Articles tagged with: book reviews

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norse mythologyFor the first time in a really long time, I was disappointed in a Neil Gaiman book. Usually, I am that person standing strong against the howling naysayers who cry things like, “This book is the worst book ever written. Neil Gaiman has disappointed me for the last time!” I am a devout Gaimanite, and like to believe I will remain so until the day I die.

As one of my writing heroes, there’s a strong possibility I will adore nearly every word that pours from his pen, but not so much with Norse Mythology. And I don’t the reason had to do with Gaiman himself, so much as it had to do with the fact that in my lifetime I have read so many Norse mythology books and stories, I already knew every single story he decided to retell in this collection. There are plenty of stories that don’t get lumped into those collections, and honestly that is what I hoped for with this book because Neil Gaiman has an incredibly creative mind. Even if there aren’t a ton of details to those lesser known stories, I feel confident he could take them to the next level.

That being said, the writing wasn’t poor. It was about what I’d expect from a Neil Gaiman book, though his own voice didn’t seem to shine through even half as much as I’d hoped it would. I did hope for a bit more dialogue, considering I knew so many of these stories, flesh them out a bit, I don’t know. Give those of us who already love Norse mythology something we haven’t already sunk our teeth into.

I gave the book four stars, which probably doesn’t seem low enough, considering the amount of complaining I’ve done in these four short paragraphs, but like I said, the writing itself wasn’t bad. And though I’ve read them all many, many times over the years, I do still love the stories he retold. I just hoped for something more than I got, which seems to be one of the things a lot of Gaiman naysayers chant these days. Odin’s missing eye, I hope I’m not becoming a Gaiman naysayer!

Four out of five stars. I suppose I’d recommend it to someone who has never read a single Norse mythology book in their life, and then I’d tell that person not to stop with Gaiman, but go deeper and explore the mythology that inspired him to retell these stories in the first place.

Homeland: The Dark Elf Trilogy Part 1 by R.A. Salvatore

homelandThe words below will likely fall into the realm of unpopular opinion. Be that as it may, they are an opinion. My opinion is my own, just as yours belongs to you, and I don’t dispute that there are people who love these books and this character. I simply do not think this series of books is for me. That being said… on to the review.

A lot of years ago I read a bunch of R.A. Salvatore books because I love fantasy, and it seemed like the thing to do. They were okay, and I remember enjoying them well enough, though I also recall thinking they weren’t “spectacular,” just sort of average.  I read books with Drizzt Do’Urden in them, but I never got around to reading any of The Dark Elf Trilogy. Recently I thought to pick up Homeland and see what I’d been missing, because obviously I was missing something since everyone and their mom seems to love this character and his many, many books.

For starters, this was a relatively short book, and yet it took me about a week and a half to muddle through it because try as I might I just could not get into the story.

Drow society more or less devours and destroys itself, backstabbing, murdering, lying, and cheating their way to the top of the hierarchy. Sounds exciting, and in some instances it sort of is.  You have a massive collection of powerful dark elves run completely by the matriarchy–super empowering for women, right? Yeahhhh…. not so much.

The houses of Menzoberranzan thrive based on their favor with Lolth, the Spider Queen, which means if you fall out of favor, you’re pretty much screwed unless you can convince (with generous sacrifices,) you’re worthwhile. The matriarchy holds all seats of power, including the coveted priestess position, and the men of the Underdark are considered idiot fools good for little more than fighting, breeding, and playing the role of sacrifice. So many of the female motivations within the society, and the story itself, felt petty. It’s how the society is–petty, underhanded, backstabby, cruel–and I get that, but I kept asking myself while I was reading how it could be made better. How they could still be powerful, evil even, without seeming so ridiculously narrow-minded, self-defeatist, and trite. Why must powerful women in positions of dominance be… awful? There was absolutely nothing redeeming about any of the female characters at all, and for me that’s often a deal breaker with books. Give them something, even a reason for their utter hideousness, and I can be a little more forgiving, but as it was there was no established reason for their evil. They were just… evil. Meh.

I do give the book a little slack, considering it was published over 26 years ago, and a lot has changed even in this last 26 years, but still… It was disappointing for me, to say the least.

The character of Drizzt Do’Urden felt a little lackluster. He was the proverbial diamond shining in the darkness, the incorruptible slice of light that refused to give into the blackness of his inborn nature. That is a great lesson if you dig deep:  No matter what you face in life, it’s up to you to stick to your guns and stand against the darkness that would devour you. I took that away from the story, so it wasn’t all negative.

On the other hand, the writing wasn’t as polished as I expected it to be. More than once I found myself skimming back over a sentence and trying to make sense of the word order, looking for a pause that was absent, and wondering how the problematic nature of a few of these issues allowed the story to thrive as it has for more than two and a half decades. I guess it doesn’t matter, because for some people Drizzt is/was a necessary character to help them through whatever darkness they faced, and I respect that, but for me personally I just didn’t get it. To each his/her own.

Overall, I gave the book 2.5 stars and will likely not continue the trilogy unless I find myself stranded in a library during an apocalyptic event and I’ve run out of other books to read.

Battle Mage by Stephen Aryan

battle mageI had no expectations going into this book, not even after reading the back cover description. I was itching for a good fantasy read, something rife with magic, intrigue, and war, and that’s more or less what I got.

Returning home after years abroad, Balfruss doesn’t know what awaits him. He only knows his king needs battle mages if there is any hope of winning a war against a deranged tyrant with a rogue warlock on his side. With a small band of powerful battle mages under his command, it’s up to Balfruss to protect those on the battlefield from magic. Vargus is little more than a common soldier, or so it seems, who takes it upon himself to rally the forces to keep them alive. He fills the hearts of his troops with a love for one another, forging a bond not even death can break, and it’s soldiers such as these who will fight beyond death–their names heard in the rallying calls of their brethren as they battle to hold onto freedom and each other. Daughter of the king, Talandra is not a typical princess by any means. She is well-connected, well-informed, and every secret whispered finds its way back to her ears. Acting as her father’s spymaster and adviser, Talandra must work behinmd the scenes to turn the tides of war through cunning and wiles the likes of which lesser men could never achieve. We are granted a fourth perspective in the narration that gets sort of glossed over in the description, but feels equally important–Gunder, a master of disguise employed within Talandra’s spy network.

Through the eyes of these four characters, we see a kingdom at war, shaken to its very foundation by a sense of hopelessness and inevitable defeat in the face of the enemy. Balfruss will do whatever it takes to cut down the warlock and his strange cell of mages. Vargas will push the soldiers on the front line beyond their will to survive, weaving together a force so strong nothing can dishearten them, not even the death of those they call brother. When Talandra finds herself in a position she never expected, it is up to her to set aside her personal freedom for the good of the kingdom. She’ll have to be cold, ruthless, unwavering in the face of the enemy, even if it means tearing out her own heart.

For a debut effort, I was pleased. Battle Mage had just the right amount of bloody battle and magic to keep me entertained, and the underground movement of the spy network was nicely done. My only complaint was that at times I felt like the author sacrificed character growth and development to further the war effort.  I would have really enjoyed spending more time getting inside Balfruss’s soul, coming to understand more of who he was as a person. This is not to say the characters are completely underdeveloped, they have definite depth. I would have just liked to see more. The title, while not entirely deceptive, suggests this book focuses on the battle mages, but that wasn’t the case. The overall focus of this story was the battle itself.

4 out of 5 stars, and I will definitely be reading the next book in this series when it comes out next year.

Wynn In Doubt by Emily Hemmer

Wynn in DoubtWynn Jeffries has been standing still too long, every day of her life passing uneventfully by as she uses the need of her family as an excuse to avoid following her dreams. At twenty-eight, she’s spent the last few years substitute teaching when she gets the call, but the majority of her income is earned as a bartender in a local dive bar. Everything she ever wanted is gone, including Oliver, the boy she hopelessly crushed on all throughout high school. Oliver never knew she was there, at least she thought he didn’t, but then he kissed her in the parking lot one night, turning her entire world upside down before he took to the road and answered the call of the music swelling inside him. Now her only access to the boy who stole her heart are the articles and interviews she reads in magazines, the videos she catches on TV, and the rumors she hears floating through her little town.

Shortly after the death of Wynn’s beloved grandmother, Elizabeth, Oliver returns to town and takes a job in the bar where Wynn works. He’s as gorgeous as she remembers, impetuous and fleeting as the wind, and when he starts asking her whatever became of the girl she once knew, Wynn’s forced to face the fact that nothing became of her. She is nothing, her life is meaningless, and everything she ever thought she wanted was put on hold, the excuse of her family needing her ever ready for the grabbing whenever her own wants were called into question.

Unearthing a strange article tucked into one of her grandmother’s books, Wynn discovers a secret Elizabeth held close to her heart. She told the entire family her mother died when she was a little girl, but the article in Wynn’s hand suggests otherwise. Lola was alive and well four years after her supposed death, and taken into custody with a band of bootleggers. When she brings it to her family, none of them want to find out more. A woman selfish enough to leave her little girl behind and allow her family to pretend she was dead doesn’t deserve to be resurrected, but Wynn can’t let it go. She doesn’t just want to know what happened to Lola, she needs to find out the truth.

With Oliver’s urging, Wynn takes a chance, embarking on an adventure to find out what happened to her great-grandmother, even though she knows it’s hurting her family to dig into something her grandmother clearly never wanted them to know. The exhilaration of listening to her heart and falling in love with Oliver along the way lead her to a truth she never expected about a woman she can’t help feel is a little too much like herself. As the story of Lola and Michael evolves, Wynn can’t help but feel her own story with Oliver is coming into light as well.

But only Wynn can take control of her life and become the woman she knows she’s meant to be, and if that means letting go of all the things she’s allowed to hold her back over years, including Oliver, she will find her courage and do what it takes.

I absolutely loved this book. Wynn is charming and relative. There were so many times I knew exactly how she felt, and I found myself living vicariously through her for a time, hoping that like her I could find the strength to be myself before it was too late. Highly recommended, I gave Wynn in Doubt by Emily Hemmer 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of Wynn in Doubt from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Somewhere In Between by Katie Li

Somewhere In betweenDepression, rejection and general teen angst push two unlikely people together on a not-so-typical walk home from school. Magnolia’s boyfriend, Zane, needs his space, and Rom’s father makes the very thought of going home dreadful. Neither of them feels comfortable enough anywhere to be themselves, and yet when they’re together, it’s okay. They’re safe. Their daily walks and mutual ponderings lead the pair to an unexpected gateway to a world not unlike their own, save for the fact that there is no life in the places it takes them. It is their escape from the hardships that plague their lives, the one place they feel empowered and strong, the only place they can truly feel the way they feel about each other, even if they don’t realize it.

But life goes on. College draws them away from each other, away from their happy place and their unconfessed feelings for one another. When they wind up back at home, both of them running from life’s little cruelties and the crushing weight of responsibilities that won’t allow them to be who they truly are, they find themselves face to face again, and standing in front of the portal to their In Between place.

I was intrigued by the description of this book. I love a good urban fantasy now and again that truly explores the fantastic, but when I started reading the author’s style was very scattered. She bounced back and forth between past and present tense narrative, while also weaving in and out of the past itself. She chose a dual narrative, exploring the emotions and moments of each of the main characters, which worked for developing them and making it somewhat easier to navigate through the scattered narrative. When I reached the end, I found in the acknowledgments that she had always wanted to read a book that could be an anime, and I think she captured that essence very well.

The concept of the book was intriguing, complicated in its nature, but not overly difficult in its presentation. It was very short, more like a novella than a novel, and though I didn’t expect to like it, it actually charmed me enough that I would be inclined to check out other books by Katie Li if they came across my path.

3 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kung Fu Girls Books, through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Kick Push by Jay McLean

kick pushAt seventeen, Josh’s life looks promising. His parents are supportive, his future as a pro skater is bright, he’s got a smoking hot girlfriend and a best friend who’d do just about anything for him. It doesn’t look like a single thing could go wrong, then his girlfriend Natalie drops a major bomb: she’s pregnant. They were so careful, did everything in their power to prevent it from happening, but sometimes accidents are avoidable and life has other plans in store for us.

He is ready and willing to do the responsible thing. Whatever it takes, he will see to it for the sake of his child, but his proud father will not stand behind him, and his mother can’t change her husband’s mind, so Josh finds himself on the streets. He has no choice but to quit school once his son is born, and while it seemed throughout her pregnancy like he and Natalie were on the same page regarding their unborn child, once Tommy is born Natalie can’t hack motherhood so she abandons them. Without Natalie there to complete his little family, Natalie’s parents kick Josh out of their home and he winds up bouncing around, homeless, jobless, carless, and terrified that he isn’t going to be able to do what he has to in order to keep his little baby boy alive.

Fate intervenes, a ray of hope in the guise of an older Hawaiian woman who spies him in the pawn shop trying to sell the last thing in his life that holds any worth: his skateboard. She takes him and Tommy in, puts them up in the apartment behind her house, and for a while life is easier than it was before. His uncle gives him a good job, and for the first time since Tommy was born it looks like Josh just might make it.

Then she moves in. His landlady warns him beforehand that her granddaughter is… damaged, and her one and only wish is that she leave Becca alone to heal, but a three year old little boy running around tends to string everyone together, even when they don’t intend to fall in love with anyone. Josh and Becca fall in love slowly at first, but not with the parts of each other that will truly determine the depth of their feelings. It begins with him teaching her how to skate, kick, push, coast… When he asks her to coast with him, she can’t say no because she needs someone like Josh just as much he and Tommy need her. But they hold each other at bay, allowing the physical high of their attraction to one another to dictate their emotional bond, and before either of them can stop it, they’re swept up in a whirlwind that promises to spiral their lives out of control.

Josh’s trust issues turn to rage. Becca’s past continually haunts her, making it impossible for her to let go and give the parts of herself away that she’s held wrapped up deep inside her. When Josh’s ex returns, everything explodes and his temper gets the best him, nearly destroying Becca (quite literally) in the meantime.

Now here’s the thing. I enjoyed this book. The writing style was intriguing. The story was fun, despite it’s emotional depth, and I was really rooting for Josh and Becca until Josh turned into a massive asshole and started taking out all his pent up anger on everyone around him. There was no happy ending to this book. In fact, it didn’t really even end at all. After hundreds of pages building toward climax, McLean ended on a cliffhanger, the two main characters at odds and distanced from each other.

The thing is, despite all that, it felt very real. There were so many overwhelming problems in their lives. The people surrounding them struggling to keep their heads above water, the two of them nearly drowning themselves. Even though at times it seemed unrealistic just how much crap piled in on them, it was like life saying, “Oh, wait… Everything is crappy? Let’s pile on some crap for you to deal with. Hopefully you don’t break. It’s not my intention to break you, really, but if you survive this, imagine how strong you’re going to be.”

Overall, I enjoyed it. Four out of five stars, and I will definitely check out the sequel to see where it carries Josh and Becca. Hopefully back together.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

ScarletI started this book out not sure how I was going to feel about it. We just left Cinder in the lurch, trying to figure out how she was going to escape prison, and this book immediately introduces us to a new character. Not that new characters are bad things, I just wasn’t sure how Meyer was going to bring it all together. But she did, and she did it well. About a third of the way through the book, I already knew I was going to love it just as much as I loved Cinder.

Scarlet’s grand-mère, Michelle Benoit, just up and disappeared unexpectedly. She cut out her identification chip and walked out the door without even packing a bag. There were no signs of struggle, no indication that she didn’t intentionally become a ghost, but Scarlet doesn’t believe it for a second. She’s pretty sure grand-mère met foul play, and it’s up to her to find her and bring her safely back home. When she meets a street-fighting drifter named Wolf, she knows he’s dangerous. Everything about him absolutely screams feral, but then a clue leads her straight to him and she knows the only way to find her grand-mère is to put her trust in the beast.

Meanwhile, Cinder needs to get out of the palace dungeon. Armed with her new found power to glamour Earthens and the upgraded bionic arm Dr. Erland gifted her before instructing her to break out of prison and find him in Africa, Cinder finds herself face to face with self-proclaimed “Captain” Carswell Thorne. Over-confident, self-assured and relatively certain he’s a divine gift to the galaxy, Thorne went rogue while serving in the American Republic military, stealing a ship and fleeing his unit. Arrested and contained in New Beijing, Cinder realizes without Thorne’s stolen ship, there’s no way she’ll make it out of the city, much less find a way to rescue Kai from Queen Levana’s clutches.

When Cinder and Thorne pick up a strange trail that leads them straight to Michelle Benoit’s farm, bringing the duo together with Scarlet and Wolf.

One of my favorite characters in these books is Iko, the android unit that served the Linh family while Cinder was growing up with them. I was devastated in Cinder’s book, with Atri destroyed Iko, but I knew Cinder would find a way to bring her back. I actually squeed a little when Cinder found use for Iko’s personality chip on Thorne’s ship. Androids have always fascinated me, and while a lot of people often say they get tired of reading stories about Androids who discover their humanity, I don’t think I’ll ever have that problem. Iko is one of the most human androids I’ve read about in a very long time, and there are times when her humanity cracks me up, while simultaneously breaking my heart.

Watching Meyer weave this world together is a beautiful thing. Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood as you’ve never seen her before, and the tale is beautifully done. I highly recommend the Lunar Chronicles to anyone who loves effortless melding of sci-fi and fantasy with a twist of adventure.

Five out of five stars without hesitation, I’ll be posting my review of Cress, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, very soon.

The Scorched Earth by Drew Karpyshyn

the scorched earthContinuing the epic saga of the Children of Fire, Drew Karpyshyn’s The Scorched Earth picks up right where the first book ended, leading all four chaos-born children toward their destiny, while running from the minions of Daemron. Scythe, Keegan, Vaaler and their companions head into the Tundra, the land of the barbaric clans Norr once belonged to. When pursued by the Order, the quintet find themselves trapped, and would have starved to death had one of the clans not come to their aid, while Cassandra rushes across the land, toward the port city in hopes of escaping with the crown. Vaaler’s people have allied themselves with the minion, Orath, and storm the tundra to take back the ring Vaaler stole for Keegan after his own mother exiled him, and the Pontiff of the Order has declared another purge of those professing an affinity with chaos. None of the chaos-blessed are safe, and as the world tears itself apart, Daemron rubs his hands together on the other side of the veil, watching and waiting for an opportunity to return to power.

I don’t know if I was a little burnt out from all my gripes about the first book in the series, but I had a lot of complaints with book two and found myself often reaching for something else to read, taking far longer to finish than I expected to and sighing a little whenever I glanced at my shelf and saw it staring expectantly back at me. I wanted to finish, and find out how far the story progressed, but at the same time I felt like I pretty much knew where it was going.

I finally sat down Wednesday night with about 80 pages to go, and said, “Okay, let’s do this so we can move onto something else without feeling guilty about it. We’ve come this far. Let’s go.”

On the positive side, there weren’t near as many typos in the text as there seemed to be in the first book, but the bouncing between perspectives (some of them just feeling absolutely unnecessary,)  seemed to grow more frequent. And then I noticed something else that really started to get under my skin: there is a ton of inner-dialogue in this book. Not that I’m averse to inner-dialogue. It’s often a great way to see what’s going on inside a character’s head, especially in the middle of a chaotic experience, but every chapter, every perspective was absolutely teeming with it, and it wasn’t always internal perspective. Sometimes it felt like the author took those small asides to tell us how we as readers should be interpreting what just happened in the passage before. It was very off-putting, and at times redundant. I felt like Karpyshyn didn’t trust me enough to figure out what was going on, so he had to throw a bunch of bones out in case I was struggling to grasp what he wanted me to. I know that probably sounds mean and disrespectful, but that was what I felt like when I was reading. It was like being led with a carrot, rather than invited into this potentially amazing world so I could get lost and then find myself through the characters and their experiences. It makes for tedious reading when that happens. And sometimes I find myself walking away from books like that because as I’ve said before life is too short to waste time reading bad books.

The thing is, the story itself isn’t bad. The plot is intriguing. It contains all the right elements, but relationship development, personal growth, heck personalities themselves all feel stunted. And I think it’s because Karpyshyn keeps telling me what I should know about these people rather than allowing the strings to weave themselves together so the people in the page can grow. This perturbs me because as I mentioned in my last review, I really enjoy Karpyshyn’s writing for the most part. He did handle one character’s reaction to a death rather well, but the other characters all felt very insensitive and cold about it, their guilty feelings unconvincing in the way they were portrayed.

Will I read book three when it comes out? I honestly can’t say one or the other right now. I want to know how the story ends, to see how he pulls everything together and saves (or destroys,) the world, but at the same time I feel like I will just complain the entire time I’m reading it, and contrary to popular belief, I don’t like complaining.

I gave The Scorched Earth 3 stars, half a star less than I gave Children of Fire. I don’t like to give out 2 star reviews, so I may just have to pass on the next book when it comes out.

 

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes

 “Something my grandmother used to say. Keep up the light. To do the things that have to be done, no matter what.”

“I know the expression,” she said. She turned her head toward him, and he saw her face for the first time. She looked tired. “You never know what you’re capable of surviving until life demands it of you.”

Author Ben Tierney’s life took a nose dive when the economy collapsed, costing his wife Caroline her job and pinning their family between a rock and a hard place. To make matters worse, the Tierney’s second grader, Charlie, has had nothing but trouble with bullies at school, who even went so far as to lock the boy in the boiler room and lie to the FBI when questioned about Charlie’s whereabouts. Caroline is in desperate need of a reboot, and Ben could use a clearer head to make some progress on his new novel. Visiting the farm property left to him by his grandmother, Swannhaven’s police chief tells the couple about a vast piece of property for sale on the cheap.

Believing this is their chance at a fresh start, the Tierney’s buy the property, intent on fixing it up and turning it into an inn, but there’s something about the Crofts and the town of Swannhaven that doesn’t sit well. It can’t be seen on the surface, always just from the corner of the eye–a dark shadow flitting through the trees. Reliant on their own resources, the townspeople don’t warm easily to outsiders, even those with the old blood of the region pumping through their veins. There’s just enough intrigue and mystery in Swannhaven’s past to intrigue the authorial mind, and as Ben begins digging into the historical tragedy of the region, he finds himself compelled to capture the very essence of the strange little town–even more so when the danger to his life and family grow more evident with each passing day.

Duffy’s debut novel, House of Echoes is chock full of mystery, intrigue and just enough atmospheric creepiness to keep the pages turning. I found myself excited to see the mystery unravel, and as the pieces started falling into place, I thought for sure I had it all figured out, but then things twisted in a direction I almost didn’t expect. Almost.

While the overall ending provided enough closure for it to feel like a solid story, Duffy changed narrative style in the final few chapters, giving me pause and making me wonder why he’d deviate so drastically from the way he’d told the story up to that point. The realism of the ending was appreciated, but through those last few chapters I started to feel glad I was almost done with the book–that’s never a good sign for me. Stellar books are the ones you never want to end, but this one ended with me being glad it was over so I could move on to something else. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book, a decent story, but the ending left me feeling a little flat, as I started wondering how I might have written it differently. Not the plot, but the writing itself. The style shift was just so jarring to me as a reader.

Overall, I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of House of Echoes from Random House Publishing Group–Ballantine through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpyshyn

Mass Effect RevelationThe Mass Effect franchise is one of those things I can’t seem to get enough of, but just like with Dragon Age, I was hesitant to dive into the books that coincide with the series. After playing through the trilogy again recently, I needed to extend my fix because you don’t just save the galaxy from Reapers and walk away. So, I picked up a copy of Mass Effect: Revelation (2007) by Drew Karpyshyn, which takes place several years before the games begin.

Humanity had no idea how far behind the rest of the sentient galaxy they were until they discovered a Prothean cache on Mars that sent modern technology spiraling into the now. Within the cache they found documentation about about a Mass Relay just beyond Pluto that granted them access to areas of the galaxy they’d been unable to explore prior due to lacking knowledge. The first team to pass through the Mass Relay became instant heroes upon their return, and within a matter of years humanity soared through the stars, colonizing every available planet they could land their ships on. Until they met with the militant Turians and the First Contact War made a hero out of a young soldier named David Anderson.

Eight years after the First Contact War, Anderson finds himself drawn to investigate a distress signal from a top secret, Alliance research facility. Anderson doesn’t know what they were researching, but the place is a slaughterhouse when he and his team arrive. Barely escaping with their lives, Anderson is called upon to track down the one person the Alliance believes may have escaped before the facility was destroyed–scientist Kahlee Sanders. Sanders quickly becomes the prime suspect, and the Alliance wants Anderson to track her down before and bring her in before the Galactic Council sends one of their Spectre agents after her.

If the council discovers what humanity’s been researching, it’ll wreak havoc on intergalactic relations, but embittered Spectre Saren Arterius is already hot on the trail, and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.

My skepticism about these books was quickly shattered. Revelation was like an in-game prequel mission that let me get closer to Captain David Anderson, who is one of Commander Shepard’s favorite people (in the galaxy, not just the Citadel.)  Karpyshyn effortlessly provides fans of the Mass Effect franchise with a solid leaping off point, establishing races, politics and the struggles humanity faces as they ascend to compete with the rest of the galaxy. He crafts an unshakable foundation for the expressed fear of advancing Artificial Intelligence much of the series hinges upon.

I highly recommend this book to fans of the Mass Effect universe, and think it’s a great starting point if you’re considering exploring the galaxy with the Alliance Navy. It provides a solid introduction to concepts that will definitely brief you before embarking on your first mission as Commader Shepard. Four out of five stars, though I don’t know how appealing these books would be for someone who isn’t interested in exploring the franchise in its entirety.

I have already added the second book in the series to my TO READ list, and will be diving in as soon as I finish Dragon Age: Last Flight, so stay tuned for my review.