Tag Archive | Revenge

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.

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Winter’s Edge by Mike Sheridan

Winter's EdgeSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The year is 2047. Seven years after a global war has devastated mankind, the apparatus of the old security state has rebuilt itself into an even greater monster: the Strata State. But there’s a difference–The Outzone. A choice too dangerous for most to consider.

Not Frank Brogan. When three Outzone bandits cross into New Haven and murder his wife and daughter, Lieutenant Frank Brogan quits his specially-trained police unit to hunt them down. Leaving the safety of the Strata State, Brogan enters the Outzone–a quasi-sovereign tract of land ceded from federal jurisdiction–and travels to its de facto capital, Winter’s Edge, where he picks up the bandits’ trail. In a violent city controlled by rival gangs, he needs to use all his hard-won skills as a police officer and war veteran to survive.

It isn’t long before Brogan’s quest takes him out of the city and deeper into the lawless territory. Can he survive encounters with the nomadic tribes that roam the Outzone’s mountains and plains to finally confront the men who murdered his family?

Set in a convincing post-apocalyptic world, Winter’s Edge is a fast-paced thriller that explores the contrasts between New Haven’s authoritarian Strata State and the Outzone’s dangerous and fragmented society.

This story opens with a news clipping about the murders of a mother and daughter, Sarah and Jessica Brogan, at the hands of three Outzoners. They are survived by husband and father Frank Brogan, a lieutenant in the New Haven police force. Frank elects to abandon his job in the police and head into the Outzone in search of the murderers.

This story really comes alive once Frank hits the Outzone. His time spent in New Haven within Strata State carries scant details. We don’t really get a sense of the actual environment within which he moves. But we do gain an understanding that it is relatively hi-tech in some ways.

The Outzone, by contrast, is low-tech and gritty. A relatively lawless region in the American Mid-West (or thereabouts), it is largely run by tribes, clans, gangs and oficinas. For some people fighting and dicing with death is part and parcel of their way of life, while others find ways to live a more peaceful existence. I really liked that we met people on both sides during the course of the story.

I’ve discovered lately that I often have a pervading image that runs through my head while reading a book, and this one is of semi-arid desert, with small, low bushes and plenty of rocks and pebbles visible inbetween. Of course there were areas the characters go to that were vastly different from this – this is just what got stuck in my head.

An excellent debut in the post-apocalyptic dystopia genre, with clear depictions of events and a compelling main character in Frank who one roots for throughout. There is also a well-defined group of secondary characters, each of whom plays an important role in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Winter’s Edge, and look forward to more from Mike Sheridan.

*****

Minor spoiler: There was one moment of violence in the book where Sheridan caught me off guard. I’m used to reading violence (prefer reading to watching), but this was sheer genius. Took me a while to recover from it too. Kudos to Sheridan for that one!

*****

For fans of post-apocalyptic and dystopia.

To Save a Life by Rachel Leigh Smith

To Save a LifeSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewer: Laurel

A’yen’s loved ones are under attack. To save them, he’ll risk everything.

Half the Lokmane are free and the resettling of Lok’ma is in progress. A’yen is crowned king, but it isn’t stopping his enemies. Someone is after Ro, and the woman he’s falling in love with is caught in the middle.

When Fae is trapped in a cave-in at a dig site and wakes up with fake memories, A’yen knows who’s to blame. Proving it is the hard part. Things get worse as his past relationship with a human male, a man once again part of his life, is used to trap him and try to turn the people against him. And destroy his marriage.

Ro is then framed for murder, another move to discredit A’yen. Saving his marriage and reputation is easy compared to saving Ro’s life. Ro’s demons come for him, taking him back to a life not worth living.

A’yen races to save Ro before he can act on his deepest desire: killing his tormentor. Happily ever after can’t happen if Ro is dead.

Can this series get any more addictive? It’s taken me three days to read through this book (with extensive breaks inbetween enforced by life – breaks which were infused with a longing to read more), and I could easily read the next one.

I can’t say that this book is better or worse than the previous two, but the events that unfold are compelling. At times one laughs out loud, at others one cries, and yet others one wants a certain person to burn in hell… yet through it all, one just wants to read, devour, inhale more of this book.

Smith introduces us to several new characters in these pages, expanding our knowledge of the Marcasian Empire in particular. I for one cannot wait to learn more of them, as I know we will in upcoming books.

In short, a compelling read that doesn’t disappoint. And among the best I’ve read so far this year