Across the Realm: When Two Tribes Go To War
The war between the North and the South has made its way to the Arab Territories. Theoretically allied with the North, they instead decide to put up a forcefield to sequester themselves and block the Southern fighters. The Arab Territories quickly realize that their enemies in the South are much stronger, smarter, and more dangerous than they ever suspected. The war for the South to take Pearson Station in space continues to rage on, as both sides try to develop technologies to protect themselves and exploit their enemy’s weaknesses. Despite being spread between more than one fighting front, the South proves to be a formidable enemy for everyone that falls in their cross-hairs.
Across the Realm, Book 2: When Two Tribes Go To War by Isobel Mitton is the second in the Across The Realm series. After finishing the first one, I couldn’t wait to get hold of the second one and jump right in. It did not disappoint. Because there was less backstory to set up in the second book, things moved at an even faster pace than in Book 1, keeping me flipping the pages long past bedtime.
The Arab Territories are a part of this book, and I felt like the presentation of the people living there was a bit negative. A lot of Islamic beliefs are addressed in it, and I felt like they were largely being treated as backwards beliefs, rather than legitimate religious beliefs. I didn’t find this to be an overwhelming feeling, however, and it did a wonderful job illustrating the differences between the characters in the Arab Territories, versus the rest of the North and the South.
One of my favorite parts of the series is the skill with which Ms. Mitton creates differences between the characters in various parts of the realm. Each type of character is distinct. Although some characters are purely good, there are a number of characters that I both loved and hated in full measure in different parts of the book. Her ability to paint three dimensional characters that are incredibly realistic in their flaws and their strengths is part of what makes the book so addictive.
Another strength of the book is the way no one side is being treated as wholly the bad guy. It’s presented primarily as the warring sides not understanding one another, and not understanding each other’s ways, being the source of the primary problem. Both sides believe in the other’s inhumanity and are unable to comprehend their actions and behaviors. Even as they capture and examine one another, they are not looking for the common humanity between them, but rather seek to locate the other’s weaknesses.
All in all, this has been a great series to read so far. The book kept plowing ahead, gaining energy rather than losing it. Though I have not read a great deal of science fiction in this past, the Across the Realm series is inspiring me to read more.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B01MUHOLM3
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: across the realm, action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, arab, author, belief, book, book review, books, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, future, goodreads, humanity, inspiring, isobel mitton, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, military fiction, military science fiction, muslim, novel, publishing, reading, religion, review, reviews, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book, science fiction book review, science fiction novel, space, stories, terrorist, thriller, war, when two tribes go to war, writing
Another Tribe: Our Eternal Curse
Heartache and pain follow our protagonist, Julii, as she makes her way through the life she is living in America during the 1860’s. Our Eternal Curse – Another Tribe by Simon Rumney shows Julii as a young, naïve Aboriginal woman living with her small tribe and ignorant of the world. She does not know about war on the scale of what the white American’s are fighting. She doesn’t understand racism and slavery in the way we have learned about. She lives carefully and quietly with her family. She is extremely intelligent and takes her small world for granted. Then she meets a man who is gravely injured at the side of a river she has always gone to. A man who does not look like the men she knows. A man who may never wake up from the coma he slips into. This man is Robert, and he will change the very way she lives.
While this book is part of a series, it’s easy to read on its own. Required knowledge of the previous books is not necessary, although it may heighten the experience. This book is overflowing with raw, human emotion while not being afraid to look at the disgusting parts of colonial history. Rumney certainly knows how to spin a tale. While told in the third person we see the tale from Julii’s point of view: we hear her thoughts, and we begin to understand and learn about the world through her eyes. It’s a clever way to do it, especially for those who may not be aware or understand this point in history.
As Julii learns about the reality of the outside world, we learn about it as well. Her confusion and the struggle with a foreign language are easily portrayed and the reader feels as though we are Julii: we are also the ones who are seeing this world for the first time and learning this language for the first time. The world of 1860’s America is cruel. To understand how an Aboriginal person, a woman for that matter, would have felt during this time is difficult. This is a time of rampant racism, of distrust and the inability to treat all human beings with respect and dignity. It can be painful to read, as it is important to realize that these thoughts and attitudes still exist almost 200 years later. Rumney does a great job of making the reader identify with Julii, the marginalized main character in our tale.
With a story so beautifully crafted it’s hard not to get immersed while reading it. Julii goes through so much in her life: she experiences things so rapidly that it’s hard not to feel for her. If you are looking for a heart-tugging story with excellent character development and a subliminal message, Our Eternal Curse – Another Tribe by Simon Rumney is definitely worth a pick up. Readers won’t go wrong by potentially stepping outside of their comfort zone and reading about the fantastical life of Julii.
Pages: 314 | ASIN: B00TI01JH6
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: 1860, aboriginal, action, adventure, alternate history, amazon, amazon book, amazon books, amazon ebook, america, another tribe, author, book, book review, books, colonial, colonial history, cruel, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, historical fiction, history, humanity, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, love, mystery, native american, novel, our eternal curse, publishing, racism, reading, review, reviews, simon rumney, stories, thriller, war, women, womens fiction, writing
Slippery Things by Lane Baker is a short novel about the things that go bump in the night, alien invasions, and a fight to save humanity. Larissa Locke is your typical teenager that has an attitude and objects to parents and other authority figures. Her mom is in a mental hospital, her little brother is “Mr. Perfect” her boyfriend cheats on her, and her best friend is too wrapped up in her own love life to see what is going on anymore. While she comes across as a trouble maker she soon turns out to be the only one that understands what is lurking in their small town and she alone must figure out how to save everyone.
The novel starts out with Larissa explaining why she filled the head cheerleader’s locker with manure. While this is interesting and sets up some of the teen drama for the characters, it set’s the tone and pace for the rest of the novel which is fun and engaging. The story takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone. The general feel is one of your small town high school where the kids form cliques and stereotypes are the norm. Overall a very relatable setting for any reader.
The first night Larissa she wakes up thinking she is dreaming that aliens are performing tests on her. You get the standard amber light filled room, fuzzy feelings and mysterious instruments. The night time encounters continue and they start talking to Larissa. There are four of them that she has named Dark Eyes, Scarface, Curly Locks, and Sunspots. These aliens claim to be harvesting her blood to cure a disease in their world. At first she is okay but realized they are taking more blood and more often and when she tried to avoid them they went after her brother Carter and father Gary. At this point Larissa’s only thoughts are to protect her family and start sending the aliens to other homes. After one victim ends up in the hospital Larissa decides she needs to stop them. This begins the battle.
Larissa makes a trip to the hospital to visit her mom. She finds out her mom is there because of these aliens and everyone thinking she is crazy. She also gives Larissa a tip to help fight them off. From here we get Larissa planning out her attack on the aliens and her capture by them. She is taken to their world where she must escape and save her own family and town.
Aside from teen banter with cheerleaders and the cheating boyfriend stories, the overall plot of this novel is entertaining. It takes the alien abduction story in a different direction and has a few surprises for the reader. This is a great quick read for anyone looking for a quirky young adult novel in the science fiction genre.
Pages: 156 | ASIN: B00WOXCYYQ
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: abduction, action, alien, amazon, amazon books, author, book, book review, books, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, goodreads, high school, humanity, invasion, kindle, lane baker, literature, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, short stories, slippery things, stories, teen, urban fantasy, writing, YA, young adult
The Second Sphere
What if you could live forever? Alternatively, would living forever truly make you happy? These are questions asked and answered in Peter S. Banks’ The Second Sphere. The first in a trilogy we find ourselves in a world where living for four hundred years is simple and human bodies are reduced to synthetic versions of what we have today. In our story we meet Orion; a man who has lived far longer than perhaps is acceptable for humankind. He’s got family but he hasn’t actually touched them in quite some time. He’s like a washed up business man or detective whiling away the years of his life at a job he doesn’t seem to care for. While he spends his free time caught up with illicit drugs and companions Orion is about to find out what it’s like when that seemingly peaceful life is ripped apart and thrust to hell.
No matter the genre, people are looking for ways to identify with it and make it more real. The fact that Banks tells his story in the first person allows readers to feel more connected to the protagonist. The technology in The Second Sphere is obviously advanced from our present lives but the time between now and then and the sort of technology written about isn’t too unrealistic. Just enough is explained and just enough is left for readers to accept as being normal.
Due to a spike in the population, since no one dies anymore, humanity has branched out to colonize both the moon and Mars. It is while attempting to live on the moon that Orion finds himself wrapped up in a battle against the terrorist organization known as the Green Revolution. There are bombs and there are conspiracies. As an agent working for the Laslow Corporation it’s Orion’s job to connect with his informants and find out exactly what is going on. The story picks up from here as the readers are left trying to unravel all the mysteries with Orion. When it comes down to it, however, will Orion be able to make one of the most agonizing choices humanity faces? Will he be able to partake of the plot to sacrifice the many to save the few? If that wasn’t bad enough, the plot twist that comes screaming through after Orion makes his choice is bound to leave some bitterness in the reader’s mouths.
As a first installment in a trilogy The Second Sphere is quite able to stand on it’s own. While the ending does leave readers asking questions, it would still be able to function alone with a retrospective demand on readers at the end. Peter S. Banks definitely delivers on exciting action and an uncannily accurate description of what life would be like if we were able to live forever. There must be an end for there to be a new beginning. If the human race never ends, how can anything new begin?
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B01DM9VH5W
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: action, amazon, amazon books, author, book, book review, ebook, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, first contact, forever, goodreads, humanity, kindle, life, literature, living, mars, moon, mystery, novel, peter banks, publishing, reading, review, reviews, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, stories, terrorist, the second sphere, three spheres trilogy, thriller, writing
William Burke’s Voodoo Child is an engaging, if not slightly creepy, adventure to a tropical island plagued by greed, witchcraft and humanity. With Maggie Child as our main character, this strong female lead finds her life turned upside down when a tour in Iraq ends up landing her in a research facility. After undergoing an intense experiment it’s her wits and savvy that spring her, and fellow captive Glen Logan, from their captors. Using her family connections Maggie ends up bringing Glen along for the ride as they escape to the Caribbean Island of Fantomas. Neither of them is prepared for what lies ahead. The island has descended into chaos thanks to the joining of a money-hungry woman and one of the strongest spirits in Voodoo lore. This isn’t a tropical vacation that will leave you with a tan. You’ll be lucky to leave with your body intact.
Don’t let the eighty-four-chapter count intimidate you. Many of the chapters are short, carrying important information in succinct little pages. Burke knows how to engage his audience as his cast of strong female leads aren’t ready to lay down and accept their fate. Maggie, Sarafina and Lavonia are the three main characters of this tale and they couldn’t be more different from each other. On one hand you’ve got Maggie, who is an army chopper pilot who isn’t afraid of anything and not about to take sass. Sarafina is the lovely Voodoo priestess who has inherited her title at a young age, but don’t let her youth fool you. Lavonia is a greedy former beauty queen looking to make a fast buck and is ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of her desires. These three cross paths in the most interesting of ways on the small island of Fantomas. Burke weaves his tale and captivates his audience with ease.
Voodoo Child is the first book in a series and it does an excellent job of setting the stage for the story to come. The first volume can make or break a series and Burke seems to understand that as he lays out the world in which his characters live. The relevant characters have their back stories tenderly flushed out and the basics of Voodoo, which is an obvious major part of the tale, are carefully explained. Since Voodoo is a real religion Burke must have had to research and ensure that what he is portraying in his story is correct. The care in which he takes in explaining the various rituals reveal that he did indeed do more than spend five minutes Googling the subject.
If the chapter count hasn’t scared you off you’ll find yourself entangled in a mess of zombies, arrogant humans and spiteful spirits out to take what is theirs. The chaos has meaning and while there are horrific moments in the story none of them feel overdone or out of place. If horror stories are your thing, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for within the pages of Voodoo Child.
Pages: 333 | ASIN: B01H9E4HDA
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: a tale of, action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, army, author, book, book review, books, caribbean, creepy, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, greed, horror, humanity, iraq, island, kindle, lore, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, stories, thriller, uprising, voodoo child, william burke, witchcraft, writing, zombie
By Summers Last Twilight
By Summer’s Last Twilight is the latest novel from horror author Robert J. Stava, set in the deceptively sleepy New York state village of Wyvern Falls. The book continues a long line of Stava’s work set in Wyvern Falls, and as such contains a great deal of information that may not be clear to the newcomer reader. Characters emerge, engage, and disappear – or get killed, since according to Stava that’s his favorite thing to do in a horror novel – without much in the way of apparent rhyme or reason, though there is a core group of heros and villains to tie the story together.
The nexus of the plot focuses on the nefarious work of the villain Steven Crowley, the latest descendant in the line hailing from the Occult provocateur Alistair Crowley – the latter infamous for his no-holds barred orgies and invocations of arcane rituals. In this story, though, the orgies and rituals have a sinister metaphysical purpose, shattering the membranes that separate our dimension from that of maddening demons who want to feast upon our flesh and our very sanity.
Steven Crowley has managed to worm his way up to the top of this quiet little town, his arcane calculations proving that this town would be the optimal spot to perform his ritual. A hurricane late in the summer washes a body out into a tree, catching the attention of the local plucky teenage gang of racial stereotypes who inevitably get to the bottom of things.
A man named John Easton is the grown-up that helps them get to the bottom of this, facing off against snakelike thugs like Razor and Weatherman who seem more motivated by violence for its own sake rather than any kind of humanity, however perverse it may be. Easton has numerous torrid affairs – this book drips with explicit sex, if that’s your thing – all of which end in bizarre disaster and let him sort of elbow the reader and go “women, right?”
Easton’s affairs include a near-sexual encounter with the breathy 15 year old French girl which, while going uncompleted, remains the most horrifying event in the entire book. Women don’t really get to do too much in this book except be lovers or mothers or crazy ex-girlfriends or literal objects of sacrifice, but so it goes in the world of Wyvern Falls.
There’s plenty of violence too, which would be remiss of a horror book to forget. The violent scenes are some of the most lovingly crafted and passionately executed sections to be found, giving the book a clear claim to the genre.
However, there’s too much of everything else. The horrific moments of the book are few and far between, interspersed with vast sections where characters sit around and explain things to one another.
Such lengthy exposition can somewhat be forgiven, given the by-design arcane nature of the source material. Crowley’s cult drew upon vast swaths of information that would be unfamiliar to the average reader today (or indeed to anyone ever) and Stava does an admirable job with providing expository backstory through the several interludes that intersperse the main story line.
All in all, though, the book remains in its own little world – if you are the type of reader who already enjoys this genre or Stava’s work in particular then you’ll find yourself right at home.
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 1515150747
Posted in Book Reviews, Three Stars
Tags: action, adventure, amazon books, author, book, book review, books, by summers last twilight, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, hero, horror, humanity, magic, metaphysical, mystery, occult, orgies, publishing, reading, review, reviews, robert stava, romance, sex, stories, urban fantasy, villain, violence, writing