Monday, December 31, 2012

Legacy #1- Forgotten son A review

Legacy: Forgotten Son (Book 1)Legacy: Forgotten Son by Warren Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Legacy- A Review- Book One- Forgotten Son
Legacy is a great new series by Warren Murphy and Gerard Welch featuring Remo Williams (The Destroyer) son and daughter. I vaguely remember his daughter Freya from many years ago, but his son, ‘Stone’ I have no recollection of. Be that as it may, ‘Forgotten Son’ is a novel about both offspring of the greatest master of Sinanju and their quest given to them by a man named Ben Maugaine, who is a former Mossad agent. Whether he knows it or not, Ben has been ‘hired’ by Smith, Remo’s superior in CURE to run a new offshoot of that organization. He is basically Stone and Freya’s handler.
Stone is an Ex-Seal team member who has finally started his Sinanju training, though I question how serious he is about it, since he has not given up smoking. Freya on the other hand is dead serious about it and only fifteen years of age. He grandfather, Remo’s father, Bill ‘Sunny Joe’ Roam, has trained her since Remo left her with him some time ago. She is much further along with her training then Stone is and shows it throughout the novel. Also, much of the story takes place on the Sinanju Indian reservation.
This book has all of the biting political commentary that I love about the Destroyer books, as well as the fantastic action. Remo and Chiun DO appear, but only as background characters and never actually have speaking parts within this story. It’s all about Stone and Freya.
Even more interesting is the debut of a new enemy, a group claiming to be centuries old and actually to be behind the workings of everything in the world, all aiming the world towards their own goals. A sort of ‘super Illuminati’, who claim that they actually controlled that group as well. They make for an exceptional opponent that I hope will be around for a while.
Everything worked here, especially considering what this book is, which is an origin story for an all new hero and heroine. I’m actually looking forward to seeing Stone’s training over time in this series.
Bill Roam was a forgotten character for me and it was nice to see him again with such a starring role in this series.
All in all this series is off to an excellent start and it gives me something else to read. The Destroyer series will always be my number one choice, but this new series is an absolutely welcome addition. If only I could remember who Stone’s mother was, or when he was introduced before this, that’s the only issue I had with this story.

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The Destroyer # 150, The End of the World

The Destroyer The End of the worldThe Destroyer The End of the world by Warren Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of The Destroyer #150- The End of the World
The End of the World is the first new full length Destroyer novel in about four years. I’ve been reading and enjoying the novella’s that have come out recently, but a full length book was needed by me and I assume the rest of the Destroyer fanatics out there. I’ve read just about every one of the series and know the characters well.
‘The End of the world’ is an old time Destroyer novel about the just passed Mayan apocalypse that was supposed to happen about two weeks past, so this book was timely. But for some reason I had the feeling this book happened further back in The Destroyers history then currently. It seemed almost ‘Old School’ in its telling.
The story centers on some events that are pointing the entire world towards oblivion. First a US military base’s missiles take off on their own and turn back to where they came from and annihilate the base itself. Then similar disasters happen in China and the Mid-East as well. Remo and Chiun are put on the case and end up in New Mexico where the Air force base whose missiles went off is located.
Soon Remo is following a trail that leads to an old age home and its occupants who are up to more than they seem at first glance. Then he runs into the long lost love of his life along the way which throws his head into a spin.
Remo and Chiun end up facing an enemy that truly does harken back to the old days of the Destroyer novels, back when they used to face mythological Gods, enemies and forces beyond men’s ken. That is truly what they face here, and this time it’s for the fate of the entire world.
I’m a fan of this series, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a great series of novels, that for the most part, are incredibly well written. To say I enjoyed this one would be an understatement. While I always like to see the final confrontation come down to Remo and whoever they are facing this time around it was Chiun’s turn to shine once again. Like I said earlier, this one has an old time feel to it. That to me was the only part of the novel that was a minus for me.
All in all though this was a great read, and in the correct size for Destroyer novels, basically pulp size. It’s a fast read, or maybe I just enjoyed it so much that it seemed that way. All in all it was another winning Destroyer novel, and I highly recommend it. If you are a fan of the series, this is a ‘Must Read’.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Samaritan- A Review

SamaritanSamaritan by Bobby Nash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Samaritan- A review
Samaritan by Bobby Nash is a novella set in the future where man is exploring space aboard prospector ships. The Aquarius is one such ship. The Aquarius has been out in deep space for eight long years and is just now returning to Earth. In all that time they have not encountered another being of any species. That is about to change.
When the ship comes upon a seeming graveyard of spaceships and spaceship parts the crew is understandably curious and excited. For the first time they have evidence of life on other worlds. Sadly, as they are about to find out, it’s better off not answering certain questions, at least not at this time.
This is a VERY well written space adventure, and within its forty plus pages an entire story is told, and nothing is left wanting. I really liked this one a lot, even more than I expected too. It held my interest and the pace which started out slow built to a frenetic crescendo at the tales end. This is as much a horror story as it is Sci-fi, in the vein of ‘Alien’.

But therein lies the problem with this tale, to me at least. The end, while excellently and professionally written, felt a little too expected for me. The big surprise was pretty much what I expected to happen.
But do NOT let that deter you from reading this story. It honestly is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. There’s very little sci-fi out there that I like. Most of it reads like bad Star Trek or Star Wars. Or it strives far too hard to be neither. This just read like a good sci-fi story. I’ve been lucky recently and read three good sci-fi stories in a row, including this one. You can’t go wrong here. Bobby’s characters are real and you don’t like all of them, which to me is the sign of a good writer, and a good story.
Give Samaritan a whirl. It’s a short but very engrossing story. Far better than most novella’s I’ve read recently.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blackthorn Thunder on Mars- A Review

Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars by Van Allen Plexico
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blackthorn- A Review

“Blackthorn- Thunder on Mars”, by Van Plexico and friends is a rather unique anthology title. Mr. Plexico created the character and invited several friends (Bobby Nash, Mark Bousquet,James Palmer, Sean Taylor, Joe Crowe, I.A. Watson, Danny Wall, and Mark Beaulieu) to come along and play by writing a chapter each in the first novel starring the somewhat familiar hero.
Why is Blackthorn familiar? He is somewhat of an homage to an early 80’s cartoon character named ‘Thundarr the barbarian’ as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs ‘John Carter of Mars’. You will see the resemblance to both properties when you begin to read Blackthorn’s adventures and in fact Van admits to having a soft spot for both characters in his introduction.
But that being the case and all things being equal this is definitely its own book, character and adventure, and burgeoning mythos, as you will find out.
All the stories in this volume tell different tales that add to the adventure as a whole, but each one IS a self-contained story. All were excellently written and were spread out not only for some distance across the terraformed Martian landscape, but also across more than a few months.
The three main characters are John Blackthorn, Princess Aria and Oglok the Mock-man. They are on a mission to overthrow control of the red planet from four powerful beings who call themselves ‘sorcerers’ (Though I have a sneaking suspicion it’s all done with science and mirrors.) John Blackthorn himself is a time displaced US Soldier, a General actually, who finds himself suddenly far in the future and in a new body he does not know or remember. In other words the face in the mirror is not his. Another problem he has is that all his memories of his former life on Earth are fading, and quickly enough that he knows they will still all soon be gone and that he cannot do anything about it.
All of these problems and more weigh in on Blackthorn and crew while they are moving from town to town battling almost inconceivable evils in their journey across the red planet.
All in all this is a fun read. It takes place on a world that is totally unrecognizable in a dystopian future. It is an intriguing read to be sure.
Of course, if I wanted to nitpick I could say the main characters bear too much of a resemblance to the ‘Thundarr the Barbarian’ characters and that the cover artwork was below a level I normally expect from those associated with this novel, but looking at it, I do have to concede that it is “Kirby-esque” in a rather fitting way, especially since the King himself was so heavily involved in Thundarr.
All in all it was a rather enjoyable read, and I have nothing but the highest praise for it. It’s one of those novels you can sit back and forget about the world outside your door by becoming immersed in the book in your hands.
Highly recommended- Five Stars.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three against the stars- A review

Three against the starsThree against the stars by Joe Bonadonna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three Against the Stars- A Review
Three against the stars is the newest work from Joe Bonandonna. This time Joe tackles the far flung future and not the past. Three takes place in a universe where man has ascended to a state of interstellar faster than light travel and has alliances with many other races.
Our story centers on four space marines, sort of the three musketeers, with the fourth member being a cat man from the world our team finds themselves stationed on. O’hara a big brogue speaking Irishman is the team’s defacto leader, Akira is a cigar chomping female, Cortez is the dashing, somewhat empty headed ladies’ man and Maki is the cat man, and corps medic.
Our story takes place in several places at once including deep space far from our heroes. There is much mystery afoot in this universe. There are several different factions amping up their agenda’s in this story, and only some of them play out by books end, so I can only assume there will be another volume coming sometime in the future.
Our team faces everything from bar fights to infiltrating enemy strong holds, as well as running about in ancient dilapidated starships. The marines may be the peacekeepers of the universe but they are far from the best supplied.
The main enemy in this book is the Drakonians. A race of lizard-men who share a fragile peace agreement with Earth and its allies. This is a book about not only the three space-marines but also about that peace agreement, and how fragile it really is.
There is civil war brewing amongst the cat people and has been for a very long time it seems, and it does not take much for that to boil over, leaving the three marines right in the midst of things.
All in all I liked this story. It was interesting and fun. It took place in space in the far future and that’s one of my favorite genres. But that’s not to say it didn’t have a few problems, minor at worst, but enough to be annoying tome at least.
There seemed to me at least to be too many characters introduced just to be killed, and there were far too many characters in general to keep track of. At one point I was asking myself ‘Who’s this now?”
Also, and I know this is a nitpick on my part, but with a name like “Three against the Stars.” I really expected it to be the three of them (Or four counting their cat man buddy) for an extended period of time (Like most of the book) battling an enemy on some planet hopping quest or perhaps being hunted as fugitives by a corrupt gov’t or something similar. It was very little of them being together and in the center of the action. Maybe the last fifth of the book.
Don’t get me wrong I really liked the story, and very much enjoyed reading this adventure, but at times I felt it was a bit convoluted. The stories resolution left me a little empty as well, beyond that I’m not going to say much because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else reading it, and it is WELL worth reading.
In conclusion, if you enjoy space adventures with grand schemes and larger than life characters then pick up a copy, sit back and enjoy. It’s a very good story with a few minor, easily overlooked flaws that most will not notice. Four out of five stars.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Queen of Crime TV- A Review

The Queen of Crime TVThe Queen of Crime TV by Elizabeth Lardaro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Queen of Crime TV-A Review
Have you ever heard the term used “Going outside my comfort zone”? Well I just finished doing that. My normal reading material is always action/adventure/sci-fi/pulp/horror etc. Guy stuff. Stuff I enjoy beyond a shadow of a doubt and is very much in my “Comfort Zone”.
I read a book in the last few days entitled “The Queen of Crime TV” by Elizabeth Lardaro. It’s her first full novel and one she admits in the forward of the book has been sitting around waiting for her to get published for the last few years.
Now to be perfectly blunt about this, this is NOT my type of book. To be even more non-PC (I am NOT a PC person at all, I say what I mean and mean what I say.) it’s a girls book. It is filled with romance and office politics as well as a twenty five year old girl’s neurotic thought process that, being a man, is one of the things that drive men utterly insane.
But all that being said, this was a really good book. I was actually very surprised how much I enjoyed it. Elizabeth’s main character, ‘Dara’ held my attention completely and her story was very interesting.
Obviously Elizabeth was writing about something she was passionate about, as well as had great knowledge of. Dara is a law student who takes a semester off to try a job at a TV crime network that reports on celebrities who go on trial. She’s a smart girl who does not waste time questioning things when presented with opportunities. Her instincts are good and she thinks fast on her feet. Most importantly she knows the difference between right and wrong. She may actually forget this for a while, but remembers it with shocking abruptness before the end of this novel.
All this praise aside, this is not to say the book does not have its small issues. But they are all editorially related. None of it takes away from the story itself. Elizabeth (Breaking the fourth wall here) you should consider an editor next time for little things that escape notice from an author’s perspective. (Words missing, sentences abruptly chopped off without warning, some punctuation faults, etc.)
But those very minor issues aside, Liz, you wrote a VERY good book. I really enjoyed it, and for a guy like me who is used to reading about warriors savagely cutting their enemies heads off, or disintegrating them with a lazer beam, this was actually extremely enjoyable.
GREAT job Elizabeth! You should be very proud of this one!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fortune's Pawn- A review

Fortune's PawnFortune's Pawn by Nancy A. Hansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fortune’s Pawn- A Review

First let me start off by saying I used to be a huge fantasy fan, I read all the ‘Lord of the Rings’ books as well as the Margaret Weiss-Tracy Hickman “Dragonlance” books and many others too numerous to mention or remember at this point. I even recently wrote a modern day fantasy novel Called “Redemption of the Sorcerer” which I pulled from its publisher and will be re-releasing shortly with a much less inept publisher.
But all of that is an aside at best. We’re here to talk about Nancy Hansen’s fantasy Novel, ‘Fortune’s Pawn’.
Like most fantasy novels this one takes place in a world all its own, a world of Elves and Humans and Faeries and Dwarves. It’s a world built where Humans and Elves are fighting over the same lands and distrusting as well as outright hating the other race with no reason, or understanding why. In the midst of it all is a human wizard named ‘Kendahl’ (I couldn’t help but think Nancy was naming him ‘Ken Doll’ in a tongue in cheek nod to a childhood toy.) is trying to bring about something momentous, a birth between two species. The Human and the Elven which will grant this world a savior against the encroaching dark enemy. The other protagonists are ‘Callie’ a young human/dwarf girl who is the key to all of this and ‘Levanti’, the elf who will be destined to be her suitor. There are many other minor characters throughout but these are the important ones.
Throughout this tome there are machinations put into place by both the light and the dark forces to achieve that side’s victory, though one problem I have with all of this is that we are not told exactly what is at stake for either side. It is all very shadowy. We know the dark is the evil in all of this so they should not win, but what is the significance of the pre-destined child? Will she gather all the races together? That is what I have to assume at least as, unless I missed it, we are not told as of yet.
All of that aside though ‘Fortune’s Pawn’ is an intriguing, well written, well thought out fantasy novel that has something very special going for it. Remember when I said earlier that I used to read all manner of fantasy novels back in the day? The reason I stopped was that they kept becoming longer and longer, with more and more multiple volumes coming out. Hey I’m all for telling a story, but I don’t need a dozen six hundred page books to do so. That being said, ‘Fortune’s Pawn’ was pleasantly short enough to make it interesting and to the point. The characterizations were flawless and intriguing, which served to set up the longer tale for future volumes (Yes, this is a multi-book arc, but I’m not concerned as I would be with ‘Wheel of time’ or ‘Harry Potter’ and its ilk.)
Nancy crafted a very nice story and world here which should prove interesting as the subsequent volumes come out. The page count was exactly where it should be, which was low enough to get through the story in a few days and high enough to make one never lose interest in the novel and to keep us intrigued enough to want more. Which I know I do.
I’m going to give ‘Fortunes Pawn’ a 5 star review in that I could really find nothing wrong with it to complain about. The one small complaint I had, which was chronicled above is minor and will be dealt with in the next volume which incidentally just came out.
If you enjoy lush fantasy, then this one is for you.

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