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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some of the Latest Reviews for The IX 

Pretty much epic in all ways. I am still wrapping my head around the multiple fascinating concepts author Andrew P. Weston introduced in his novel, THE IX. We have a Roman Legion and the Caledonian army they’re fighting. A US cavalry group escorting a Cree princess and the army of allied Native American warriors hunting them. A British special forces team and the terrorists they’re trying to stop. Oh, and the aliens who zapped them out of time and into the future. There. I think I’ve covered the major players.
What is astounding to me is with so many characters and multiple threads of characterizations and historically important behavior and linguistics, I never, ever felt lost or confused. I am officially blown the hell away. So, forgive my clumsy attempt to squish so much rich goodness into a few spoiler-free paragraphs.
Weston starts his novel with hook after deliciously tantalizing hook. With the Legion, we immediately connect with a high ranking officer who dreams of the day he’ll retire (possibly to Gaul), ending his impressive military career on a high note. This part of the book brought to mind Maximus from a film I still adore, Gladiator. He, too, wanted to end his war so he could return to his family and enjoy a peaceful life. But a peaceful life is not in our hero’s future.
Jump ahead to the cavalry’s mission to safely escort a Native American princess to her betrothed. The marriage will end hostility on the Plains. The characterizations again hit all my happy buttons. Weston imbues these people of color with intelligence, strength of will, strength of character–basically, he makes them real, not caricatures. The cavalry soldier we have as our point of view is fleshed out and I admire his thoughtfulness and bravery. When shenanigans occur, I’m both pissed off and fearful. I like the characters and I didn’t want them to fail. In walks the author and his twisty little plot and boom! Another jaw-dropping event happens.
You get the picture. A similar, what-in-the-world event happens to the special forces team. In all, the author pretty much blows your mind on every level. I kind of loved that, and I kind of despised him for it. Ha! Yes, it was a love-hate relationship.
Okay, still with me? So, all these people from different times in history suddenly awaken in the same place, same time. Yep, the future. Their kidnappers (not the best description, but it works) are desperate for help and this rag-tag group is their last hope, known as The Ninth (or for you educated folks, The IX) because eight previous time-zapped groups tried and failed in the same battle. Their opposition is called the Horde, a race of I-have-no-idea monsters that suck the life energy right out of you, leaving you dead (or wishing you were). Man, even the Horde was awesome.
I can’t give any details because this adventure, this perfect sci-fi drama of action and trust and betrayal and hope, deserves to be read by you and absorbed into your life. This is a superb story and it has too many layers to peel back to do it justice. What I love most is no one is wasted. Not one of the many characters we meet is rendered unimportant in some way. No fodder. No cardboard secondary's.
Do I recommend this book? Um, does chocolate cake taste fantastic? Of course! If you love a solid story that gives you moments of real fear for the safety of those imaginary people on the page, then I recommend, recommend, recommend highly THE IX.
(By Tricia Skinner - Geeks in High School)
Such is the cornerstone of Andrew P. Weston’s masterful science fiction novel, The IX. Tens of thousands of lightyears from Earth and centuries into the future, an astoundingly advanced alien culture is falling prey to those who use their advancement against them. Known as The Horde, this vast and seemingly instinctive race of predators are feasting upon the Ardenese, whose technology fails to provide them with weapon powerful enough to defeat their enemy. As the Ardenese hurtle towards extinction, they place the essence of their culture into The Ark, a technological marvel existing over a fracture in space time. Using the fracture to their advantage, the Ardenese program their computer, The Architect, to scan time and space for the best candidates to defeat The Horde. Swept up at the moment of their death, these selected few are tasked with the unenviable goal of destroying The Horde - or falling victim to the clutches of the beasts.

Yet upon whom does the Architect place its final hope? A first century Roman Legion (the fabled IX Legion lost in the hills of Scotland), a 19th century American Cavalry troop, and a 21st century special-ops team. They comprise the ninth and final wave of support against The Horde and are a stark contrast to the previous waves. For unlike the eight waves before them, the IX wave hold the key to the destruction of The Horde - and it is an answer so simple, it astounds them all.

Weston’s The IX is a masterful combination of blissfully minimalistic writing and the advanced complexity of a superb science fiction novel, indicative of Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Instead of forty pages of waiting for the characters to figure out what we already know, we get a solid few that imparts upon us the same amount of affection and pride for our characters - without frustrating us to the point of skipping to ‘get to the good part.’ With Weston’s writing, the whole novel is the good part. The pace moves rapidly, with the intelligent dialogue and well-choreographed action allowing us to progress with the plot while also connecting us with the characters.

As in the novel, simplicity is often underrated - especially in writing itself. Clean and precise storytelling is often overlooked for pages of political banter, chapters of history, and subplot upon subplot so saturated in characters that you need a notebook just to keep track of who’s alive and who’s dead. (I’m talking to you, George R.R. Martin.) Such a story has its charms, but there’s a point where reading becomes more of a chore than a feat of imagination. Any description included in The IX is essential to the plot, and the history is hardly superfluous, but it doesn’t weigh the overall story (or the reader) down. In fact, this parallelism between Weston’s minimalistic writing with a sophisticated plot and a simple answer to a sophisticated problem brilliantly adds to the magic of the novel. Heck, even the title fits the theme.

Now, that’s not to say the story is simple. To call it such would be a sham. The science fiction, based on temporal mechanics, electrodynamics, and biomechanics, is complex but easy to understand, largely due to Weston’s precise writing. Additionally, while the term “simple” implies underdeveloped characters, it is precisely that clean description of our main troup and the way they face their adventures that endears them to us. Sure, there are subplots and side journeys into the lives of our characters, but they are so expertly woven into the story that it never feels like a departure from the overall story.

Ultimately, when it comes to science fiction, I want a book that captures me from page one and never gives me a reason to want to escape. I want a book that forces me to stay up until 3 a.m., because there is no point at which it is ideal to put it down. I want a book whose characters and plots are complex and intelligent, but elegantly crafted with the minimum of distraction.

The IX delivers.

Simplicity in the midst of intricate complexity.
(By Amy Hypnarowski - The Forbidden Fruit)
Roman legionnaires, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.
A  US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.
A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.
From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.
How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?
The IX. Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.
Experience the Fight for Yourself!
The IX 
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