The Inhibited by Jay Saph

Summary

What if the world around you had no music or art? People had lost the ability to create or daydream. The pursuit of pleasure is now only a forgotten, outdated concept.

“The Inhibited” is a futuristic tale set in the Northern Zone, 2042. It follows the life of Declan Smith, a young aggrieved student intent on uncovering the truth. Smith believes the key to political change lies in understanding the past, but he soon finds out the greater challenge is the discovery of his own soul.

Characters

Lots of interesting characters. I liked Hazel – the little girl – just because of her sweet outlook on most things. Declan was also a likable character although sometimes we was very much a ‘boy’ (caused me to roll my eyes a few times) but absolutely believable. That was something the author did very well – creating characters that felt like they could be real. I won’t say too much here other then that in fear of giving away the story.

Plot

The overall plot isn’t too complicated – a little predictable but I appreciated how real the author kept it. It was very imaginative and well within the bounds of what could happen. That is what made it have such an impact. No froo-froo ending of ‘happily ever after.’ It was a well thought out and realistic ending to this tale. It picked up on very real issue in society and exploited them – for that I have to say well done.

Overall

It felt a bit like reading a biography for fictional characters in a possible future – almost eerily so. Very well done, but it did have areas of languish that made my mind wander and then I’d have to snap back. It was well written and easy to follow – there were some dialogue pieces that read weird and a handful of errors but they weren’t major. The slowness may have been due to the author withholding key information until nearly the very end of the book. However, that mystery was also well woven – like a flower slowly blooming, once complete it was a beautiful thing.

My biggest complaint – besides the somewhat rushed ending – was the setting. I really struggled to understand how the new formed world was set up. Some of it made absolutely zero sense. Mostly distance traveled versus time spent traveling and trying to track how far the Northern Zone really spread. That was underdeveloped and took me out of the story multiple times.

Rating

4 stars

This was a thought provoking read that I was surprised at how much I liked at the end. This author did a good job at weaving a believable dystopian future – anyone who likes dystopian books, this is a must read!

I received an eBook copy in exchange of an honest review.

Godeena by Stjepan Varesevac Cobets

Summary

Major Henry Broncon miraculously survived a battle with Ansker soldiers on the planet Morad. He was found under a pile of corpses, his best friend and the whole brigade remained in the field of death. Broncon was fully acquitted, he got the medal for bravery and was promoted to the rank of colonel, but he cannot forgive himself because he feels responsible because they fell into the trap.
Shortly after the war ended, and terrestrial colonies that came out as winners in the war to receive a distribution system Naude comprised of planets and Godeena. On the surface there was a huge and completely preserved, but uninhabited city that scientists have named the Absolute. Soon he sent an expedition to investigate what happened to the people and animals because he never found signs of life. A few days later he was attacked from the surface and loses all trace of them. General Staff sent two teams of Special Forces to find out what happened to the expedition but they also disappear, leaving no trace behind.
Commander of General Staff, Gen. Hensell due to personal reasons of Colonel Henry Broncon requested to collect the unit, composed of the worst inmates from prison Had, and along with them discover what is happening on the planet Godeena. Henry accepted this task and collected 17 prisoners.

Characters

Henry was an interesting character. A little underdeveloped but interesting. The biggest problem with this book was the point of view (POV) shifts. Within one chapter there would be between 2-6 POV shifts. There was no logic or reason and it was jarring. I did like Diana though, she was the reason I kept reading.

Maria/Kir was the best character but she didn’t really fit in the book. She felt like a fantasy character in a sci-fi novel.  I would have liked to know more about her but I may have lost how Maria/Kir came to be but it may have been lost.

Plot

This plot was pretty straight forward. Go and get some prisoners, get them trained, take them to a crazy planet with a killer creature, and defeat it. The part about going to the prisoners and training them seemed to take forever. I actually almost quit twice. I struggled with the easy comradery that followed — it didn’t feel real. It happened too quickly and everyone just fell in.

Best part of the book was when they finally arrived at the planet. Although that stagnated near the middle. Author did a great job of building the planet — Godeena. I thought the author was going to have a twist at the end but I was thoroughly disappointed when he played it safe.

Overall

This book was too long and I just couldn’t get into it. To me it was wordy in all the wrong places. I did like some of the characters, particularly Diana, but there were some incoherent pieces. The POV shifts were distracting. The author did a good job on the planet’s setting, but took too long to get there.

Rating

2 stars

I didn’t like this book. I couldn’t recommend this to anyone and it needs a lot of work. It has some potential but needs a complete overhaul. Diana and Godeena itself were the shining moments in this novel.

I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Unfathomable Chance Giveaway – Birthday

April is my birthday month. I love this time of year, spring time, and birthday month. As such I want to share with others by having a giveaway. Since the book features Diana’s birthday it seemed appropriate!

Go HERE.

Best of luck to you all and for those who also have April birthdays, happy birthday!

West Quarry Farm by James Stillwood

Summary

He’s still out there. Still doing the same thing. It’s not just the fact he kills them that’s shocking, but it’s the way he does it. Can you be certain it won’t be you next?

Working at a supermarket, living with her teenage daughter and caring for her elderly mother, on the surface, Mel William’s life appears to be ordinary. But Mel is on a quest. She is determined to find the man who harmed her daughter, and nothing will stop her from hunting him down.
With a loving husband, a young daughter and plans to expand her own business, to the outsider, Rebecca Stead would seem to have the perfect life. Then, one day, she is thrown off course by a chance meeting.
A horrifying event binds these two women together.

Characters

I thought the summary misrepresented who we would see the most of. I expected we’d spend most of the book with Mel Williams but there are twice as many chapters with Phil (Matteson) and Rebecca Stead. This is important because I wasn’t a fan of Rebecca at all. In fact most times I just wanted her chapters to end. Mel on the other hand I had a lot of respect for. Phil is one bad dude and the author did an amazing job making him creepy and calmly evil. Also Jenny (Rebecca’s friend) is a hoot.

Plot

The author had a lot of aspects running at once to keep the reader guessing. It was suspenseful in a slow and ‘not sure when this is going to get really bad’ sort of way. I felt the author spent too much time on Rebecca’s life but I get that it was to build her character and the suspense. I actually felt really bad for her husband and daughter. Rebecca made choices and was a freaking idiot and I couldn’t bring myself to like her for the duration of the book. The author added in a stalker which was great.

Overall

This was such a British psychological thriller. The setting was set to match this. It actually reminded me a big of Blood on the Wire. It was unnerving and suspenseful but took a long time to have something happen. It had weird moments that were meant to increase the intensify. Then the action spikes for the characters and is resolved a chapter later. Thankfully there is an epilogue which shows where all the characters are.

The writing was easy to follow, although there were some British terms I wasn’t sure on. There were limited errors, mostly punctuation errors, but I did note an overuse of colons. The characters were mostly consistent but Rebecca was all over the board emotionally. Honestly she was such a mess that it made the plot believable, but also took me out of the suspense of the book more than  once.

Rating

4 stars

The suspense in the books builds and builds. It was unpredictable and it took me awhile to figure out where it was going. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending even if I didn’t like all the characters.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Titan Lost (Galactic Lineage) by Colin Kortekaas

**Doesn’t standalone**

Summary

The year is 2127. Mack (a contracted problem solver) has just awoken from a three year trek across our solar system, on an imperative mission to…well, solve a problem. A satellite orbiting Jupiter’s moon Io has intercepted an alarming message transmitted from a methane mining colony based upon Titan, the largest of Saturn’s 62 moons. For reasons unknown, communication has since been severed with the intergalactic-fuel-producing colony. The slow-burning methane fuel produced on Titan is vital for the mining of distant asteroids to acquire their precious resources, which a war ravaged, Ocean consumed, Earth, has become desperately depleted of. Upon arrival of the desolate moon, Mack soon learns that something has been uncovered, under the moon’s abysmal liquid-methane lake that will change humanity forever, and finally answer the age old question; are we alone in the universe?

Titan Lost is abounding with fast paced action, gore addled violence, and outlandish (Yet still scientifically believable) alien creatures that will no doubt prime your imagination. Despite clearly being written as a work of fiction, Titan Lost also manages to maintain a believable grasp on the science involved, without being overly technical, while shining a light on humanities moral struggles with the demons that we all face…even in the eternal darkness of space.

Characters

The book has a lot of characters and no clear POV – warning that the book zig-zags points of view. This is a mostly male cast with only one pretty woman who I appreciate the author at least made to be smart. Most of the main characters are men’s men. Very macho – sometimes over the top about it, but at least consistent.

Plot

Fun sci-fi plot. There are aliens, a crazy virus, and a cool mining facility on Titan, a moon of Saturn. Book is set up so that Mack is just arriving after something bad may or may not have happened and then the next chapter shows the mining facility and what is happening. Mack is there to ‘fix’ the problem for the owner of the mining facility on Titan.

Overall

The author does a good job describing Titan as the setting and making it feel real. I would easily say the ability to build the world around the characters was the author’s strength. The writing is a bit immature, and not really great for a novel. Actually I thought it would make a great graphic novel instead, reminded of old comic books with all its sound (whacks, dings, and other action sounds). The action scenes were great, but a little gory and a few were over the top (eyeballs pop out of heads).

Despite its over the top, macho men, and old comic book type style it was an interesting story. It isn’t a stand alone and the ending was a little rushed but made sense. I was actually hoping there would be more of a surprise ending but I did like it.

Rating

2.5 Stars (rounded up to 3)

Its okay. Despite its drawbacks it was a memorable and interesting read. It is very much for a male audience and would, in my opinion, have made a much better graphic novel.

Received a copy in exchange of an honest review.

The Zondon by Robby Charters

Summary

Ernie Magawan has been bothered by bazaar recurring dreams of outer space and a green crystal. He’s tempted to agree with his twin that he might be off in the head – until, during an archaeology dig, he finds the very crystal and realises he’s on an mission that started before he was born. The stability of the universe depends on their success. He has to find and wake up six others like himself…

Characters

There are a lot of characters in this book. Worse each of them have two names AND twins. It is not very easy to keep track of them. Ernie and May Lin are the ‘central’ characters but all of the seven Zondon’s are important. Although I felt like Rosa kind of got the shaft as far as ‘spotlight time’is concerns. The bad guy was interesting and had an interesting dynamic with the group. Hands down favorite character was the 12 year old boy Ibrahim.

Plot

This book had a plot too big for its britches. Just like there were lots of characters each of them had a background. The concept of everything on Earth coming from something else (from Gods to creation) was an interesting story. However, there were too many gaps for it to be enjoyable. The first part and the last part of the book were interesting – everything else was too drawn out and somewhat unnecessary in areas. It was a very slow plot in some areas and super rushed in others.

That being said the author did an amazing job making each place seem real. I don’t know if that was from personal experience or from research but I was impressed at the level of detail for each place and the languages/culture. Absolutely fascinating.

Overall

This felt like a history book at times – full of information dumps. Not to mention there was a narrator who sometimes talked directly to the audience but yet also delved into the characters to the point that it no longer felt like a narration. It was jarring at times. Not to mention the plethora of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. Furthermore, the author pushed the idea of coincidence too hard to the point that it became contrived. Like what happens between Ernie and May Lin (I think I scoffed out loud at this one). In short this book needs work and refinement, but it could really shine! It is important to note that I did enjoy parts of this book.

Rating

2 stars

Overall I didn’t really enjoy this book. This book needs a lot of work. It has lots of potential and a fascinating idea but it isn’t ready. Still super impressed by the setting.

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

Summary

Captain Lincoln’s last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

Characters

There were an array of characters but the two that are the most important are Captain Lincoln and his lover Helen. Although they are the main stars, really Helen is just secondary to Captain Lincoln. He is a very noble character with a heavy burden on his soul.

Plot

The reason I didn’t say more in characters is because honestly there wasn’t anything more to say. Actually I thought it was going to go like the Dylan Thomas poem (Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light…) Instead the story is exactly what the summary presents, which in my eyes was severely disappointing.

In all fairness I was warned it was about people and relationships (most of all love), being more of a focus. It actually felt too perfect. Almost too rehearsed or contrived and that made the authenticity of the novel fall through for me. The beginning, middle, and end plot wise were all flat and steady. No blip on the radar, no fight. That just didn’t feel human. It did have emotional and one ‘breakdown’ moment but that wasn’t quite enough.  I understand it was their way of life, but not one person tried to go against the grain? Not one person fought with every grain of their being to live? I’m not buying it.

Overall

Although set in a futuristic time this was not a science fiction. More like the science fiction aspect was a subset of the analysis of humanity’s strengths and weaknesses. It touched on cultural issues, the idea of individuality, the struggle of morality, and the creativity of a species constantly in conflict. I thought it interesting the author consistently reference Earth’s history and music but never added any ‘imagined’ ones to level the list. Absolutely fascinating and interesting!  This aspect was well worth the read if only there more conflict.

Without the conflict in the characters and a physical manifestation of that conflict, it just didn’t sing true. For all of its fascinating points (that were basically an highly detailed and thoroughly researched opinion piece). I can accept that we adapt, and change and perhaps get better but the novel never touches on one person fighting back and trying to find another way. Not one person just saying ‘I want to live!’ Even if it ends poorly. The novel never touches on this nor does the character consider fighting against the system. In fact I can’t recall where anything like that happening on ‘The Ship’ (Hope Eternal) and that is utterly shocking to me.

Rating

3 stars

This book has so much going for it, but I can’t believe in the history of humanity and all its conflict that not one person said no in this isolated society. It speaks to the human condition and for a novel that touches on humanity’s makeup, this is one that is needed to improve its authenticity. Still a worth while read!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.