Ballad of Demise is the third and final installment of the End of Knighthood series by Joshua Landeros. Set in the far future, we continue following Will Marconi, the renegade cyborg super soldier, who is aiming to launch an assault the same night as the International Summit. Chancellor Venloran, emboldened by his victory against the resistance fighters, moves into the final phase of his scheme. The International Summit will draw leaders from all over the world to New York City, and he will be able to achieve peace through the dominance of his design. It is up to Will, Alex, Bri, Gabriella, and others to stop the Chancellor and his deadly minions.
Ballad of Demise is an explosive and satisfying conclusion to the End of Knighthood trilogy. Landeros has been getting better and better with every installment. Expanding the borders of military science fiction, Ballad of Demise incorporates elements of horror through war and the suspense of a thriller. All of this adds up to a book that does its best to defeat the conventions of the genre and archetypal narrative structure.
While confining this book to virtually 48 hours and flashbacks, one would think this is a bold move from a relatively new author, but Landeros manages to pull this off with skill. The pace is snappy and engrossing for the reader. The internal struggle of Will and even Venloran shape the tone and theme of the work, which keeps asking if the ends justify the means. Even for the proposed hero, Will finds himself questioning if everything is acceptable for him to have his vengeance.
If there are any issues in this book at all, it would be that Landeros tries hard to stretch out these two days. Some of the action seems forced, and in other places, the dialogue slows the pacing but never enough for the reader to notice for too long. These are minimal problems and ones that take nothing away from the story itself.
For a trilogy, this series sets a high mark for the rest of Landeros career. In other ways, readers will be sad to see this cast of characters go but maybe they will return in future stories? Either way, this book is memorable and a fantastic sound off for Will Marconi. One can hope that such a world does not arise in the future, but these books seem to be asking, what if?
Pages: 161 | ASIN: B076BW7YLJ
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The King’s Move follows cyborg super soldier William, who seeks vengeance after finding the latest weapon the Chancellor holds. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The original idea was to have a straight forward revenge plot with Will pursuing Chancellor Venloran. As I wrote on, I wanted to give the supporting cast more to do and explore their own demons. It turned out to be just what the story needed because the original draft had far too much of the action delegated to Will. Giving other characters a chance to shine was a breath of fresh air.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
For this entry, I had a lot of fun writing Gabriella. I feel like she’s changed a lot since the first book where she was more naïve but optimistic. She’s become very jaded, more so than her brother and to some extent even Will. She’s tried to purge herself of all mercy and I wanted to explore how it has skewed her judgement.
The characters remain, along with the action, some of the best parts of the novel. What is your writing process like?
My writing process is probably hardest in the beginning. I try to plan things out with a synopsis and before each chapter is written I like to have a detailed set of events in mind. The easiest, and most fun, part is putting the meat on the bones. After that comes editing, which I like to do as I go before letting a professional give it an additional look.
This is the third volume in your Reverence series. Will there be another book? If so, where will it take readers and when will it be available?
I have a lot of books planned for the series. The finale to the EOK arc will come in September, latest October. I’m editing it as of now and trying to get the pace just right. The next book we’ll see the Crimson Angels try to launch a counterattack on Chancellor Venloran. Unbeknownst to them, Will is wrestling with the offer given to him by Vanzetti. A ticking time bomb is how I would describe the story, and I’m confident it will be a blast for readers.
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End of Knighthood Part II: The King’s Move keeps the action blazing forward! The second installment, by Joshua Landeros, follows rebel cyborg super soldiers and continues the story of William Marconi, who seeks vengeance from Chancellor Venloran. After finding out what latest weapon the Chancellor holds, rebel fighters Captain Halsey and Gabby, were lured into a trap and are at his mercy. This sets the stage for what the rebellion needs to do. Will, who started this rebellion, may get his chance to achieve his vengeance and end it, but the cost may be even too great for him to bear.
The King’s Move wastes no time in getting back into the thick of the action and picking up where we left off in the first. The action does not break and the events become more heinous as we reach the book’s climax and the tragic conclusion. Landeros continues to borrow the best from classic military sci-fi authors with short, clipped sentences and telling “only the facts” when denoting action and danger. His world building is subtle and should please any reader who pays attention to the craft of writing. With this second part in his series Landeros has escalated the conflict and moved the stakes to an even higher plane.
The characters remain, along with the action, some of the best parts of the novel. His rather wide cast of rebels and villains are all a thrill to read and fun to follow as they attempt to achieve their various goals. The book remains a blend of sci-fi/thriller that would keep any fan of those two genres satisfied. The dialogue shoots back and forth between the characters as fast as the bullets, keeping the pace quick and the readier on the edge of their seat. These are a welcome distraction from the brutal carnage that sometimes occurs.
The lack of description hurts this work at times, which it makes up for since with prose that has improved since the last installment. He continues to borrow heavily from screenwriting techniques, with consistent dialogue on almost every page, while providing only deep description of the action scenes. His fast pace style will suit casual readers as well as those used to thrillers and military sci-fi.
The King’s Move is an exciting bridge that keeps the reader entertained and swept away on the plight of these rebel cyborgs. Anyone who enjoys a military science fiction thriller will find their palates pleased with Landeros’ work and hungry for the third installment.
Pages: 156 | ASIN: B073WHFL24
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End of Knighthood is a ripping tale of military science fiction that follows the struggle of a cyborg super soldier as he continues to figure out his place in a futuristic war zone. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this novel?
Number one would definitely be the cost of conflict. Even though Will scored a victory for the resistance movement, it cost many lives, including those of his friends. Another important one to me was accountability for the powerful, though this takes a few different forms. Will, in one of my personal favorite scenes, simply speaks to the child one of his victim’s. Aliss Howard, on the other hand, takes vindication to the extremes. These dichotomies were essential to the story.
There is a whole heaping help of action in this book. What was the funnest scene to write and why?
Tough one! I want to say it’s a tie between Marisol’s counterstrike against the terrorists and Aliss Howard’s flashback to the war in Mexico. Marisol was my first chance to write an action scene for a female cyborg, so that in itself was interesting to plan out. Not to mention the layout of the city was extremely fun to mess around with. Still, I also really like the Aliss scene because one, I fell in love with the character the more I wrote about him. Despite being a family man, he has a commanding presence to even other cyborgs and a twisted sense of duty. They were both a blast.
William Marconi a cyborg super soldier that is a carryover from the first book in the series. How do you see Will’s character change from book one to this book?
I think his biggest change is his sense of, as previously mentioned, accountability. Before he only had to answer to his superiors, so whatever harm he laid out to people didn’t even cause him to flinch. Now he’s taking the time to analyze the extent of his actions and how it affects others. I also wanted to add more scenes of him attempting to get to know the rebels as opposed to isolating himself like when they first met. He’s doing his best to break out of his shell, even if Gabriella isn’t having it.
Will there be a book 3 and where will it take readers?
I’m proud to say that parts two and three of End of Knighthood are written out. I decided to break up the book to make editing easier, but the wait will be worth it! Book Three in the series (Part II) will delve into the Crimson Angel’s next big mission in UNR territory. It also will explore Will’s struggle to cope with all he’s done. It will also show us more of Chancellor Venloran’s side of the story which I think readers will enjoy. That and a whole lot more, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything! All I can say is it’s going to be very intense. Part II should be released by late July of this year, and Part III should be out by September. I certainly don’t want to keep people waiting!
Many of the major players for and against the evil United Nation Republic’s consolidation of power around the world reprise their roles in this gripping new sequel to Reverence, by standout author Joshua Landeros.
After the devastating battle at the Pentagon, cyborg super soldier Will has reluctantly joined the resistance movement. Just how to fight the enemy becomes the next question. Some want to expose the government’s sins, while others crave only to execute the tyrants in power. At the same time, Chancellor Venloran is overseeing a plan to eradicate his country’s enemies for good. This is truly a tale of tragedy and triumph, brutality and brotherhood, as super soldiers square off for dominance and the rights of non-UNR nations to live in peace.
Can the remaining countries of the world survive the determined march of Venloran’s seasoned and battle-hardened troops? Can the fresh new characters created for this superb sequel live to fight another day? And can Will, the super soldier who daily struggles with his former role, finally make up for it by helping curb the UNR’s steady growth?
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End of Knighthood Part I: The Chess Pieces by Joshua Landeros is a ripping tale of military science fiction. The novel follows the continued struggle of William Marconi a cyborg super soldier as he continues to figure out his place and duty as a soldier and knight in this futuristic warzone. Will ends up joining the resistance movement. Fighting the UNR, the new world government superstructure, or curbing its growth becomes the center of conflict. Chancellor Venloran is the locus of these plans and wishes to destroy his enemies completely. Can non-UNR countries survive the rising tide and hardened troops? The principal question is, what will Will do to make up for his past transgressions on behalf of his former role?
Landeros paints a picture worthy of the classic military science fiction writers in their hay day. Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers can be felt in every leap of Will from rooftop to rooftop. He masterfully borrows what made these novels great by their action and dialogue. One of the strong parts of the End of Knighthood is not just the fantastic action, but the dialogue between the soldiers is some of the best I have ever read. This is what keeps these soldiers human and what makes them instantly relatable to the reader. Sure, it is cool to read the amazing action scenes that Landeros crafts, but in the quiter moments we get to see how these individuals struggle with their in between status and their struggle in the midst of war.
As far as action goes, you can’t get too much wrong when you have cyborg on cyborg action, but Landeros takes painstakingly careful steps so that the reader does not become lost in the rain of bullets and blows. We are able see every body fall, but we are also able to see the glimpses of humanity from these soldiers as they reflect later their deeds. Will, the main protagonist, and one of the few carry overs from the previous book, is one such character that we get to see who continues to develop.
In our current times of political upheavals and nation states, one would think a book such as End of Knighthood would be hard to swallow. The UNR seems to be something that could occur in the not so distant future, but with the addition of these tech enhanced soldiers, Landeros has given the reader enough of an escape to enjoy oneself rather than wallow in more reality. Despite having a military science fiction bend, the novel could appeal to anyone looking for an action centered yarn along with some political thriller overtones. The genre blending on Landeros’ part is spot on and should please a wide variety of readers.
All in all, the reader may lose some sleep going through one battle scene and turning the page for another, but it is sleep happily given up. I look forward to the next installment of the Reverence series.
Pages: 233 | ASIN: B06ZZCDJ44
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