In Renegade, Shepherd starts a new series that should be classic space opera. It's not. Strong characters, both male and female are a welcome highli..Show More »ght here. On top of that, his space battles rock. His descriptions of the movement of the ships, the punishing forces and multiple directions of force, and the way it might be to try to be a human amidst all of that are brilliant and refreshing. This is the second series I've read from Shepherd. His first book, "Breakaway" was a fast and fun but a bit juvenile. That series got better and more mature as the author did and by the end of the series was some of the best science fiction I've read in a really long time. "Renegade" starts off with that maturity of skill and subject matter and combines a really well considered world. I loved it.
A good second installment. Overall enjoyable, enough twists and turns, unexpected developments to keep it interesting. Performance of Mr Lee is outs..Show More »tanding. I enjoyed his voice selections for the various characters. At times gets bogged down by too much emotional baggage from the various characters tormenting themselves with self doubt, second guessing, etc. Overall I highly recommend it.
Kantovan Vault is Joel Shepherd's 3rd book in the Spiral Wars series. Following on book 2, Eric, Trace, and the rest of the Phoenix crew are in the hu..Show More »nt for an old Drysine memory core in order to counter the apparent evil axis of Alo, Sard, and Deepynine. Venturing further into Tavalai space, they encounter another alien race, the Parren with an old history with the Hacksaws, leading them to undertake a heist of cosmic dimensions. Basically, they must steal an old Parren diary kept in a super secure vault held by the Tavalai fleet's arch nemesis, the Tavalai state department. What ensues is a complex series of maneuvers that begin to go wrong as soon as initiated.
The sci-fi elements are in line with earlier installments with the added additions of more unique alien races and "gravitons" devices that can create and modulate gravity. Eric is coming into his own as the Phoenix captain. Interspersed among all the action, which is plentiful due to Eric, Trace, Tif, and Dale simultaneously carrying out independent actions to complete the heist is the added feature of Phoenix crew's enlightenment regarding alien interactions. Specifically, Dale must work with a retired Tavalai fleet Sargent (that he probably fought against during the recently completed war) and comes to appreciate their commonalities more than their differences, while Trace is gradually coming to an understanding of the depth and organic-like psychology and sociology of machine intelligence, and Lisbeth is gaining insight into a new alien race (a bit "divergent") that is growing in prominence for the larger story arch.
John Lee's narration is simply outstanding bringing excellent range not only to genders, but also to the various alien races that are easily identifiable without resorting to nasal or phlegmatic renditions.
Note: This is not a trilogy as the hunt is leading Phoenix further into the Spiral, away from humanity as well as further back in time, well before humanity's entry to the galactic party. Shepherd has created a universe with much to offer with the Holy Grail, the eventual vindication of their mutinous acts.