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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