Review: Tommy Hopps and the Aztecs by Vic Connor


Publisher: IBPA

Publishing Date: December 2016

ISBN: 9782970074700

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.6/5

Publishers Description: When he takes a family vacation to Mexico City, Tommy Hopps is just a normal, fourteen-year-old kid — but that’s all about to change. Sleeping soundly in his family’s hotel room, Tommy is awoken by a ghostly presence: a threadbare pirate. When the unusual intruder attacks his parents, Tommy fights back … and gets transported to the Aztec Empire in the year 1521. He finds himself all alone in a strange world. Bizarrely, a few Aztecs seem to recognize him — as someone else. Pursued by warriors, strange creatures, and a mysterious woman who claims to be his wife, Tommy must rely on himself to survive while searching for a way to return to the present.

Review: This was made for young teens but at times is pretty graphic what with hearts being yanked out of chests and what not.

This was a pretty good read: Nice movement, good world building and average character development.  Tommy is a bit dumb at times…almost too dumb to be believable and the supporting cast was not very well developed due to the story line being devoted to the “Tommy Show”. Silence and Puma are built fairly well but we never get to go too deep into their pasts to generate much interest in them.

 I am not sure what direction this series is going to go, but I may hang out for the ride. 


Review: The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley


Publisher: Saga

Publishing Date: February 2017

ISBN: 9781481447935

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.1/5

Publishers Description: Anat, leader of the Katazyrna world-ship and the most fearsome raiding force on the Outer Rim, wants peace. To do so she offers the hand of her daughter, Jayd, to her rival. Jayd has dreamed about leading her mother’s armies to victory her whole life—but she has a unique ability, and that makes her leverage, not a leader. 

Review: This should have been titled “Lesbians in Space!” or ” A Mote in the Eye of Lesbos”. How giant living ships (worlds) in space are able to spawn only women and how those women are bearing children is and remains a mystery. Yet it is a relevant mystery as it is central to the theme of the novel. So you are asked to chork it down like fried deer liver, and damn it, just ignore the taste.

Overall this reading experience was like being thrown in a pool of Nazi piranhas. Death by a million socialist bites. Very long storyline, very boring characters and every scene is a dumb mystery of “things not spoken” and descriptors that fail to enhance. Your creative consciousness needs some form of cogent detail to generate  visualizations based on your own perspectives. With “The Stars” you barely get off the finger painting level of imagination. You are asked to gift imaginative license to the authors sense of world building without the means to construct it yourself, hence plying a road that is often dun colored.

The characters were flat as they had so much pre-history between them, that they were soon relegated to this surmised and hidden relationship and not unfolding as they should with the movement. This sense of limited discovery blunts the storyline to the point of frustration.  

Although this is a highly imaginative work it fails at the hard science that is the basis for hard science fiction. You are asked to accept this world without explanation and in the process it loses a big chunk of believability. The characters are ruminating about not knowing why this or that works, just that it does. A fairly weak out for a supposed accomplished author.

Read this while shaving baboons. 


Review: Betrayal: A Red Dog Thriller


Publisher: Blou Bryant

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9781535261319

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.8/5

Publishers Description: Transformed by a rogue AI and attacked by an evil oligarch, Wyatt has been forced into hiding for three years. His ability to alter the genetic code of others, to heal and harm, has been nothing but a curse to him. When most of the Red Dogs that have sheltered him are kidnapped, he has no choice but to rejoin society and fight to free them. All that stands in his way is a gang of drug dealers, the Detroit Police, his old nemesis Jessica and her psychotic drug using Watchers.

Review: The first book in this series, “Catalyst” was pretty good. Wyatt was thrust into a scenario as a high schooler without a lick of world experience and you were left tumbling around the storyline with him. In “Betrayal”, Wyatt and his band of misfits (Red Dogs) are just a little too good to be true. The visceral tenacity of the characters that was wholly evident in the first novel is absent in this installment. 

Wyatt has become this reluctant leader/hero and is a bit too altruistic for my tastes. The twins are frickin’ speshul and don’t deliver a dynamic impact as intimated throughout the novel. Telling everyone how badass and special they are does not a character make. The fight scenes are poorly manufactured and just do not make sense most of the time.  They are long and drawn out and because of this they lack believability. At one point Criggs is shooting at Wyatt as he runs across a field in pursuit. Wyatt is not sure how many bullets are in the clip and panic ensues when Criggs keeps pulling on the trigger to the sound of an empty chamber. Are semi-automatic pistols now double action or do revolvers now have clips? Is this some sort of futuristic gun that was never defined adequately?

Jessica, the evil hottie with an ariticial intelligence super-imposed upon her psyche, is now this Uber rich weirdo that plays games from a distance. I missed the fupped up psychopath that was always directly in Wyatts’ face with her creepy mannerisms.

Like most promising series, the authors start veering away from what made them popular and reside in the formulaic safe-zone. As this was a big disappointment from the first novel, I may skip any subsequent novels in this series.