Wednesday, 20 June 2018

#PoetAnderson In Darkness by #TomDelonge mini review

In Darkness is the second novel in the adventures by the unlikely combo that is Pop Punk star goes sci-fi author Tom Delonge (of blink-182, Angels and airwaves and Box Car Racer) and New York Times best selling author Suzanne Young (The Program series of books).

Following the adventures of Jonas Anderson, whose abilities as a Poet allow him to travel between the waking and dream worlds at will, the dream world being an completely alternate reality accessible when asleep and somewhere where Poet Anderson finds himself with unique powers, from creating and harnessing weapons to controlling the entire dreamscape and it's atmospheric conditions. Poet's powers are unusually powerful, but the other poets in the stories also have unusual powers, from immense strength and speed to the ability to stop time.

The original story ended after an encounter with REM, the big baddy of the dream world who seeks to take it over for himself and inflict himself upon the waking world too. With the help of his comatose brother Alan, they manged to defeat REM only to become separated once again.

This sequel sees Jonas dealing with his inevitable destiny in the dreamscape; battling with intense emotions and relationships between him and his brother, his girlfriend Samantha and a variety of other characters and beings within the dreamscape. If this wasn't enough to deal with as a adolescent horny teenager with a liking for whiskey, the fact that REM is back and burrowing his way into the waking world only adds to the pressures. Poet must try however he can, through dodgy dealings, explosive battles and unlikely team-ups to seek out his brother and try as he might to take on the dreaded REM.

Picking up about a year after the previous book, this one is just as exciting. It doesn't feel quite as well written - some of the sentences take strange turns and it took me a while to remember who was who and just what the hell was going on. I also noticed a few typos within my edition which led to some backtracking. However, the imagination employed exceeds all expectations for the newly turned author from musician, obviously taking his inspiration from popular sci-fi culture especially things such as the Matrix.

Both stories feel truly different, yet accessible and are real page turners, so much so I often found myself walking and reading after my beloved coffee shop had to kick me out for closing. Boo hiss.

This second story is obviously an interim to possibly the finale of a trilogy, but that's no bad thing and I wholeheartedly look forward to enjoying the next installment as much as I did this one.

Monday, 4 June 2018

#StarWars #RepublicCommando by Karen Traviss mini review

The first in the series of Republic Commando novels from the Star Wars universe sees a group of commando troopers thrust together due to the unfortunate circumstances of war. Each being the sole survivor of their original teams, they find themselves thrust into a new squad of strangers and sent to infiltrate a new chemical research facility and extract the leading science officer from the world of Qillura.

As they crash land upon the planet, one clone trooper is cut off from the rest of the group, convening with Jedi Padowan Etain Tur-Mukan; a self confidence lacking student Jedi who is struggling to stay alive after her Master was killed on the planet. She and clone trooper Darman develop an interesting relationship in the book. It's not one of romance, but of mutual respect. Darman helps Etain to bring out her inner confidence and leader whilst Etain comes to understand Darman not simply as a clone, but as an individual. The entire subject of the morality of using clones for an army makes for an intriguing basis for a story, one which Travis uses well throughout her novel.

The gangs of ruffians employed by the chemical scientist Uthan to protect both her and the deadly toxin she is developing, are led by Ghez Hokan; a traditional Mandalorian with the values we have come to expect - as respect for war, ruthlessness, leadership and honor. His leadership changes when Uthan encourages him to become more independent. He rids himself of many of his old team, to be replaced mainly by expensive battle droids. His loathing of the clones and how they could've been constructed from the genetic instructions of Jango Fett is apparent throughout, and his determination right up until the bitter end of the story makes for some exciting tactical writing and battle scenes.

With a range of interesting characters, an exciting story and quality writing throughout, this makes for a very entertaining read from the Star Wars universe and is more like a traditional war novel than it is a Star Wars book. Whilst the force and Jedi do come into it, there is no reliance on this at all, and the story is more focused around the military tactics of the clones and their advisories.

The only reason this falls down a little for me, is that half way through the pace seemed to completely drop and felt a little stagnant. That said, once it picked up I was page turning rapidly right up until the finish and I'm very much looking forward to the next Republic Commando novel. I will also give Hard Contact on the Xbox another go after this. Ace read.

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