My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Review: Demon Realm

Demon Realm Demon Realm by J.S. Malcom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book: ***
Performance: ***

A variation of the last book

This is the forth (4th) installment of crossroads witch series about Amaya, the half demon witch, and Cassie, a veil (death) witch. Once again the team is split, so we get two stories for the price of one. Amaya heads back home to finish business while Cassie and the team hold down the fort in the human realm. There is really so little of the latter that I am not sure why it is even covered here (would have been better to roll it up in the next book IMHO). Regardless … this is more or less just like the previous book … except Amaya gets a ghost riding along in her head … which would interesting but did not live up to its potential (ha … see what I did there). Bottomline … if you made it this far in the series, you are getting more of the same quality entertainment.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#DemonRealm #KindleUnlimited #FreeAudiobookCodes 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Review: A Sundered Moon

A Sundered Moon A Sundered Moon by Luís Falcão de Magalhães
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Previous Review of A Silvery Moon
Previous Review of Mask of the Eternal Moon

This is the third book of the Legends of Elessia series, with an apparent expectation of another book coming soon. Setting aside the ridiculous conclusion of the prior book, this one starts with the ascendency (or resurrection/release) of the Blood God … one of an apparent trinity of god-like vampires that ruled many eons ago. While it doesn’t really explain why, the sisters ganged up and vanquished their brother his return here … and he is pissed. As his first act, he curses Lucius, a priest for the Daughter of the Pines, linking his existence with his nemesis, the high vampire Memphala … making access to his pure moon magic impossibly painful to both (since they are essentially sharing all the other experiences). Although this was a rather ham-fisted way to connect them, it does begin something of a redemptive arc for the vampire that could have been interesting if there had not been so much prior effort to show how irritably evil she was …. and as part of that shared experience, the priest changes and is pretty much damned (so it is unclear if this really is a redemptive arc).

At any rate … the writing style is the same that is seen in the previous two books, so if you enjoyed them, this is more of the same. I still found it awkward and simple, but somewhat entertaining. For almost the entire book, we see everybody moving back and forth preparing for and evening engaging against the new big bad, aka the Blood God, who have cursed the moon red and ripe out his keep and fly it north to ultimately destroy his sister, the Daughter of Ice (and apparent patron of undead). When all is said and done, this is primarily a mechanical adventure with vampires, necromancers, dwarves and humans and a few other monsters …

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ASunderedMoon #BookSirens #KindleUnlimited

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Sunday, August 27, 2023

Review: The Ave Treasury of Catholic Prayers

The Ave Treasury of Catholic Prayers The Ave Treasury of Catholic Prayers by Ave Maria Press
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not raised within the rich Catholic tradition that would eventually play an important role in my conversion after Vatican II. Part of that tradition is the vast collection of prayer that have stood the test of time for nearly any occasion, situation or need … and which sadly seem to frequently be left on the shelf more often than not. As I continue to explore my new faith, this collection of 150 prayers that represents both liturgical/community prayer and less formal private/solitary prayer is the most complete collection that I have encountered and has proved to be an invaluable asset for enriching my own relationship through prayer with my creator.

General Prayers
Daily Prayers for Speaking with God throughout the Day
Prayers for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Prayers for the Holy Eucharist
Prayers for the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Prayers and Devotions to Jesus Christ
Prayers and Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Prayers and Devotions to St. Joseph
Prayers of Blessing
Petitionary Prayers: Drawing Close to the Lord in Times of Need
Prayers for Deliverance
Prayers for Special Graces
Prayers of Surrender to God’s Loving Will
Prayers for the Grace of Forgiveness
Intercessory Prayers
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheAveTreasuryOfCatholicPrayers #NetGalley

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Review: Demon Soul

Demon Soul Demon Soul by J.S. Malcom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book: ****
Performance: ****

A Fun YA Adventure

This is the second of the Crossroads Witch series (read out of order) and I really enjoyed this one. Picking up where the last one ended, the book didn’t need to put as much effort into the origin story and could jump right into it (much appreciated). Of the two main PoV, my favorite was Cassie, the veil witch (who don’t get as much time as I would have liked); but the group pretty much stays together for everything, so PoV was somewhat irrelevant. In fact, there was something of a heist/caper feel to it, with each “witch” in the group providing something interesting. What was thankfully missing was the typical teen drama. The narration was solid with an anticipated struggle for male voices … but the mouse voice was incredible cute. Over all this was the best of the lot, so I am rounding up to 4 stars.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#DemonSoul #KindleUnlimited #FreeAudiobookCodes

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Review: Mask of the Eternal Moon

Mask of the Eternal Moon Mask of the Eternal Moon by Luís Falcão de Magalhães
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Previous Review of A Silvery Moon

This is the second book of the Legends of Elessia series and it quick obviously an attempt to bridge the first and last of the trilogy. As such, I felt it was not a good as the either of those two. Like book one, it is fairly short and very action packed (a plus). The write style was very straight forward and simple, so it was easy to follow, but didn’t really pull me into the story much. The pacing was also too fast in many places, but this was all the same of the previous book, so that was no surprise. The PoV also expanded from two to five+ and that was a few too many, especially the inclusion of the PoV for the various antagonists … I don’t need to get into the bad guys head to know how evil they are.

The story itself has our intrepid heroes hunting the ancient (high) vampire that escaped from the last battle in the previous book, and along the way, they realize that she is hunting a mask (from the book title) that would give her god like powers. So far … so good … except despite the looming doom that such an event would entail … the good guys are perpetually giving in to the threat of give me what I want and I will kill you quickly BS. Yes ... I find that aggravating enough to subtract a star from what would have basically an okay story with fairly predictable results all the way to the end (which does has a twist that I didn’t see coming … because it makes absolutely no sense).

The world building is decent … in a D&D adventure sort of way (so I could see marking this as a LitRPG). and Undead and Vampires are still at the center … so it that is your jam … you may be able to ignore the awkward prose. In fact, it took me a bit, but with this book it is clear that the girman, or what ever race Oskar is, are pretty much the same thing as stereotypical dwarves … making any apparent innovation on the fantasy trope only a thin veneer. The only reason that I see to recommend this story is that is is a lead into the last of the trilogy.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#MaskoftheEternalMoon #BookSirens #KindleUnlimited

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Sunday, August 20, 2023

Review: The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church

The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church by Rachel L. Swarns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let’s get this out of the way first … slavery of any kind is evil; however, the underlying theme of this books is that the Catholic Church, specifically here in the American colonies, was somehow more duplicitous in their participation in this evil institution than any others of the majority … and that assertion was not demonstrated within this book … only implied.

The 272 are the slaves that were sold in 1838 by Georgetown University, a Jesuit learning institution that had poorly administered its finances to the point of near bankruptcy. That sale enabled to University to survive and eventually thrive to become the elite American college it is today. It is the contention of the author that this success is the foundation of the American Catholic Church today … a statement that is only marginally supported by the following story of the Mahoney family with respect to GU272. 

In fact, the work as a whole frequency engages in the fallacy of composition by uses the Jesuit order in Maryland as a representative of the entire Catholic Church … despite the order actually being suppressed and reorganized outside of the Church for part of that history. In reality, what we see if that the Catholic Church in Maryland (representing a minority of the total state population) largely conforms to the beliefs and mores of the majority Protestants in the state, largely under the silent toleration of the Vatican (the authors go nearly two centuries to find Church support for slavery which had by this time started to significantly erode). This is not intended to let the Church, the Jesuit order or Georgetown University off the hook … only that such poorly constructed arguments make any discussion and reconciliation more difficult.

There is a lot to be angry about here. In fact, this book is designed to play on emotions; therefore it is important to be on the lookout for presumed inferences that enable the misinterpretation of the context in order to elicit the emotional response desired. Unfortunately, the book also engages in apparent exaggeration of the facts for the same purpose (which serves to undermines the academic validated of the whole piece). One such example from Chapter 2 where the author state “By the early 1700s, enslaved Black people accounted for between two-thirds and three-quarters of Maryland’s workforce.” In fact, estimates of the slave population in Md for 1710 is only about 24% of the entire population … by 1755, nearly 40% of the state population were black; however, an estimated one-third of that number were actually free-blacks. Such exaggeration is hardly necessary to capture the evil that is chattel slavery and only serves to undermine trust in the later assertions by the authors.

Chapter 1: Arrivals
Chapter 2: A Church’s Captives
Chapter 3: Freedom Fever
Chapter 4: A New Generation
Chapter 5: The Promise
Chapter 6: A College on the Rise
Chapter 7: Love and Peril
Chapter 8: Saving Georgetown
Chapter 9: The Sale
Chapter 10: A Family Divided
Chapter 11: Exile
Chapter 12: New Roots
Chapter 13: Freedom
Chapter 14: The Profits

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#The272 #NetGalley

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

Review: Doyle's Law

Doyle's Law Doyle's Law by Sam Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book: ****
Performance: ****

A Twisted Time Paradox Sci-Fi

After a very slow, and somewhat confusing, setup with a savage/chop crew crew of four (4) decommissioning a space station orbiting Venus, the time travel high jinks begins, with each loop adding more understanding and clarity to the whole story. It was quite a head trip keeping track of everything, all with the understanding that Doule’s Law (what has happened will happen) making a great puzzle to figure out (and definitely some unexpected surprises). There are still some interesting concepts that appear to create a paradox … just not the traditional ones that are so common with time travel stories … and we get a brief glimpse into the far future and it is not all kittens and puppies. 

This is primarily a character driven story and the character development is solid.  I enjoyed all of them.   World building was great as well, falling into which I would consider to be hard sci-fi that was well researched.  Overall it was a grand story with an equally good narration that fit.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ColdSolar #KindleUnlimited #FreeAudiobkFacebkGrp

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Review: A Silvery Moon

A Silvery Moon A Silvery Moon by Luís Falcão de Magalhães
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Silvery Moon is the first of a fantasy trilogy where the MCs team up against undead monsters. The world building here is interesting is somewhat generic. My only complaint here is that the made up names are awkward (and simplistic) and tend to slow down my reading speed (so called it average). The characters are interesting, with a quick plot and storyline that inhibits much in the way of character development (so this is more along the lines of a novella or even a short story style). Over all … the decent enough story to bing the entire trilogy.

The MC are a priest/undead hunter wandering to where ever the goddess needs him. He has a few miracle/magical tricks that help along the way. His sidekick is a cranky old guy with a clockworks crossbow and a heavy accent. A local huntress rounds out the party as they investigate the strange goings on at a remote village … and of course … go up against a scheming and ancient evil undead. Lots of quick moving action helps keep you in the story as to rapidly moves to its predictable ending.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ASilveryMoon #BookSirens #KindleUnlimited

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Sunday, August 13, 2023

Review: Beyond the Greek New Testament: Advanced Readings for Students of Biblical Studies

Beyond the Greek New Testament: Advanced Readings for Students of Biblical Studies Beyond the Greek New Testament: Advanced Readings for Students of Biblical Studies by Max Botner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book/reader is specifically targeting students of biblical and religious studies (which I am) with the presumption they learned Greek as part of their studies (which I have not … yet). As such, this was a bit more that I had originally had hoped for and there, unfortunately, elements of the book that I am not qualified to evaluate; however, it also appears that this work will be an important companion when my studies intersect with it. While I am more comfortable with transliterated Greek and there is a substantial amount of original Greek, there is still a lot a more casual reader can extract from it. An extended introduction provides a good review of Greek vocabulary, grammar and discourse along with recommended additional resources (such as The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek CGCG, which is cited in several places throughout) and where the author states his presumption that readers are familiar with Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics … which is very helpful in identifying a learning strategy if nothing else.

The book is organized into eight (8) parts that examine different types of classic Greek literature with specific translation techniques and issues the author wants to highlight to enable the learner to appropriately recognize translation nuances. Each part has a brief overview of the genre covered within that I found very helpful. Each part was further divided into examples with a more specific summary of the example along with a callout box that provided supplemental information … such as a recommended [online] translation (if available otherwise it was a citation to a printed translation) and supplemental scripture references. It is quite obvious here this is intended to be a companion resource and not a standalone guide. Finally, each subpart or section ends with a series of notes and observations about the translation that is extremely helpful in understanding why the translator made the choices evident in the cited work as well as where the author of this book may have seen or favored a different choice. These notes draw from a variety of sources and traditions contemporary with the original text and it was for these comments that I wanted to review the book … and I was not disappointed; although I would have been a little happier with a little more here. Finally, nearly half of the 400 some odd pages are citations and references at the end of the book to help further study.

Part 1 - Reading the Septuagint
1.1 LXX Deuteronomy
1.2 LXX Isaiah
1.3 2 Maccabees
1.4 Maccabees

Part 2 - Reading the Apostolic Fathers
2.1 1 Clement
2.2 Ignatius of Antioch
2.3 Polycarp of Smyrna
2.4 The Epistle of Barnabas
2.5 The Epistle of Diognetus

Part 3 - Reading Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
3.1 The Letter of Aristeas
3.2 Joseph and Aseneth’s Conversion
3.3 Sibylline Oracles
3.4 The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides
3.5 Fragments of Hellenistic Jewish Writers

Part 4 - Reading Philo
4.1 Allegorical Commentary
4.2 Exposition of the Law
4.3 Historical and Apologetic Works

Part 5 - Reading Josephus
5.1 Jewish War
5.2 Jewish Antiquities
5.3 Life
5.4 Against Apion

Part 6 - Reading Historians and Biographers
6.1 Herodotus
6.2 Thucydides
6.3 Diodorus Siculus
6.4 Dio Cassius
6.5 Plutarch
6.6 Lucian
6.7 Philostratus

Part 7 - Reading Philosophers and Rhetoricians
7.1 Plato
7.2 Aristotle
7.3 Epictetus
7.4 Dio Chrysostom
7.5 Plutarch
7.6 Diogenes Laertius

Part 8 - Reading Poets and Playwrights
8.1 Homer
8.2 Hesiod
8.3 Sophocles
8.4 Euripides

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#BeyondtheGreekNewTestament #NetGalley

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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Review: Cold Solar

Cold Solar Cold Solar by Anthony C. Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book: **
Performance: **** (11.5 hrs)

A Paint By Numbers Mil Sci-Fi

A basic military sci-fi full of all of the expected tropes from a Mars vs Earth conflict.  Stir in a Princess MacGuffin, a few testosterone laden Mary Sues suffering from manufactured drama and some deus ex machina hand waving and you got a mechanical story that was saved by a great narrator.  The story opens with a Mars that is under an authoritarian feudalistic society of mutant humans that evolved for a rebellious mining colony.  Apparently despite the vast superiority of power, tech and genes, they are still in danger of checkin’ out and they blame earth for their situation.  On the other hand, a rather incompetent and weak earth is now ruled by corporations after having bought up all of the sovereign debt (so the setup is a huge stretch for anything other than a comic book story).  

For some reason, Martians run around with hand weapons (sword, mace, spear), invulnerable suits of armor and mutant genes that give them enough of an advantage over earth forces that we get plenty of gratuitous and graphic violence.  Finally I would say that the world building is pretty lazy with very little thought put into how any of the story elements (spaceships, naval ships, laser lines, communications, computer hacking, et al) would realistically work … which was amusing in the beginning, but it quickly wore out its appeal.  However, I thought that the pacing was actually pretty good, with only a short section in the middle that started to drag while a clumsy, slow burn romance starts up (and more or less hints at a big reveal that sort of fizzled when it happened) … and all of the sword fights were  pretty cool for a futuristic space war story where standoff weapons are  mysteriously absent.

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Review: The Tainted Cup

The Tainted Cup The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a new series by this author; and like his “founders trilogy,” it is off to great start. Where the previous trilogy opened with a “great heist” trope, this one begins with the “great mystery” trope that makes it hard to avoid a direct comparison to the my favorite detective adventures by the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe and Hercules Poirot. Here the great detective is an eccentric, Imperial Investigator, recently assigned to the boondocks of the outer regions. In a world where everybody is trying to move to the interior, it is presumed that some mysterious reversal of fortune is the reason for her exile. To aid in her investigations, she selects a local assistant/sidekick to serve as her “eyes and ears” and subsequently provides the PoV for the story (think Mr Watson’s diary) … but Din has a few secrets of his own, which only adds to all of the mystery … and there is plenty here: Why was Ana, the investigator transferred to the borderlands? How did Din suddenly and unexpectedly do well enough to finally get the success his so desperately needed? Who assassinated the military officer while he was visiting a villa of one of the most powerful families in the empire? Why and how did they do it? Of course, Ana is up to the task and solves mystery after mystery, often without leaving the confines of her own room (using just the observations reported back to her by her assistant Din). It is all a well worn and effective plot that still works for me when told as well it is here.

As good as the murder mystery is … I though the world-building was even better. The driving force behind the empire, is the destruction wrought by “Leviathans “ that periodically come ashore during the wet season. To defend against these “attacks,” the empire is divided up into walled cantons where the outer cantons use increasingly powerful bombards, guns and walls to turn back these sea titans. This whole scene had me making favorable comparisons to “Pacific Rim.” This adds yet another mystery to the plot (what are these abominations and why are they attacking). Next up is what could arguably be seen as the magic system, which could just as easily be seen as quasi-scientific biohacking. As part of the respond to these attacks, many people has augmented themselves to give them incredible (aka superhero) powers. Some of these alterations are temporary and some are permeant (and a few are inheritable, although the most extreme render the host sterile). The ones most frequently encountered in this story were Cracklers (strength), Axioms (human calculators), and Engravers (eidetic memory) … the later is what Din, the assistant investigator, is and the vivid description of his ability (and the his subsequent disability) helped make he a very relatable character. Additionally, the population was also divided upon by social function, with soldiers, engineers and iudex (justices) being the most prominent. All of this contributes to a very entertaining and natural feeling story that pulls you quickly through to the end (almost reading this in one sitting).

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheTaintedCup #ShadowoftheLeviathan #NetGalley

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Sunday, August 6, 2023

Review: In the Beginnings: Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden Within Genesis 1-11

In the Beginnings: Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden Within Genesis 1-11 In the Beginnings: Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden Within Genesis 1-11 by David Harbater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The subtitle for this book is “Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden within Genesis 1-11.” The extensive Introduction proves the context (using the documentary hypothesis combined with an aspects approach) for understanding the next 12 chapters (attributed to one or both of the J and P traditions). While acknowledging the obvious contradictions between these two sources, the author cautions against the human tendency to harmonize them … subscribing to the "both/and" paradigm suggested by the very existence of such contradictions within a divine revelation over the more modern/western paradigm of "either/or.” In other words, the tension between the two opposites was on purpose … and the author uses the two creation stories to illustrate this.

“If He is to create the world as 'the Lord,’ reflecting the middat harahamim (the attribute of compassion), people will not be held accountable for their actions. But if He is to create the world as ‘God,’ reflecting the middat hadin (the attribute of judgement), how will the world survive, given the human propensity toward sin. Thus God decided to create the world by carefully balancing both dimensions of Himself in the hope that the world will be able to stand. In other words, the multifaceted God conducts the affairs of humankind by combining, in a way incomprehensible to us, two contradictory aspects of Himself.”

While I am very familiar with the various methods and theories surrounding Christian interpretation of Genesis, I am much less so with how traditions within Judaism do so. In that respect, I found this book to be very interesting and even helpful for my own exegesis and understanding of the scriptures. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a brief analysis on which tradition (J or P) the chapter belongs to and why. Each chapter also generally ends with a summary of, and/or conclusion about, the topics discussed. As the author takes the reader through each part of the story, he carefully points out where interpretation of the Hebrew is problematic and brings in various rabbinical traditions that try to explain it (often with opposition views) before posing several questions to which we just don’t have good answers to (such as what exactly is mention by Eve bing a fitting helper). In particular I enjoyed how the original word play was highlighted during the interoperation explanations. This textual approach is wonderful because it also highlights the ambiguities within the text that have at times been used for “proof texting,” or using small segments to prove an opinion or interpretation is correct, as opposed to a more holistic reading that seems to more accurately capture the essence of the original author/redactor's intent.

1. The First Story of Creation (P)
2. The Second Story of Creation (J)
3. The Garden of Eden (J)
4. Cain and Abel (J)
5. From Adam and Cain to Noah (J & P)
6. The Stories of the Flood
7. The Story of the Flood (J)
8. The Story of the Flood (P)
9. Noah and His Sons after the Flood (J)
10. The Tables of Nations (J & P)
11. The Babel Building Project (J)
12. From Shem to Terah to Abraham (P)

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#InTheBeginnings #LibraryThing

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Thursday, August 3, 2023

Review: The Descendants of Prontoth: Galactic Civilizations, Book 2

The Descendants of Prontoth: Galactic Civilizations, Book 2 The Descendants of Prontoth: Galactic Civilizations, Book 2 by Mark Raines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Performance: ****
Story: ***

A Predictable Military Space Opera with Good Narration

This is the second of the Galactic Civilizations series following Felan's Rescue (which I have not read).  The story revolves around two factions of an urmahlullu ("lion man") like alien race (aka Timions) where the dominate take no prisoners authoritarian government (aka High Command) is trying to exterminate the radical Descendants of Prontoth for having the temerity to surrender instead of dying to the last man during a civil war some 800 years ago.  These same descendant were apparently introduced in the first book, but so far I am not seeing anything that creates any need to read the first story to understand what is going on here (with the possible exception of a galactic war where the Descendants played a pivotal role).  Regardless, there are still fault lines between the seven (7) galactic civilizations that the Timion High Command attempts to leverage in their never ending quest for vengeance (which is actually just a weird justification for what boils don’t to an irrational hatred of deviants).

The story pretty much develops as expected, with a healthy amount of simple intrigue and space combat.  Here is where the solid narration saves the day and makes it all more interesting than it otherwise would be leaving only  few nits to pick.  The obviously manufactured plot conflict is not really that compelling.  World Building is primarily done via descriptive text info dumps.  There are a few time jumps that were difficult to identify and caused some confusion for a time. There is absolutely no character development and few opportunities to connect with any of the character.  Perhaps the most irritating for me is the constant/frequent use of the entire title of the Descendants of Prontoth every single time they are referred to.  Would it kill you to consider an acronym or just using the term descendants instead?

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Review: Generation Ship

Generation Ship Generation Ship by Michael Mammay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When we consider interstellar exploration, there are three general concepts that are typically used: Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel (this would include such things as wormholes, gates, etc.); CryoStasis (basically sleep through the trip); and Generation Ships (everybody stays aware, has kids and trains up each generation until they get to their destination). This book obviously uses the last one. And while there is some good science here (gravity is from spin, etc.), it ignores enough to basically be a typically city in space civilization with a few nods toward expected limitations. One such limitation is a “Logan’s Run” style population control scheme that as the ship nears is ultimate destination, provide the spark that sets in motion the political dram that takes up the bulk of this story.

There are five (5) PoV: the Governor as the compromised politician trying to hold on to power at any cost, an uber hacker stuck in the maintenance division with no way out, a “farmer” reluctantly recruited as the rebel leader, an ambitious security officer maneuvering to get recognition for his awesomeness … and a senior scientist caught in the middle just trying to do the right thing … throw in a Captain who mostly stays off screen as an ultimate arbitrator (and mostly useless), a crime boss and a few hot headed rebels and security personnel and you get quite a mess (aka drama) that was fairly simple and predictable. The only one I found interesting was the hacker (Eddie). Frankly the total chaos of the ships contingent was more or less a copy of what you was expect in a small city and not something that would work very well for a long range colonization effort … which really makes this just a simple story in space (with a back drop of thousands of colonists represented by a handful of characters). Some of the action/interaction was pretty simple and at times bordering on ridiculous.

The arrival … arguably the most interesting part for me … was crammed into the last forth of the story and wasn’t very developed, making the ending fairly disappointing (and predicable, with most of the conflict here moving into the realm of fantasy). That makes for an entertaining story, but not much more than that.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#GenerationShip #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.