Tag Archive | Aliens

Empire of Light by Gary Gibson

Empire of LightSource: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The nova war has begun to spread as the Emissaries wage a fierce and reckless campaign, encroaching on the area of space occupied by humanity and forcing the Shoal into a desperate retreat. While Dakota goes in search of the entity responsible for creating the Maker caches, Corso, left in charge of a fleet of human-piloted Magi ships, finds his authority crumbling in the face of assassination attempts and politically-motivated sabotage. If any hope exists at all, it lies in an abandoned asteroid a thousand light-years beyond the Consortium’s borders, and with Ty Whitecloud, the only man alive with the skill to decipher the messages left behind by an ancient race of star travellers. Unfortunately Whitecloud is locked in a prison cell aboard a dying coreship adrift in space, awaiting execution for war crimes against Corso’s own people. But if humanity has any hope of survival, Corso is going to have to find some way to keep him alive – and that’s only if Dakota doesn’t kill him first.

If the previous two books were pretty large in terms of scale and scope, well, the series just got bigger with this one. This time Corso and Dakota are on the trail of the Mos Hadroch, some type of weapon that should stop the nova war between the Shoal and the Emissaries. And to get hold of it, they need one of the few humans who know anything at all about the Mos Hadroch, namely Ty Whitecloud. What’s so special about him, you wonder? Like Corso, he’s a scientist, or perhaps more of an anthropologist in this case. And he has heard of the Mos Hadroch, which immediately makes him invaluable. He’s also part of the reason Dakota ended up killing Corso’s people on behalf of the Uchidans… which puts him on both their hit lists. Enter suspicion and tension.

I liked the way Gibson brought Whitecloud into the story and enabled me to get to know him. He had my sympathy from the beginning – even knowing his history as a Uchidan. Trader once again features – but perhaps not quite so much as in the previous two stories. Or perhaps even more than one realises. I will admit to being a little disappointed that one of the main devices Gibson used in this story was a repeat of that used in Stealing Light. Nevertheless, he did up the ante on this one, and as a whole the story was very satisfying.

This book is the complete page-turner. I find it uncanny how, with almost clockwork regularity, I can gulp down eight pages at a time without barely noticing, then discover on checking that I am eight pages on from where I last took note of the page number. This is one of the things I really love about Gibson’s books: I devour them. And it’s a testament to how well he writes, allowing the story to flow without being hampered by words and extraneous images.

A must read for those who like hard scifi with nasty aliens.

All of Me by Lea Kirk

All of MeSource: ARC from author
Format: ebook
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Following the Anferthian invasion of Earth (recounted in Lea Kirk’s Prophecy), the Matirans help Earthlings to rebuild. “Gunner” Reed is overseeing the development of Terr Base One on Earth. During the invasion he rescued April Burowski, and she is currently working at an orphanage near Terr Base One. April is mourning the death of Dave, the father of her unborn child.

This is a heart-warming, gentle tale of respect, love and tenderness. I really enjoyed reading it, and would pick up any book Kirk writes.

Keir by Pippa Jay

Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

A demon waiting to die…
An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucien’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.
Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

This is a story of tortured souls, love and redemption. On a strange world, where the cultural and architectural influence is heavily medieval, Quin, a human traveller who moves among the stars on a quest for a lost friend, discovers Keir, an outcast in his society. All Keir wants to do is die, believing himself condemned and cursed – not to mention the fact he is badly injured – while Quin soon wishes to save him, having seen a glimpse of who he really is.

From this starting point follows an adventure that will warm science fiction and romance readers alike. As one hops between planets with this delightful pair, Pippa Jay sketches the different worlds with her pen, bringing them vividly to life. She does no less with each character, drawing one into their minds with ease.

This edition is longer than the original publication, with more depth in some areas. If anything, the story gains stature from the additional length, and I for one appreciated the added depth. I’ve seen some reviewers struggle with the two different story lines in the novel, but for me these two story lines make me ask more questions. I guess it helps that I know the author is planning a sequel, so I know there is more to come and, perhaps, some answers.

A solid romance in a science fiction setting, with time travel thrown in.

ORBS III: Redemption by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

With their numbers diminishing and the alien armies growing stronger, Sophie’s biosphere decides to join forces with the team from NTC’s submarine.

Using data from a surviving satellite, they discover strange, alien poles at each of the world’s seven highest summits: alien technology that the survivors believe may hold the key to shutting down the alien ships once and for all.

That’s not all, the satellite also reveals an encrypted set of coordinates that reveal SOS messages from US Military bases around the world, all activated on invasion day—except for one: Offutt Air Force Base.

But before the two teams can launch an offensive, the biosphere must deal with sabotage from within and a strange nanotechnology that has infected several of the survivors. As tensions rise, Sophie and team must decide whether a new discovery at Offutt is worth abandoning the biosphere. The more the team learns, the more they realize the planet may be beyond saving and that salvation may require leaving the planet forever.

Well. What can I say? Just finished reading it, and…

It’s an excellent book and, I think, a fitting conclusion to the series. The action is ramped up with some new threats from the Organics, making one wonder just what they aren’t capable of, but hope arrives in the form of Sunspot, a prototype spaceship left behind. The big question is: Will any of humanity survive on Earth?

Vividly written, Smith pulled me right into the action and the fears and hopes of all the characters within the story. One of the things I really appreciate about Smith’s writing is his attention to detail. One doesn’t feel short-changed on any of the technical elements such as military and medical. Research has clearly been done, making the story more authentic and threatening.

Totally recommend this book to all lovers of post-apocalyptic thrillers, with a caution of horror.

Red Sands by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Red SandsSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Jeff and his little brother David are alone. Their parents have disappeared along with the rest of the world, replaced by glowing blue orbs and a terrifying army of aliens.

But the boys are survivors. Living in the tunnels beneath the White Sands military base, escaping from hungry aliens, and searching for supplies, they hatch a plan. The boys will fight back, and before they’re through the white sands will run red with blood.

This novella tells us more about what happened to Jeff and David, the young brothers abandoned at the Edwards Air Force Base when the Organics arrive, before they met up with members of the team from the Cheyenne Biosphere. We also follow a bit more of Dr. Hoffman’s thoughts and reactions as he flies away from Earth, destination Mars.

Smith does a great job of seeing the events through a kid’s eyes. He masks the terror and gore (which we should know well from the other ORBS stories) out well, only giving the kids as much as they can handle. Yet he doesn’t quite let up on the kids either; there are a few tough choices for them to make. I also really appreciated getting into Hoffman’s head a bit more, and seeing that he actually does have doubts. He’s done his best, but has his best been enough?

Another well-written story that fills out the ORBS story.