Book Review: The Hierophant’s Daughter by MF Sullivan

 

Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Painted Blind

ISBN: 9780996539579

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.6/5

Publisher’s Description: By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind’s inter-generational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

Spoiler Alert!

Review: Just when you think things are moving along nicely, these staged and unbelievable instances occur. You are left in the void, scratching your head at the fuked up non-sequitur’s that litter the story line. Well technically they are not “non-sequitur’s” but still follow an illogical pathway. Take for instance the hospital scene in Japan where one of Dominia’s enemies has somehow infiltrated into a hospital as a surgeon setting up an elaborate scenario that entails fooling other Doctors, killing everyone in the hospital, changing anesthesia compounds to render Dominia inert while expounding upon his (their) evilly designs (MUAHAHAHA!!!) .

IF, you can swallow all that nonsense and the others that precede and follow this scene, then you got more guts than a male praying mantis. Plot devices can work but usually are utilized as a vehicle that hides a lack of creative scene development.

The other problem this novel has is saying the word….Vampire. Nowhere is it ever mentioned like a booger hanging out of your nose. The Martyrs are of the un-dead, live almost forever, need human blood to survive and will die if in the sun too long. Check, check, check and check….Vampire. Did the author not want to relegate her masterpiece to the common genre via naming conventions? In my world a spade is a spade, so why not call it another fucking vampire novel. Oh, but just not any vampire novel…..it is a Gay vampire novel. So why no sparkles?

This could have been a brilliant novel. A burgeoning writing talent with some great twists on an old idea. Sadly there were too many plot devices coupled with stuttering scene progression that placed the novel squarely in “douche wagon” mode. Additionally there is A LOT of backstory to wade through. No really, A LOT OF BACKSTORY to wade through. I am not kidding.

I wanted to DNF this novel but was curious about whether the main character would evolve or continue to spiral down into the gay vampire mourning/romance thing.

(Pssst, it’s the latter).

Advertisements

Book Review: In Between the Stars by A.A. Ripley

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Matador

ISBN:9781789012057

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher’s Description: What is alien and what is normal? To Inan, she’s just a girl on her homeworld, yet she dreams of travelling to the stars and experiencing all the adventures they promise. Dream is all she can do, as her people’s customs forbid girls to face dangers – especially among the stars. Instead of adventures, they are expected to serve their families as leaders and never take personal risks. But that is about to change as Inan’s life takes a sudden turn.

Review: Do you think that aliens have the same thought processes and emotional trains of thought that humans do? I think that most authors tend to write from the perspective that we are all children of this one universe and that we have evolved much the same intellectually as well as emotionally. At least for brevity’s sake and the ease in writing not too complicated novels. I get that there is a design to connect to a large audience with the story line being the main focus at the expense of the “alieness” of the characters. As an example, take Inan who is basically a young human woman that has been morphed into a lizard like alien being while retaining her humanistic emotional qualities and thought processes.

Did it work? Yeeeeah, kinda. There is plenty of good movement, well done tech without in-depth explanations and great world building. Kind of reminded me of Brian Daley’s work “Hobart Floyt-Alacrity Fitzhugh Adventures”, only with 2 aliens. Inan and the other aliens just never come off as “alien” enough and gift us with patterned responses to all the stimuli.

This is an expected series of which I will probably pursue.

Book Review: Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy by Joshua S. Levy

 

Publishing Date: March 2019

Publisher: Lerner

ISBN:9781541528109

Genre: SciFi/YA

Rating: 3.0/5

Publisher’s Description: PSS 118 is just your typical school—except that it’s a rickety old spaceship orbiting Jupiter. When the school is mysteriously attacked, thirteen-year-old Jack receives a cryptic message from his father (the school’s recently-fired-for-tinkering-with-the-ship science teacher). Amidst the chaos, Jack discovers that his dad has built humanity’s first light-speed engine—and given Jack control of it. To save the ship, Jack catapults it hundreds of light-years away and right into the clutches of the first aliens humans have ever seen. School hasn’t just gotten out: it’s gone clear across the galaxy. And now it’s up to Jack and his friends to get everyone home.

Review: A fun read with the usual teen angst/heroes surrounded by a Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy kind of vibe. You will not get any resolution with this novel as it is poised for a series.

Book Review: Enceladus Mission by Brandon Q. Morris

 

 

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Hard Science Fiction

ISBN: 9783947283293

Genre: SciFI

Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher’s Description: In the year 2031, a robot probe detects traces of biological activity on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. This sensational discovery shows that there is indeed evidence of extraterrestrial life. Fifteen years later, a hurriedly built spacecraft sets out on the long journey to the ringed planet and its moon.

Review: Reviewers on the down side of this novel said there was too much info-dumping or too much hard science. Well la-ti-da. Hard science fiction is what built the genre. Remember Ringworld? It is really a waste of time to consider reviews that lack an awareness of the principal aspects that founded their current interest.  If it is not romance slathered scifi or concepts that verge on Fantasy without explanation, then millennial readers quickly lose interest. Yeah, thinking is just soooo hard.

Even if hard Sci-fi is not your cuppa joe, there is some really good character development and world building to ease the headache in your brain. Most of the novel is viewed through the eyes of Martin. Martin is a bit socially inept and lacks a certain depth in the compassion department. He grows emotionally through the rigors of a long journey and that is a testament to the writer’s skill.

I am really looking forward to the next installment if only to see what happens to Marchenko.

 

Book Reviews: Hell Divers IV by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Blackstone

ISBN: 9781538557105

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Sea Wolf sets out to search for the Metal Islands. Leading the expedition is legendary Hell Diver Xavier Rodriguez. After enduring for a decade on the poisoned surface, his survival skills will be put to the test on the dangerous open seas.

Review: If you have a hard time suspending your disbelief in lieu of a factual story line….forget reading this series. But….if you like a Doc Savage-esque modern rendition of over-the-top action and unbelievable scenarios then hop on board the Silly Train.

X (Xavier Rodriguez) is a manly mans-man with manly mannerisms steeped in vitriol. He has a penchant for revenge laced violence while sacrificing self in order to save the ones he loves….. or kinda likes.  He is constantly wounded yet battles through the pain to overcome all manner of beasties including teeth clacking cannibals.

So while I was picking the corn out my shjt I noticed a few firearm fails and the impossibility of new species born of the nuclear holocaust after only 200 years. Godzilla could not be reached for comment  so grain of salt and all that.

Giving this novel a good review rating is like admitting you like disco music. But dammit, whats not to like about giant mutant octopi, armored hog/wolves, crazed laser shooting robots and man-sized predacious vultures?

Book Review: Ruin by Karl Radle

Publishing Date: September 2018

Publisher: Karl Radle

ISBN: 9781540225549

Genre: SciFi/Horror

Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher’s Description: Kano, a human soul placed in an artificial body, is surrounded by fools. Unable to comprehend her brilliance, they insist on dragging her into their nonsense as she wanders the absurd, violent world. Plagued by memories that belonged to a very different her, she leaves a wave of spontaneous havoc in her wake.

Review: Self-published, really?  Somebody get this author a publishing deal!

I am not a fan of the horror genre, i.e. ghouls, the undead, necromancers blah, blah, blah. That said, this novel has many of that genres descriptors but none of the base fantasy. See the beasties, wierdos and mechs are rooted in SCIENCE! Yes, beautiful science that is but a reflection of God’s countenance.

“So why you no give 5 star!?”. Welll…….at about the 75% mark, it started to get really dialogue heavy, and not in a good way. When every interaction is explained in authorial ‘asides”, then the story line tends to drag a bit with long winded diatribe. The ending is abrupt and does not suit an audience that is left bereft of satisfaction in all its glorious finality.

This is a quirky novel that initially pulled you in with a sense of mystery coupled with great movement. You hang in there knowing questions will be answered, like why is Kano such a megalomaniacal asshat who treats everyone around her like mere flies to be swatted. She definitely is either off her rocker, or this novel follows an un-dead Avenger comic story line. So which is it?

I would give this a shot in hopes that Kano begins a long quest on her own to get,…… you-know-what.

 

Book Review: Jack Jetstark’s Intergalactic Freakshow by Jennifer Lee Rossman

Publishing Date: December 2018

Publisher: World Weaver

ISBN: 9781732254633

Genre: Scifi

Rating: 2.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Jack Jetstark travels the universe to seek out the descendants of superpowered freaks created long ago by VesCorp scientists. The vibrations encoded in a particular song transform the members of Jack’s crew into a firebreather and an angel, a wildman and telepathic conjoined triplets, so they hide the truth of who they really are with the theatrics of a carnival.

Review: This was sometimes compelling, consistently erratic and disappointing in delivery.

This needed a heavy dose of editing to winnow out the wandering chaff, create a cogent story line and imbue a semblance of logical progression where/when needed. Not that you can’t follow the story line as it is not very complex, it just leaves you to fill in the gaps or accept that things have changed without explanation. Not incredibly intrusive but just enough to leave you scratching your head. Take for instance Jack’s sudden turn at being a revolutionary leader making grandiose speeches when moments ago he was a carnival ring leader. Or that his revolutionary love just can’t stop loving power more, but is self-aware enough to know it but does nothing about it. Just begs someone else to kill her. Huh?

The idea of varying genetic constructs that exist in the Universe is truly compelling. These abilities are showcased in full yet lack a sense of poignancy as they are left drifting among base emotions on a back drop of patterned hero noir. Yes, ol’ Jack is a reluctant hero with shades of moral ambiguity, alienated from society and a generally poor outlook. But boy does he rise from the ashes of self-pity only to find regret, betrayal and recrimination. Ho hum.

At the end of the day I could not decide if this was SciFi or Fantasy. The SciFi aspect was not rendered in enough detail to make you say “Wow, this Universe is plausible.”? There is just a high level of reader acceptance built in. “Hey, don’t go asking questions….just have some fun.” Yeah who cares if a whole city can float, or that fuel? is used for inter-galactic travel or that moons have habitable atmospheres or that people can teleport if so genetically inclined. Right?

For a first novel this is pretty good and shows some creative talent. Someone just needed to have a honest conversation with this author about why this novel needs some in-depth editing to make a salable and cogent read.  The turning point that took this novel into average-ville is when Jack takes on a demeanor that really doesn’t fit well or match what we know about the man. These shifts in story line from purveying freaks to grungy locals for a dime, to Dudley Doorite, just seemed a bit too easy of an out. What Jack and his cohorts lacked was depth and sadly, I just didn’t care what happened to them.