Thursday, May 26, 2016

The circuit: executor rising

Rhett C. Bruno
Diversion books, 2014 (a review copy was gently provided to me by the publisher)
Size: Short (my paperback copy has 275 pages)
Theme: Space drama
Narrative: third-person
Main character: (arguably) Cassius Vale or Sage Volus
Recommended minimum age: Young Adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

After apocalyptic events, Earth was rendered lifeless and humanity had to resort to colonization of several locations in the solar system. A ship travels continuously in a circuit around the solar system, serving all those colonies, in what is called the Kepler Circuit. The ruling party, the Tribune, have established a caste system, but are being defied by the Ceresian Pact, space pirates who apparently aim to steal Gravitum shipments (this being now the most precious commodity in the universe). Cassius Vale is requested by the Tribune council to aid in solving this crisis, which will also highly involve Sage Volus, a Tribunal Executor attempting to infiltrate the Ceresians. However, not all is what it appears at first, and Cassius has his own view on the goals humanity should set for itself. On the other hand, Sage, a deeply faithful adept of the Tribune, is going through personal turmoil, both physical and mental, and much of it appears to be related to the current conflict.

This is a very captivating story, original in many ways, and definitely worth the read. One aspect that I did not appreciate was the number of spelling and grammar errors, which might have been corrected in later editions (mine is a first edition). Aside from that, the pace of the story is nice and the characters are interesting. The major characters were somewhat explored, but there was room for more, and if the novel was longer we might have been shown more about them. If there was one thing I’d have changed would be the length of the novel, exploring further the multiple storylines. Looking forward to the next installment of this series.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blasted Lands

James A. Moore
Angry Robot, 2014 (a review copy was gently provided to me by Angry Robot)
Size: Average (my paperback copy has 364 pages)
Theme: Adventure fantasy
Narrative: third-person
Main character: Captain Merros Dulver
Recommended minimum age: Young Adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

This book continues the story started in “The Seven Forges” which takes place in the empire of Fellein. Picking up from the end of the previous novel, we find the empire in turmoil after the assassination of the Emperor. Merros Dulver has been appointed the commander of the Fellein army, a difficult task given that after many years without any significant external threats most of those enlisted – and particularly the officers – are complacent and ill trained. And as Fellein starts its preparation to the inevitable war with the Sa’ba Taalor, the most skilled and ferocious warriors Merros has ever encountered, seemingly new threats appear both from the Savage Lands and from the sea…

The novel works beautifully as a sequel. It continues to slowly unravel pieces of information about the Sa’ba Taalor, and they are shown to be even more complex than previously guessed. The story also unfolds on multiple fronts, which is something I greatly enjoy. The pace is nicely kept and the tone of the plot is both somber and enticing. The storyline continues to feature a lot of gore and some descriptions of sexual nature. One of the most positive aspects of the book is that it does not fall short at all compared to the first, while in fact, I might have enjoyed it even more. Overall I found this an excellent book and I am anticipating the next installment.