Book Review: Star Wars X- Wing Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminal’s from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields. This novel did bring up the topic of inter-species sex, which they don’t go to far butI thought for a Star Wars novel they went farther than I would have thought. I thought the war games are the standout in this book, does the potential for harm, outweigh the potential for peace. I have read this novel before and the set up for the next one is one of my favorites, because of what the Imperials set up for the Rebels. The Kyrtos virus is explained more in The Kyrtos Trap, which is book three in the series.

The Plot: Corran Horn the stand out pilot of Rogue Squadron, investigates why one of his pilots never returned from his trip, he ends up having a near miss and learning that Jace’s missing could be due to a spy in Rogue Squadron. Wedge the leader of the Rogue Squadron, proposes taking Coruscant, and is backed but they have a different way than he imagined, freeing prisoners from a moon that the prisoners have taken over. All the prisoners are former and current members of Black Sun and deadly gang that has no stake in the war at hand. The Rebels are banking on the fact that Black Sun will cause such a ruckus on the Imperials that they won’t notice the rebels sneaking in to take down the twin shields. In order for the rebels to take the stronghold. The Imperial’s know that they can’t hold on to Coruscant for too much longer, start developing a virus called the Kyrtos virus that can be healed but use a fare amount of Bacta (a healing medicine) to cure it.

What I Liked: The Imperial museum that rewrites history to make the rebels look like the bad guys and the Imperials as good. The end battle was really fun. I loved the Kyrtos Trap that was set up at the end, and will have lasting repercussions in the series. I liked the little bits with C3P0 not translating the Wookie leader properly, and Leia’s commander role works well. Corran Horn and Mirax’s relationship is fu to watch it grow and have Corran get tempted by the Bacta Queen who he’s undercover as a couple.

What I Disliked: The action is sometimes really hard to follow, in terms of where people are in relation to the bad guys and their own team members. I hated that we don’t see another member of Rogue Squadron other then Wedge and Corran until midway through the book. There’s is barely in X-wing scenes.

Recommendation: I enjoyed this novel more then the first one, Rogue Squadron, the stakes are a lot higher, the battles are more fierce. You will like this if you like star wars mixed with undercover work. I rated Wedge’s Game 4 out of 5 stars, it was a high 3 that I rounded up.

Book Review: Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment. The thing that drives this series is Murderbot wants to be alone, but situations keep thrusting him into action. I like how he manipulates other robots that are all to ready to conspire with him, without human knowledge.

The Plot: In the first Murderbot novella All Systems Red, Muderbot hired by a team of scientist doing lad surveys on a planet, a shadow company, GrayCris, has been doing it’s own research on the planet, and found aliens have visited it and have left technology, they fear the scientists finding out and send a kill order of the scientist. Murderbot saves them as they find out about the alien visit and learn more about the GrayCris, Murderbot is bought by the scientists and granted freedom. Murderbot runs away. In the second Murderbot book Artificial Condition Murderbot investigates the place where he became a mass murderer and finds out he was hacked and taken over by GrayCris that wanted settlers dead. In Rogue Protocol Murderbot is going to a planet that GrayCris deleted from record. Murderbot wants to grab proof of a coverup and give it to the scientists who released him and still fighting GrayCris. He joined a survey team that doesn’t understand what they are walking into, he lies his way in as security, and reluctantly has to protect the humans and a naive droid he has nicknamed Puppybot.

What I Liked: Miki or Puppybot as Murderbot thinks of him, is a different side of A.I. one that is shown and only knows love. His interaction with the very cynical Murderbot are what make this book so fun. I loved seeing Mili showing the strength that rubbed off of Murderbot near the end. I liked Murderbot, who is an avid consumer of T.V. shows quoting some of the lines that applied to criminal justice, to the would be criminal were really good. Murderbot plot summary of the first two books made me laugh, because of how cynical it was to the human’s and the robot’s that helped him but still not really wanting their help to begin with. The action was really good and easier to follow in the past. The twist was pretty great because it was so plausible and made you think a character’s motivation went one way when it was the other.

What I Disliked: The plot setup is getting formulaic. Murderbot travels somewhere using lies to hide true intention, gets to destination and someone gets double crossed, he has to complete original mission by saving dumb humans. The books are different but I got a little plot Deja Vu.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this series, it’s fun, it is one heck of a character study, and it has amazing Science Fiction action. One of the cover quotes I really agreed with is, “One of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman, I’ve ever read” by Annalee Newitz. I rated Rogue Protocol 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue reading the Murderbot Diaries series that is currently 5 books comprised of 4 novella and one novel. So far every book has been 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

The Toll By Neal Shusterman is book three of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. The Toll ends the YA series in a fitting way exposes truths hinted at in Scythe and Thunderhead. This book expands the number of characters introducing a few new ones and expanding upon characters we have grown with. This book was my least favorite in this excellent series. I wanted to love this book as much as the others, but from chapter two, I knew this book was going in a different direction than I wanted it to. The novel eventually corrects course and delivers a satisfying ending to the series. My main problem is Citra and Rowan have been the main characters, and this book changes it to an ensemble story. Rowan and Citra are in 30 pages of the first 300 pages of this 630 page book. I felt this book got away from the Scythes and replaced it with the Tonest which were interesting but not as much as the Scythes.

The Plot: In a futuristic Earth human’s have beat aging and death. Thanks to Nano technology there is no disease and death can be reversed in most cases. Scythes bring a permanent death to curb over population. The Scythes are human’s who have been appointed, they have a kill quota must must be unbiased in choosing it’s victims. The Thunderhead is a God-like A.I. system them that has vowed to stay out of Scythe business and can not influence who to kill. The Tonest are a religious group derived out of musical tones. In the last book Rowan became Scythe Lucifer a sort of rogue scythe that would kill other Scythes he deemed used bias in there kills, as he did to his mentor Goddard. Citra became Scythe Anastasia, she’s making enemies for her new ways of Gleaning people by letting them pick there deaths and giving them a month to live. Gavin Tolliver is a Nimbus agent works for the Thunderhead, and gets hinted that there will be an attempt on Citra’s life. Gavin intervenes saving Citra’s life, but he his deemed unsavory losing his job and being cut off from the Thunderhead directly. Indirectly the Thunderhead ask him to go undercover to save Citra once again, he discovers it’s a Scythe, and is sent to a Tonest cathedral to hide, while Citra roots out which Scythe is responsible. Rowan is set up and kidnapped by two old enemies he once thought were dead. Rowan is horrified as one is using the body of one of his old friends. There is an election of Highblade of Midmerica were Curie, Citra’s mentor and Goddard, Rowan’s mentor returned from the dead, after Rowan thought he killed him. There’s a controversy about how Goddard came back which causes the voting to stop and a council called. The council doesn’t go the way anyone planned and chaos breaks out permanently killing the high council of Scythes and Curie who sacrifices her self to put Citra and the newly rescued Rowan to die safely so that they can be revived at a later date. The anguish of the Thunderhead not bing able to stop any of it shuts down and will only talk to Gavin Tolliver. Since he is with the Tonest they think is must be a sign and make Gavin a prophet that they call The Toll. The New Scythe Leader Goddard the only survivor thinks the Toll is a great threat and wants him and all Tonest gleaned. Goddard changes the rules of bias and the quota how many people you can kill. Citra and Rowan took three years to get revived since they were at the bottom of the ocean, and wake up to a different world. Citra and Rowan have secrets that Overblade Goddard would kill to keep. The Toll, Thunderhead and the Scythes must reunite to bring balance to the world, before it is too late.

What I Liked: The new character of Jeri, the lgtbq character and the interesting take on gender fluidity. Rowan and Citra are great characters that are so easy to get behind, I wish they were in this book more though. Gavin Tolliver has one of the best character arcs from the start of thunderhead to where his character ends up in The Toll. I liked what was done with Scythe Morrison. I liked that I was tricked a couple times getting foretold things that characters think happened to then get shocked when you experience what really went down. The ending was a nice send off to the characters I had grown to love. The ending had a great finality to it, that truly ends. I liked what the secret Scythe room actually did, there was a lot of build up and I felt satisfied at the end with how it played out. Goddard was a great villain, where the more I knew about him the more I hated him. The way Gavin used the Thunderhead to his advantage. I liked Rand’s story arc.

What I Disliked: The major change in focus of Rowan and Citra not being the main characters. There was always side characters that had a role and their own stories but it was clear who the main focus was. The way the beginning was told needed more back and forth, sometimes it was told linearly and other times, time would jump back and forth. I wanted more out of the Faraday story line.

Recommendations: The Toll is the weakest book in the series, but I will slightly recommend this story mainly for the ending. The Arc of a Scythe series has been one of my favorite series, I have purchased four books by Shusterman. I wanted the last book to be better, I rated Scythe and Thunderhead 5 out of 5 stars, and I rate The Toll a high 3 stars, making the whole series score a 4 out of 5 stars. The world building and character arc’s are some of the best I’ve read, this series has made me a fan of Shusterman’s work and will read more.

Book Review: This Is How You Lose The Time War By Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone

This Is How You Lose The Time War By Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone is a science fiction love story featuring a spy vs. spy storyline with time travel agents. What happens when one time traveler writes a note to her rival? They start a letter writing correspondence through time. The novel flows like a poem as the time travelers try to one up each other with diction, prose, and literature. There where times when I was head scratching some of the words and what they mean. A couple of the letter are on blooming plants which I found hard to imagine with the limited description given. The novel is short with it being just over 200 pages.

The Plot: Red is a time traveler who just scored a victory in a war, or so she thought she finds a note that says, burn before reading, She does and recreates the note that Blue wrote where she saved some of warriors, defying Red’s orders to not leave anyone alive. What happens next is a Spy vs. Spy scenario straight out of Mad magazine, where they keep sabotaging the other’s mission then bragging about it in the letter. Only they fall in love with letter writing and the correspondence to one another. Almost each letter is signed we will win the time war. but the words lose they’re meaning as the hate that they had turns to something else between Red and Blue.

What I Liked: I liked the outcome of all the letter writing, I thought the overall arc of the story was good. I liked how through the letters you can feel the emotions change. Most of the setting seemed cool. I liked it best when we are told the objective and what it does in future time. I liked all the words they came up with to describe red and blue.

What I Disliked: There are no rules of time travel established. Description is really lacking, so a lot is hard to picture. We never get how the can track each other through time. The words were beautiful, but with out relevance all they are is words, which is something this book does a good deal as they talk about future events too much.

Recommendations: I wanted to like this more than I did, I am not going to recommend this one, but I also know some people who are going to love this one. If you love letter writing then this novel is a love letter to it. If you love metaphorical prose and poetry then this is the book for you. I rated This Is How You Lose The Time War By Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Book Of Koli by M. R. Carey

The Book Of Koli by M.R. Carey is science fiction book after an apocalyptic battle where we tried to fix the environment but the world created trees that can walk and kill for nourishment. This book is the first book in the proposed Rampart Trilogy. This book is all heart, you can’t help but fall for Koli as he wants something more in this world, ad he manages to get a piece in the most unlikeliest of ways. The novel has a couple of good twists and turns and went in a direction I didn’t see it going. He is the unlikeliest of hero with a weapon to match. I read and reviewed this book thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy. The Book of Koli By M.R. Carey was published on April 14 2020.

The Plot: The world we know has long been dead nature is what most are afraid of as a type of tree can walk and kill. Most stay protected in their little village, Mythren Rood and are forbidden from leaving the protection. Koli is a woodsmith in a family of woodsmiths that works at the lumber mill. When he is older he plans to take a test to be a rampart. A rampart is special class of citizen that rules the others, they use tech of yester-years to protect the village. To become a rampart you have make the old tech work on first touch. The tech is a flame thrower, a laser, bolt gun, and some other devices. Koli and his best friend Haijon dream of being ramparts, Haijon’s mother, aunt, grandfather, and cousin are all ramparts. Koli is tested with four other young adults with Haijon being the only one who can make the tech work and becomes a rampart. Koli is devastated, thrown into wood work, this all changes when Ursula a visiting healer, who is charge of pregnancy and other abrasions, uses and knows tech she scavenges is saved by Koli holding back a rampart from accidentally hurting Ursula. She tells him how tech really works through access codes and fingerprint analysis and that the ramparts are rigged. Koli knowing this is determined to be a rampart, breaks in to the hold and steals a piece of tech that is not exactly a weapon, that he gets to work. Under the rampart rules he is a rampart, but if the ramparts are rigged what will they do when they find out what Koli has done. So starts the adventures of Koli an totally original story with lots of charm.

What I Liked: The direction the story took was very unique. The tech he gets to work is great and very fitting, I laughed out loud when it was revealed what it did. That being said in Koli’s hands it does become a weapon of sorts. Ursula was a great character, that I enjoyed every time she showed up. I liked the idea of the rampart society and how it is easily lead astray by those in power that want to keep it. I liked that his best friend Haijon was good and didn’t realize his family was making him a rampart before the test. Senlas was a pretty terrible bad guy, his calm of believe he was a God was terrifying. I liked the analysis of how the tech ages and still goes as programed. I liked the use of modern references to seem old to the knew future. Monono Aware is a one of my favorite characters and i loved her backstory.

What I Disliked: The beginning took be a while to get into it, the character’s have weird names , the family of Koli was a lot and kind of confusing, and the syntaxof words used is off. It took me at least three to four chapters where I totally knew what was going on. The book is written in Koli’s words and he is really bad at describing what people and some places look like, which took me a little while to tell people apart. I wanted to see Haijon at the Rampart meeting about Koli, but he never showed up. The ending took a little too long to plan the next destination.

Recommendations: The Book of Koli is a special book, that I really enjoyed. This novel is full of heart and charm like I have never seen before. Koli is an easy character to root for and I can not wait for his next destination. This is the third book I have read from M. R. Carey. I liked The Girl with all the Gifts slightly more, and I liked The Book of Koli more than Unwritten Volume 1 Graphic Novel. I love M. R. Carey’s brain and the unique places his stories go. I plan to read the next Novel The Trials of Koli when it is released as well as his other novels that I own Fellside and The Boy on the Bridge. I rated The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey 4 out of 5 stars. I was very happy when selected by Netgalley and Orbit Books to read this, I glad It lived up to my expectation.

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow is a love story at its heart, that I found very beautiful, it dips into the science fiction by way of magic, and the time period of early 1900’s makes it historical fiction as well. I liked the idea of doorways to another world, where some people want to explore them, while other’s want them destroyed. The story is told as a book with in a book, which took a little getting used to, once I got used to it I liked the storytelling more, and there’s a few surprises in this way of storytelling that really work for the narrative. When there is action it is fast and well described. The book has a lot of little twist and turns that keep the story interesting until the very end.

The Plot: January is 7 years old when she finds her first door way, is it a child’s imagination that she found a doorway to another place or not. When she tells her caretaker, Mr. Locke, this, he scolds her about growing up and not living in a fantasy world. He also burns the door down. January’s father Julian works for Mr. Locke procuring rare items and in exchange allows his daughter to live with the wealthy Mr. Locke. January likes Mr. Locke despite his strictness and sees him as a surrogate father. January learns to grow up in class and still thinks about the doorway that she went through when a child, and has a token a gold coin she found that day, that she still keeps. January finds a book on doorways to other worlds, and it tells of a girl that is about her age that is obsessed with doors. Julian is reported missing, January wants to go find him, but Mr. Locke wont let her, and locks her up. She remembers that time when she wanted the door from her childhood to open, she wrote it down and that is what she does, hoping for some way out, and the door is unlocked. She tries to escape but is found by Mr. Locke and some of his society members. She is questioned about how she got out, and in her anger she shouts at an aggressive society member, “I hope you get locked behind a door to another world.” Which they turn to Mr. Locke and say you told her, everything about doors is a reality.

What I Liked: January the main character is really fun, I love her voice the first 5 or six pages really hooked me as she tries to introduce herself to the audience. I loved that there is a pay off to who the book is to in both books since this is a book with in a book. Jane is a great supporting character, I loved her backstory. Actually this book nails every backstory, Mr. Locke’s, Jane, Julian, and January’s mother. The world created and the door worlds were really cool a couple of them I wanted to see explored. The bad guys have a pretty good well thought out motive for what they do. I loved how many twist and turns this book had.

What I Disliked: When the book within a book is first introduced it is really jarring, especially since it starts with a preface and has a funky date that threw me off ( it is explained later). The narrator of the book tells his story in third person which was off putting, at least it is addressed but later in the story. This is all in the first hundred pages then the book gets really good, and I had no problems with it.

Recommendations: I enjoyed this book the beginning took a little strain with getting used to the book with in a book, but after that this book is amazing, I was captivated, and couldn’t wait to see what happened. This book reminded me a little of The Long Earth by Terry Prachett and Stephen Baxter mixed with The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. If you like your science fiction and historical fiction mixed then this book is for you. I rated The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Arc of the Scythe series. Thunderhead ramps up the action, expands on the already great world building, it has one hell of a climax, and maintains the high quality writing, that will make you think long after the book is finished. I love this series so much, it is going places I could not imagine. This book has a lot of callbacks to the first novel, that are really big payoffs with a couple of characters that end up coming back, like Tyger. My big complaint for Scythe was his character sort of disappeared and forgotten about, but he is back and used well. With this book being called Thunderhead named after the God-like A.I. cloud that watches all, we get more insight into how the system works and how it feels. The Arc of scythe series continues to blow me away I can already not wait the read the final book in the series The Toll.

The Plot: In a futuristic Earth human’s have beat aging and death. Thanks to Nano technology there is no disease and death can be reversed in most cases. Scythes bring a permanent death to curb over population. The Scythes are human’s who have been appointed, they have a kill quota must must be unbiased in choosing it’s victims. The Thunderhead is a God-like A.I. system them that has vowed to stay out of Scythe business and can not influence who to kill. In the las book Citra was promoted to Scythe and Rowan was not. Citra was supposed to kill Rowan after winning but thanks to a clever action was granted immunity for one year. Citra has now become Scythe Anastasia and Rowan has been taking out all the Scythes who use bias in there kills and burns them where they can not be revived; He has been calling himself Scythe Lucifer. The Scythes want Rowan dead and the Thunderhead to help, but it refuses. The Thunderhead finds out a plot to kill Citra and her mentor Curie, although the Thunderhead can’t get involved directly it doesn’t mean he can’t hint and bend the rules to assist. But as the Thunderhead finds out the Scythes are keeping more from the Thunderhead than it knows.

What I Liked: One of the best climax that I have read, it makes me want to pick up the next book now, because of a cliffhanger. One of the better second novels that I have read, that compliments the first book so well then adds to the story and the world. Tyger’s back! I enjoyed this side character and was bummed when he was written out, well now he’s back and has a full character arc. The twist in the novel are really great and often heartbreaking. The writing is so good. The voice of the Thunderhead was written well, balancing the thought of not doing anything as opposed to being driven in to action, to events that it did not calculate. Citra and Rowan’s character arc are sometime hard emotionally but the character choices feel right. The scenery and descriptions were written, so that I could easily picture them in my mind. The masterminds plot is pretty chilling. The new character Gavin Tolliver was a character I was instantly attached to right away.

What I Disliked: One plot point with Faraday was such a set up for the next book plot point, that I could tell so early when reading it. I hope there’s a pay off that was the only plot that I did not like. It felt like they were holding a lot back for the next book.

Recommendations: I recommend you doing yourself a favor and adding this incredible series to your TBR. This is a series upon reading the first book that was a instant like, and having me enjoy the second just as much, if more. I’m going to shout this book trough the roof tops. This book is a Young Adult novel it does deal in death, but is not too graphic, there’s lite torture scene that could be a trigger warning. I think a 13 year old can handle this series, I know I would have loved it at that age. I recommend you read this series in order, or you will miss a lot. I rated Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman 5 out of 5 stars. I already have the last book on order and will read it as soon as it comes, and I bought his Skinjacker trilogy on Kindle.

Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one of the my favorite Science Fiction novels of all time. This book is deep Science Fiction with one of the best endings, that will floor you, it will make you both happy and sad at the same time. Ender’s Game was written in 1985 it speaks of internet like it is today along with nailing household devices like tablets, personal computers, and body cameras. The war games and psychology in this novel are very advanced, this can be enjoyed by older readers and young adult there is something in this novel for every one. This book has some language and graphic images, but I know there are middle grade versions of Ender’s Game for a younger audience with those scenes excluded. I would say a 13 or 14 year old can handle the material as is. This Book is number 3 on NPR’s 100 best science fiction and fantasy novels it won the Hugo award for best novel and plenty of other awards. Ender’s Game is the first book of the Ender’s Saga, I have read the original four and would only recommend Speaker for the Dead the second novel in the saga, the other novels have some interesting things but the pacing is really slow. This is the second time I have read Ender’s Game, I got this book for my girlfriend and the more she talked about it the more I wanted to reread it. It has been over 15 years since I read the book the first time and my experience did not change at all, I even had a deeper understanding of political aspects of the book. I remembered the important parts and forgot a few of the side character’s impact on the shaping of Ender’s character. I have seen the movie with Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin. I also have a personal connection to the film having worked on a couple of production with Stevie Ray Dallimore who played Ender’s dad. The movie could have been better as a fan of the book, I felt they did not make it as intense as it should have been, so it lacked the emotional connection for me.

The Plot: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is born as the third child which his sister Valentine calls Ender. In this world the government grants permission for you to have a third child but any child can be used by the military. Years ago there was a threat called Buggers that attacked Earth and the military is looking for young minds to destroy the Buggers for good at their home planet. Kids are watched and monitored usually until the government makes up their mind. Ender is 6 and has just had his monitor taken off or so he believes Commander Graff looking for the next general watches, how other will react. Ender gets into a fight and has to figure out the best way to stop the situation from ever happening again. Graff likes the way ender handled the situation and ask him to give up all he knows and join him in Battle School a place where you are trained to be a commander. Ender agrees but quickly finds out Graff is not his friend as he gets other’s to turn on him pointing out how much smarter he is than everyone else. With a target on his back he keeps finding ways to persevere. Will ender be the savior they are looking for or is this all a game?

What I Liked: This book is deep the way it looks at psychology of the mind of a child growing to adulthood. It has a highly intelligent character using words like “fartface”. The politics is something I didn’t care for in my first reading but do now, after having read books like the Graphic Novel Watchmen that analyze the measures to stop war. The character of ender is great, you feel like you get to live all 6 years with him. I liked how the pacing slows up to let the span of time pass. I love the conversation with Graff and Anderson at the beginning of most of the chapters, it gives a lot of insight into the mind games and the reason behind them. I love the character growth depicted in this novel you see how Ender learns from every battle. The secondary characters are some of my favorites, Dink, Bean and Petra.

What I Disliked: The whole third child could have been explained better. I would have wanted to see Peter’s progression a little more to the person he became. That’s really it there’s some slow period but it is at a time change so you feel like felt the time change, so it helped me amerce more to the material.

Recommendations: Check this book out, it seems to be one of those books that sit’s on peoples TBR’s, but do your self a favor and read this book. This book is a series I can only recommend Speaker for the Dead in the Ender Saga, but this book opens up a new saga as well with Ender’s Shadow that follows the side character of Bean and what was going on behind the scenes that I highly recommend. This book really has something for everything, strong male and female characters, god science fiction that is not too sciencee. I rated Ender’s Game the same score I did 15 year’s ago, 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson is a Science Fiction Novella that tells a futuristic Neo Noir detective story. I was reminded a lot of a Phillip K. Dick meets George Orwell, especially The Eye, the story Minority report is based on, and 1984. In the near future a computer program can simulate an entire day of the past for every person , police step into this world to gain to find evidence in the real time, but every interaction with someone from the real time causes deviations in the day. This story takes place in the program 10 days before present day. The idea of this story is amazing, with such a short story it has some good twist.

The Plot: Davis and Chaz are detectives in the Snapshot. The Snapshot is the name for the program that can simulate any entire day for every person in the city. The cases aren’t difficult they will watch and document a domestic disturbance, and they will watch where a murder suspect flees to it drops the murder weapon. They can communicate to the real world that is in the same time but different day. The way the program works they have to spend a day there, so they have safe houses to go to if need be. They end one case early and instead of go to the safe house, they explore. Davis still wants to be a detective, where Chaz enjoys the Snapshot. Davis read about an odd event that occurred this day on a conspiracy blog and wants to investigate. They find multiple bodies and a killer that knows how the Snapshot works.

What I Liked: The plot to this story is so good. The idea is cool, Sanderson is known for writing some big books, and this story could easily been expanded. Davis took me a couple pages to figure out but I loved his character, and loved where his story arc went. I liked the idea of the Snapshot, I wanted to know more about it. The twist towards the end of this story are really good, it really reminded me of a Phillip K. Dick twist ending. I loved the reveal on Davis leaving the real life police force, and the reason he turns off the machine each night. I loved use of the deviations and what element to the story they introduced.  The badge that shows you this world is not real was a well thought out device.

What I Disliked: It took me a while to visualize the main characters, and it took me longer than it should in a novella to identify with the characters. A slow beginning, there’s a fair bit of exposition in explaining how the Snapshot works, which is interesting but out getting to know the characters on the back burner.

Recommendation: This story was right up my alley, if you’re like me and love mind bending science fiction then this story is for you. It is short and well worth the time reading. I have yet to read a bad Sanderson story, I love Mistborn series and Stormlight Archive series. I rated Snapshot 4 out of 5 stars. I bought it for my kindle for 1.99 and it was well worth it!

Book Review: Black Hammer Volume 3: Age of Doom Part One by Jeff Lemire

Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom Part One by Jeff Lemire is a graphic novel that takes heroes from the bygone era, and stick them in a purgatory on a small farming town, where there is no such thing as superheroes. Some find love, others find betrayal, and some heartbreak in this purgatory, but most just want out. Is there something keeping the team there or someone? In this novel we find out the answer. Black Hammer breaks down the super hero character analyzing what sacrifice is in a really humanizing way. Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom collects issues 1-5 of Black Hammer: Age of Doom by Dark Horse Comics.

The Plot: Five heroes are stuck in a small town, after a hellacious battle to save Spiral city. The heroes don’t know why they are placed out in a rural town and spend most of there days on the farm, the ones who can be seen act like a family to not have suspicion arise. When we meet the heroes they have been trapped for 10 years. Abraham Slam is the leader and a hero of the bygone era He is over fifty and still strong as an ox he is the father figure, Golden Gail has the power of regeneration and flight, the purgatory of the town has stopped her regeneration, leaving her a fifty year old trapped in the body of a 12 year old, Colonel Weird comes straight from pulp as he is a former astronaut stuck between two vortexes, leaving his body and mind like a ghost not familiar with dates or time since they are relative to him. Madam Dragonfly is a witch that took a bad deal to save her daughter, and watches over a mysterious cabin, that was also transported to the town. Barbalien is a shapeshifting alien from Mars, and Walkie Talkie a female robot that Colonel Weird met on a mission. At the end of Black Hammer Volume 1 Secret Origins, the Black Hammer’s daughter Lucy joins the heroes in purgatory, Madam Dragonfly erases her memory quickly before the other’s arrive, and just like the left she is stuck and can not remember how she got there. At the last moments of Black Hammer Volume 2 The Event, Lucy finds and picks up her father’s old Hammer and becomes the new Black Hammer, and suddenly remembers everything about how she got there and who betrayed the team, but before she can get a word of she is whisked away to a purgatory that leads to her own personal hell. She must break free, so she can reveal all. The rest of the team follows the leads Lucy was working on and notice the town has changed. All will be revealed where they are why they are there and if they can or even want to escape.

What I Liked: Abraham finally admits to the woman he loves that he’s a super hero and … she laughs at him as he has the outfit on the moment is great because he as hid this big secret for 2.5 novels and that is the reaction after all the build up. Gus the half man half deer from Jeff Lemire’s other graphic novel Sweet Tooth makes a cameo appearance. Gail who is a kid in body only with the mind of a 50 year-old has it out with the librarian that suggest the kiddie section. I like the majority of Lucy’s own purgatory, the conversation with the devil was a good one! The humor was balanced by the sad moments really well. Gail’s reaction when she finds out about the betrayal was great. The art is better I still hate the way these artists draw people.

What I Disliked: I did not like the explanation for the ten years of purgatory, I felt it was a little bit of a slap in the face, for getting invested in the characters of purgatory, and didn’t feel those character’s reactions played well on a reread of what happened at the end. I reminded me of the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker plot line not making much sense. There was only the tiniest bit of a flashback, this series has had some really great flashback moments, and they were’t there in this volume and were greatly missed.

Recommendations: I will barely recommend this book it was my least favorite so far. The Black Hammer series as a whole I would give 4 stars and say it is worth it to read, but Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom Part One I rate 3 out of 5 stars. I will read the next volume in the series Black Hammer Volume 4 Age of Doom Part Two. Part one ended in a cliffhanger and I am intrigued of the new direction that the next book will go in.