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Denny DimwitTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
4.0 out of 5 starsFinally, Shepherd gets his sea-legs. I can recommend this.
Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2018
This, the fourth book in the Kresnov series is the first one which actually deserves a 4 star rating for Military Sci-Fi. The first three were definitely OK, but not great. I wouldn't peg this one as "Great" either, but it's definitely Good. The 1st book was a definite 3 star, 2nd & 3rd a bit better, and with this one Shepherd has finally qualified as a 4 Star author, imho. Biggest improvement: the action (combat) is not as (emotionally) flat as the last 3 books. He still has silly ideas like the explosives for the 26th Century ammo can be made in any home chemistry lab. And there are a couple of places where the story arc is disjointed, I'd guess either written with significant interval in between or perhaps even cobbled together from two (or 3?) inconsistent alternative story lines. How Vanessa winds up where she was for the final battle makes little sense, the story implies that there hasn't been any coordination between her and Sandy, and yet, suddenly its "all part of a big plan". Disjointed. But of course, once a book is written & published, it's hard to revise the story so that where you NOW want to take the plot is consistent with the PAST narrative. This is the first in the series I can say that if you're like me you'll probably like. I've spent close to thirty bucks on this so far, so I'm not particularly happy at having to spend ten bucks a pop, but this book is really the first where the ending is a "cliff hanger", Shepherd's avoided that previously. (not a personal cliff-hanger for Sandy, but one for the Humans as a species/civilization.) So, I'd rate it a bit less complete than the 3 before it, but hey, its a series and as of now there are two more available (at a stiff price for the e-book!). Now, for me, on to the next one...
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2020
For Cassandra and the synthetics this is deep on many levels. I will not give away any spoilers but I will say there is part of an origination story here. There is some interesting changes for Cassandra as well concerning … maternal instincts? And lots of fighting and casualties.
By the way, where are books 2 and 3? Killswitch and another I cannot remember. For some reason I cannot recall the titles.
5.0 out of 5 starsReally happy the series continues
Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2013
I was very disappointed when the series stopped after three books. The writing is very good, Sandy is a compelling character and the plots moved along quickly. The philosophical questions (How would a created person--stronger, faster and more intelligent than human, but visually indistinguishable--deal with human society? How would such a person be treated by society? How do we define slavery?) are what really hooked me, though.
This book picks up some years after the original trilogy. The crisis this time is that a number of governments and groups are attempting to use the AI technology that created Sandy. Lots of fast-moving action (the opening scene in the book is great), hidden agendas, political short-sightedness and fecklessness. A great read, and I'm really looking forward to the following books.
5.0 out of 5 starsIf you are tired of having your intelligence insulted...
Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2013
Wow! In short, buy it. Too many science fiction authors are tossing tired ideas, lack of imagination, painful prose, and a level action that could put a meth addict to sleep to their fans. Joel Shepherd is not that author.
I find comparisons generally work better than a treatise on the literary qualities of novel. That, and this is my first review so I can do whatever the hell I wish.
If you think David Weber's Honor Harrington novels are so slow you would rather pull out all your short hairs with automotive tape and an Epilady than read another one, this is your book. (I was so angry at the glacial plot development of his last novel I quit feeding the neighborhood stray cat that I had named Tree in protest)
I you thought Hugh Howey hit one out of the park with his Silo series but seriously considered hiring your own editor to go through the final book before you read it so the experience wouldn't be ruined, this is your book.
If you read Michael Hicks "In Her Name" series but can only vaguely recall lizard people with swords and have no idea how many novels of his you read, you won't have that problem here.
If you like John Scalzi An Old Mans war series this may be your next read. Yeah I could have said something bad about Mr. Scalzi but his rabid fanboy's would likely hang me up by my non-existent short hairs (Thanks a lot David Weber!).
If you thought John Steakely's Armor just about nailed that sweet spot that hard science fiction writers and readers are searching for this may be your new favorite novel. Seriously though, why couldn't he have finished a sequel before he had to go? I don't live too far from where he was buried. Its on my to do list to drop some flowers off at his grave in thanks.
I have done a bit of writing of my own. When an author agonizes over word selection, cuts the dead fluff from his own words, and polishes those words to a gleaming shine with sweat, blood, and tears it shows. I would bet Mr. Shepherd had a living hell writing this novel and for that I thank him.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat story, characters and action
Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2017
Great characters and action I liked the action reminiscent of Honor Harrington novels and the consideration of what makes one human. Also the way a people can be led to do things that are objectively wrong - calmly killing people who can't be adapted to the new technology and the hazards of adopting technology without an understanding of its side effects. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys David Weber's books. I chose the rating because it is well written with good character development and has novel themes
Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2013
Usually when there is a big gap between books it makes for a bad book. Not so, here.
Reading the earlier novels is not necessary to enjoying this one.
This is real "hard SF" big idea stuff. What makes us human? And then it continues on to say "what happens when technology runs amok and we have to depend on other technology to save us?" There is also a hint of Prometheus and Pandora type issues.
4.0 out of 5 starsa great return to the Kresnov-verse
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2017
It is five years since the events of Killswitch, and Sandy Kresnov has settled into her new life, surrounded by her friends and their families. She even has a biographer! But then terrible events are uncovered on the Federations world of Pyeongwha, in the deadly grip of Compulsive Narrative Syndrome, and she must go help sort that out. But her actions lead to further problems, and when related issues are uncovered on the abandoned League world of New Torah, she needs to sort those out too, with or without the help of the Federation. What she discovers there threatens the existence of both the League and the Federation, and even has the reclusive alien Talee worried enough to intervene.
This is a great return to the Kresnov-verse, with the usual tricky politics, the feel of large diverse planets in a large diverse galaxy, lots of slam-bang violence, but no easy solutions. Kresnov has opened a huge can of worms here, which even her super-augmented powers might not be able to help with. And she has also opened a smaller, more personal, can of worms, which threatens to disrupt her focus, but might end up helping her grow in ways she never imagined.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2016
Had the first 3 of his books for years & am overjoyed to get my hands on a perfect paperback that matches the first 3 & delivered so quickly. Took me 2 days to read it from cover to cover though I did reread the first 3 to refresh my memory. Grreeaat