A King’s Ship (Empire Rising #2) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A King’s Ship
Series: Empire Rising #2
Author: David Holmes
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 314
Words: 122K

From the Publisher and Bookstooge.blog

The war with China is over. But for Captain James Somerville there is a task still unfinished.

Former Politburo Intelligence Minister Chang has evaded capture and escaped from Chinese space. Declared a war criminal by the UN and British law courts, James is given the Royal Space Navy’s newest exploration cruiser and sent after Chang.

His chase will threaten to stir up old rivalries and take him to the edge of explored space. What he will discover there will radically reshape humanity’s position in the galaxy and throw him into a series of desperate battles. Alone and outnumbered he will come to realize what it really takes to command a King’s Ship.

And that means finding a Lost Colony with a secret (they have skillz! And have pirated Space Briton’s ships), finding aliens, finding MORE aliens and then killing lots of aliens. And finding out that there are even more aliens (even though the humans don’t realize the discovery for what it is at the time).

I was pretty happy with this. While there are some impressive space battles (where we once again count every missile down until it explodes or something), we also get some British Space Marine action. Boo yah! These guys are almost as tough as regular American Space Soldiers, so you know in the big scheme of things they’re pretty badass. And they’re even all squishy on the inside and have a bonding moment, awwwww. Thankfully, that doesn’t last too long before they get back to killing aliens.

The Big Bad Communist from the first book has escaped and Captain Happy Pants is tasked with secretly hunting him down. And boy does he kick some applecarts over in that process. India is caught with its hands fully in the Space Communist cookie jar and whines about it. Captain Happy doesn’t care, nor should he, he’s got a Space United Nations mandate! And Ensign Chicky Boo is now Admiral/Captain/Commander/Whatever Chicky Boo and is helping out. But a sexy Lost Human Politician gets in the way until Captain Happy Pants puts her aside because he still loves the British Space Princess. It’s a real Space Soap Opera! Find out next episode who has the alien baby!!! (not really, but come on, you had to see that coming).

Once again, I really enjoyed this. It hits the Space Opera itch that I have (that I’m not getting scratched by Anspach & Cole with their Galaxy’s Edge series, boo, hiss) and while it has more spaceship battles than I really care for, it does have more than enough ground pounder action to keep me happy. Space Marines for da win baby!


Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Series: ———-
Authors: L. Ron Hubbard
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 1243
Words: 402K


From Wikipedia.org

In the year 3000, Earth has been ruled by an alien race, the Psychlos, for a millennium. The Psychlos discovered a deep space probe (suggested to be Voyager 1) with directions and pictures mounted on it and the precious material, gold, that led them straight to Earth.

After one thousand years, humanity is an endangered species numbering fewer than 35,000 and reduced to a few tribes in isolated parts of the world while the Psychlos strip the planet of its mineral wealth. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, a young man in one such tribe, lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Depressed by the recent death of his father and both the lethargy and sickness of most of the surviving adults in his tribe, later determined to be caused by radiation-leakage from decaying nuclear land-mines, he leaves his village to explore the lowlands and to disprove the superstitions long held by his people of monsters in those areas. He is soon captured in the ruins of Denver by Terl, the Psychlo chief of planetary security.

Psychlos stand up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and weigh up to 1,000 pounds (450 kg). They originate from Psychlo, a planet with an atmosphere radically different from Earth, located in another universe with a different set of elements. Their “breathe-gas” explodes on contact with even trace amounts of radioactive material, such as uranium. The Psychlos have been the dominant species across multiple universes for at least 100,000 years. It becomes apparent in the later chapters that the Psychlos were originally non-violent miners but were subjugated by a ruling class called “Catrists” to become malicious, sadistic sociopaths.

Terl has been assigned to Earth, and his term has been arbitrarily extended by Numph, the planetary head of mining operations. Fearful at the thought of spending several more years on Earth, Terl decides to make himself a multi-millionaire to escape, by secretly mining a lode of gold in the Rocky Mountains that his planetary scanner drones have recently found. It is surrounded by uranium deposits that make Psychlo mining impossible, so Terl decided to capture a Man-Animal to mine the gold for him.

Terl forces Jonnie to submit to a learning machine programmed by a servile race that was exterminated centuries earlier for going on strike. It quickly teaches him numerous subjects, including the Psychlo language, by implanting the information directly into Jonnie’s brain. He befriends a Psychlo midget named Ker, who is only 7 feet tall but still possesses the impressive strength of a Psychlo, and is markedly less psychotic than the others.

Looking for leverage against Jonnie, Terl captures his childhood-love Chrissie and her sister, Pattie, who went searching for Jonnie a year after he left their clan, and holds them hostage to ensure his continued cooperation. Thereafter, Jonnie is free to move around the mining area. Terl and Jonnie travel to Scotland where Jonnie recruits eighty-three Scottish people to help with the mining, including several deliberately selected body-doubles for Jonnie, older women to perform the cooking and clothes mending, a doctor, a teacher, and a historian. Jonnie tells the Scots about the evil deeds of Terl, to include how he has imprisoned Jonnie’s love and her little sister. Led by Robert the Fox, the Scots agree to help him fight against the Psychlo rule on Earth and rescue Chrissie and Pattie. Terl does not understand English, and is instead convinced that the Scots are motivated by a promise of pay on project completion.

While Jonnie and his Scottish allies mine the gold deposit, they also secretly explore the ruins of humanity to look for uranium that can be weaponized for use against their Psychlo oppressors. This subterfuge is aided by the aforementioned body-doubles, making it appear to Terl’s surveillance that the mining operation is the sole priority of the human contingent. Meanwhile, Terl finally gains leverage on Numph, discovering that he has been stealing company funds. Terl blackmails him, effectively negating Numph’s power over him, allowing Terl to continue with his mining plans.

Terl has been busy obfuscating the purpose of the gold-mining operation and implementing his plan to ship the human-mined gold back to the Psychlo home-planet. Terl’s plan involves replacing lead coffin-lids with lead-plated facsimiles made from the gold mined by the Scots, and shipping these coffins with dead Psychlos in them, home. When he finally returned to Psychlo, he could then dig up the coffins and sell the lids to make his fortune. All dead Psychlos are to be returned to home planet for burial, but recent safety measures have reduced accidents. Terl thus has to manufacture accidents to kill Psychlos, and decides to assassinate Numph as well, to get the bodies needed.

During the semi-annual teleportation of personnel, goods, and coffins to Psychlo, Jonnie and his allies co-opt Terl’s plan by packing the coffins with “dirty nukes” and “planet busters” they have found, and replacing the golden coffin-lids with the original lead lids. After the last teleportation, the humans use the Psychlos’ own weapons against them and gain control of the planet. With humans in control of Earth, Jonnie works to discover the secret of Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. This is a difficult task, compounded by the fact that Psychlo math is based on the number eleven, and Psychlo equations appear to make no sense.

Before the teleportation, Jonnie is forced to oppose a longtime rival from his own clan, Brown Limper Staffor, who is seeking to wrest control of Earth for himself. Unwittingly used by Terl to advance his own plans, Brown Limper nearly succeeds after gaining assistance from a group of cannibalistic mercenaries from southern Africa called the Brigantes, and their leader, General Snith. But Brown Limper is killed by Terl just before the Psychlo’s teleportation, and the Brigantes are defeated.

It is discovered that all Psychlos have a deep brain-stimulation device implanted in their brains to make them controllable. Meant to make work pleasant for them, the device promotes extreme sadism in the males, causing them to attack any non-Psychlo who shows interest in Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. If the Psychlos are unsuccessful in killing their intended victims, the device compels them to commit suicide. The removal of this device frees the handful of remaining Psychlos on Earth from its affects. Curiously, Ker did not have any such device implanted in his brain.

With the Earth being threatened by other alien races looking for restitution because they had suffered under the harsh rule of the Psychlos, Jonnie opposes a race of intergalactic bankers seeking to repossess the Earth for unpaid debts. The security and independence of humanity once again threatened, Jonnie redoubles his efforts to figure out Psychlo teleportation.

It is eventually discovered that the dirty nukes sent with the intent of destroying the capital city on Psychlo instead started a chain reaction which reached into the planet’s core due to over-mining, causing the planet to explode and transform into a star. Jonnie also discovers that other Psychlo facilities scattered about the multiple universes were destroyed by their own reliance on teleportation as they performed their scheduled teleportation shipments, and instead, brought back radioactive solar matter. This holocaust killed every single Psychlo in the multiple universes except for the handful remaining on Earth. Once it is revealed that all female Psychlos who leave the homeworld are sterilized to prevent off-world births, Johnny realizes that the Psychlos on Earth will not be able to reproduce, and eventually, the Psychlo race will become extinct.

Jonnie then works out a way to prevent the repossession of Earth via contracts Terl had signed with Brown Limper Staffor. The Psychlo had thought that it would be amusing to make Staffor believe that he was the legal owner of Earth as well as all Psychlo possessions across the multiple universes, by signing a contract that stated as much before his final teleportation to Planet Psychlo. Terl had no way of knowing that he was about to die, along with almost his entire race, with the destruction of his homeworld. Once planet Psychlo was destroyed, Terl was the highest ranking member of the Intergalactic Mining Company left alive, and his signature on Staffor’s contract became legal. That meant that Jonnie, as the recognized leader of Earth with the death of Brown Limper, now owned what was left of the entire Psychlo empire. Using these contracts, the Earth Planetary Bank pays off all debts to the intergalactic bankers.

However, Jonnie is still perplexed by Psychlo mathematics. With the help of an aged Psychlo engineer, he learns about Psychlos using a cipher system and dummy equations to make their mathematics unsolvable. At the same time, he also discovers how the Psychlos protected their teleportation technology in their local equipment, and records the circuits for future use. Using the existing teleportation console, Jonnie is able to bring back breathe-gas from a planet in the Psychlo star system that was never officially recorded. With the Psychlo math and the circuits, Earth begins to manufacture teleportation equipment, sold to numerous planetary systems via the intergalactic bankers. At the same time, Jonnie uses the Earth’s newly acquired wealth to buy impenetrable force fields and automated orbiting defense platforms to protect the Earth from future threats.

With the Earth secure and the human population growing and learning about its true history, Jonnie gives ownership of the Earth back to its people. A few years later, Jonnie and Chrissie are married and they have a son and a daughter. With human civilization being rebuilt and thriving, Jonnie and Chrissie take their children and leave for an isolated part of the world to train them in the old ways of survival, and to live out the rest of their lives in peace. But, after a year, their friends find them and implore them to return to civilization, which Jonnie reluctantly agrees to.

Years later, frustrated with un-ending fame and life away from nature, a middle-aged Jonnie takes some supplies and quietly slips away to the Rocky Mountains, never to be seen again. He becomes a figure of legend.

My Thoughts:

Having read this several times in highschool and Bibleschool and then again in 2009, I am pretty familiar with the story. After my disastrous attempt at re-reading the Mission: Earth series in ’14, I’d held off any more re-reads authored by Hubbard. But the time seemed right and I’d given Battlefield Earth 5stars in ’09, so it seemed like a safe bet.

Thankfully, it was. This is still a 5star read for me.

Now, I found on this re-read that this felt more cartoony, almost space opera than in years past. In the intro Hubbard goes on for many, many pages talking about what led up to this book and I must admit, he pontificates. Given that he was a cult leader, that shouldn’t surprise anyone though. But his goal with this book was to write a “real science fiction” novel and off he goes for pages explaining what he means by that. I found it interesting but I think he missed the mark to be honest. This book is a romance. One lone warrior saving not only the Earth, but the entire 16 universes, pretty much all by himself? It’s definitely SF alright, but like any genre, proliferation has led to fragmentation and just what is “real science fiction” now? So while still enjoyed this, I don’t think I would have if I had been introduced to it for the first time right now.

This massive tome (it makes even Sanderson seem normal. The mass market paperback is almost 1500 pages!) never felt weighed down though. While Hubbard definitely introduces pet economic and social theories, and explains them, they are explained in just a paragraph or 2 without turning the book into a vessel of preaching. The story moves right along while action isn’t the main focus, it is generously sprinkled throughout so I was never bored. The story is split into 2 main sections. The first deals with Johnny and the Psychlos and the second deals with Johnny and the other space faring races. Humanity kicks butt and I felt like saying “hoo rah” at several points.

For you movie people, there is a movie based on this book. It was pushed forward by John Travolta, a scientologist himself. Don’t watch it. It is the worst thing ever and why Travolta thought it would be a good thing to link to scientology is beyond me. Many, many changes are made from the book, all for the worse and Travolta’s ego is front and center. I’ve pretty much blanked it out of my memory and simply remember it as A Bad Movie.

I am not sure that I will be re-reading this again though. I’ve gotten what I want from this book over the years and I think this is the last time I could read it and still enjoy it this much. It feels like time to shelve this for good.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Gathering Flame ★☆☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Gathering Flame
Series: Mageworlds #4
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 371
Words: 136K


From the Publisher

The Mageworlds are plundering the civilized galaxy. One planet at a time. First, their scoutships appeared above the outplanets. Raiding parties followed, then whole armadas bent on loot and conquest. The Mages break the warfleets that oppose them. They take entire planets. Who can stop them?

Not Perada Rosselin, Domina of Entibor. She’s the absolute ruler of a rich world and all its colonies, but Entibor’s space fleet is too small to mount a defense. And Perada herself, just back from school on distant Galcen, is almost an outworlder in her own court.

Not Jod Metadi, the most famous – or notorious – of the privateers of Innish-Kyl. Jos can fight the Mages and he can best them one on one, but his preferred targets are cargo vessels, not the dangerous and unprofitable ships of war. Metadi stays clear of the Mageworlds’ battle fleet – when he can.

Not Errec Ransome. He understands the Magelords better than anyone. But there are some things he’ll never tell – and some things he’s sworn to himself that he’ll never do again.

Now, the Mages have attacked Entibor. That was their first mistake…

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this prequel about the parents of the characters in the previous three books. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much and in some ways I was very disappointed.

Perada’s two sons aren’t Joss Metadi’s. They were conceived for political reasons. In fact, one of them is Eric Ransome’s and Metadi just shrugs it off. I REAAAAALLLLY disliked both parts of that.

By the end of the book Entibor is a slag heap and the mages did it by using hundreds of mage circles on Entibor to move the tectonic plates and thus destroy the surface of the planet. It was pretty cool if you think about it.

Then there were the 2 women who I thought were just friends. So that line got crossed and put the authors on my to avoid list. Honestly, I’m almost glad that happened so I didn’t have to muster up some fake enthusiasm to continue on with the rest of the series.

While this series started really strong for me, it has gone downhill with each successive book and with this one stepped right off the cliff face. Well, time to go find another series to try.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

By Honor Betray’d ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: By Honor Betray’d
Series: Mageworlds #3
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 359
Words: 123.5K


From Isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?6211

The war is over. The Magelords have won.

Galcen has fallen. The Space Force is broken and scattered. The planets of the former Republic are rushing to make peace with the victorious Mages.

All that remains is mopping up. Minor details. A privateer or two, a few Adepts who remain alive and on the run, and the hereditary ruler of a lifeless planet.

Beka Rosselin-Metadi, the last Domina of Lost Entibor, possesses little more than a famous name and a famous ship. With them she must salvage what she can from the wreckage of the Republic. Her enemies are too many to count, her friends too few to make a difference. She can trust no one except herself, her crew – and the family she ran away from years before.

Beka has resources few suspect: a hidden base, a long-forgotten oath, and a dead man’s legacy. But she has problems as well; for in a universe gone mad neither friends nor enemies are all that they may seem.

A play that began in treachery and blood five hundred years before has reached its final act. A broken galaxy will be sundered forever, or else made whole.

My Thoughts:

So, while there are 7 books in this series, these first 3 books comprise the whole of the Second Mage Wars. And it’s not really much of a war either. Both sides have highly placed individuals secretly working towards peace with the other side.

This paragraph will contain spoilers. Not that I care about such things, but on the 1000 to 1 chance that somebody who follows me would ever read these, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for them. Because the Grandmaster of the Adepts turns out to be the badguy who had Beka’s mother killed. Only she wasn’t really, but was placed in stasis by a Magelord and it was up to Beka to revive her and up to her Adept brother and Mage sister-in-law to bring her mind back.

It was a whirlwind of revelations and counter-twists and everything gets wrapped up in a bow. I’m usually not one to complain about that but this time it felt kind of deus ex machina than if it had organically happened. Now I’m wondering what the next 4 books will be about?

A good bit of my enthusiasm waned, dramatically, when it was revealed who the badguy all along had been. It was too cliched. Makes me wonder if the final Star Wars trilogy stole their Grumpy Dispeptic Luke idea from this.

There was still a lot of action. Beka almost gets killed on public tv, Ari gets married, Owen takes over the Adept Order and gets his own apprentice and the Mage Worlder General is revealed to be a peacemongerer. Shocking!

I enjoyed this overall but I won’t be beating the drum the same way unless the next books are super fantastic. Good space opera but not excellent space opera.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Starpilot’s Grave ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Starpilot’s Grave
Series: Mageworlds #2
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 357
Words: 124.5K


From Isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?3526 & Me

Beka Rosselin-Metadi and her crew get involved in the beginning of the Second Magewar. privateer and a planetary ruler must join forces to defeat the Mages.

From the back cover of the Tor Books first edition) Blockaded, restricted, and forgotten – the Mageworlds would never threaten the Republic again.

A broken and drifting ship, its long-dead captain still strapped in the command seat: that’s what free-spacers call a starpilot’s grave. When one of these derelict craft appears in the Net, the artificial barrier zone separating the Republic from the Mageworlds, the discovery is no accident. It’s a sign, a warning that the Mageworlds have not forgotten the Republic – and the Mageworlds make long plans.

But the Mageworlds weren’t planning on Beka Rosselin-Metadi.

Beka has unfinished business to take care of, and his name is Ebenra D’Caer: the man who arranged her mother’s murder. D’Caer is safe, – he thinks – hidden among the Mages on the far side of the Net. Flying under a false name and false colors, Beka penetrates the Magezone and finds more than anyone expected: the Magelords have discovered a fatal weakness in the Republic’s defenses, and are poised to wreak their vengeance on the hated enemy. The Mages are too strong. They must prevail. Unless one woman in one ship can do the impossible.

In the end, Beka accepts the crown of Entibor-in-Exile to rally the republic forces, which are divided by a traitor admiral, who brokered a deal with the magelords.

My Thoughts:

Beka remains the Main main character but this time her other brother Owen gets the majority of the main main character time whereas it was her brother Ari who got the spotlight last time. Considering this novel is about the mageworlds breaking the blockade and taking over the republic, and Owen is the main Adept, it’s only right we should get a good chunk from his view.

One thing about Owen, it’s obvious he has a lot of growing to do and we’ll see that in these stories. He’s spent so much time completely dedicated to the Adepts that he’s pretty much forgone growth as a human being. Thank goodness he hooked up with a whore who has magical potential. That should educate him quite quickly. The biggest issue with Owen was that he didn’t trust the head of his Order because that guy (who is the equivalent of Luke in Star Wars) didn’t do things how Owen thought he should when the Mage’s attacked. Goes to show his trust was pretty thin and brittle.

As for Beka, holy smokes, that girl continues to kick some serious butt! She’s racing around killing people who were involved in her mother’s death, dealing with the mageworlds, dealing with corrupt Republic forces and then has to deal with her father disappearing and no one listening to her because she supposedly died in the previous book. Her taking the crown of Entibor-in-Exile shows that she’s willing to do whatever it takes even though she knows that action will most likely kill her as it did her mother.

Since this series revolves around the Adepts and the Mages, Llannat Hyfid is necessary, almost more so than Owen. She’s learning from both sides and it wouldn’t surprise me if by the end of the series either the Adepts and Mages become one, or, more likely in my opinion, there starts up a third branch of magic users. What is really interesting to me is how Doyle and MacDonald have reversed how the two sides operate. The Adepts have a Master/Apprentice setup and then each apprentic goes off on his own and the cycle repeats. The Mages use groups to form circles, almost exactly like what Jordan uses for the Aes Sedai in the Wheel of Time series. The Leader of the Adepts is actually known as Circle Breaker, for his habit of destroying entire circles of Mages during the first Mage War.

Anyway, the main reason this was downgraded a halfstar from the previous book was the slight increase in points of view. I am NOT a fan of a huge cast of characters and unless handled with absolutely perfect writing, it gets more confusing than is worth it. I am hoping the next book cuts back on the cast of characters or at least brings several together.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Price of the Stars ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Price of the Stars
Series: Mageworlds #1
Authors: Debra Doyle & James Macdonald
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 406
Words: 143.5K


From Fritzfreiheit.com/wiki/Mageworlds_(series)

Freebooter at heart, spacer by trade, Beka Rosselin-Metadi doesn’t want to hear about how her father whose rugged general ship held back the Mageworlds — or her highborn mother whose leadership has held the galaxy together since. Beka pilots spacecraft — as far from her famous family as possible.

Then Beka’s mother is assassinated on the Senate floor, and her father offers her the title to Warhammer, prize ship from his own freebooting youth — if she agrees to deliver the assassins to him “off the books.”

Looking for assassins has a tendency to make assassins look for you. In doing so, Beka’s arranged her own very public death and adopted a new identity; now all she has to do is leave a trail of kidnappings and corpses across five star systems, and blow the roof off the strongest private fortress in the galaxy.

My Thoughts:

This book, the first of seven, was published in 1992. Timothy Zahn had published his seminal Heir to the Empire in 1991 which ignited the much beloved and much maligned Star Wars Extended Universe. This obviously was trying to catch some of that popularity. While it may not have taken off like the EU, where it was FAR more successful was in how it passed the torch to the next generation.

What killed the the EU (besides Lucas simply killing it off because he’s a jackass, just like Disney, but Disney is a jackass whore) was the fact that none of the writers used ever created any characters who could hold a torch to the Big 3 (Luke, Leia and Han). Even one of the final books, Crucible, was ALL about those 3 characters while ignoring sub-characters who were supposed to be the next generation of heroes.

Doyle & Macdonald don’t make the mistake of passing the torch. That’s already done. And what’s more, one of the big 3 is killed right at the beginning, thus propelling the whole adventure. It was handled masterfully. When I started the Galaxy’s Edge series I was overpowered by the Star Wars vibe. It was Stormtroopers as the goodguys and it was fantastic. This series had the Star Wars vibe, but it was much more of the rogue’ish trader and mystic than the military. It was a different aspect but it was just as fun.

My only complaint was that the timeline didn’t feel like it was told as. I believe this book was supposed to have taken about 2 years but honestly, it felt like 2 months. That’s a nitpicky thing, I know.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Order of the Centurion (Galaxy’s Edge: Order of the Centurion #1)

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Title: The Order of the Centurion
Series: Galaxy’s Edge: Order of the Centurion #1
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Space Opera
Pages: 218
Words: 73.5K


From Galaxysedge.fandom.com

“The Order of the Centurion is the highest award that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in, or with, the Legion. When such an individual displays exceptional valor in action against an enemy force, and uncommon loyalty and devotion to the Legion and its legionnaires, refusing to abandon post, mission, or brothers, even unto death, the Legion dutifully recognizes such courage with this award.”

Tired of sitting out the war on Psydon in a mobile office hab, Legion Lieutenant Washam agrees to undertake a covert and unsanctioned mission with a band of Republic Recon Marines. Inserted deep behind enemy lines, the strike force uncovers a surprise key to ending a bitter war. Now they must navigate a hostile jungle teeming with murderous alien rebels, pushing themselves to the limits of their abilities, to get this vital intel to Legion Command–if they can survive that long.

THE ORDER OF THE CENTURION is an all-new series of stand-alone military science fiction thrillers set in the GALAXY’S EDGE universe, ranging from the Savage Wars to the arrival of the Black Fleet. Each book features the legendary heroes of the Legion who forgot nothing in their earning of the Legion’s highest honor.

My Thoughts:

As the blurb above states, this series is actually a bunch of stand-alone novels dealing with various heroes of the Legion over time. I’m good with some stand-alones at the moment. A good solid Mil-SF book filled with heroics aptly fits my needs.

I was kind of expecting this book, by Anspach and Cole alone, to be about the first time the Order of the Centurion was awarded. But instead they chose a time period soon after the Savage Wars had ended and as the Republic is stretching its wings. It’s also when the Republic’s House of Reason began appointing Officers to the Legion in an underhanded way to bring it under their control. So not only do the authors choose that time period, they choose 2 Points (short hand for Appointed Officer) to tell the story, as one of them is the guy who gets the award, post-humuously. It also does a fantastic job of showing how much politics goes into even something that should have been sacred from the filthy hands of the politicians.

Usually I thoroughly enjoy the characters portrayed but not so much this tme. The Point who gets the award is everything that the Legion feared a Point would be. The other is his friend but actually went through Legionnaire training and successfully become a Legionnaire on his own. The problem is that the friend kept excusing the Bad Point for the whole book and even at the end thinks well of him. Thankfully all of the supporting characters were great and really pushed the story on.

One of the side characters is an actual Leej and not only that, but a Dark Operator. He’s just biding his time per his commander’s orders so that he can retire with full benefits and get his pension, which will allow him to live with his wife and two sons and reconnect with them. He was the character I connected with and wished that he had received the medal and recognition. He showed the spirit of the Legionnaires and that was enough to carry the story, thankfully.

Like I noted before, this was by Anspach and Cole alone. After this, other authors are going to be writing the stories under the direction of A&C. I am hesitant about that. For my own sake I hope it turns out well but I’ve experienced too many instances of other authors playing in someone’s sandbox and, while not ruining things, just not getting it and so being out of step and awkward for established readers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Hundred (Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #3) ★★★★☆

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Title: The Hundred
Series: Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #3
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Space Opera
Pages: 251
Words: 109.5K


From Galaxysedge.fandom.com


One hundred men met the brutal standards of General Tyrus Rechs and became legionnaires.

One hundred men embarked on a suicide mission to retake New Vega from the Savages.

One hundred men stood up… for the galaxy.

Galaxy’s Edge: The Hundred is the exciting conclusion to the Savage Wars trilogy as the Legion launches a desperate, brutal assault against the overwhelming forces of the Savage Alliance.

My Thoughts:

Out of the 250 pages, the battle was about 200 of them. So if ultra-tough space marines on steriods, ie, the Legionnaires, don’t get your motor running, this book definitely isn’t for you. In all honesty, this sub-series of the Galaxy’s Edge series isn’t for you and I’d even question if the entire GE series was for you or not. This is Mil-SF with enough Space Opera to keep it from becoming Tom Clancy Presents: Jack Ryan the 15th, In Space!

Where the previous book, Gods and Legionnaires, was divided into 2 books, one about the Savages and one about the Legionnaires, this was 90% about the 100 Legionnaires taking back the planet New Vega. The book actually starts 50-100 years after the events take place with the few surviving Legionnaires from that battle being honored. Coupled with the vague references from previous GE books, we knew that the 100 were whittled down to almost nothing before kicking the Savages off New Vega.

Even Tyrus Rechs dies. Of course, because of the magic scyenze mojo the Savages did on him when he was their prisoner, he comes back to life, but he takes a new call sign so that as far as the Legion is concerned, Rechs is dead. He set out to do what he needed to and now it is time to recover.

We’re also introduced to Aeson Ford, the guy from the first season of Galaxy’s Edge. Considering this took place 1500-2000 years before those books, I was wondering if it was the same guy. But right at the end of the book he gets drafted into some sort of Super Magic Scyenze Cryogenics program, so yep, it’s him. That was fun to see.

This was the final book in the Savage Wars sub-series and I thought that Anspach and Cole did an admirable job of relating a story that took place 2000 years before. They didn’t go overboard and try to describe every nut and bolt or color of every bird’s feather but neither were they Idea Only people like some of the old masters like Asimov or even Clarke. The blood, the grit and the determination were here in spades and I loved every second of it.

Next up for me and Galaxy’s Edge is the Order of the Centurion series. I’ll talk about exactly what they entail when I review the first book, Order of the Centurion, but it will be something a bit different as each of the 5 books in the series is mainly written by some other author while Anspach and Cole stamp their name on the book and keep control of their universe. I hope it turns out ok. Sometimes letting other authors play in your sandbox doesn’t turn out well. But for the first time in my entire life, I’m going to think positively and believe that I’m going to love Order of the Centurion as much as all the previous GE series 😀

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gods and Legionnaires (Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #2) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Gods and Legionnaires
Series: Galaxy’s Edge: Savage Wars #2
Author: Jason Anspach & Nick Cole
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Space Opera
Pages: 390
Words: 132.5K


From Galaxysedge.fandom.com

The Coalition is reeling. New Vega and its other worlds have fallen beneath the boot of the newly allied Savage marines, and the death count continues to rise at a staggering rate. One thing is clear: the war to come will be a fight for the very survival of the species. For both sides in this conflict, now is the time to become what fate, and victory, demand.

The Savages—post-human monsters who believe themselves to be gods—are intent on remaking civilization in their own violent and pathological image. Yet their alliance is tenuous. Among the many tribes of the Uplifted, as they call themselves, the struggle for supremacy rages on. All know that in the end there can be only one tribe. One leader. One truth.

Meanwhile humanity’s last, desperate hope is the formation of a new kind of fighting force: The Legion. Those select few who are hardy enough—or foolish enough—to undertake the relentless, grueling, and merciless candidate training will have the chance to be transformed into mythical heroes… or die trying. They will be pushed beyond their physical and mental limits as they seek to survive an unforgiving planet, lost and derelict ghost spaceships, and worst of all, the cold, unflinching brutality of Tyrus Rechs. At the end of this crucible, only the one percent of the one percent will earn the right to be called ….. Legionnaires.

My Thoughts:

In many ways, this was 2 books. The first part, Gods, followed one Savage Marine from after his time on New Vega to a new joint operation by another clan of Savages. What the rest of the Savages don’t know is that the Savage Marine (who I’ll call Johnny) has been tasked by his masters to introduce a virus into the Savage Alliance to subtley draw all the savages under control of one clan, Johnny’s clan.

Between fights we get Johnny’s history from when he fled from Earth during the scattering thousands of years ago, to what happened on the Savage Ship. We also realize how technologically advanced in some areas the Savages are and yet how internally focused they are which only heightens their arrogance, paranoia and sense of godhood. Then you come to realize just much they’ve messed with their minds and you can’t believe a thing they think about themselves. It was intriguing and disturbing all rolled into one.

The second part was about the formation of the Legion itself. Nobody but Tyrus realizes just how brutal the training must be and that only a total bastard can forge others into being the tough mothers the galaxy needs at the moment. Opposed by the very Alliance that is placing their hopes on him, by his best friend Caspar and even by the very soldiers he is trying to train, Tyrus doesn’t let any of that slow him down or stop him. He has a job that only he can do and he’ll finish it.

While I enjoy a good military training montage, something about this one just didn’t quite grab me. Part of it is that Tyrus isn’t much of a person any more. There are a squadron of Legionnaires who we get to know which was good but it wasnt “quite” enough either.

Overall, this was a really enjoyble story and gave a lot of backstory. This Galaxy’s Edge universe continues to keep me interested and to tell a good story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Exodus: Empires at War, Part I (Exodus: Empires at War #1) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Exodus: Empires at War, Part I
Series: Exodus: Empires at War #1
Author: Doug Dandridge
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 255
Words: 103.5K


Thousands of years ago, humanity began exploring the galaxy. A nascent empire was born. They encountered the Cara’carn, an alien empire that held itself to be pinnacle of life. The Cara’carn began a systematic slaughter of every system, world and moon that humanity had cultivated. Finally, all that was left was Earth. With 7 Ark ships, each equipped with a prototype FTL drive, humanity had to hope that at least one of the seven would escape and allow them to start over in an area unknown to the Cara’carn.

One ship did succeed. And they succeeded so well that Humanity became the dominant force in that galaxy and became a true Empire. Cara’carn became the bogeyman for the majority of humanity but the Empire never forgot that they had been driven away by a superior force. As such, they did their best to prepare for the inevitable clash when the two Empires met again.

This book chronicles the first encounters between the two Empires.

My Thoughts:

This was decent space opera. Dandridge did almost lose me because of the massive amount of POV’s that he decided to use. I understood why he needed to use so many, as trying to get a good picture of an Empire that doesn’t have instantaneous communications necessitates that, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And if he continues to use such a plurality in future books I can guarantee I won’t be continuing. But that’s neither here nor there.

I really wish I had more to say, but “decent” sums it adequately. Nothing really bad beyond the POV’s stood out to me and nothing really good stood out either. There is nothing wrong with being a “decent” story, it just makes it hard for the reviewer to say anything.

That being the case, I’m going to talk about the cover, because hey, why not? The layout reminded me VERY much of Mike Resnick’s Starship series. Not exactly the same but so similar that even though I had finished the Starship series back in ’13, these covers still reminded me of them. Starship was published from 2005-2009 and the Exodus: Empires at War series by Dandridge didn’t start up until ’12. So either they used the same cover artist (which is quite likely) or Dandridge pulled some skullduggery. While I always enjoy some good skullduggery, I’m going with using the same cover artist because nothing in Dandridge’s writing suggests an evil mastermind genius.

Rating: 3 out of 5.