Saturday, 29 September 2018

Invasion by Jay Allan

Invasion (Blood on the Stars Book 9)Invasion by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ninth novel in the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan heightens the tensions within the Confederation as the media and political manipulation by agents of the Union continue to shake the very structure of this culture. Admiral Barron has gathered many ships and crews around him and is facing the cold hard truth that to save the billions of people of the Confederation then control has to be seized and quickly despite the loss of life and stain on his own soul. Admiral Winter's fleet battle the invading forces of the Hegemony and a controlled tactical retreat in the hopes of breaking supplies lines is the only hope but pressure continues to mount as enemy forces get ever closer to the capital world of the Confederation.
Invasion more so than recent novels ramps up the space based action something which Jay writes with pace and style but does not ignore the politics and intrigue going on within the major powers including the Hegemony (which was most welcome). The writing is solid as you would expect with well developed characters being supported well and new characters and situations merging seamlessly. With a number of novels still to come in the series I can honestly say after a little dip in my enjoyment the series is back on track.

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Defiance by Jason Krumbine

DefianceDefiance by Jason Krumbine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A century ago the UPA (United Planetary Alliance) were attacked by an unknown alien force which were labelled Species 4876, worlds and fleets fell to their power until the combined might of the UPA destroyed them. This is in the history books but is it what actually happened?
A century later the memory of the billions lost is just that as the UPA political structure see no threat despite knowing little of the intentions and overall goals of Species 4876 but within the fleet itself eyes are wide open and continue to search the darkness for signs of the return or their influence.
Captain Gavin Mitchell of the USS Defiance is in hot water after taking a short cut through the Veneer neutral zone during an emergency resupply mission and events at the mining colony on the world of Carlock indicate external forces are in play. Further investigations point towards the Veneer (who withdrew from the UPA a century before) and the Oxean interstellar crime syndicate but more is waiting for the crew of the Defiance to discover.
Defiance is as the author says a novel that will appeal to fans of Star Trek, the framework and characters of the story are very familiar to this long time fan of Trek but the novel is one step removed and stands by itself as a science fiction tale with some humorous elements.
I also liked the narrative structure as the events on the mission are told through the interrogation of the Captain, it would work very well in a live action television presentation. Ultimately this is a homage to Trek and that can be a good or bad thing, for me I enjoyed every reference (however slight) and that took nothing away from the story being told, look forward to the next book (Hand of God) in the series.

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Tale of the Five Omnibus by Diane Duane

The Tale of the Five OmnibusThe Tale of the Five Omnibus by Diane Duane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The darkness, the shadow, death or entropy call it what you will it is forever surrounding us, a part of life and a necessary precursor to whatever comes next and thus in the world of Brightwood, Steldin, Darthen and Arlen it emerges through the acts of individuals from little things to world changing. Long in the past the Kings and Queens of the nations gave their lives to bring peace and prosperity to the nations and through magic, bloodline alliances and oaths unbreakable peace reigned until the death of a king, the rise of an usurper and the lack of strength and resolve from a son born to rule but who ran.
It is a few years later and events conspire to bring an unlikely group together, the world is dying as harvests fail and encroachment from raiders rise. The land needs a King, rites have to be done and is this world the land and its King are truly one, without the a human heart to care and maybe to sacrifice the darkness rises and thus Herewiss a young sorcery looking to rekindle the magical "flame" in himself (lost to man centuries before) rides to the rescue of his friend Freelorn (Prince of Arlen) and the fight against the darkness begins anew.
The Tale of the Five Omnibus consists of the three novels The Door into Fire, The Door Into Shadow and The Door Into Sunset by Diane Duane with the fourth novel in the series in development. I am very familiar with the Star Trek novels by Diane and this was the first of her original work I have read and I enjoyed immensely, there were certainly echoes in the language and worldview that I recognised from her take on "Romulans" but no question that this solid epic fantasy with magic, warriors, dragons, elementals and all manner of normal human strengths and weaknesses.
She created a huge world to play in and characters and races all add depth and complexity to the events of the three novels thanks to their diverse nature. I really enjoyed her take on Dragons, The Divine and Elementals and the decision not to stick to a more traditional narrative when it came to personal relationships worked very well.
I'm looking forward to The Door Into Starlight but this omnibus can stand alone so don't hesitate, this is a well written and entertaining fantasy adventure.




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