Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2017-03-04 06:24:09 UTC
This is Stweart's second "Duchy of Terra" book. In book one,
Earth was conquered by the squid-like A!Tol, and Annette Bond
was sent off by the falling government to privateer the A!Tol
imperium, scavange their tech and try to come up with a way to
liberate Earth. While she made some progress, she eventually
came to the realization that it was an impossible task, and
the realization, after seeing the Galactic neighboorhood, that
Earth was going to be conquered by *someone* and if you were
going to be someone's colony, you'd pick the British (A!Tol)
rather than the Belgians (Kanzi). By the time she came to
this conclusion, she was in a position to do the A!Tol a
big favor before standing down, and that resulted in Earth
coming into the empire as a self-governing "Duchy" with
Bond as Duchess.
Book two starts with Bond trying to make a go of the proposition.
Sentiment on Earth is generally not in the empire's favor, Earth's
defense forces have gone underground with a sabotage and guerrilla
warfare campaign, Duchy status means *expensive* military obligations
to the Empire, and the Kanzi are nosing around the borders.
The only way Bond can possibly make it work is if her former lover
and system's richest man is still alive (all evidence says he's not),
she can repatriate the profits from her stint as a privateer (she did
not leave on good terms with those owing her the swag), she can get
a break from the Imperial defense contractors (she killed a prominent
member of their first family) and hold off the Kanzi long enough for
the Imperial fleet to arrive (she just lost two of her only three capital
ships). What could go wrong?
This is an entertaining book, nicely balanced between space battles and
_Forced Compliance_ (The Galactic Outlaws Book 1) by Bradford Bates
Han S---, um that is Captain Drake has a problem. His engineer has
been kidnapped and is being held in a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
After a daring rescue and escape the aftermath means the crew needs a
new job quick, but an unexpected betrayal leads them into being stuck
on a run to Earth with a very odd cargo. Meanwhile, in a parallel story,
a young waitress makes the mistake of getting involved in an alley fight
and ends up with her life forever altered, and in her case forever might
be a long long time.
I'm kind of "meh" on this one. As is often the case lately, the setting
seems very Star Wars/Firefly derived. We also have a bit of clumsy
characterization here with the smuggler-with-a-heart-of-gold and his crew
of misfits along with an awkward bit of love interest. The second storyline
is less appealing and would, I think, be more effective if just sprung
on the reader as it was on the crew. Still it's two elements you don't
often see mixed.
"Descent" (A Trenton Investigations Novella) by Felicia Beasley
This story introduces Lex Trenton a struggling detective with a famous
infernal father and a missing brother. To make ends meet, she takes a job
from a annoyingly aluring incubus to rescue a succubus from Sheol.
As usual in these matters, things are not quite as they seem, nobody's
motives are clear and the damsel in distress is pretty darn dangerous.
This is a bit of fairly well executed UF. The standard bit of "I must
drive this man away because he deserves better" was unfortunate.
but the story did have it's amusing aspects, such as the "well, I guess we
have no option but to have a threesome with the succubus" scene.
A novel is upcoming; I will probably buy it.
_Blightmare_ (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 5) by A. J. Aalto
After a very disappointing book 4, Marnie is back home trying to get
her life together (or "running Marnie 3.0" as she puts it). Sunk
in grief, she is surrounded by a group of friends who don't give up
on her, and gradually pull her out of her shell enough to go back to
work and have some some semblance of a normal life (or whatever that means
for a physic & vampire's daysitter). Aside from an important upcoming funeral,
Marnie also has the new worry that she may be becoming a were of some
sort and her newest client may be an evil stalker (though *Marnie's* stalker
is another person entirely..)
It's nice to see Marnie (and I think Aalto) in a better place and for
Harry to have more space to be Harry. I do wish that we were shut of
a certain matter I thought we were shut of in the previous book and that
Marnie's case and client were somehow related to ongoing events.
_Sweet Venom_ (A Venin Assassin Novel Book 1) by Gena D. Lutz
Cassis Dark is a Spider Venin. That is, though human looking, she
has poison fangs can cling to walls and do some sort of psychic
web. Apparently there are many different Venin types in the world.
Her bestie is a Scorpion Venin whose long hair can sting like a
scorpion's tail (yes, pretty much as silly as it sounds). Along
with the various Venins, you have your standard vampires, werewolves
At story's start, Cassis has just escaped bondage from an evil queen
(of what exactly is unclear) by dint of suddenly coming of age and
having her fangs come down. Now living on her own, she is on a mission
to rescue the fey sister of her landlord which involves crashing a
fey party with the amazingly attractive werewolf she just met at an
At least this was short as it was not very good. There was a lot
that was confusing and unclear, including a mystifying flashback
that interrupted the action for no good reason, the statuses of the
various races (are all vampires bad? Does the queen rule some of
the fey? All of them?), and some that was just bad, like the immediate
and undying love of the werewolf for someone he just met. I don't
think I will be checking out book 2.
_Dragon Bond_ by Ruby Lionsdrake
Let's admire that penname for a minute..
Sometime's Amazon's recommendations for me slide a bit far into Paranormal
Romance, and this was one such case. On a second world apparently unrelated
to our Earth, the human population has just suffered an invasion of dragons
who hopped a dimensional portal to get away from inter-dragon strife on
*their* world. After years of fighting hopless battles, the humans have
finally harnessed magic sword technology that gives them a fighting
chance. In the meantime, one dragon is starting to have doubts about the
whole "kill all the humans" thing, and is sent to the salt mines for his
troubles, magiced into human form to make the punishment worse. A year
later the humans' greatest general is making a raid on that same mining
prision camp to free the human slaves.
Did I mention that humanity's greatest general is a woman? Did I mention
that the human form the dragon is stuck in is a man? You see where this
is going, and it goes there well enough, but it's definitely a romance
which means fairly short shrift for the other characters (though not as
bad as some: there actually is some action and character development).
The story ends with the overall situation unresolved, so there could be
more books. I won't be buying them, but if this is the kind of thing you
like, you'll like it.
_Lynch's Legacy: A House Divided_ (Spineward Sectors: Middleton's Pride 6)
by Caleb Wachter
The Middleton subseries, away from the main Jason Montagne sequence of
Spineward Sectors books by Wachter's brother continues..
After the events in the previous book resulted in Middleton's team
being split, this book follows Lt. McKnight and her crew working for
the enigmatic "Lynch" to insert themselves into Empire of MAN politics
while making sure that the MAN core fragment known as "Archie" does not
fall into the wrong (that is to say "any") hands.
We get some unexpected deaths in this installment (though possibly one
of them is not final), and some not altogether convincing pep talks.
I like the direction of this part of Middleton's crew a bit more than
I like the storyline in alternate books where it follows Middleton himself.
The storyline here where we gradually get to see a bit more of the Empire
is more interesting than Middleton's storyline about wandering around the
Wachter still has a few annoying tics, largely I think with verbs and adverbs
though I would have to go back and re-read to pin that down further. I read
past it, but some won't.
(For some reason, I have an awful time with the name 'Wachter'. I probably
typed it 3 different ways above at one time or another).
What's not in Columbia anymore..
What's not in Columbia anymore..