Unpopular review time! Or maybe not, I don’t know. The thing is, I didn’t love “Throne of Glass” the way most people do. Hell, I barely LIKED it at times, and that’s primarily because of the books main character, Celaena. Sure, she’s a strong young woman, who is deadly and can hold her own against any man there is, but she’s just not all that likeable. You see, Celaena is an assassin, and at seventeen years old, she’s not just any assassin, but the best in the world. Then she’s betrayed and spends a year as a slave working the salt mines where most people barely survive a month. She’s beaten, and on the cusp of being broken, when the crown prince of the kingdom that is methodically conquering the rest of the world, comes and whisks her away. His plan is to have her become the King’s Champion—basically just another name for government sanctioned assassin—deposing of all the king’s enemies. If she can do that faithfully for four years, she will win her freedom from the same man who made her a slave to begin with. With a backstory like that, I should root for this girl. She should be instantly likeable and you want her to kick butt and win against all odds, and she does, except she’s painfully arrogant and kind of forgets she was a SLAVE when two pretty boys walk into her life.
This book has Jason Bourne vibes all over it: the best “gun for hire” out there suddenly finds himself on the other side of the sniper’s scope. He doesn’t know who put the contract out on him or for what offense—he’s a legend in his field, so the list of people who want our main character dead is pretty long. If Eidolon—also known as John, which, admittedly, is less intimidating—wants to stay alive, he has to figure out who put the contract out on him, and make them remove the hit, and hopefully before the people who have unexpectedly gotten close to him get hurt. This is a killer with some morals, after all. And, ultimately, if you like military action books with a Bourne and a sort of spy vs. spy vibe, then this is going to be a fast paced, fun read for you. But there are some trigger warnings!
Talk about an epic space opera! “Luska”, the first in the Spearfinger series, is a robust story, both in terms of the world building, the amount of developed characters the reader is introduced to, and the far reaching conflict that is introduced. The story starts with the caretakers of the galaxy, the Idrix, being wiped out leaving a power vacuum that disrupts the once peaceful balance the galaxy had been in. Now the different factions that feel neglected or who chaff under a perceived yoke of servitude, rise up and cause wide spread havoc which gives the perfect cover to an even worse threat to come in. An ancient god-like race that is firmly anti-alien threatens everyone and everything, and only a few people are in a position to do anything about it. You can tell just from that really brief synopsis that this is a complex world and story, which I am all for—most of the time.
So, “Starry Messenger” paints itself as a story about a benevolent alien coming to save the world from the forces that have infiltrated it, that have set it on the path to self-annihilation. The world may appear to be this idyllic place on the surface, a near utopian, but it’s all just a smoke screen to distract from the fact that it’s far from perfect. Only a race of aliens, that are chosen by a supreme being to protect its favorite little fledgling planet—Earth—know the truth. They are sent to discover why humans haven’t progressed the way they should and haven’t joined the other enlightened races in the stars to live in true peace. This is where our main character Quentin comes in. He’s the one sent to find out what’s up with these earthlings, and in the process, discovers the true evil, and then falls in love. It’s an interesting twist on the whole aliens coming to Earth idea, but I personally found the characters to be a bit flat and the story ends rather abruptly.
At first I thought “Hell Holes” was going to be a science fiction novella given the cast of main characters are all scientists or researches in the natural sciences. And, admittedly, the first half of the book feels like a true science fiction as the characters explain the science and their reasoning for what the mysterious holes popping up all over Alaska could be or what may be causing them. Then it takes a pretty hard left into pure horror/paranormal action. “Hell Holes” starts off as a quest for answers about these holes and what can be done to keep them from interrupting a lucrative Alaskan oil line, then ends on a high speed chase across the tundra as the scientists are hunted down by all manner of hell-spawn and demons. Was I disappointed by this turn? Not really. But I was taken by surprise.
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