No Hero, by Jonathan Wood
Police detective Arthur Wallace is hunting a bizarre serial killer, when he stumbles upon a murder in progress. But the murder he witnesses turns out to be a strange tentacled being. Then, a secret government agency inducts Arthur into their small group of world-defenders against the parasitic Progeny. Overwhelmed and out of his element, Arthur doesn’t think he has what it takes, so his mantra becomes “What would Kurt Russell do?” But Arthur will have to step up and become a hero if he wants to stop the Progeny and uncover the mole in the organization.
Arthur is an average guy, but a good detective. His teammates have exceptional gifts, but he’s thrust into the leadership role. Wood creative world blends science fiction and fantasy with the tentacled Progeny race from another dimension. His characters are mysterious without a lot of background. The focus is all on the fast-paced, action-packed, storyline. Packed with humor and excitement, it reads like an action film. Like a British, science fiction version of a Kurt Russell action film. No Hero is highly imaginative and entertaining, with plenty of twists and surprises.
Starfleet Academy: The Gemini Agent, by Rick Barba
As final exams come around, so do hazing rituals and pranks. But as one prank turns almost deadly for a certain Russian wiz kid, the evidence points to Kirk as the culprit. Though the allegations seem absurd, there happens to be a night when Kirk blacked out, with several hours unaccounted for. Bones, Uhurah, and a new Vulcan friend team up to figure out what really happened, and clear Kirk’s name. Kirk’s entire future depends on them proving his innocence.
In this latest installment of the young adult Starfleet Academy series, a sixteen-year-old Chekov joins the cast of characters. He’s years younger than his classmates, thanks to his genius intellect. But that brings about new problems, when it comes to girls. Returning in this story are of course Kirk, Bones, Uhura, and Spock. Uhura and Spock begin to form a closer relationship, crossing into a personal level. Though these novels do not need to be read in order, as they are completely stand-alone stories, it’s fun to see the gradual character progression.
An interesting Romulan spy plot is integral to the story. And while it’s blatantly obvious who the spy is, there are a couple of unexpected twists along the way. Full of adventure, intrigue and romance, The Gemini Agent is a fun and fast-paced addition to a fantastic new series. Taking place during the academy days from the latest film, this an entertaining read for Star Trek fans of all ages. I can’t get enough of this series.
The Comet’s Curse, by Dom Testa
In the distant future, a passing comet has left behind a deadly pollutant in Earth’s atmosphere. Bhaktul’s disease is fatal for all humans, but only takes effect in adulthood. In the search for a cure, one scientist devises an idea to send a group of young people to another planet where they can live free of the deadly disease and allow a future for humanity. Only 251 teenagers are sent in the impressive ship Galahad. Together, these teenagers must survive and thrive in order to reach their destination and keep humanity alive.
The teen characters are mature and responsible beyond their years, forced into leadership and adulthood early. The ship’s computer is an artificial intelligence named Roc who runs and maintains the ship itself. Roc is just as much a character as any of the humans, having a personality and sense of humor. Testa’s characters are well-developed and complex with strong motivations.
First in a science fiction series for young adults, this installment focuses on character-building, the backstories of the crew and ship, and a mystery on the ship itself. This is a fairly short, fast-paced read with plenty of suspense and drama. Skillfully blending space opera and a thrilling mystery, science fiction fans of all ages will enjoy this fantastic story.
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, by Kenneth Oppel
Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are identical twins and best friends. Along with their friends Elizabeth and Henry, the boys discover a secret room in their home full of forbidden books of alchemy. Their father tells them to stay away from the banned library. But when Konrad falls deathly ill, Victor will go to the ends of the earth and risk life and limb to find a cure for his brother. Even if it means turning to the dangerous craft of alchemy.
Told from Victor Frankenstein’s point of view, the readers get a glimpse into the legendary doctor’s past and his motivations. He is a seemingly average boy, with a brewing jealousy of his brother. In fact, even in his failings, Victor is an extremely believable and sympathetic character. His initial motivations are genuine to help his brother, but with the lengths that he goes to – we begin to see the stirrings of the man he will become. Oppel’s characters are beautifully rich and complex.
This Dark Endeavor is a completely captivating and engaging coming-of-age tale. Flawlessly blending mild horror, drama, and adventure, this young adult novel is a must read for classic horror fans. Full of suspense, chills, and a bit of romance – this is edge-of-your-seat excitement from beginning to end.
Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever, by Greg Cox
Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering work at a top-secret storage facility called Warehouse 13. This warehouse is home to historical and supernatural artifacts. It’s the job of Pete and Myka to search for rogue artifacts that are lost or misused and bring them back to be archived. Pete and Myka’s latest assignment takes them to a carnival where a woman seems to be healing people of all sorts of ailments with the help of a mysterious glove. Meanwhile, the other glove has another sort of power. And the man using it is spreading disease and death.
I’m a sucker for a good tie-in, and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. Based on the popular show on Syfy, Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever takes the characters on an all new adventure. The characters are just as fun and engaging as on television. While Pete and Myka are off hunting, the rest of the folks back home have to deal with their own catastrophe. With plenty of suspense, humor and adventure, fans of the show will love this tie-in. Fast-paced and action-packed, this was absolute excitement and entertainment from beginning to end.
Star Trek Voyager: Children of the Storm, by Kirsten Beyer
“YOU WERE TOLD NOT TO RETURN TO OUR SPACE.”
After the alien race known only as the Children of the Storm decimated the Borg, they told the Federation not to return to their space. But the Federation wants to make sure the Children of the Storm wont be a future threat. Fleet Commander Afsarah Eden and Captain Chakotay of Voyager leads a mission to the Delta Quadrant to discover why the three Federation ships were attacked by the Children of the Storm and what happened to them. Their only hope lies in discovering what the Children of the Storm want and what their motivations are.
The story takes place after last year’s Destiny trilogy. Told from various characters points of view on various ships, the timeline follows both Voyager in the “present.” While the Quirinal, Planck, and Demeter follow an older timeline, leading up to the Voyager’s present, and providing a suspenseful mystery along the way. As with Beyer’s previous Voyager novels, the main characters are spot on, yet have grown and developed quite a bit since the show.
This latest Voyager novel is a bit grander than previous installments, encompassing the story of several ships over a longer period of time. It’s a complex story, woven together skillfully. With plenty of mystery, drama, adventure, and heart, Voyager fans will not be disappointed. Even though Voyager has returned home, I’m glad their adventures haven’t ended.
Heaven’s Shadow, by David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt
Years ago an object was spotted in space, thought to be an asteroid of some kind and dubbed Keanu. As the immense object approaches Earth, two space shuttles are sent to investigate. But when the astronauts arrive, they soon discover the object is not a lifeless rock. And Keanu has been sent to Earth with a purpose.
With the feel of a science fiction/horror classic, Goyer and Cassutt have created an incredibly dynamic near future alien contact story, shrouded in mystery and suspense. With a large ensemble cast, each is well-developed and full of complexities. Warner Bros. has already acquired the rights to a movie deal, to be written and directed by Goyer. The novel certainly reads like an action-packed thriller. And it’s easy to the promise in this forthcoming trilogy.
This first installment sets up the characters and first contact with the mysterious aliens. Full of danger, tension, surprises, and chills, science fiction fans will definitely want to check out this exciting new release. Edge-of-your-seat-excitement meets emotional drama with an explosive finale. This gripping story builds in intensity to its climactic cliffhanger ending that will leave readers wanting more.
Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey
Detective Miller searches for a missing girl with ties to a missing spaceship called The Scopuli. Meanwhile, first officer of a mining ship, Jim Holden and his crew respond to a beacon and discover a deserted ship. Something violent and horrific happened on the The Scopuli. As Miller and Holden investigate, they begin to uncover a deadly secret. And Holden’s choices may lead to a cataclysmic war for Earth, Mars, and the Belt colonists.
James S.A. Corey is the pen name of authors David Abraham and Ty Franck. The duo has created a science fiction saga of epic proportions with this first in The Expanse series. And the fantastic, old school cover art appropriately reflects the imaginative space opera within. At 592 pages, the impressive size of the book may deter some. But in the prologue alone, readers will get a taste of the adventure and mystery throughout. And the fast-paced thriller soon becomes impossible to put down.
This new science fiction series begins with an incredible story, complex and well-executed. With an intriguing storyline, vivid characters, and even vomiting zombies, this was highly enjoyable from start to finish. Blending suspense, horror, space opera, and mystery – this first installment is one no science fiction fan will want to miss.
Leviathan Wakesreleases from Orbit Books on June 15, 2011.