Book Review: Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole is the Top Gun of the Star Wars novels. The novel is about X-Wing missions after the Empire has fallen. The space battles are well crafted and even if this wasn’t Star Wars the war games are strategically sound and well thought out. This is the first of the X-Wing novels that follows Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron who in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi defeated both the Deathstars. This novel is part of the Legends series of Star Wars novel, meaning that it is not in Star Wars Cannon with the time line that Force Awakens has created. In Legend time line this novel takes place 6 years after A New Hope. This novel in its self was a reread for me, it’s rating did improve on this reread, my original rating was two stars, which I raised to 3 stars and it was close to 4. When I did give it the original star rating I was doing it from memory since I did not know about Goodreads and read for fun without giving it a review. I was really in the mod to read a Star Wars story as I have been rewatching the entire series in anticipation for the new movie The Rise of the Skywalkers and new episodes of the Mandalorian on Disney+.

The Plot: Wedge Antilles one of the founding members and final remaining members of Rogue Squadron he is tasked with training a new team of X-Wing pilots to be the new Rogue Squadron. The Emperor and Darth Vader have been defeated but the Empire still exist and it is trying to actively shut down the Rebel Alliance. Corran Horn is one of those new recruits, he was a former member of Corsec a police unit on Corcusant, Corran resisted the Empire as long as he could and fled when they took over taking an X-wing and an R2 droid with him. Defecting was one thing but stealing now empire equipment is a big thing, he is now hunted my his former boss Kirtan Loor was tasked with tracking him and his stolen property down. With Corran joining the Rogue Squadron Loor is promoted and now in charge of destroying Rogue Squadron.

What I Liked: The character’s are great they all have interesting backgrounds that compelled them to rebel. Corran I liked especially at first he’s a hot head pilot that has to learn to work as a unit. Wedge was one of my favorite side characters form the original trilogy, (side note can not wait to see what they do with his character in Rise of the Skywalkers since he is confirmed to be back.) his character does not disappoint he his a calculating and caring team leader, you found out he’s reject promotion after promotion because he just wants to fly. Ooryl is by far my favorite character, he’s the goose to Corran Horn’s Maverick and a great sidekick. What I found fascinating is about the Gand species that is born only being called Gand and you have to earn your first and last name. The X-Wing battles are exciting and really smart military war games, the battle reminded a lot of the Battle School in Enders Game by Orsen Scott Card. The respect it gave to former members of Rogue Squadron, like Dack and Porkins. I really liked the epilogue and what scenario it sets up for the the next book Wedge’s Gamble.

What I Disliked: Te dialogue was sometimes lacking especially the slangs where they tried too hard to make Star Wars references, Son of a Sithspawn was the only good one that I can remember. The finale was really lacking it was one sided battle, I compare it to in Return of the Jedi you have the battle on Endor, The battle in space around the Deathstar, and you have the Luke Darth Vader duel, that all count on each other to succeed. The finally just gives you on scenario not the whole chain of events all you get is a passing acknowledgment that the plan passed or failed.

Recommendations: Iv’e read at least twenty Star Wars books over the years, where this was just good it set’s up leading to one of my favorite Star Wars X-Wing novels the Kyrotos Trap. It has an Empire Strikes back like ending that will really test the Rebellion. This novel if you ever wanted to read a Top Gun like novel full of space battles then this is your book. I rated this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Tv Series Review: The Mandalorian chapter one -Star Wars Disney+

The Mandalorian episode 1 written by Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni is off to a good start in the first live action show in the Star Wars universe it captures the look of Star Wars off the bat. The first episode took a minute to get into, I would have to say mainly to Horatio Sanz acting. I didn’t feel like he was part of the universe and more or less a guy in a costume. I was very satisfied with what happened to his character. The music was kind of odd at times, some times it was nailed, but I swear I heard parts of a Rocky like theme, I honestly don’t think it was implanted in my brain because I saw Carl Weathers, who was good. The cast without Horatio Sanz and other actors in the opening scene are good, really good. You will play where have I heard that voice from with voice talent from Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi. Other actors are Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, who does not take his helmet off and sounds more like a young Timothy Olyphant tan Pedro Pascal under the helmet, Werner Hertzog, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi and Brian Posehn. I’m a pretty big Star wars fans I’ve seen every movie watched most of the tv shows I love Rebels, read a decent amount of Star Wars books.

 

The Plot: (loose spoilers – I describe the first five minutes of the show) The world is torn after the defeat of the empire (The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. Bounty Hunting is in business, the mandalorian enters into a bar after a character was getting shaken down. When he walks in he’s immediately accosted he takes down the thugs and in brutal form (the camera cuts away as some one is sliced in half), The guy getting shakendown offers a reward as thanks, but the mandalorian looks him up and he has a bounty and is removed. That sets up the tone of the show. The mandalorian turns in his bounties then learns of a top secret loose on the details mission that he takes on a remote planet.

 

What I Liked: The visuals are stunning there’s a lot of really cool visuals that could be posters the final shot, and the walking out of the bar shot. The transitions in the show are the exact in a Star War . The acting is good except for Horatio Sanz, sorry. The story moves really well, the episode is only 35 minutes, which felt odd and went very fast. I liked that he doesn’t take the helmet off, we get to see his face as a boy through flashbacks. The special effects were really good for a tv show. There’s a creature that was in Jabba’s palace, that is featured here in a really memorable cameo scene, it is not the same creature but a cousin or brother maybe. Excellent action scenes. There’s good bits of humor throughout, Taika Waititi’s character gave me the biggest laughs. I love the characterization of the bounty hunter, very Clint Eastwood the spaghetti westerns. Theirs is a western no man’s land vibe.

 

What I Disliked: The music was at times weird, and did not fit. There’s only one episode up for now but no timeline listed of when new episodes come out, which I find frustrating. I liked Nick Nolte’s character but did not like the scene he was in, it felt like total filler. I reminded me of a bad episode of the Clone Wars. I took a second to get in to the universe.

 

Recommendations: I will recommend the series, it feels more like Rogue One the film than any other star wars film. The action and atmosphere is great. You doesn’t have to know anything about star wars too watch this show. I rated this episode 4 out of 5 stars. Personal note don’t worry my book review friends this is mainly a book review site, I just got Disney+ the three year deal and wanted to give my insight to the new show, for people that are star wars fans that are maybe on the fence.

The latest trailer

Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch is a mind bending Science Fiction, I would say like no other, but this is the writer of Dark Matter, so mind bending is what he just does.  A good science fiction for me makes me ask questions about the potential future and this book will compel you to ask questions. The story is all about memories of the past and how we connect to them, and second guess the choices we made in those instances. I was thrown into my own life and thought about my own memories the happiest and the saddest. This story can be compared to Inception meets Primer with some Edge of Tomorrow thrown in. This novel like Dark Matter is a story that goes off the rails, you will not know where this story is heading, it changes directions at least 3 times, but man is it a good ride. Blake Crouch is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, I was super bummed when I was not selected for the ARC on netgalley for this book. I liked the story as a whole a lot better than Dark Matter, but the twist hit me a little harder in Dark Matter, but Recursion has more of them. Blake Crouch’s work has been turned into series and he has some upcoming like Wayward Pines a 2 season show that aired on Fox staring Matt Dillon, Good Behavior which is based on a novella just finished season 2 on TNT, Dark Matter is to be a film at Sony, and he sold Recursion to be a series on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.

The Plot: Barry a detective in robbery homicide gets a call about a possible jumper, he’s the first to meet Ann, as she sit on the edge of the roof. Barry thinks of ways to tackle her and drag her away but pauses when it is revealed she has FMS False Memory Syndrome. A new disease that travels in social circles and could be contagious, the disease makes a person have a whole lifetime of other memories from their own. Ann describes how she is all alone but she remember having a loving husband and a son in her memories. She tracked the man down, and he didn’t know her or want to do anything with her. Ten years earlier Helena is a researcher at Stanford in memory she hopes to one day cure the Alzheimer disease that her mother has. She gets an offer she can’t refuse for full funding for a project she’s dreamed about, but never told anyone about. her financier seem to know more about her and her project than meets the eye. This research either leads to the cure or the cause of FMS.

What I Liked: This story goes everywhere, even when writing the plot for this review is only one eighth of the story, you can not predict where this story is going to go. I could compare it to one of my favorite Tv shows American Horror Story, where you never know where the plot line is heading. The twist are layered throughout and keep you guessing. There’s a real heart to the story and a sweet love story about second chances. The action when it there is really good. The bad guy has a good deal of layers and motive for his actions. I did not like Helena’s character at first but grew to really love her. The two character perspective of Helena and Barry really works. I was never confused by the narrative, and this story is one that could easily get confused with in another writer’s hand. I love the questions this story ask about memory. The science isn’t crazy detailed but I felt it was just enough.

What I Disliked: Helena’s character does take a little while to love, at first I was really missing the Barry chapters, but here character does get better. This novel repeats its self a lot, I had a couple friends not like Dark Matter for that reason alone and since it is memory it is more. I really noticed it at the end I think that Crouch tried to make it different, sometime he succeeded sometimes he failed. I thought Barry’s character was sometimes too smart for his background.

Recommendations: If you liked Dark Matter you will like this book, when both of these books ended I collected my thought and thought of the science fiction questions asked and put in my own life. I like science fiction that makes me think and this did. If you like stories about memories then you will love this book. I acknowledge this book has flaws but the story experience is one to beat, so I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is my second five star review fro Blake Crouch and eagerly anticipate his next one, I actually plan to reread Dark Matter and post the review on this site, since I was still so new at reviewing the first time I read it.

Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a horrifying look at a a world dealing with a fungus that turns the host into a walking zombie that is hungry only for flesh. This book centers on a young girl of the age of nine the interesting protagonist makes this zombie like story a great one. The theme is this book is hope and it covers both hope and hopelessness fully. This book manages to be heart-filled and heartbreaking at the same time. This novel gives every character an agenda and watches as the five main characters seek to accomplish that agenda some fail as other prevail. I have not read many books that I consider the ending perfect, but man is this ending perfect, it moves the narrative along nicely and it calls back to the very first scene, making it full circle but a completely different context. About the Author, this is my first novel I’ve read by M. R. Carey, but I have read various graphic novels in his vertigo DC Comic nook series Unwritten and Lucifer. I have also seen most of the Lucifer tv show now on Netflix which M. R. Carey is a creative consultant.

The Plot: Melanie A girl of 9 doesn’t have much of a life after school, because after school she is locked in a cage and under heavy watch, along with her classmates. She doesn’t know the outside world but she wants to. She has one teacher Miss Justineau that seems to understand her and is the teacher’s pet, an incident happens as one comforting gesture patting Melanie on the head, makes the teacher jump back in fear of what she has done. Melanie doesn’t understand and is treated horribly and lock up in restraints by the mean Sargent Parks. In class they learn about a new threat the Hungries which are a vicious new wave of humans that grave flesh. Miss Justineau takes some days to comeback and nothing is the same she keeps here distance making Melanie fell like she did something wrong. Parks keeps treating her as dangerous. Melanie stars noticing her classmates start to disappear one by one. She ask Miss Justineau where they’re gone and the teacher looks scared as Parks comes into class and sends everyone back. Miss Justineau tries to intervene and talk the children’s curious nature. That day Melanie learns everything and it will change her life and the world as Miss Justineau innocently reveals the truth about Melanie and the school’s real purpose.

What I Liked: How much information your giving at the beginning then how fast everything is revealed and you seem the hidden subtext and danger in the words used. The character’s agendas are really great and all different some our counteractive and some work together. I like how the character’s don’t change but the situation does and it changes the view of the character and there motivations. I liked how you could feel the confinement in the descriptions. I liked that we get 5 characters different perspectives. The action was written really well. Perfect ending for this novel.

What I Disliked: The middle slowed down too much, the beginning was full of all this information and subtext then an incident happens which is excited and unexpected, but then it takes the novel in a new direction and slows down a lot. One character seems to accept fate too easily I wanted to see more of the internal struggle a bit more.

Recommendation: This book is really special and very unique. This is my second book about a killer fungus and this one far exceed that one with it’s serious tone. If you like books about a zombie apocalypse, then this is a pretty great one that nails the apocalypse part most of all. If you like shocking mind blowing ending that also fit in to the narrative perfectly. I read this book because of the Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) blurb on the cover “So surprising, so warm and yet so chilling … As fresh as it is terrifying.” I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars, I own both books the Boy on the Bridge and Fellside, which have now jumped up on my TBR because of this book.

Book Review: Cold Storage by David Koepp

Cold Storage by David Koepp is the first novel from a well established screenwriter, some of my favorites are all adaptations of novels and comic books like Jurassic Park, Spiderman, and Carlito’s Way. Cold Storage is a story that is all David Koepp. It kind of a serial killer piece where the killer was apprehended and thrown in a dark hole to be forgotten, but this serial killer is crafty and has been plotting their escape the whole time, and thanks to flaws to in the system it escapes, but the killer isn’t a person but a fungus. This book is about a killer fungus. Since he famously adapted Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park I can see a lot of attempts to mirror Crichton’s style, but where Crichton can explain the science so everyone can understand Koepp struggles with it. This book made some interesting choices in terms of choices and flashbacks. I started liking it more when I gave into the premise and viewed it as a SyFy original movie. I was given the advanced copy thanks to Harpercollins Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Cold Storage publishes on September 3rd 2019.

The Plot: In 1987 a super secret task force that investigates biological terror and threats is sent to a remote Australian village. Roberto and Trini of the task force meet doctor Hero to investigate the village. They find every member of the village of the dead on the roof tops with their chest burst out and a green fungal mold around them. The source seems to be part of a fuselage from a Skylab explosion in space. They save a a sample of the fungus and attempt to photograph it as the fungus jumps to the camera, and begins attacking them trying to find a host, the quickly find out the host goes to the highest point available for mass spreading. The whole village is determined a risk and is bombed and burned. The sample is frozen and kept in a deep dark hole where the temperature will remain at freezing. But thanks to global warming and the increase of temperature in Earth’s core in present day the fungus is going to escape. The government has long abandoned the storage facility in Kanas, but a regular storage units were built on top of it. Teacake a lovable loser works at the storage unit as security, and he finds out there is a lot he didn’t know about what is stored there.

What I Liked: The opening is a little clunky in terms of flow and information, but there is some nice surprising action and character work. I did like the character of Roberto his chapter’s always went by fast. I like that the fungus continues to evolve and get smarter. The character of Murphy’s job is you’re supposed to hate him and he did in spades. There’s a good twist at the end that really went with Roberto and how he feels about the fungus and it’s irradiation, that I really liked. I liked the fungus infected animals there were pretty terrifying.

What I Disliked: The character of Teacake he was annoying and stereotypical. The pace was really disjointed through out, there would be good momentum then the story would go off in a tangent. The flashbacks rarely served the story, so I found most of them distracting. Character’s dialogue was really generic, and had hardly any weight to it. The story was too simple would have served better a novella. Roberto was my favorite character but it takes him forever to get to the storage unit and into the action.

Recommendations: I would recommend this to people who like SyFy movies like Sharknado that are kind of tongue in cheek. I don’t know if the novel was going for this initially but if it would have embraced it, it could have been better. If you want a good science fiction I would recommend you picking up a Crichton novel. I gave this novel 2 out of 5 stars, it’s close to the 2.5 mark.

Book Review: Dark Age by Pierce Brown

Dark Age by Pierce Brown is epic on every level, this is a novel of loss, sacrifice, redemption, heart break, political moves, and tyranny. This is book five of the Red Rising Saga. This book was so welcomed by me, because I thought that book four Iron Gold was the weakest in the series. This book follows the same format from Iron Gold, where it gives the same five character perspectives Darrow, Lyria, Ephraim, Virginia, and Lysander. This worked a lot better this time around it didn’t feel like all the characters were setting up something for the next novel, there’s a only one that didn’t feel complete, and was a set up story. This novel wrapped up all the stories from the cliff hanger of Iron Gold, and managed to go into new territory and create new problems as the stories moved forward. This book does a great job of showing two characters difference towards the same goal, as a reader they kept making good points and then screwing up there own ideas to beat one another, it was such good character work and plotting. The twist and turns are so good it reminded me of the midway turn in the original Red Rising and the end turn in Golden Son. There’s a lot of character’s too keep up with which was a little daunting since it had been over a year since reading Iron Gold, and two years since reading the original trilogy. This book brings back some characters that you might have forgot about in the original trilogy that you might have forgotten. One character I thought would have made it to Iron Gold but when they do appear it is well worth the wait and the shock value that they’re capable.

The Plot: Darrow has gone to fight a war in Mercury to free more colors from slavery, he had to sacrifice not finding his son Pax in the process. His Wife Virginia the Sovereign has kept the kidnapping under wraps to not alert anyone and for people who want her power to say she’s compromised. She with Servo, who’s daughter was also taken help track who took the kids. Virginia also is trying to gather support for her husband n the unsanctioned war on Mercury he started. Lryia is being tortured by a pregnant Victra, who is Servo’s wife, She does not know she was a pasty and was manipulated by Ephraim. Ephraim downed his ship on purpose with the two kidnapped kids, when he realized who’s hands they were going to and there intentions, but where he downed the ship there people who see a big opportunity to use the kids as a bargaining chip to gain power. Lysander convinced what’s left of the Raa family to make Darrow pay for his huge betrayal and lie in the book Morning Star. He meets with a members of his family to take Darrow down on Mercury. He’s finding out the people remember that he is rightful heir to sovereign.

What I Liked: This is edge of your seat story telling at it’s best. There’s so many twist and turns one person will have an advantage one moment then switch, then find out there was a puppet master in the shadows. The character’s arc in all stories evolve and come full circle. Secrets are revealed that were hinted at in past books making it really rewarding for having read the first 4 books in the series. Every character has an agenda and it’s constantly shaping but it all makes sense. The flow of this book is amazing it does let you catch your breath after a big reveal but not too long because another one is coming soon. The character’s big and side character’s all sound different and easy to separate from one another. A great ending not a cliffhanger like the last one but you know where most characters are headed, and it going to be bloody.

What I Disliked: This is a broken record comment, but with so many character’s if there was some synopsis for the character’s, it would be great, thank goodness for the internet, so I could look up the character’s to know their history in the series, the book usually gets there, and gives a background eventually. Lyria story is still the weakest story but is way better than in Iron Gold.

Recommendations: I totally recommend this series with a little warning about content, this is a brutal story where people are ripped apart, swearing, sex, rape is threatened, radiation rots the people form inside out, and urination on a vanquished foe is par for the course. This is book is rated Young Adult but could really be adult. That being said I’m an adult that loves Game of Thrones and stories where no one is safe and a brutal world. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. my ranking of the series from top to bottom is Red Rising, Dark Age, Golden Son, Morning Star, and Iron Gold.

Book Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers by John Marrs is a good Science Fiction book, that feels all too real and ask some pretty big questions. I love a good Science Fiction novel that look at the future and asks should we as a society be questioning this; and that is what John Marrs delivers with The Passengers, as he looks to the future and the dangers of self automated cars driven by A.I., it also looks at the growing power of social media and it’s influence in the future. This book reminded me of the Roger Corman film Death Race 2000 meets Stephen King’s The Long Walk all wrapped in an episode of Black Mirror. This could totally be an episode of Black Mirror for it’s take on society and social media alone. If you have read John Marrs book The One ( The One is being adapted into a 10 episode Netflix mini-series) it matches DNA so find your soul mate, you’ll get an added bonus, with that technology being is a small plot point in The Passengers which works really well on where technology is in the fictional near future. I really liked this book, but I was letdown by the ending, which veered off in a direction that didn’t seem to go with the beginning of the novel, it changed my sure to be 5 star review into a 4 star. I would like to thank Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for giving me the advanced copy for the American release in exchange for honest opinion. The Passengers by John Marrs has already released in the UK and is getting released on August 27 2019 in America.

The Plot: In the near future in Britain all cars have been fully automated making regular cars illegal. The cars now come with a seat that can swivel and media can be played on the windows, the car is operated by voice commands. The car death toll has gone down but they still happen, and have a jury decide who’s at fault for the deaths, Libby is a guest on that panel. Libby is a mental health doctor, that doesn’t trust the cars fully after watching a terrible accident a few years ago wipe out a family. Libby is the only civilian juror, the other jurors are medical professionals, government agent and clergy. So far since starting the panel no death has been the cars fault, the car are anti-hack proof, or so they thought. Today 8 people from different walks of life have had their vehicles taken over by a person on a automated voice calling himself the Hacker. The 8 passengers are all told they will die in 2 and a half hours as they reach their destination. The jury will decide who lives or who dies, Libby’s world is turned upside down when she knows one of the passengers, and the hacker knows about her as well. It’s a taut thriller ride that will put you in the passengers seat for the ride.

What I Liked: This novel does an excellent job with backstory picking and choosing when to reveal more about the characters at the right time. The twist and turns are through out this novel, keeping you the reader on your toes and not knowing who to trust. The humor comes in burst like the hashtag on Libby’s bad shoes as she’s deciding on someone’s fate, and others. Me being a Communication Major I loved the take of social media in the near future. I enjoyed the characters and their ups and downs. The technology of the cars was well thought out, and great twist involving that technology later. The hacker was a great puppet master type villain, until the ending , but until that point great character work. I do like that Brexit is now a thing marked in history as a milestone, that still affects Britain in the future.

What I Disliked: The ending is the only problem I had with this book, it’s not horrible, but it just didn’t fit at all, this novel is a smart tight thriller until the ending that is out of character and has a calculated character make a dumb mistakes and it took too long to get to the ending, once the rising action stops.

Recommendations: Despite me not enjoying the ending this is a worthwhile, often thought provoking novel, that looks at issues that could arise in our near future. I do recommend you check this one out. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Black Mirror then you must check it out. If you like Science Fiction that challenges future technology, your sure to enjoy this one. I rated The Passengers by John Marrs 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Artificial Condition By Martha Wells

Artificial Condition By Martha Wells furthers The Murderbot Diaries with the second installment. Man is this series good, I described All Systems Red  the first novella in the series as a character piece with burst of action, and this one continues in that same style. The story picks up exactly where the last one left off, where Murderbot, the A. I., is on a mission to find himself by unlocking his past. I love how Martha Wells wrote Murderbot’s personality as a nonconforming teenager who would rather spend copious amount of time consuming media than interacting with a person or another machine for that matter. The conversations about life and past really made me me think, and the humor of being more human and all the problems that come with it.

The Plot: Muderbot is a self aware A.I. (who calls himself Muderbot, but not out loud) is on a search to find out his past, a while ago he went on a murderous rampage killing and had his memory scrubbed, and the event covered up by the corporation that owned him. No that he is rogue droid a free from the companies grasp, he has decided to investigate the grounds to see if he can find out if was an accident of if he chose to murder willingly. The planet is heavily guarded and the only way he can get on the planet is by pretending to be an augmented human, which means changing everything about himself and trying to become more human.

What I Liked: My favorite new character is ART the operating unit of the transport vessel. ART is so powerful has grown bored of his day to day task and sees an opportunity in Murderbot to go rogue and have some fun. I loved the dynamic between ART and a begrudging Murderbot that just wants to be left alone. I loved that Murderbot is basically a teenager and in this novel he kind of has puberty as he has to turn on his hair growth. I loved the conversation about adding sex and Murderbot’s strong reaction to it. The action is less than the first novella but I enjoyed the writing of the action more in this one. The humor makes this novella flow really quickly.

What I Disliked: in the series so far the villains have all been very one-sided and all about corporate greed, it would be really nice to see a more dimensional villain in future installments. I felt the stakes weren’t high enough in the end, I never felt a true danger for Murderbot.

Recommendations: I am loving this series, and totally recommend it. I was just announced by Martha Well that the fifth Murderbot Diaries book will be a full novel not a novella called Network Effect and will out in 2020. I did recommend the last one for teens, this one does amp the use of curse words up, but if you’re okay with your kid reading them then I would recommend this book in the series. I would recommend reading All Systems Red first this novella starts off exactly where it left off and even gave me some closure for the last story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and will be continuing this series soon.

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells is the first novella in The Murderbot Diaries series that is up to 4 book so far. This novel has one a plethora of award The Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for best Science Fiction Novella, as well of plenty of others. I’ve seen other reviews rate it quite high, and I personally was not disappointed. This novel is a unique character study with thrilling bits of action thrown in. The novel is told from the perspective of Murderbot, who is not your average bot, he has a rebellious side to him. Murderbot can me compared to a rebellious teenager as it choose it not to read reports, would rather spend time watching entertainment, would rather be alone than with the crew who doesn’t understand it and doesn’t know what it wants of this life.

The Plot: Murderbot is an SecUnit a self aware droid with human features and characteristics. Murderbot is what he calls himself but not allowed. He works as a piece of hardware for the Company which is a massive rental facility that provides security and gear for teams. Murderbot is not like other SecUnits he hacked himself out of the mainframe and does not have to follow orders, which no one know except him. He assigned to a group of scientists that are surveying soil on a distant planet through a worm hole. Murderbot is bored most of the time, a massive creature breaks up the boredom as it attacks the crew coming up from the ground. Murderbot kills the creature before it can inflict too much damage . The crew survives but end up finding that their survey of the planet has been modified with no mention of the creature and places on the map omitted. The crew find themselves in danger as someone doesn’t want them to leave the planet alive and Murderbot is their only hope.

What I Liked: This is not a stereotypical robot story there are not beeps and boops. The voice and personality Murderbot is unique and refreshing. The relationship of the crew toward each other and towards Murderbot. The action is easy to follow and exciting. The ending was unexpected I feel it was right for the character, even if I was a little sad of what the outcome means for the next novel and some of the characters. It is short but the story fills complete it could of added a couple more pages to fill in a scene that gets interrupted.

What I Disliked: The end of the rising action left me wanting to know what exactly happened, I felt a little cheated not knowing.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this novel, I look forward to reading more adventures of The Murderbot Diaries. I would recommend this to people who like science fiction, this novel is could be a good novel to get some one to try Science Fiction it is short and not overly detailed when it comes to science. There is one use of bad language, I would recommend this to teenagers, since Murderbot is so much like a teenager himself. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading more of Martha Wells.

Book Review: Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town By Adam Christopher

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher is the second novel that takes place in the Stranger Things universe. I did not read the first one which was about Eleven’s mother, but I wanted too and was very interested, but wasn’t able to, so when this novel came available on netgalley i had to request it. I was super excited to receive it early for any honest review. I’m a big fan of the show and eagerly awaiting the third season of Stranger Things July 4th on Netflix. So approaching this book review as a fan. Do you have to read this to get a deeper lore for the series? No. This novel is a total fan fiction and deeper character study of Detective Harper. Is there any hint to what happens in Season 3? No, this novel does happen between season 2 and 3, so we do get quick update to what characters have been doing since the Mind Flayer, but mainly this is a book about the characters of Eleven and Detective James Hopper. I want to think netgalley and Del Rey Publishing for sending me an early copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot: Eleven and Hopper are alone together on dreary day, all El’s friends have gone out of town so she’s stuck alone with Hopper. Hopper makes a reference to the Vietnam War which makes Eleven ask questions, that he refuses to answer or talk about. Eleven ask about New York, which he starts telling her about then, she brings a box down with files, that has New York on it, and he proceeds to tell the story of New York in the Summer of 1977. There’s a big serial killer making the news called the Son of Sam, and Hopper and his new partner Delgado, one of the first female detectives, are busy trying to solve the Card Killer a new serial killer, they’re trying to keep out of the press. Detective Hopper finds a connection to gangs that could lead to solving it when he’s taken off the case and the FBI takes over. Hopper and his partner are upset. Then a clue walks in, a gang member that knows things and wants to save his sister from the gang, Hopper and Delgado the only people who know about the gang connection decide to follow the connection, and it leads to cover up, murder, Hopper framed as a cop killer and a whole lot more.

What I Liked: Seeing Hopper as a true family man with his wife and kid, not the broken man we meet in the first season. There still is a stranger things vibe to the story, but not copying on the show. The Eleven and Hopper relationship is a fun one and often unintentionally funny. The villain was really good and terrifying in his conviction and goals for New York. Delgado was a good character. I liked the way the story was told flipping back to Hopper telling the story to Eleven.

What I Disliked: Eleven had no teenage angst she had in Season 2 so it felt like Eleven from Season 1 where everything is still new, and doesn’t mind being caged up. We didn’t get the closure I wanted on how Hopper came back to Hawkins. There’s an action scene that goes on too long, and a got lost in where the characters were in the action.

Recommendation: if you’re even a casual fan of the show, there’s a lot to get out of it, so I do recommend it. If you’ve never seen the show the Eleven and Hopper relationship is going to be a little weird and you will probably be lost with all the show references, but you can totally understand Hopper’s story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.