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Publisher's Summary

With the short, brutal struggle between humans and insectoids ending in an apparent truce, the navy orders forces withdrawn beyond the Roach Frontier, hoping to avoid a destructive war against their new rivals.  

But when an ambitious human settlement and a colony of semi-feral insectoids clash in the Segovia System, the conflict quickly spirals out of control, with humans launching an invasion of mechanized troops, and insectoids responding with a rapid military buildup that threatens to push the war into an uncontrollable spiral of complete genocide.

©2020 Michael Wallace (P)2020 Michael Wallace

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Dark Star continues this Epic Saga!!

In the opening stages of Burning Star Book #2, Catarina Vargus and her Fleet, along with others of the Royal Navy are trying to take and hold Hot Segovia, but things go wrong when Insectoid reinforcements arrive before Catarina’s forces are ready, and before their reinforcements arrive. The Marines, desperate to make planet fall, and start the fight, cut comms, and make a stupid mistake, cutting themselves off from the fleet, right at a time when things go wrong.
As a result, Catarina is forced to leave them, and flee to New Segovia, in hopes of rallying a force to push out the Insectoids from the system once and for all.
This opening sequence is a really interesting part of the book, as it flows directly from book 1, in which the Insectoids have tried to give a message of peace, and had it smashed down, and then a brutal fight in the mining tunnels in which they have had insurmountable losses, and on top of that, have had to kill sentients, something that they can’t stand to do. The Human forces however, have conquered space fairly easily, but have also suffered major losses in the tunnels, and have only managed a minor victory, which in the end, is only a truce.
And so, when Catarina faces off against the Insects, she is not sure what to do, whether to try a peace dance of her own, to try and avoid more bloodshed, or do something else, not knowing, that the Insects are over it, and coming for blood.
This complete lack of communication, even a lack of understanding of motives and the psychology of the enemy means that neither side understands what is happening, and it makes for a really compelling read especially since you get to read both sides of the story.
Meanwhile, Capp and her fleet nearly land in total disaster in a system filled with mines and a gas giant with a huge gravity well, so that when an enemy comes through the gate, suffering from gate sickness, barely conscious, they are dragged into the gravity well of the giant, and straight into the mine field.
Capp and her fleet are still hunting reinforcements, eventually hoping to head to old Earth, but in the meantime, looking for allies, and especially looking for old ships, like the Iron Duke that went missing on a mission in the region they are in.
This particular part of the story has been utterly fascinating from the start, seeing Capp elevated to a command position has not only been a lot of fun, but has allowed us the opportunity to really get to see a new side of this Character, one that everyone has a soft spot for. Capp herself has grown considerably since the first series in the Blackbeard Saga, having come from a minor Navigator, to being a respected part of not only her crew, but the Navy in general.
This series has always been a gritty, powerful Character Driven Saga, and Capp’s Character, as well as Vargus’s Character, are prime examples of this. Both Capp and Vargus (as well as numerous other major and minor characters within this book and the series), are exceptional examples of how Wallace creates these amazing characters that not only use this wonderful dialogue that is incredibly realistic, and is utterly enthralling, but the combat sequences are just as realistic, being gritty, brutal, absolutely gripping and edge of your seat. The really great thing about Wallace’s Characters though, is their ability to create an emotional connection, you can feel their connection with other Characters, but as you read the story, especially if you read (or listen) to these books back-to-back, the reader gains a real emotional connection to the different characters as they are totally captivating and engaging.
The really clever part of the writing in this series, is that you also find yourself gaining a connection to the Main Characters in the Insectoid side of the story as well, the story of Ast and Citrine, and their battle to not only survive the mines in book 1, but then to survive what happens to them next (Sorry, no spoilers), you find yourself getting totally enthralled in what is going to happen to these extraordinary Characters. There are times you actually find yourself wanting to skip sections, just to find out what happened and get back to the Insectoid parts.
Wallace’s world building (galaxy building) is just extraordinary, the depth that he has put into each aspect of the series, the races, species, technology, even delving into bio-technology. Wallace has continuously impressed with all the different regions of space holding a different aspect of humanity that had previously fled Earth, and has since adapted to their part of space, the Singaporeans with the Stealth Tech, the Scandinavians, and their ferocious assault ships and tactics, as well as how they have developed physically due to the environment, each variant is just as fascinating as the last. Then there are the Alien species etc, Wallace’s Galaxy building is just extraordinary, the attention to detail that is included with every aspect of the story is just inspired. There is so much detail, and so many intricate characteristics that have been provided for each element of the story – it is just masterful.
Overall, Dark Star is a brilliant second book in the series, with everything you want in this type of book – Exceptional Characters, Stunning Combat Scenes, that are not only Brutal, but in which we get to learn a lot about the psychology of both sides as a result of the combat. And a story with beautifully described scenes so real, you feel you are there, with technology, and ships that are not only creative, but superior in every way.
This is a book not to be missed, in a series that you have to read. If you have read the rest of the series, you will absolutely LOVE this, but if you haven’t, you can probably get away with reading it and enjoying it still – but you are much better off reading the whole series (and it is so worth it!!). This is just outstanding writing, Wallace at his best!!
Steve Barnes is an exceptional Narrator, with a great range of voices. He is fantastic for this series as he has the perfect sort of voice for these types of characters, he really does a wonderful range of male and female voices, with clearly pronounced words that are very easy to listen to. Barnes really provides very clear emotional states for his characters as well, so you understand what they are going through, whether they be angry, happy, scared, etc, giving the story that additional edge.
Barnes has made each of the characters his own, bringing them to life, making this one series that is an absolutely must listen to!!