladly lay siege to the heavens themselves, for they tremble at his approach. As Jon not only commands the living, but also the dead, and they all want revenge against those who have taken everything from them.

Even if the rest of the Imperium must burn first.

This was the most difficult book in the trilogy for me to read. I started to read it, and then I spent the next month or so reading a bit more and then putting off reading any farther for days at a time because I couldn’t bear to find out “what happens next”; and yet at the same time, I was compelled to read further in order to find out “what happens next”. In summation, I had a very definite love-hate relationship with this book. What an awful dilemma!

I really commend Smith for the way he created characters one really invests in, as it was for only that reason that my heart was shattered at the beginning of the story, and purely for that reason that I kept on reading to find out how the story resolved. And the climax of this story was worth every moment of heartache that had come before. Fantastic stuff, and totally worthy of The Last Praetorian.

I won’t say any more, because to do so would be to reveal plot points that are best kept under wraps. I will say this, though: the epilogue made me cry, dammit. The first book I’ve had tears in my eyes over since as long as I can remember.

The Sunfire by Mike Smith

The SunfireSource: Own collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Commander Jonathan Radec is dead. However, the Commander has already died once before, and for some death is but a doorway…

“For whoever has lived unjustly and impiously goes to the dungeon of requital and penance which, you know, they call Tartarus.” – Plato

After making a shocking discovery that reveals the truth about a long-held misconception, the crew launch a desperate rescue mission to Tartarus. The only way to reach there, aboard The Sunfire, which was once the Confederation Navy’s newest, most powerful heavy cruiser, but is now nothing more than a ghost ship, adrift amongst the stars.

Meanwhile the last Imperial Princess, Sofia Aurelius, is questioning her own decision to focus on the Senate and turn her back on her family–and Jon. Embarking on a quest to discover the truth about the present–she instead finds the past has finally caught up with her.

Failure will mean certainly death for them both, but the price of success could be far worse, almost certainly plunging the galaxy into civil war, the last of which, five-hundred years ago, cost tens of millions of lives.

Smith has an inventive imagination, and this story is no exception. One may think that because Jon Radec appears near-invincible, that one has to completely suspend belief in order to swallow this story. But the beauty of writing the story mostly from his POV shows just how and where he is vulnerable. This sets the reader up for tension as events head Radec’s way.

But not only that. Smith is audacious, and comes up with plot lines and devices that stagger the readers’ imagination – and that totally suit the characters of Jon Radec and his contemporaries. What Smith does in The Sunfire is not far short of brilliant, and a joy (advisedly) to read. A page-turner that keeps one in the grip of events, hastening to discover the outcome.

I thoroughly enjoyed this second instalment of the Redemption trilogy, and look forward to reading Pax Imperia.

 

Sovran’s Pawn by JC Cassels

Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Elizabeth

Convicted of treason and sentenced to be executed, Bo Barron is the last person who should be infiltrating a Sub-socia weapons auction. But when her father is kidnapped and the ransom demand is the schematics to an experimental weapon, she has no choice but to go under cover with her uncle to get it. 

Nobody counted on former-government-agent-turned-holofeature-hero Blade Devon’s infatuation with her. A botched assassination under the guise of a bar brawl leaves Bo blind and Blade wondering if there isn’t more to this job than he was led to believe. 

Never able to resist playing the hero, Blade tends her injuries and delves deeper into the intrigue only to find this mission isn’t about a weapon at all. It’s about two Sovrans’ maneuvering for control, with Bo and Blade as their pawns. 

All Bo and Blade have to do is figure out how to survive the game they didn’t know they were playing. 

The catch is, no one and nothing are what they seem…

First of all, I never write reviews. I am one of those people that is way over-extended in life with really too much on their plate. In fact, this is the first review I have ever written on an Amazon purchase and I am probably one of their best customers. So in general when I take the time to sit down to actually write a review it is either because I thought the item was absolutely horrific or incredibly earth-shattering fantastic. This book is the later of the two.

If you are looking for a book that is going to help you get away from reality and immerse you into a new world of adventure and romance…this is the book for you. From the first chapter, the reader is involved in the prison escape of Bo Barron who has been wrongly convicted of treason and at the time is sitting in her cell awaiting execution. As the plot moves along in this book- Bo becomes an unwilling participant in one political intrigue after another all with unexpected and unpredictable twists and turns. Along the journey she also unexpectedly meets a mysterious man who is her match in both wits and character. Somehow this overly head-strong and independent heroine manages to meet her hero or is this mysterious man really her nemeses and the tool of her eventual downfall? On the surface this budding romance may appear sappy but rather I found the whole book entertaining and way too short. In reality this book possesses a lot of depth with layer upon layer of intrigue and suspense which on another level makes the reader reflect and analysis the characters and events.

Overall, this book is well written. It is full of non-stop action that actually does have a well-developed and for the most part a very unpredictable plot. As the book progresses the reader is introduced to characters that are real with just enough information that makes the reader want to come back for more which surprisingly only adds to the suspense of the plot. This book is a fast read and probably one of the most enjoyable books that I have read in a while. I am totally looking forward to the second book in this series.