The God Peak: A Novel
After creating a small group of super-powered humans, Chuck Brenton and allies must deal with the catastrophic consequences in The God Peak by Patrick Hemstreet.
The second book in the God Wave trilogy focuses on Chuck Brenton and the rest of the team as they balance training more Alphas with reining in three of their friends. The three friends have taken the world hostage, literally. With their extreme power, they’ve managed to stop nearly all conflict through force and seek to usher humanity into an era of peace. Except…they’re beginning to let the power go to their heads. The two groups of Alphas find themselves on opposite sides, with shadowy forces attempting to pull their strings from behind the scenes.
This is a fantastic work of speculative sci-fi that’s well-grounded in science. Everything about the story is well-crafted, from the gradual ramping up of the powers to the dynamics between the various characters and the secondary subplot about the various forces attempting to control the Alphas. It’s fast-paced, with witty dialogue and engaging characters that may just prompt you to stop and wonder what you’d do with similar powers.
Light of the Sovereign
Light of the Sovereign by Nelson Sack is a beautiful story with many layers, set against the backdrop of an imaginary and dazzling world three millions years from now. Imagine a galactic universe operating as one world, with the earth being the capital of 307 other worlds. Humanity has evolved with its civilization and people experience peace and freedom, but things aren’t going to be the way they have been for millennia. Chaos will break and the entire universe will be plunged into a war like no other. Will the protagonist succeed in mastering the one weapon necessary for the redemption of her world?
Sonata Pleaides is just nineteen years old when she wakes up in a far island, eighty-nine thousand light years away from earth (Tera) to discover that she’s been named successor to the throne of the Queen, but there is a condition — she has to find her way home to Earth to prove herself worthy of the throne. It is interesting to see how the protagonist grows from a young girl to a leader, a powerful and respected warrior upon whom rests the destiny of many worlds. Most interesting is the bond she develops with the extraordinary Sword of Epsilon, otherwise known as the Guardian. Her relationship with the powerful weapon becomes a wonderful journey toward self-discovery as well.
The cast of characters is impressive, drawn from different backgrounds, interests, and professions. Sack demonstrates a wonderful imagination and genius and it’s surprising to see that he keeps track of the numerous characters, including war men and women, legal personalities, mentors, space ship captains, and a lot more. Some of the interesting characters will include the protagonist, Sonata, the First Sovereign of the Republic, Alara Petronia, Laran the combat officer, and many others. The plot is compelling, construed with different subplots that add to the excitement and the suspense while also being wonderfully executed. At times one feels like there is a lot of digression and it fuels the need to look forward to what happens next to the main character, Sonata.
Light of the Sovereign is a work of beauty, a tale that will entertain readers for many years, a proof of a bubbling imagination. Gird yourself for a thrill ride into worlds unknown to humankind and realities yet to be named. This one is highly recommended for fans of futuristic fantasy and sci-fi.
Tomorrows End Book One
Tomorrows End is the first book in a series by author G. R. Morris. This book starts with some pretty basic science fiction themes and extrapolates out in some interesting and unexpected directions. Focusing mainly on two teenage main characters who come into their abilities in varying stages of reluctance, this novel follows Daren, a girl trapped in a horrible foster home, and Kevin, a boy trapped in a home with an abusive stepfather. Both characters become major players in an age old battle of light vs. dark. Mr. Morris also introduces a very interesting theory about free will and destiny in Kevins story arc, while also informing readers about alien technology that is running the world, as well as aliens who are impersonating and replacing humans.
Part one unfortunately begins with a few stumbles and has lines of banal text such as; Some people believed love conquers all. And they were right. It had beaten him. However, I would urge readers to keep reading past the initial pages and really discover the original ideas that Morris has integrated alongside traditional sci-fi staples. The dual story lines are not perfect, but they are handled well and have completely different styles and tones. I enjoyed Darens story line more because the audience was allowed to share her story and her experiences, we got to know her as a person. Kevins story seemed more like exposition. There was an entire three or four chapter section in the middle of the book devoted to explaining the philosophy behind the story. At one point the author seems to even make light of the length with this exchange; Stop interrupting. Robert yelled, I have a whole speech going on here. Sorry, Im beginning to get bored Kevin laughed.
While Tomorrows End may not be the most entertaining novel I have read recently, it is one of the more thought provoking. In a genre that is already crowded with rehashes of ideas, it is truly remarkable to find a debut novel with something new and compelling to offer readers. I hope to see this creativity continue throughout the rest of the series.
After delighting growing fans with a classic ghost story in Heart-Shaped Box and a tale of terrifying horror in NOS4A2, in his latest tome, weighing in at 768 pages, Joe Hill presents his world on the edge of apocalypse. No one really knows how or where it started, but wildfires are tearing through the country and they’re being cause by people. Now, when I say “people,” I literally mean people are bursting into flame and starting these fires.
Doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton, but everyone else refers to it as Dragonscale. It’s a highly contagious spore, and you know you’ve got it when you find these lustrous black and gold bands on your body. It’s unknown what happens in between getting the scale and spontaneously combusting, but there are a lot of people burning up, and society is starting to fall apart. There are roving gangs looking to put an end to anyone with the Dragonscale, to prevent it spreading further. Meanwhile, the government says it’s working on a cure, but really has no idea what it’s doing. Things escalate and continue to get worse and worse.
Our story focuses on Harper Grayson, a talented and compassionate nurse who cares greatly for others and is working her butt off with the current crisis. Her husband, Jacob, barely sees her and doesn’t really get why she’s trying to save all these people with Dragonscale. When Harper contracts the spore, he goes off the deep end mentally, and it turns into a very different relationship. Harper doesn’t need convincing and tries to get the heck out of dodge, but Jacob has other plans. Harper makes it out of the house, but the maniac formerly known as her husband, is after her. That’s when the tall drink of water with a British accent known as The Fireman comes to save the day.
Harper joins a commune where they have apparently mastered the power of Dragonscale. By joining together and singing, they are able to control the incendiary ferocity of the disease and keep themselves alive and well. But, in any group fighting to survive, tensions are strained, and stress is at an all-time high and things turn into a kind of Lord of the Flies situation. But there is a rumor that has become legend of an island off the coast of Maine where they are taking in people with Dragonscale, where they can live a nice, normal life without prejudice or persecution.
The Fireman is a wonderfully original tale that takes a few elements like plague and fire and churns them into a compelling story. As with all stories of an apocalyptic nature, it is ultimately about the choices and decisions that people make to survive. Hill’s characters are varied and interesting and definitely give the novel and realistic feel. The middle of the book lags a little and, overall, could have had some pages editorially excised, as the downturn of the commune gets pretty predicable and uninspiring. But the last third of the book is nonstop action, and, even though Joe Hill seems to suffer from his dad’s problem of executing a good ending for the book, The Fireman is a fun escape from you mundane life into a world of fire and fighting and people who give a damn.
Dr. James Tenace is not your typical doctor. The head of the Falkennest Clinic Faculty, Tenace has a preoccupation with those nearing the final stage of life. Working principally with comatose patients, Tenace hopes to capture that very moment when souls leave bodies. A brilliant scientist, Tenace is also undoubtedly eccentric. There is another side to the mad scientist that no one totally sees nor understands and that is his bouts with what appears to be schizophrenia. Tenace constantly finds himself traumatized by his past, particularly with his mother’s death, and his broken marriage, and often carries imaginary conversations with could be demons or simply his younger self. Yet amid his problems, Tenace’s life and experimentations take an unexpected turn when he gets into a car accident.
Yves Bernas’ debut novel incorporates all the elements of a modern-day Frankenstein tale. Bernas’ plot features Tenace, a man who initially has taken all the correct steps to become a caring doctor. But quickly shifting gears to present a different persona, Bernas’ third person narrative reveals another nature to Tenacethe one that he is becoming and truly a product of his own manifestation. While chapters are replete with the expected medical lingo associated with a story such as this, Bernas creates balance by focusing on the human aspect of this supposed madman. Indeed, readers may find themselves easily sympathizing with Tenace’s struggles, but, hopefully, that compassion will be short-lived because many of Tenace’s illegal medical practices are nothing less than unconscionable. To make these medical scenes complete, Bernas even throws in an assistant, Ralf, whose role is reminiscent of Frankenstein’s Igor.
Bernas keeps his story moving by utilizing the aforesaid elements and placing them within alternating character scenes sprinkled with humorous moments, as well as unexpected situations. For all mad scientist aficionados, add Dr Tenace to your reading list. You won’t be disappointed.
The Midnight Land: Part One: The Flight
The Midnight Land: The Flight by E. P. Clark is an impressive debut novel in scope and talent. Part one in a fantasy series influenced heavily by Russia and its lore, The Midnight Land: The Flight follows the journey of Slava, the Empress’s younger sister. Gifted with clairvoyance and the ability to see into people hearts and reveal their true nature, she is both powerful and powerless. Suffocating under the Kremlin’s brew of toxic emotions when offered a chance to join an expedition off to map out the Midnight Lands to the far north she takes it and begins to grow into her own. Still, out in the wilderness, she will have more to contend with than just the cold.
I really enjoyed The Midnight Land: The Flight by E. P. Clark it’s an original, and ambitious fantasy, perfectly executed. It starts off slow, but not ploddingly so, and Clark does enough to grab your interest and hold it from the very first line. She sets it in a matriarchal culture, but does it in a way that really brings to light some of the embedded aspects of our own male-centric culture while peppering it with a range of strong and assertive female characters.
Slava herself is quieter, used to life in the Kremlin and living in the shadow of her sister, but she almost seems to go through a coming of age arc, as she gets stronger in her magic and more confident in herself. I often thought she was younger than she actually was until the story progressed further. A great story that part epic saga, part fairy tale and part fantasy, The Midnight Land: The Flight and one that I can’t wait to read more of.