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  • Galaxy's Edge, Part II

  • Galaxy's Edge, Book 2
  • By: Jason Anspach, Nick Cole
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,305
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,171
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,169

Legion Dark Ops calls upon Chhun, Wraith, and the survivors of Victory Company to form an elite Kill Team of legionnaires in the aftermath of the Battle of Kublar. Their mission is clear: find and eliminate those responsible for the Kublar disaster. Standing between them and their objective are a maze of corrupt Republic officials, a spy on the verge of losing himself in deep cover, and the Zhee - a murderous species that will stop at nothing. But the biggest threat of all might be the truth they seek to uncover - a truth that could ignite a revolution. And engulf the galaxy in flames.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good military/sci-fi series

  • By Rusty on 06-06-18

Military Sci-Fi at its best - Brilliant Series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-27-18

This Audiobook is made up of two of the Galaxy's Edge series, Parts 3 and 4 - Kill Team and Assault of Shadows. Just a quick word on R.C. Bray - he again delivers flawless Narration, and continues to be one of the best Narrators in the business. He does exceptional character voices providing such character depth and making the story so much better as a result. He is easily one of the best Narrators out there.
Following is a review of each book separately:
Kill Team:
After the battle for Kublar, the Legionnaires want answers, they want to know who is responsible for the loss of so many lives, and for the destruction of their ship over the planet. Expecting to lose their Field Commissions on return to another ship, Captain Ford and Lieutenant Chhun are instead surprised to find that they are permanently appointed to these positions, and even more surprised when they are offered a position on a Kill Team doing Dark Ops. Joined by an experienced Dark Ops operative, they are quickly off on missions to track down those that cost the Legion, those that sold the bombs, and to find out what could be next.
Whilst running missions, they learn from an inside source that things are worse than they thought, another mission is planned by the MCR and this time their target will upset the entire Galaxy.
It is up to the Indelible 6, a Dark Ops Kill Team made up of the Legions best, to stop it, to save the Galaxy before it burns. Time to KTF.
Whilst it might seem that this books are guns and glory, they aren’t. These are well thought out, incredibly well written stories with keen tactical and strategic knowledge, exceptional characters and some brilliant tech. The combat scenes are outstanding, written with in-depth skill, so that you feel like you are standing in the room watching the battle take place in front on you.
This is a book that will suit all readers, those looking for a fantastic read of black ops, and skilled combat (I still say it has an edge of an Adults Only version of Star Wars the Clone Wars, with the Elite Clones to TacOps), but it also covers aspects of the Political Intrigue going on behind the scenes, looks at the soldier’s lives and how this is affecting them, and then there is the Espionage aspect of it as well, with all the cloak and dagger stuff going on behind the scenes as well. This book has something for everyone.
Best of all though, it is just exceptionally well written, Chhun, Tom, and all the other characters are just beautifully constructed, so real, so in-depth with their emotions, their responses, the dialogue.
This is a book that you will pick up, and just be glued to, whipping through pages and not be able to put down as you have to know what happens.
Galaxy’s Edge is the place to be, for a brilliant read you don’t want to miss.
Assault of Shadows:
There seems to be a pattern to this series, with each alternate book focussing on either the specific characters (Chhun and his team), are as is the case for Assault of Shadows pulling out to give us a wider scope of the Galaxy and the war at large. It is a very clever and fascinating way to keep the readers engaged, and to also tell the stories of the ground troops, those in the thick of the action, but also allow us to get a scope of the scale of the galactic conflict that is unfolding from the Galaxy’s Edge inward.
In this Epic 4th instalment, Goth Sollus, ‘The Man in Black’ has brought together a fleet of his own, 3 massive Battleships with support ships, as well as highly trained soldiers including many ex-Legionnaires who have either been kicked out, pushed out, or left as they are so dis-enchanted by the Republic, and their use of ‘Points’ as Political tools in controlling their military forces, even at the cost of lives. Sollus rallies these ex-Legionnaires into a mighty fighting force, as well as using them to train additional soldiers. With a mighty Navy that he has also gathered, he is ready to strike at un-prepared Republic that is weak and believes itself all powerful.
Anspach and Cole do a brilliant job of building the intensity at the start of this book, like a slow moving chess game with the Galaxy as the outcome, both sides moving pieces about. However, whilst the Republic push pawns around uselessly, Sollus positions his most powerful pieces into strategic positions without the Republic even noticing. That is one of the best parts of this book, the strategic and tactical moves as they are unfolding.
One thing that is a little hard to know though, is whose side you are meant to be on? In the previous book, we were clearly on the Republic side, wanting Chhun and his team to survive and complete their mission. However, in this book, the Republic are almost made out to be the enemy, and Sollus the hero, the good side, even though there is definite linkages to him being Darth Vader at times (the ominous Man in Black!!). It is a little confusing to know who to go for in this book.
As things unfold though, and Sollus moves his pieces into play this book becomes such an outstanding story of intense war, with incredibly crafted battle scenes that leave you holding your breath as you read them, flipping through pages to find out what is going to happen next. Anspach and Cole write the most amazing battle sequences, whether it be close combat hand-to-hand, shooting, sniper fire, aerial dog fighting, and fighter combat, all the way through to capital ships slaughtering each other with super weapons, the two of them have the ability to create it all.
Something just as an aside is all the ‘Easter Eggs’ that are throughout these stories. As you are reading, you realise that there are quotes from multiple different movies and Sci-Fi references (Star Wars gets a lot of references), that just makes it fun to read (or listen to if you are an audio fan), to try and pick them out.
Part 4 is a fantastic story. It is those that feel betrayed by the Republic, feel that the Republic is weak, that the House of Reason is no longer reasonable, and must be removed. Part 4 is all about Civil War, and it is just so cleverly done. I think that is the best thing about this book, when you read how Sollus put his resources together and you realise what he did, you also realise just how clever he has been, and how brilliant the underlying story is.
These are both exceptional stories in what is building to be an epic series, and should not be missed!!!
If you are looking for something to listen to that is a guaranteed good listen - this is it!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Singularity Trap

  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,215
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,376
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,339

When Ivan Pritchard signs on as a newbie aboard the Mad Astra, it's his final, desperate stab at giving his wife and children the life they deserve. He can survive the hazing of his crewmates, and how many times, really, can near-zero g make you vomit? But there's another challenge looming out there, in the farthest reaches of human exploration, that will test every man, woman and AI on the ship - and will force Ivan to confront the very essence of what makes him human.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent.

  • By Amy Snider on 06-13-18

Exceptional story, Taylor continues to shine

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-17-18

There is no doubting that Dennis Taylor is an incredibly gifted writer. On the back of the ‘Bobiverse’ series, comes ‘The Singularity Trap’. This had some very high expectations, and for me, I wasn’t disappointed.
The story follows Ivan, a young man who like many people in this Universe, is desperate for work. The world is not in a particularly good way, with tides rising, land shrinking, high unemployment etc. Ivan is married and has a family to support, and needs a job, one that has a decent return. So he turns to mining, something that can have big returns, if you survive. Ivan is able to program robots, something that very few that sign on have, so is very welcome on-board.
The story follows Ivan as he signs onto the crew of a mining ship, the Mad Astra, to go and mine asteroids.
Things go along uneventfully for a while, no major issues, until one day, the crew discovers something and Ivan does the highly intelligent thing and picks it up. Because that is what you should do when you find something unknown on an asteroid in the middle of nowhere, that looks vaguely alien, pick it up, I mean, what’s the worst that could go wrong…..Oh…..
And so our real story starts.
And this is where we see Dennis Taylor at his absolute best. This is where he creates the most amazing characters, and starts to tell this incredible story properly, the rest has really all been preamble just leading to this.
Without giving too much away, Ivan has his life changed irrevocably by touching the item, it starts physically, but from there, he starts to change in other ways as he realises his life is never going to be the same again.
As the story unfolds, the impact of the changes to Ivan, on his family, his crew, and the implications to the human race are astounding.
As Ivan continues to ‘change’, and these changes and the impact this will have on both him and humanity are fully realised, the story really starts to pick up.
This is an incredible story, of humanity, of loss, of sacrifice, of intelligence (and of one really stupid act of course), but it is also one of brilliant characters. Ivan’s character, and how he interacts with the rest of the crew, his family, himself and others is just outstanding, some exceptional character dialogue that makes this such a brilliant book that should not be missed.
Taylor continues to prove that We Are Bob was not just a one off, that he is one of the stand-outs in Sci-Fi writing, especially with character writing.
The Singularity Trap is a fantastic listen, and you won’t be disappointed.
As for the Narration, Ray Porter did an exceptional job with the Bobiverse series, his Narration was without a doubt some of the best to date with his range of voices, story telling, and his ability to convey the emotions of all the characters.
It was no wonder that Taylor wanted him for his new project, and Porter again delivers another stunning performance in the multitude of roles he plays. He not only conveys each character (male and female), he has such a wonderful soothing voice that you can just listen to him for hours. I have found on several occasions that I have actually drifted off to sleep re-listening to the Bobiverse series as Ray has such a easy voice to listen to. Ray Porter is one of those Narrators that if you see his name next to a title, it is actually a tick for buying the book, even if you are a bit unsure of the story, you know the Narration will be exceptional.
Overall - this has been another fantastic audiobook from this pair, I can't wait for their next effort.

  • Shattered Sun

  • The Sentinel Trilogy, Book 3
  • By: Michael Wallace
  • Narrated by: Steve Barnes
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44

A desperate alliance of human and Hroom factions gather to defeat Apex, a brutal alien menace who has vowed to exterminate all civilized races from the sector.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding ending to the trilogy!

  • By Jas P on 11-02-17

Outstanding ending to the trilogy!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-17

So after all the battles and engagements, the liaisons with the Singaporeans, and the treaties with the Hroom, this has all lead to this final book. The Hroom have come to support Tolvern, but she is left hanging at her moment of need by McGovern, and decides that the need of Sentinel 3 is too great, taking the Hroom and Blackbeard to assist them. Unbeknownst to her, there are games afoot in the Hroom fleet, and Mose Drys is no longer in command of his fleet. Further to this, Admiral Drake and Dreadnaught are a long way off before they can support them.
What follows are several chapters of incredible story telling as Humans, both Albion and Singaporean and Hroom, fight for their very existence against the unrelenting and devastating forces of the Apex. The Apex are there only to destroy, to collect bodies for their sacrifices and to feed upon, the more and the higher ranked the better.
This is a book of grim determination, against horrifying odds, knowing that to lose, is to not just potentially have your ship destroyed, to die, but to possibly be slowly eviscerated and eaten, and watch those you care and love also be eaten as you watch. The Apex are unforgiving, don’t surrender, don’t stop, and seem to have more ships than should be possible.
However, as Wallace builds this story to its climatic end, he plays on the one thing that Apex does not have, the resolve to survive that is buried deep within each of the Humans and Hroom alike. The courage to face up to this enemy together against insurmountable odds. Wallace does an exceptional job of building this story, not just from this book, but from the previous two books as well.
We also get the fun of seeing a Star Leviathan unleashed in this book (sorry minor spoiler, but I won’t say anymore), and it was incredible the descriptions of this amazing star creature in all its glory. Wallace had previously described the creature, but we had not seen one in full swing until now.
As with the other stories, he has continued to grow the characters (maybe not as much as some other Sci-Fi Space Operas), allowing us to engage and become attached to each of the main characters.
There are still several unanswered questions however, so I do expect that we will see another series (a certain Pirate Captain has still not turned up, nor has her secret system, and there are other things not finalised)
Overall, this is a great end to this trilogy, with some spectacular and outstanding starship combat, as well as some closure to some aspects of the story. This is exactly what this type of book is meant to be about, swashbuckling fun, with a bit of seriousness, good characters, and some stunning combat, both in space and hand-to-hand.
Looking forward to the next series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Revolution

  • Omega Force, Book 9
  • By: Joshua Dalzelle
  • Narrated by: Paul Heitsch
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 948
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 902
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 900

Rumors have swirled around about the demise of the ConFed for as long as Jason Burke had been in space, a lone human among countless alien species. He largely ignored them...until now. For the first time since any of the members of Omega Force can remember, someone may have figured out how to destroy the ConFed without directly engaging its powerful military. As one crewmember's past seems connected to the current trouble, Jason must decide what side of the fight he's on....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't stop now!

  • By Christopher B Kulig on 12-31-17

Brilliant Narration, Excellent Background on Lucky

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-17

Dalzelle continues to create these impressive stories, even after 8 books, the 9th was just as good, if not better.
Something is trying to destabilise the Confed, or more importantly the Confed banking system.
Whilst Omega Force has no love for the Confed, they understand that the removal of this organisation will be disastrous, as potentially bring down the Confed and see billions or trillions of lives at risk, and dozens of worlds at risk with no support from the Confed fleet.
Jason sees no option but to try and work out what is going on. This leads to a rather interesting mission, and a series of trips all over the galaxy as they hop from place to place trying to work out what has happened.
As usual, this leads to various ‘interactions’ for the crew and as the story progresses, there is a lot of fun, antics and action as they try and try and piece together what is going on.
This is what makes these books so great. The collection of misfits in the crew are unlike anything else, but at the same time, they also remind me (and others) of a lot of the brilliant shows/books from the past and present (No I'm not going to start listing them, there are too many).
However, Dalzelle has not simply copied them, he has made this his own, with his own unique galaxy backdrop, each of his own wonderful characters, and some brilliant tech to tie it all together. There is still the fantastic humour that leaves you in tears at times (there are things that Jason says to Twingo that are hilarious that don’t just leave Crusher in stitches)
One of the things that I think made this book the standout for me personally, was the start of the book, as well as several other bits where we get to learn a lot about Lucky. In this episode, we actually learn how he was created, why he is like he is, who made him, what he is, when and where he was made, and the reasons for not just his senescence, but for his conscience as well. It made this a truly fascinating listen, and Dalzelle has spent a lot of time developing this story line to make sure that it is not just exceptional, but that it honours both his listeners/readers and Lucky himself. This is what makes him such a great character writer.
There was some storyline in relation to Cage and Jason as well, as well as the Ship, which got a complete overhaul, but Lucky was the main star of this book. We also get to see a lot of other battlesynths in action this time around, which added an extra bonus to the book as well.
Overall, as I said earlier, this was a fantastic listen, and Dalzelle continues to show why he is such a brilliant author and why this is such an exceptional series. If you are a fan of the series, you must listen to this for the Lucky info, and if you haven’t, then get the first one – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Scythe

  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,842
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,467
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,464

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: Humanity has conquered all those things and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life - and they are commanded to do so in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe - a role that neither wants. These teens must master the "art" of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Immortal until you're Gleaned

  • By G. Grimsley on 06-27-17

Good Concept, Disappointing Execution

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-17

This is the first book I have listened to of Shusterman, and I have to admit, that I was initially drawn in by the cover of the book, and then by the blurb. This is a YA book, there is no doubting that, but one that is probably for an older YA audience rather than a younger one given the violent content.
It is a difficult book to judge overall as there are a lot of very intriguing aspects to this story, but there are also some flaws to the story, some elements could have been done better.
The story itself is about a futuristic world in which humanity has moved to the point of medical technology so that there is no death anymore, everything can be cured, and so all humans are immortal basically. There are also no governments anymore, everything, and I mean literally everything, food (growing, distribution calculation of requirements for population), transport, (from the cars to the trains to the planes), everything, is looked after by this AI called the Thunderhead. It is also responsible for reviving people if they have an accident, and for when people have reached that point in life where they ‘turn the corner’, it can revitalise them, making them young again.
This was where one of the flaws in the story came up, when we come across one of families in the story, and they live in this big luxurious mansion, better than most families do, because he is very well off, (in a world with no needs or wants, and no economy as such), he is filthy rich, as he is the one working on the technology to make revival technology to make you able to revive younger. But why in a world where basically everyone has EVERYTHING, would there be someone who lives like a billionaire now? It didn’t fit in with the rest of the story.
Returning to the main story, to try and have a semblance of normalcy in this society, it was decreed at some point that there would be Scythe’s, human’s, completely separate to the Thunderhead, who would ‘Glean’ a quota of the population every year. Two teenagers are selected by a Scythe to act as his apprentices, Citra and Rowan, and the main story follows what happens to them.
Without giving too much away, there are Good and Bad Scythe’s, those that ‘Glean’ in a kind and humane manner, and those that are psychopathic killers who have found their calling in life, and the only thing they are upset about is that there is a quota set upon them.
Our two apprentices start with Scythe Faraday, but due to various events, are split up, one with Scythe Curie and the other with Scythe Goddard. Curie and Faraday are of course on the good side (couldn’t have Madam Curie’s namesake as a psychopath), but Goddard of course is pure evil. Scythe’s take the name of someone famous in history, and I guess the relevance of Goddard’s name is that he was never celebrated for his work in rocket engineering, and Goddard believes that he must change the face of Scythdom to fit his image of what a Scythe should be.
How the story all comes about is very black and white, there is unfortunately very little mystery to be uncovered, and the resolution of between Scythe Goddard and his apprentice is somewhat weak and could have been done a whole lot differently, giving the story and the characters some actual depth.
The other apprentice has a little more depth, but there story is just as transparent, whilst at the same time, full of holes. The apprentice shooting the person they were looking for at the house that Curie sent them to, with Curie knowing who was at the house being one of the biggest holes – why would Curie not tell the apprentice who was there? I'm trying not to give too much away – once you listen to it, you will understand and understand the error.
The ineptitude of the other Scythes was astounding, given their alleged ages and skills/training, that apprentices could either outsmart them, or kill them in some instances.
As was the sheer stupidity and lack of skill of the alleged ‘Blade Guard’, those who were there to look after those whose main job in life is to ‘Glean’ others. Why do they need guards? And if they have them, why are they able to be so easily outdone?
The only characters with any depth beyond a wading pool were Curie and Faraday themselves, and we saw little enough of them, or their relationship.
Having said all of this, this did (and with the sequel to be published), still does, have the potential to be a really fascinating story, it just needs some serious work on the characters to give them some actual depth, and to fix the glaring holes in some of the storylines. Curie’s readings at the start of each Chapter are some of the best bits of the entire book, and show that her character actually is real. This is a really clever concept, but it has not been executed overly well unfortunately, hopefully the sequel is better.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Tech Mage

  • Magitech Chronicles, Volume 1
  • By: Chris Fox
  • Narrated by: Ryan Kennard Burke
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 492
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 466
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 465

Aran awakens in chains with no memory. He's conscripted into the Confederate Marines as a Tech Mage, given a spellrifle, then hurled into the war with the draconic Krox and their Void Wyrm masters. Desperate to escape, Aran struggles to master his abilities, while surviving the Krox onslaught. Fighting alongside him are a Major who will do anything to win, a Captain who will stop at nothing to see him dead, and a woman whose past is as blank as his own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a solid story with likeable characters.

  • By jason young on 11-09-17

Exceptional

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-27-17

This was an utterly fascinating read. Imagine taking all the futuristic world of starship combat, but then mixing it with elements of Mages that weave magic through sigils or glyphs in the air to form complex spells to either cast defensive or offensive spells. Then add in armour that is specially designed to do battle (void armour) in these circumstances, along with pistols and rifles that are able to cast magic as well, at different levels, depending on the capability of the user. There are potions as well that allow for a range of different things, depending on who brewed it – healing, invisibility, amplification. Then there are the Krox, the enemy, whose allies are Void Wyrms, or as we know them, Dragons. So we have starships, with spell cannons and spell drives, casting offensive and defensive magic against Dragons in space.
It is a pretty fun concept, made all the better by Chris Fox and his well-developed and engaging characters as well as a storyline that is at the same time thrilling and exhilarating. The story moves at an incredible speed, and there is so much exceptional detail, the dialogue is masterful, and although there are elements from some different stories I can think of (such as J.S. Morin’s Black Ocean Series), there are very few books that come to mind that combine Magic and Technology so completely as this series, or do it as well.
The main story starts with the main character, Aran, awakening with no memory, nothing, to be told that he has been mind-wiped and is now the property of some slavers. He makes a pact with one of the other slaves, and through a series of events, they end up under another Slaver called Nara.
Through another series of events, Aran and Nara end up with a Major of the Confederate Army, aboard her ship, ‘The Wyrm Hunter’. They are all that stand between the Krox, and army of Void Wyrms and a planet full of people, as well as possibly the future of the galaxy.
This is an exceptional story, incredibly action packed, with the most amazing storyline, it is part thrilling, part terrifying, with the combination of Magic and Technology mixed in this unique hybrid that creates this story that you will just not be able to put down, with characters that you will be become very engaged with.
This is just a sensational thrill ride, and should not be missed.
I have to be honest, at first I was a little unsure about the Narrator, but he quickly grew on me, and he tells the story in a way that is engaging, thrilling, with a good range of voices and with the right sounding dialogue to really convey the power of the story, the angst, the fear, the triumphs and the victories as well as the losses and the tragedy.
Burke does a wonderful job overall, really bringing Fox's story to life and this is an excellent listen.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Defiance

  • The Legacy Fleet Series, Book 5
  • By: Nick Webb
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165

The fog of war clouds everything. Enemies lurk in the shadows, within the very fleet sworn to protect United Earth. Conspiracies and murder abound, and in the background.... The stalled alien invasion lurks. The Golgothic ship has burrowed deep into the core of Saturn's moon Titan, whose mass slowly but inexorably increases. The Dolmasi, once allies of United Earth in the Second Swarm War, now attack us, unhinged and without reason. And all the while, Admiral Shelby Proctor works to answer the most urgent questions of all.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Worst book in the series

  • By Jeffery L. Williams on 09-18-17

Sci-Fi Mastery from Webb, with brilliant Narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-26-17

Defiance continues the epic saga of the Legacy Fleet series, which centres on Humanities fight against the deadly ‘Swarm’. This is the 5th in the main series, but there is now the Kindle World spin-offs as well delving into multiple different aspects of the story.
In Defiance, Shelby Proctor has been re-instated as an ‘Active’ Admiral aboard the Independence, alongside Ballsy, who is no longer flying fighters, but is the Captain of the ship. At the start of this book, and as the story moves forward, there are just so many things happening within the Universe that the survival of Humanity is looking kind of bleak. A strange race has done something to the moon of Titan, the Dolmassi are at war again, Granger has returned from the grave, impossibly, with a message that they are coming, and to top it all off, it appears that members of the highest ranks of the Military and Government are acting like they are under the influence of the Swarm again. And this is just the political side, there is all the actual full blown heart pounding ship-to-ship combat that Webb interweaves throughout these books so well also.
This is why Nick Webb’s books are just so good, they aren’t just fleets smashing each other, these are intelligent well thought out thrilling Sci-Fi, and because of his field of study, Nick is able to bring such a high degree of realism to the story with the technology and the Science, making his stories truly gripping reads. Defiance (and the Legacy Fleet series as a whole), has something for everyone, creative and outstanding tech, thrilling, clever and in-depth storylines, and exceptional characters with believable, real dialogue that makes you feel you are there with them.
This is also an engaging and stimulating book, cleverly laid out with various early parts of the story leaving you wondering what this part of the story, or that little paragraph are doing in certain parts of the book, right up until some pivotal moment, when it all happens, and so much clicks into place you actually have to stop for a minute and just let it all fall into place, the sheer genius of the story telling, and the outstanding writing ability to put together the story in this fashion, to create such anticipation and tension and then create such stunning effects as a result. Nick Webb is a truly gifted writer, there is no arguing with that, and with Tremblays Narration, this is just an exceptional audiobook that shouldn't be missed.
For those that are after some epic starship combat, Defiance (and the Legacy series as a whole), has some of the most amazing battle scenes in the genre, and the descriptions from fighter craft through to massive capital class ships is just spectacular.
One of the highlights of the series though is the character writing. Given that Webb is so good at developing the story, providing such outstanding tech, and the stunning combat scenes, it is no surprise that his Character work is equally as exceptional. From the older Shelby, who has seen everything now, having been a junior officer in the earlier Swarm war decades before, to ‘Batship’, the son of Ballsy, determined to be better than the father he despises, but desperately tries to emulate every time he is in a ship, or simulator. Each of Webb’s Characters are beautifully crafted, with creative and clever back stories (such as Lt Qwerty, and how he actually got such a weird name), that you become very attached to each of them, following their triumphs and their tragedies. Again, Tremblay does a masterful job with Webb's characters, bringing them to life, giving a unique perspective to each of them, especially Shelby, and allowing us the listeners to fully engage with and enjoy each of the characters (sorry I should mention how awesome Ballsy is both as a character and how well Tremblay has done him in each of the books!)
Of course the other highlight are all the Easter Eggs. Nick loves references to every TV, Movie and Book that he has loved over the years, and it is hilarious the way they pop up in the book, or are blurted out by characters (often at the most inappropriate times) This just adds a good laugh to the book, making it just that bit more special.
Defiance is a very aptly named title for the book, for it is only Shelby’s ‘Defiance’ that has any hope of saving humanity now, especially with all of the odds stacked against her.
This is such a superb book in what is possibly one of the best series in this genre – if you haven't listened (or read) this yet, or the series, go and buy it! You will not be disappointed by either the work of Webb, or the exceptional Narration of Greg Tremblay, who continues to provide such amazing and incredible story-telling after so many wonderful books.

  • The Zero Blessing

  • The Zero Enigma, Book 1
  • By: Christopher G. Nuttall
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308

Caitlyn Aguirre should have been a magician. Her family certainly expected her to be a magician. But by the time she reached her 12th birthday, Caitlyn hadn't even managed to cast a single spell! In desperation, her parents send her - and her magical sisters - to Jude's Sorcerous Academy, her last best chance to discover her powers. But as she struggles to survive her classes without a single spell to her name, Caitlyn starts to uncover an ancient mystery that may prove the key to her true powers....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • In a world of Magic, One Girl has Zero

  • By Jas P on 10-26-17

In a world of Magic, One Girl has Zero

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-26-17

This is a world in which everyone has magic, every person can do some form of spell, from the full on Magic Users that create magical items and study magic full time, to cleaners who use simple spells to help them with their daily tasks. The world is kind of like an old world England, with villages, Lords etc, but prestige is not determined by Magical talent rather than sheer wealth.
The story starts with us being introduced to the Aquirre family, the Father is a powerful Mage, able to craft items of true power, and do other amazing feats of magic. His wife is a world renowned Potion Master, able to craft, brew and generate potions of amazing magical power like no other. In the Magical world, twins are a great gift, making a family extremely powerful, so when the Aquirre family are blessed with triplets, their power and place amongst the Elite is practically guaranteed for generations. That is, right up until Caitlyn, the 3rd of the triplets is found to be a Zero, someone with absolutely NO magical ability at all.
Her two sisters Alana and Bella of course have it, Alana is the standard precocious, horrendous, snobby person absolutely full of herself that you would expect in such a family. Bella is kind of lazy with her magic, knowing that she is the 2nd child.
There are going to be obvious comparisons to Harry Potter here, but this is much better. For starters, Caitlyn doesn’t have all the answers, she has to work for things, she isn't handed them, and Nuttall has actually written his story, rather than re-writing a lot of well-known mythology, and having a fairly predictable story.
Secondly, having the main character with no magic in an entire world of magic users is a lot of fun. Yes, I know, it has been done before (Such as Weis & Hickman’s Darksword Trilogy for example), but this is a fantastically written story.
Nuttall has created a beautiful world for the characters to play in and this story to unfold, and it adds a sensational depth to the book. With the upper class magical element, and the peasantry all wrapped around magic through, rather than money, it creates a unique perspective of things. There are also references to this ancient ‘Empire’ that existed previously that fell, and how knowledge was lost, and those of today are trying to re-create some elements of the new world based on this old Empire. It adds an element of mystery, gives the story some extra depth, and allows Nuttall to add various storylines that provide his story with some actual substance.
The main character herself is brilliant, both for a younger audience (which to be honest, I think this book might be aimed at, but, we’re all big kids at heart), but this is also a great listen for anybody who likes a good fantasy story.
Caitlyn is obviously a troubled girl, struggling in a world where she is not only expected to have the gift of magic, but without it, she may well damage the reputation of her family. And even worse, without it, she becomes the target of everyone who sees her as easy prey. However, she is a wonderful role model as well, in a current real world full of news of bullying, Caitlyn shows that you can stand up for yourself, using your intelligence, courage, and your wits. Without giving too much away, she finds things to counter her ‘disability’ as such, making her creativity and intuitiveness part of the real fascination of this book as she has to deal with not just her sisters, but Judes school of Magic, a place where she should be eaten alive with no magical ability.
There are some other wonderful characters as well, Rose, the commoner who was lucky enough to get into the school and becomes Caitlyn’s friend, Caitlyn’s two sisters obviously, the twins of a rival family, as well as those of Caitlyn’s Dorm. All come together to make this an exceptional book. (I was going to write a ‘magical book’ but it I just couldn’t bring myself to do it…)
Whether you are new to Fantasy or Christopher Nuttall’s work, this is a great place to start.
As for the Narration Saskia Maarleveld has such a beautiful voice it is such a joy to listen to regardless of the story she is telling, so when she has material of this standard, it is a true blessing to get to listen to. Maarleveld captivates with a wonderful array of voices, both male and female, using her exquisite tones to bring life and magic to the characters so you can thoroughly enjoy Nuttall's wonderful story.
This is a perfect match of an outstanding Author and an Exceptional Narrator, and anything this pair does is going to be worth listening to.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Redshirts

  • A Novel with Three Codas
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16,090
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,074
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15,057

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clever, creative, and FUN!

  • By Kent on 04-18-13

Clever look at the Junior Ranks

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-26-17

This was one of the most extraordinary stories that I have ever listened to. I loved the concept of Galaxy Quest, that the crew of a show suddenly get zapped into space and their show suddenly becomes a quasi-reality. This story has a very similar feel to Galaxy Quest, with the story line, and the way that the story pokes a lot of fun at things, but there is an underlining current of seriousness to the story as well.
So a bunch of new recruits are sent aboard the Universal Union Capital starship Intrepid. They very quickly learn that the death rate amongst the junior recruits is extremely high, especially on away missions. There is some other weird stuff that is going on as well that leads to several of the new recruits starting to investigate what is going on, why all the deaths, all the weird stuff with the crew, like why is it that Lieutenant Kerensky can be nearly killed every single away mission, but not only miraculously survives each time, but is fit for duty just a few days later?
This is one of those books that is both a brilliant listen/read, just for the incredibly fun Sci-fi story that is running through this book, but it is made all the more sensational by this underlying mystery of what is actually happening to the crew.
To fully appreciate this book, you have to really be a fan, or have an understanding of Star Trek and what happens to non-cast members on away teams, especially in the Original series, although, with so many spin-offs now, (Galaxy Quest being a prime example), it is not a necessity.
This is a combination of things, a thrilling Sci-Fi, Action story with a pretty interesting mystery running through it, but it also has a fair amount of humour running through it to, there are times you will be laughing yourself silly.
Scalzi is a brilliant author, he has written some fantastic stories, and this is another excellent addition to his collection. If you have enjoyed Galaxy Quest, this is a must, or if you ever wondered what happened to the poor extra’s on the away missions on pretty much all of the Sci-Fi shows – then you will get a definite kick out of this.
As for the Narration, this was a huge surprise. I have to say, (and sorry for this up front Mr Wheaton), that there have been times that I have found Wil Wheaton to be kind of annoying. I thought he was great in Stand by Me, but as Wesley Crusher, I was hoping for death by Klingon. However, as a Narrator, he is brilliant, surprisingly brilliant, with an amazing set of voices, exceptional articulation, and just a way of conveying the emotion of the characters so convincingly that you really engage with the characters.
This was a great story, made all the better by Wheaton's Narration.

  • Dragon Quadrant

  • The Sentinel Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Michael Wallace
  • Narrated by: Steve Barnes
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

After Captain Tolvern and the sentinel battle station fight off a ferocious Apex assault, Admiral Drake sends her into Hroom territory to repair the wounded HMS Blackbeard and collect a fleet of Hroom warships. While Drake probes the deep void searching for the main enemy force, Tolvern and the Hroom spaceyards are assaulted by a massive Apex battleship that intends to harvest Hroom and human alike for its bloody rituals.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Story & Narration & Lead in to FInal

  • By Jas P on 09-08-17

Fantastic Story & Narration & Lead in to FInal

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-17

This is the next continuation in the series as Drake and his forces continue their battle against the Apex.
The Apex are this bird like species, and trust me, after you listen to some of the stuff that they do to people, you will never look at birds the same way again. They are a truly evil race. The Apex are ‘Apex Predators’, who take particular pleasure in not just hunting their prey, but then capturing their prey so that they eat them in the most gruesome way possible, piece by slow little piece. This is probably a good time to warn some people that this book is not for those who are a bit squeamish.
However, there are several things that do happen within this book. The war with the Apex begins to heat up, it is like a complex chess game, with Tolvern and the Blackbeard being like a Knight, and the Hroom are a combination of Pawns and Rooks/Castles depending on which ships they are. Although Drake is obviously the Queen for the Albion forces, with the power of Dreadnaught, he is not around to help, still coming (or so Tolvern hopes). Added to this, the Albion side have almost a 2nd Queen in the Sentinel station, like a converted Pawn. With the secret weapon within its hull, the Apex have no idea what might hit them.
However, as the chess pieces move about, it is like they are being controlled by 3 or 4 separate players who haven’t played the game before.
On the other side, the Apex know exactly what they are doing, and move to take both the Station, the Hroom fleets, and Blackbeard.
Dragon Quadrant is a book that is full of dramatic little battles, and the moving of all the pieces into place for the final showdown in the final book. However, whilst it does mean that you have to listen to/read the 3rd book for the obvious conclusion, this book provides some good insight into the Hroom (finally), the fate of the Singaporean Empire, how they split from the original empire all that time ago and what became of them, and even more fascinating, it gives a very good insight into the hierarchy and structure, even some of the culture of the Apex.
Wallace has done an incredible job of bringing to life this alien race that is a violent, predatorial species with that seeks to be the greatest apex predator in the galaxy, and has set about not just conquering any other species they have met, but annihilating them, devouring the bodies of their victims, and salvaging what the fleet needs to move on to its next conquest. They have multiple ship classes for just this use, from smaller craft, right up to enormous ‘harvester’ class vessels that are used to scour every living being off the planet.
This is a really good book, a brutal look at how hard war is, the true struggle that each of the crew has to face to survive against an unforgiving and relentless enemy that will stop at nothing.
The character work is very clever again, especially that about those that have worked on the Sentinel station for too long, have become set in their ways, as people would.
It is incredibly realistic, making this a very good book, adding a level of depth to it.
This was a brilliant sequel not just to this series, but to the overall series, and is a must. It sets up the final for Shattered Sun beautifully, making this an outstanding set of books.