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Saturday, November 21, 2020

 Dare You Contend With This Review Of. . . 



The Hero of Ages – Mistborn Book Three


The Hero of Ages takes us into the closing chapter of the Mistborn trilogy, where we find events spiraling out of control in a headlong rush toward oblivion. Vin may have killed the Lord Ruler and gained access to the Well of Ascension, but her well-meaning choices released calamity upon humankind.

The Deepness – the all-pervasive and malignant mist that terrorizes people at night – is getting worse; as are the ash falls and ever more powerful earthquakes that wrack the land from end to end. Crops are failing. Society is crumbling. Humanity trembles on the brink of extinction.

They need the long prophesized Hero of Ages to step up and save them.

But who might that be?

A perplexing conundrum that Sanderson employs to lead you through the trials and tribulations facing Vin, Elend and their friends as they struggle to rally the remnants of their civilization into making a last stand against evil.

And what a stand it is.

Sanderson took his time in laying the foundations of this epic story. Wisely so, because its only here, at the end of a long and tumultuous journey, that all the signs, signals, references, half-truths and misdirection come together to help you solve a 1000 year old puzzle and finally discover who that hero is. And what a revelation we get, incorporating issues of faith, hope, loyalty, and sacrifice on a profound scale that reminds us of the frailty – and amazing strength during times of crisis – of the human condition.

I particularly enjoyed the slow burn of this story arc. You have to take your time in laying out the jumbled pieces of a jigsaw, and it’s only as the narrative helps you piece everything together that you begin to comprehend just how vast the bigger picture is.

An epic ending to one of the best trilogies I’ve read in a long while. Don’t miss it!





Saturday, November 7, 2020

Refresh Yourselves with a Review of. . .
The Well of Ascension



The Well of Ascension – Mistborn Book Two

The Well of Ascension takes us back to Luthadel a year after the Dark Lord has been deposed. Far from making things better, the citizens of the land discover that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Yes, the Final Empire is no more and the Steel Inquisitors seem to have vanished. But in their wake, uncertainty follows. Citizens at both ends of the social spectrum struggle to find balance in a new regime of tolerance. Only, there are those who don’t want to change. And they are quick to take advantage.

Luthadel becomes surrounded by no less than three opposing armies, all intent on seizing the one thing that means anything: the former Emperor’s atium reserves. But those reserves can’t be found, and no amount of pledging or promises can make the invading commanders change their minds.

In addition, we find our heroes facing their own personal crossroads. Elend is an honorable and well-meaning young man, but his naivety of the real world places everyone in danger. Vin is feared for her power. She did destroy the former emperor after all. But she is beset by doubts about her own motivations and ability to make lasting changes. And of course, she can’t really believe that a man like Elend would truly love someone like her. Sazed is a man caught between two worlds. That of a Keeper, and remaining a firm friend and confident to the people he has come to know and respect.

And Kelsier’s former crew? For the most part, they take a back seat during this adventure, making way for several new characters who add a little spice to the mix. (I shan’t say more, as I’m always keen NEVER to give anything of the plot away.)

This book is longer than the last one, (over 760 pages), and Sanderson lights a fuse at the beginning that burns slowly but surely toward a climactic finish. Very clever, as there’s a lot of ground to cover. But it’s done well. And what I particularly enjoyed was the time Sanderson took to reveal more about the Final Empire’s history, and the origins and interspecies relationships of some of its more mysterious races. (You’ll see).

And the delicious twist at the end?

The Well of Ascension is a most satisfying read, and I can’t wait to see how things are brought to a conclusion in the final book.


Amazon Review

 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

 An Epic Review Of. . . 



The Final Empire – Mistborn Book One


The premise for this book is as follows:

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison. Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?

*******

This is the first Brandon Sanderson novel I’ve read. And it certainly won’t be the last.

I found The Final Empire to be a fascinating and thoroughly absorbing tale, combining ancient prophecy, devilish conspiracies, social injustice, political intrigue and Hail-Mary heroics in a cauldron of suspense and high adventure.

The world he has built is eerily provocative, and though ruined by ecological disaster in the far distant past, still exerts a hypnotic beauty that pulls the reader in and gets you caring about what happens. The characters (both main and secondary) are engaging and relatable. The magic system is a joy to behold. And before you know it, you’ve read over 600 pages without feeling drained.

I'd love to say more, but hate to give anything away. 

Needless to say, this is an excellent story, and I look forward to more.


Amazon Review




Friday, October 9, 2020

 A Review Of. . .




Waveoff

The ghosts of nightmares past are a theme that flow in spectral currents through our latest offering from the Caine Riordan universe. In particular, we’re introduced to Lieutenant Kevin Bowden, a fast jet pilot haunted by the last combat mission he ever flew.

And with good reason.

Bad intel led to him raining down death and destruction on innocent civilians, and the sight of a little girl tumbling through the air to meet a grizzly and gruesome end is something he’ll never forget. That image becomes so indelibly burned into his memories and conscience that he vows never to fly in combat again.

All well and good, perhaps, if he’d stayed on Earth. But fate dealt him a cruel hand, and he was snatched away through time and space to another world where a desperate struggle for survival draws him ever closer to the possibility that he will have to get involved.

It has become known that J’Sull satraps have gained access to an inter-system transmitter. Though the worse for wear, they’re busily doing all they can to repair that transmitter, so that they can call for backup.

And backup will spell disaster for the Lost Soldiers, for the indigenous communities of R’bak, and everything they’ve tried to achieve, unless. . .

The SpinDogs have access to several decrepit aircraft, and Major R.Y. Murphy turns to Bowden for help, for only Bowden has the tactical aviation skills needed to turn several heaps of junk into serviceable aircraft that might – just might – serve as missile platforms, capable of destroying the transmitter before the enemy calls for reinforcements.

But there’s a problem. That transmitter is protected on three sides by mountains, and the only approach lies just beyond a large town inhabited by innocent folk. And he’s got very little time in which to train the SpinDog pilots on the tactics needed to drop bombs accurately.

A nightmare scenario? Oh yes. War is never fair. Anything that can go wrong probably will. A maxim that rings ever more loudly as the mission progresses, placing Bowden in a position he dreads.

How does he fare?

Ah, you’ll have to find out for yourself. Just let me say, Waveoff, by Chris Kennedy is a fast-paced and engaging tale that deals with the very real issues faced by combat veterans the world over. They don’t have the option of burying their heads in the sand or quitting. It’s very often a case of having to get back on the horse and steeling yourself to face the next round of missions, and doing so in a way that sees the men and women under your command safely through to the other side.

A great story, and one of my personal favorites.


Amazon Review


Saturday, October 3, 2020

 A Gem of a Review Regarding. . .


Pearl

In this latest Lost Soldiers adventure, we’re introduced to a former military officer, Victor Allan Thomas – Vat – to his small circle of friends – a man with an ignominious past. Nobody really knows the events behind his discharge from the army. Whatever the reason, Vat went on to become something of an international arms dealer. A vocation no doubt assisted by his uncanny knack for understanding different cultures, and the languages & the sub-dialects they employ to stay one step ahead of the authorities.

Sadly, Vat himself wasn’t able to stay ahead of the authorities. That’s how he found himself aboard a helicopter that went down over Somalia, only to be snatched away from everything he knew by the mysterious Ktor. Fortunately for him, he wakes some 130 years later, to find his skills are very much in demand.

How so?

Major Murphy knows how vital it is to form a sound relationship with the people of R’Bak if he’s to stand any chance of fighting off enemy satraps before the next Searing arrives. The trouble is, those satraps have weapons and vehicle caches at a number of unknown locations. If they’re left in play, they will destroy any chance he has of showing the local population the Lost Soldiers can be trusted, or have the ability to establish a working base from which they can expand their operation.

As such, Murphy has no choice but to rely on Vat to build a bridge between the Sarmatchani populace and its elders, while at the same time searching for opportunities to get his hands on some of those vehicle caches.

Despite his expertise, however, Vat finds it difficult to form relationships. The ghost from his past that led to his discharge from the army continues to haunt him. He’s suspicious of everyone and their motives. Yet he’s going to have to overcome that tendency if he’s going to make Murphy’s plan work.

I thoroughly enjoyed this outing with the Lost Soldiers. It contained a touch of realism in its style and ‘attitude’ that added a down-to-earth grittiness to the overall flavor of the story arc. A good reminder too, that you can’t always choose your comrades in war. But if you accept them for who they are and build on what they can do well? Ah, then you’ll have an effective, efficient fighting force, capable of getting the job done.

Kudos to Mark Wandrey for handling a sensitive & timely subject with skillful aplomb.

A great story!


Amazon Review




Saturday, September 26, 2020

 A Review of. . .


Promises

Captain Mara – Bruce – Lee is a natural pilot, skilled and experienced enough to teach others how to handle one of the most finickity aircraft there is; the Huey helicopter. The mere fact that she finds herself more than a century into the future and in an entirely different star system hasn’t altered her vocation one bit. Except that now, instead of foreign students, she’s required to teach SpinDogs how to fly, thereby building a bridge between the two communities that will contribute to the success of future Lost Soldier missions on R’Bak.

Something essential to everyone’s continued survival.

However, Mara is riddled with guilt at being wrenched away from her husband and son. And though they are now long dead, she still harbors a deep and aching bitterness toward her circumstances. That bitterness results in her cutting off her feelings, so that she is no longer able to form attachments that others take for granted.

Until her latest student, that is.

For though Ozendi is from an alien community, he reminds her enough of her husband that she’s overwhelmed by long-suppressed emotions, and struggles to know how to respond . . . if at all. With good reason! There’s one hell of a lot at stake. If she breaks the trust of her superiors and puts the finely-balanced relationship with the SpinDogs in jeopardy, it could spell disaster for everyone.

So what to do?

Promises is a superb reminder that, it’s not only men who march off to war. And though they may be feminine in nature, women also struggle with the very real crutch that can bring anyone to their knees. That of fomenting grief and anger. Yes, mental and emotional scars can be just as debilitating as bullet wounds. And this story balances that lesson quite nicely.

See my Amazon Review Here:

Amazon



Saturday, September 19, 2020

This week's review of. . .


Diablo – The Veiled Prophet

The demon-backed Triune has been vanquished. Now, all that stands between Uldyssian, his edyrem, and outright victory over evil is the Cathedral of Light and its charismatic leader – the fallen angel Inarius – who hides in plain sight, using the guise of a youthful Prophet.

However, Uldyssian is unaware of the aid bestowed upon him and his followers by the angel in his quest so far. As such, they have grown overconfident in their invulnerability, and are blind to the fact that they are being manipulated. Something has to give. But what?

The edyrem are oblivious to the consequences of submitting to their unrestrained passions in battle. Inarius is intent on retaining power, and would willingly allow Sanctuary to be destroyed rather than lose face. Ever ready to seize the advantage, the demon lords bide their time, just waiting for the scales to tip in their favor. Worse still, the heavenly host has discovered the location of Sanctuary and one of the Angiris Council is, even now, confirming his worst suspicions before calling in the High Heavens to act.

As I said: Something’s got to give.

What that is, exactly, you can discover for yourself in a helter-skelter ride of an adventure that is as action-packed as it is riddled with subterfuge and subtext. Even better, it’s also a story of personal growth, acceptance, and sacrifice.

No, you can’t always have a happy ending. But then again, don’t the best stories always end with a little dash of poignant self-discovery?

A thoroughly enjoyable conclusion to the Sin War. (Now – play the game!)