Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: Assassin’s Creed: Origins: Desert Oath

Assassin’s Creed Origins: Desert Oath

Synopsis:
Before Assassin’s Creed: Origins, there was an Oath.

Egypt, 70BC, a merciless killer stalks the land. His mission: to find and destroy the last members of an ancient order, the Medjay – to eradicate the bloodline.

In peaceful Siwa, the town’s protector abruptly departs, leaving his teenage son, Bayek, with questions about his own future and a sense of purpose he knows he must fulfill.

Bayek sets off in search of answers, his journey taking him along the Nile and through an Egypt in turmoil, facing the dangers and the mysteries of the Medjay’s path.

Review:
Bayek wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Medjay, a protector of their ancient beliefs. But an assassin is hunting the last of the Medjay line, and will stop at nothing to exterminate them all.

Desert Oath is a prequel to the Assassin’s Creed Origins video game and set in Ancient Egypt. I don’t play video games, but I love the Assassin’s Creed series through the books, comics, and film. And despite being a prequel, this also works well as a standalone story. Though, I did look up who the historic Medjay were. The variety of historical time periods in Assassin’s Creed is one of the things I love about the series. The narrative switches between Bayek and the killer for the most part. The killer is ruthless and captivating. This original story is full of suspense and adventure and builds to an exciting finale.

SciFi Book Review: Terminal Alliance

Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines

Synopsis:
The Krakau came to Earth to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species. However, they happened to arrive after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. You know—your standard apocalypse.

The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn around and go home. (After all, it’s hard to have diplomatic relations with mindless savages who eat your diplomats.) Their second impulse was to try to fix us. Now, a century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone. Mostly.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is surprisingly bright (for a human). As a Lieutenant on the Earth Mercenary Corps Ship Pufferfish, she’s in charge of the Shipboard Hygiene and Sanitation team. When a bioweapon attack wipes out the Krakau command crew and reverts the rest of the humans to their feral state, only Mops and her team are left with their minds intact.

Escaping the attacking aliens—not to mention her shambling crewmates—is only the beginning. Sure, Mops and her team of space janitors and plumbers can clean the ship as well as anyone, but flying the damn thing is another matter.

As they struggle to keep the Pufferfish functioning and find a cure for their crew, they stumble onto a conspiracy that could threaten the entire alliance… a conspiracy born from the truth of what happened on Earth all those years ago.

Review:
Mops is a highly capable leader – not only of her custodial team. When the ship is under attack from within, Mops takes charge without hesitation. She also leads the investigation into what happened to her ship, which leads to a deeper conspiracy.

Terminal Alliance is the first in a fantastic, new science fiction series. Full of humor, suspense, and intrigue – this story has it all. The characters are fun and the dialog is sharp. It’s well-paced and hard to put down. With several great twists and plenty of action and adventure, SciFi fans will not want to miss this one.

SciFi Book Review: Steal the Stars

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy

Synopsis:
Dakota “Dak” Prentiss guards the biggest secret in the world.

They call it “Moss.” It’s your standard grey alien from innumerable abduction stories. It still sits at the controls of the spaceship it crash-landed eleven years ago. A secret military base was built around the crash site to study both Moss and the dangerous technology it brought to Earth.

The day Matt Salem joins her security team, Dak’s whole world changes.

It’s love at first sight―which is a problem, since they both signed ironclad contracts vowing not to fraternize with other military personnel. If they run, they’ll be hunted for what they know. Dak and Matt have only way to be together: do the impossible. Steal Moss and sell the secret of its existence.

And they can’t afford a single mistake.

Review:
Dak is the head of security for the a private organization, studying an alien within it’s crashed ship. When a new man joins, they fall in insta-love on the first day. And suddenly, the “no fraternization” rule is a problem. So, in order to be together these total strangers decide to run from all they know. Sure, it’s not realistic, but this is science fiction – so I can suspend disbelief.

Steal the Stars is based on a podcast by Mac Rogers. This is a fast-paced, thrilling read that doesn’t slow down. The characters are fun and the story is very exciting and dramatic. With the suspense building to a surprising finale – this is an unforgettable novel that most science fiction fans will enjoy.

Fantasy Book Review: The Axe of Sundering

Adventurers Wanted, Book 5: The Axe of Sundering by M. L. Forman

Synopsis:
Whalen Vankin is the worlds greatest wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and man of honor. The other is Jabez, Vankin’s nephew and a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path.

Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, battling their way through a goblin army, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez and protect the land from the dark wizards plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of Castle Conmar.

But Jabez has one final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion Stone, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.

Review:
Alex agrees to hunt Whalen’s wayward nephew in order to stop him from conquering the known lands. And Alex must find the Axe of Sundering, the only weapon that can help Alex take him down.

The Axe of Sundering is the final installment in the Adventures Wanted series. Alex has grown throughout the series, in confidence and abilities. And I’ll definitely miss the characters and the fun, fantasy world. This last story was an well-paced journey that led to a final battle with a surprising twist. With plenty of suspense, danger, and magic – this novel (like the others) was hard to put down. This YA series has been a favorite of mine – an exciting, epic fantasy adventure.

SciFi Book Review: The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

The Autobiography of Jean Luc Picard by David A. Goodman

Synopsis:
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard tells the story of one of the most celebrated names in Starfleet history. His extraordinary life and career makes for dramatic reading: court martials, unrequited love, his capture and torture at the hand of the Cardassians, his assimilation with the Borg and countless other encounters as captain of the celebrated Starship Enterprise.

Review:
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is one of the most fascinating characters in Star Trek. He has had a traumatic history, as well as a fascinating early life that, until now, we’ve only seen glimpses.

The novel begins with Picard’s early life on the vineyard, and choice to join Starfleet and make his own way – to the disappointment to his father. His early years at Starfleet and first appointments in the fleet are my favorite stories. The narrative flows well, and jumps ahead to the important times in his life – including his first time meeting Guinan and other individuals who he ends up asking to join his crew. There are brief glimpses through his years as Captain of the Enterprise, that are wonderful highlights and memories – as well as some darker ones, such as his capture by the Borg and Cardassians. Then, the book wraps up with his later years.

Since this was published by Titan and not Pocket Books, it’s obvious in some places that they chose not to abide by the canon already set by the novels, but by the television episodes and films only. But it wasn’t too far off other than the future years. The story flows very well. I thoroughly enjoyed the entirety. Even the familiar scenes didn’t get bogged down, but were fun to reminisce and were poignant. I highly recommend this engaging read for TNG fans.

Graphic Novel Review: Assassin’s Creed: Reflections

Assassin’s Creed: Reflections

Synopsis:
To mark 10 glorious years of Assassin’s Creed, Titan Comics are bringing together the franchise’s best-loved characters for a celebratory series like no other! Get ready for four brand new adventures starring fan-favorite assassins like Edward Kenway and Altaïr, along with the series’ celebrated Renaissance roof-crawler, Ezio Auditore da Firenze!

Review:
Juhani Oslo Berg has recently become the Black Cross, and is looking into various former Assassins in the Abstergo files. He decides to learn from the Assassins in order to adapt practices for the Templars.

This standalone graphic novel collects stories from The Caribbean in 1722, France in 1519, the Mongolian Empire, and early native America. Each is a unique, exciting story with beautiful artwork and engaging characters. This anniversary collection is written by Ian Edginton, and is sure to entertain any Assassin’s Creed fan, even those new to the series.

SciFi Book Review: Freefall

Freefall by Joshua David Bellin

Sysnopsis:
In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated planet Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and is 99% of rejects.

Then Cam sees a banned video feed of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight though the feed directly at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.

When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.

Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?

Review:
Cam is one of the privileged, living above the post-apocalyptic Earth. And when his ship leaves, he’s convinced he’ll never see Sofie again – as her “Lowerworld” ship is headed towards another planet. But when Cam wakes up after 1,000 years have passed, he’s not at the utopia that was expected. Instead, it’s a scary, dark place with dangerous creatures.

Freefall is an exciting, YA science fiction adventure with plenty of romance – at least from Cam’s point of view. Cam’s puppy love is decidedly one-way, as he “falls in love” from afar. The story is told from 2 time periods, as alternating chapters. As we get Cam and Sophie’s backstory, the future on a distant planet unfolds as well.

This was a dramatic and thrilling story. I thoroughly enjoyed the surprising plot twists and suspense. And great pacing leads to a finale that comes too soon to this impressive, standalone story.

SciFi Book Review: Children of the Fleet

Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card

Synopsis:
Ender Wiggin won the Third Formic war, ending the alien threat to Earth. Afterwards, all the terraformed Formic worlds were open to settlement by humans, and the International Fleet became the arm of the Ministry of Colonization, run by Hirum Graff. MinCol now runs Fleet School on the old Battle School station, and still recruits very smart kids to train as leaders of colony ships, and colonies.

Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid. Top of his class in every school. But he doesn’t think he has a chance at Fleet School, because he has no connections to the Fleet. That he knows of. At least until the day that Colonel Graff arrives at his school for an interview.

Review:
Dabeet, a gifted and brilliant child, decides he wants to go to Fleet School. And as he plans for his future and speaks with Colonel Graff, Graff shares shocking news with Dabeet. Meanwhile, a covert plan is revealed that could endanger Dabeet and everyone at the Fleet School.

Children of the Fleet is a story set during the Ender’s Shadow series. The Formic wars have ended, but there is still a lot of nervousness and suspicion. I’ve read most of Card’s novels in this universe. And this novel reminds me a lot of his original Ender’s Game. Dabeet is a genius, but not as humble and likable as Ender. Though Dabeet does go through a lot of growth during the story. It’s not fast-paced, but it does flow well and builds to an exciting finale. The plot is character-driven with engaging characters that kept me pulled into the story. And the intrigue was fascinating and complex. This was a fun, standalone story set in a fantastic universe.