Aurora CV-01 by Ryk Brown

Book Review

 


Aurora: CV-01 (The Frontiers Saga #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Audiobook

Book Series: The Frontiers Saga #1:Part 1

Released: 12/19/2011 by Tantor Media

Pages: 301 Price: $29.99 Audiobook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A world recovering from a devastating plague…
A brutal enemy threatening invasion…
A young man seeking to escape the shadow of his father…
A ship manned by a crew of fresh academy graduates…
A top-secret experimental propulsion system…
A questionable alliance with a mysterious green-eyed woman…

What destiny has in store for the crew of the UES Aurora, is far greater than any of them could ever imagine. And this is only the beginning…

“Aurora: CV-01” is 77,000 word novel, and is Episode 1 of The Frontiers Saga.

My Review:

This was a fun audiobook that I borrowed from my library.  After reading some of the other reviews I have to agree with some of the criticism that yes, it is pretty much a Star Trek rip-off.  Maybe not blatantly but the similarities are hard to deny.  But so what.  It is still an action-packed well plotted read that brought me several hours of enjoyment.

Took me a moment to realize this book was set in the extreme far future after most of humanity had been wiped from existence.  After I caught on to that it surprised me just how familiar this society felt to our own, with the exception of space travel that is.  While entertaining the plot was pretty convenient at times as the author set all his characters into place for the longer story arch.  For me it was easy to overlook because when hasn’t a character been in the right place at the right time in works of fiction.

The characters were diverse and likable I would have enjoyed seeing where some of the relationships led towards.  I would have also liked to learn more about what happen to Earth in the past as well as the other colonies that were talked about.  But I’m afraid this is where I leave this universe.

While I truly enjoyed this book it is the only one available through my library so I will not be continuing on because with so many parts out (19), and yet to come (75 total!), this series is simply too expensive for me to continue with… I have suggested my library purchase the next three parts but it is highly unlikely that will happen.  Makes me kind of wish I had looked into the series availability before I borrowed it. I would have skipped it had I know how difficult and costly getting my hands on future parts would be.  Oh, well.  Live and learn.

My Rating:4 Stars

Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin

Book Review

 


Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Media Tie-In, Fantasy,

Book Series: Star Trek: The Original Series #39 (Sequel to Yesterday’s Son)

Released: 5/1/1986 Pocket Books

Pages: 303 Price: $3.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

When the Guardian of Forever malfunctions, the course of time runs amok, and the Star Trek crew undertakes a desperate mission to contact the Guardian, five thousand years in the past, and to bring Spock’s son, Zar, forward in time.

My Review:

While Yesterday’s Son read like one of the original Star Trek TV episodes the follow-up book read more like one of the movies.  The crew of the Enterprise had all moved on and needed to be rounded up for this adventure to save the universe.  Again greater stakes lent to the feeling of a movie rather than a quick hour-long show with a single plot to resolve. While I didn’t enjoy this as much as the last book I’m still glad to have read it as it resolved a lot left-over from Yesterday’s Son.

In this book, Spock and Zar are about 20 years older and thankfully over themselves.  This led to a much more satisfying relationship between father and son for the reader.  There was an interesting mix of tone or genre to this story.  At times it felt more like a historical romance almost in the parts we spent in the past on Zar’s world.  Contrast that with the high-tech future when were in Spock’s world and at times the book almost felt like two different stories.

There was supposed to be a third book, making this a trilogy, that was abandoned by the publisher and as a result of the author’s death.  I have conflicting emotions on this.  While I would love to revisit the Zar character and see what becomes of his later life I am satisfied with how this ended.  I can’t really see where they would have gone with another book but I’m sure it would have been some catastrophic event that only Kirk, Bones, and Spock could solve with the help of Zar of course.

Highly enjoyable and recommended if you have read the first book.

My Rating:4 Stars

Spock Vs Q by Cecilia Fannon

Book Review

 


1055516Book Genre: Science Fiction, Audiobook, Media Tie-In, Short Story

Book Series: Star Trek

Released:  11/1/1999 by Simon & Schuster Audio

Pages: 1 Hour Price:$15.00

Links:  Goodreads,

Source: I borrowed this from my library.

Book Synopsis:

As the end of the twentieth century nears, an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. When it hits, the impact will result in the end of all life on the planet.
Ambassador Spock travels back in time to subtly warn Earth’s inhabitants of impending doom while calling into question humanity’s priorities. However, before the truth is told, the all powerful being Q appears and reminds Spock that he is prohibited from interfering in Earth’s history. Besides, Q doesn’t see mankind as something worth saving.
This initial encounter between the two legendary characters explodes into a battle of wits as Spock cleverly befuddles Q with his own words. As barbs are exchanged, and humanity’s flaws and wonders are laid bare, Spock’s logic just may convince Q that humans are indeed a species worthy of salvation, but will he be too late?
In Spock vs. Q, Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie again bring their characters to glorious life in the most lively and entertaining debate since Nixon vs. Kennedy. Recorded in front of a live audience, Spock vs. Q is a stirring audio program that could only come from Alien Voices.

My Review:

This was so much fun!  If you’ve been following me for any amount of time then you know I’m a Trekkie and quite possible that Spock is my favorite character.  I’ve been having fun reading some of the Trek books that I’ve been hoarding for the past few years.  While searching through the books I might want to add to my collection I came across this little gem featuring my two favorite characters, Spock and Q.  It is as wonderful as I expected it to be.

The story is only available in audio format and appears to have been recorded at a convention by the actors themselves.  The performance was quite short, only lasting for an hour, perfect for my exercise session on the treadmill.  The story is clever and brings us these two iconic characters with all their wit and personality that we love.  If you are a fan of the franchise then I would encourage you to get your hands on this recording.  I seriously doubt that you will be disappointed.

My Rating:5 Stars

Yesterday’s Son by A.C. Crispin

Book Review

 


Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Star Trek, Fantasy, TV Tie-in

Book Series: Star Trek: The Original Series #11

Released: 8/1/1983 by Pocket Books

Pages: 192  Price: $4.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book. 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

With the help of the Vulcan leader T’Pau, Spock gets permission to use the Guardian of Forever, a portal through time constructed by a long-vanished race, to venture into the past. On another trip into history, on the planet Sarpeidon, Spock had loved a woman who could not return with him to the future, and now Spock wishes to see the son she bore him, 5,000 years earlier. But a Romulan attack on the Guardian’s planet could interfere, unless the Enterprise can keep the Guardian out of their hands.

My Review:

This is the first Star Trek book I ever read.  It must have been my early teen years, maybe 30 years ago, when I picked this one up at the bookstore.  Much of the plot was forgotten, only a few parts stuck in my memory.  I’m not sure what ever happen to that copy but when I picked up the sequel through a book exchange site I decided to read it again.  I also recently watched the tv episode that the events this book are based upon.  So the timing was perfect to revisit a piece of my childhood and my love of all things Trek.

This was such a good book.  I am probably bias here but I loved this book it is by far my favorite Trek book that I’ve read.  Ms. Crispin does an excellent job of capturing the chemistry and personalities of the characters it was exactly like reading an episode from the original series, only better!  Better because you get to be in the head of Spock, Kirk, and Bones,  you get to read the internal dialog of the characters.

As to the plot of this book I was totally engrossed I have never wanted to sit two characters down for a talking to as I did while reading this book.  Maybe even smack them upside the head…  I’m glad there is a second book because while I am satisfied with the ending it was so bitter-sweet, I wanted more for these two. Like I said the book read much like the tv series so if you enjoyed the show you should like this book.  If you were a fan of Spock then you are really going to love this one!  Looking forward to the next.

My Rating:5 Stars

The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka

Book Review

 


The Flicker MenBook Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Audio

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/21/15 by Henry Holt and Co

Pages:352  Price:$25.66 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Eric Argus is a washout. His prodigious early work clouded his reputation and strained his sanity. But an old friend gives him another chance, an opportunity to step back into the light.

With three months to produce new research, Eric replicates the paradoxical double-slit experiment to see for himself the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. A simple but unprecedented inference blooms into a staggering discovery about human consciousness and the structure of the universe.

His findings are celebrated and condemned in equal measure. But no one can predict where the truth will lead. And as Eric seeks to understand the unfolding revelations, he must evade shadowy pursuers who believe he knows entirely too much already.

My Review:

I’m not exactly sure why I stuck this book out.  I’m also not exactly sure what the book was about in all actuality…  Some of it might be that I wasn’t paying close enough attention, some might be the book was plotted well, some might be the science going over my head.  I didn’t hate the book, I finished it after all but this book left me feeling eh.

There were parts I found intriguing and other simply annoying.  I did like the science and found the experiment the story revolves around interesting.  The delving into politics a little less so…  I almost turned it off when it started venturing down a religious path but being in the middle of an exercise session and nothing else to listen to decided to press on for at least the rest of the hour.  I eventually decided the author wasn’t trying to convert me into any sort of thinking and chose to stick the book out to the end.

The book has a vastly different feel at the end than it did in the beginning and I think that is what hurt it for me.  I didn’t really care for the shift.  I’m still not entirely sure how the book ended as by the last hour or two it was simply background noise and I was only half listening. I appreciated some of the questions the author brought up in the plot but I struggled to find a character to connect with.

It wasn’t a bad book just not a terribly good one in my opinion.  I probably should have stopped listening after the first part.  The middle I did enjoy and probably the reason for the second star I am giving it.  I’m not quite sure what type of reader this book is meant for just that it most likely isn’t me.

My Rating:2 Stars

Born of Legend by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book Review

 


Born of Legend (The League, #9)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Romance

Book Series: The League #9

Released: 6/21/16 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 726 Price:$28.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

It is in the darkest hours of a universe’s past that their legends are born and their heroes rise…

No one knows exactly how much heart they have until their mettle is put to the hazard and they reach the lowest point of hell. There, they have only two choices. Lie down and die. Or find the strength to push themselves to their feet and fight back with everything they have.

Dagger is the alias that is used by Ushara’s husband, and the father of the twins, who is on the run for his life. This is his story and shows how he became a member of the Tavali and what happens to them after Born of Betrayal ends.

My Review:

Ms. Kenyon has done it again.  She has taken a long-standing villain, turning him into a hero, and made us fall in love with him all the while breaking our hearts over the life he has led.  If you are a fan of her Dark-Hunter series this is very similar to what she did with Acheron and Styxx.  Thank you, Ms. Kenyon, thank you for encouraging us to think about the people that we think of as evil or the enemy and realize that it is always a matter of perspective.  That they are often victims too.

This is a long book that covers a pretty long time frame, five years I believe, it also covers much of the same time period and events that have been focused on in previous books.  I know some might find this annoying, they want a fresh plot, I get that, but personally I enjoyed the rehashing.  Not only to it refresh my memory it also gives us that different perspective and lets us fully grasp what happen.  It gives us a bigger picture of the action that took place.  I appreciate that as a reader it truly lets me crawl inside this universe and experience it fully.

I loved this book, probably because I come from my own dysfunctional family I could easily identify with Dagger’s feeling of abandonment and isolation and resentment.  His anger and need for vengeance too.  It also made my heart soar to see him find a family that loved and appreciated him.  For me, it had been long enough from the earlier books that I didn’t remember all the crap Dagger did to his brothers so I found myself not feeling any resentment toward the character like I did with Styxx.  It was easy for me to warm up to him.  I loved Ushara and Val too.  I couldn’t imagine a better family for Dagger to end up with.

The next book is Bastien’s and from the reviews, I see there are quite a few disappointed readers on Goodreads.  I’m thinking the fault they are finding might not be such a big deal for me but it still gives me pause.  I am going to put a book or two between this and the next one.  Give myself a bit of time to forget the plot in this one so I don’t get annoyed by recovering so much of the same plot in that one.  This one however, was a great read and if you have ever felt like an outcast in your own family then you will appreciate Dagger’s story.

My Rating:5 Stars

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin Kiernan

Book Review

 


Agents of DreamlandBook Genre: Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 2/28/17 by Tor.com

Pages:112  Price: $2.99 E-Book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.

A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.

And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.

My Review:

Well, that was weird and I’m not quite sure what I just read.  It was science fiction that read more like a horror story (of which I usually steer clear of, not a fan of scary).  It almost felt like an episode of the X-Files or the Twilight Zone.  The story is short, however, which encouraged me to press on as I figured the book would need to get to the point pretty quick.  So stick with it as after three chapters I had a pretty good idea where the author was taking us.

The story jumps back and forth in time but the author is helpful in sharing the date of the current action at the beginning of each chapter.  Being a short story that is quite mysterious there isn’t much time to become invested in any character but I did find myself drawn to Signalman and could see a series of these short stories that feature him handling these strange cases.

I’m not quite sure what or if there was a point to the story, besides being entertaining, as the story is almost as mysterious at the end as it is at the beginning.  This is a book that holds its plot close as it slowly discloses what is going on.  It is one of those books that lingers in your mind as you try to figure out what the heck you just read.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Saturn Run by John Sandford, Ctein

Book Review

 


Saturn RunBook Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, audiobook

Book Series: None

Released: 10/6/15 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 486  Price: $28.00 hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source:  I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins—an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect—and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense.

My Review:

I seem to be on a science fiction kick lately and decided to borrow this one from my library last time I was in need of a new audiobook.  Have never read this author before and didn’t know much about the book beyond the synopsis sounded interesting.  Have to say it was a pretty entertaining listen and I’m glad it crossed my path.

First off if you are a fan of The Martian by Andy Weir then you will most likely enjoy this book too.  Saturn Run is a balanced blend of real scientific theory and science fiction.  The author shares at the end that they wanted this book to be as scientifically accurate as possible while delivering a compelling plot.  I do believe they succeeded.  Of course, much of the science went over my head but they did a wonderful job of delivering it as to make a science illiterate like me not feel too dumb. They also didn’t make the story too technical and threw in plenty of drama between the characters to keep most any reader entertained.

Being set in the near future much of what takes place is in a society that much of us will recognize, unfortunately not much has changed in regards to human maturity level as much of this book centers around the Chinese and American’s power struggle over this chance to control alien technology.  It was an interesting choice as to how the author’s dealt with the idea of alien races and in order to not spoil anything I’m not going to say more.  I was a tad disappointed but eventually warmed up to their choice as the most logical and plausible way humans will first interact with other species that call our galaxy home.

I didn’t find myself becoming as attached to any characters as I did in The Martian but did find a few souls to root for during the story.  I have to say though that this book was a far more interesting study in how we as a human race are our own worst enemy.  We need to get over the idea that we are all so different and realize we are all one species.  Until then much of what holds our society back will not be overcome.

Bottom line good read that makes you think and keeps you entertained.  I recommend.

 My Rating: 4 Stars

The Long War by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

Book Review

 


The Long War (The Long Earth, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Book Series: The Long Earth #2

Released: 6/18/13 by HarperCollins

Pages:426  Price: $9.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth – but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind… A new ‘America’, called Valhalla, is emerging more than a million steps from Datum Earth, with core American values restated in the plentiful environment of the Long Earth – and Valhalla is growing restless under the control of the Datum government…

Meanwhile the Long Earth is suffused by the song of the trolls, graceful hive-mind humanoids. But the trolls are beginning to react to humanity’s thoughtless exploitation… Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a gathering multiple crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any mankind has waged before.

My Review:

While I am enjoying this series I have to agree with other criticism that has been made about this book.  That this is an interesting story that is fairly lacking in plot.  The authors have a point (I hope) and seem to feel that it is going to take hundreds of pages and several volumes to get to the heart of the action.  Also, much of this second book feels as if it is simply setting up future books.  Not the first time, and probably not the last, that a second book simply feels like filler.

I had trouble getting into this second book mainly because I had to wait so long for my turn at the library’s copy.  If I had been able to dive right into this one after the first I might have had an easier time remembering who carried over from the first book and who was new.  Around half-way through I was invested enough in this storyline that it didn’t matter that much and I could follow what was going on.

Still, I did enjoy listening to this book as the authors continue to bring up interesting questions of what makes a society, or makes us human, and what would happen if the people were truly free.  The technology continues to fascinate me as well as the idea of exploring parallel Earths with slightly changing variables in its environment, history, and development.  The characters continue to be well-developed and I spend much of the time thinking who they might represent in our own society.  Even though this book was written in 2013 I have to say who the authors wrote as the President reminds me an awful lot of who is our current President-elect…  Not a pleasant indicator of what our country might be in for in the next four-year.

Even though this story felt as if it was all over the place, though still interesting, I am going to continue for one more book at least (last one offered in audio format at my library).  I did get my act together and requested it before finishing this book and able to start right away.  I’m going to see if that makes a difference or not.

My Rating:3 Stars

Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Book Review

 


Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Fantasy

Book Series: Old Man’s War

Released: 8/19/08 by Tor

Pages: 355 Price: $8.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did — how I did what I had to do — not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.

My Review:

I have mixed feelings about his addition to the Old Man’s War series.  I did like it but just a little less than the others I’ve read so far.  I have a couple of theories as to why that I will go into in a bit.  I’m glad I read it, however, and would suggest if this is your first time through the series that you do as well.  If I ever decide to reread this series I will probably skip this one, though.

So what held me back from loving this book.  The big issue for me was that this is the same story as the previous book but from a different POV.  While it did shed some light on the action that wasn’t shared in the other book what I just feel like I wouldn’t have missed much by not reading this one.  The other drawback for me was that is a YA book, it reads like YA, I found it annoying like YA… I’m over YA at this point in my life.

That being said, I did find it fascinating that Scalzi did an amazing job of channeling a 17-year-old girl.  Kudos to him.  The drama and angst that he showed through his writing is spot on.   A couple of new scenes dealing with Zoe’s boyfriend were simply heartbreaking and seeing what happen when she left the plant near the end were worth the read.  I don’t know if it needed to read a whole second book to get to those parts, however.

The book did make me want to take a break from the series.  The format is changing for the remaining two books, they were written as serial releases, and I think taking a break and then coming back to this world might make it easier to accept any new changes in formatting coming my way.  I still plan to finish up the series but just not right now.

My Rating: 3 Stars