Legion of the Undead really hit the spot; I need a second helping! First, I love Roman Empire stories and I’ve come to love zombie fiction in the past few years. Now we have the perfect mash-up. Hungry zombie horde, meet the Roman legions! Cue evil laughter!
Often with ancient Roman historical fiction, I don’t see too many female characters and the few that are present are usually only there to act as someone’s love/lust interest. Not so with this book! Yay! The ladies are true to accepted Roman Empire gender roles but they also get plot-relevant stuff done. Even the minor but evil Sevillia did something that affected the plot. And I love Lucia, who is a 16 year old thrown into the midst of this zombie uprising. She’s not a cliched uber-tough zombie stomping heroine but she is practical, saves the day a time or two like the other heroes, and doesn’t fall to pieces when she needs to be rescued.
Of course Vitas Protus is my favorite. He’s an archer that is catapulted up into the ranks as the zombie issue becomes a real problem. He keeps his wits about him, takes advice from those around him, and gets stuff done. I loved how he watched out for Regulus, the 14 year old lad that was forced into the military. Then there’s big Antonius too. He’s also a practical sort, giving the soldiers orders to aim for the heads if they want to take out the zombies.
Starting out on the outskirts of Germania where the Roman legions were pushing back the German tribes, Vitas has to get his little band to safety. First, it’s to the their encampment and then on to the estate of Governor Clemmons. There Vitas gets his orders to head to Rome with a dire note and Lucia, who can speak to her merchant father’s home being overrun with these Risen (as the zombies are called in this book). Not everyone makes it out unscathed. In fact, a character I had gotten a little attached to takes one for the team before the end. There’s also a touch of intrigue and betrayal!
Anyway, it’s just a really good book and since we’re in November, I can safely say it’s one of my favorites of the year. Legion of the Undeadhas set a new bar for zombie Roman Empire historical fiction! 5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Terry Self really out did himself with the narration. Just a great performance all around. He has distinct voices for all the characters and his female character voices are feminine. There’s a few accents as well (Spain Spanish, Gaulish, and Chinese) which he pulls off quite well. In fact, Terry Self sounded like he was really into the story, it never being a dull moment. There were no technical issues with this audiobook. 5/5 stars.
This is a genre that I seldom read, near-future, sort of post-apocalyptic, military fiction; but DAMN, I like this series. It's almost like ... well, I want to say good Tom Clancy with twists.
This is the continuation of the events in First Light, book one of the series. Again, we follow the 1st person narrative of Lieutenant James Shelley as he navigates this screwed up world. Shelley is the beneficiary of some high tech body modifications, even thought they sometimes seem like a curse and Nagata writes it so well that even a know-nothing like me understands what's going on. Even the trial/court scenes were eminently readable and that's not always the case.
The world is dark and cynical and full of conspiracies and plots and counter-plots and the author does them all justice. I never predicted what was happening until it was either happening or just about to go down. And even then, there was always some twist I didn't see.
This is a techno-thriller in the true sense of the word, I think. I was on the virtual edge of my seat almost the whole time I was reading. We meet up with lots of old friends, make some new ones and come across some not so nice folks too, familiar and otherwise. And I should have seen that twist coming at the end, but I didn't, and damn, it's a good one!
So yeah, I really enjoyed my read and I'm glad that I have the final book in the trilogy nestled nicely in my Kobo.
Old Man's War / John Scalzi
July has proven to be a horrible month for me, so I went for a light read as the Virtual Speculation pick. Old Man's War is a light military SF read, written in a similar tradition of Starship Troopers, but it also manages to act as both a tribute and satire.
In general I enjoy Scalzi's work. Fun, light reads, and he's proven to be a pretty good person as well. This is the second Scalzi read I've done, the first being Lock-In (which I've still failed to post an actual review of). I've also met Scalzi several times, the last time being several months ago where, as the inscription on my copy of Old Man's War indicates, I brought brownies to the author event. In case you were wondering, it was a giant star brownie. Sadly, I was trying a new recipe for making them from scratch, and it was not my best baking result. (Sorry, John).
I ended up sitting down and reading the book in three days. It would have been fewer, but I read another book in the middle of that. As I indicated, it's not a heavy read. Almost all aspects of the book is kept relatively light, and you know what, that's exactly what I wanted.
Croaker has fallen and, following the Company's disastrous defeat at Dejagore, Lady is one of the few survivors--determined to avenge the Company and herself against the Shadowmasters, no matter what the cost.
But in assembling a new fighting force from the dregs and rabble of Taglios, she finds herself offered help by a mysterious, ancient cult of murder--competent, reliable, and apparently committed to her goals.
Meanwhile, far away, Shadowmasters conspire against one another and the world, weaving dark spells that reach into the heart of Taglios. And in a hidden grove, a familiar figure slowly awakens to find himself the captive of an animated, headless corpse.
Mercilessly cutting through Taglian intrigues, Lady appears to be growing stronger every day. All that disturbs her are the dreams which afflict her by night--dreams of carnage, of destruction, of universal death, unceasing...
More evil gets done in the name of righteousness than any other way.
Just when I thought that Glen Cook’s grimdark Black Company world couldn’t get any bleaker, any darker, or any weirder…. I realize that I am wrong. Mr. Cook, your dark imagination scares me!
But, I am still invested in the two main characters in Dreams of Steel, namely Croaker and Lady. Croaker provides the dark sense of humour of the two, with Lady remembering some of things he has said or imagining what he would say when she finds herself hip deep in slaughter. Lady can never be said to be the softer, gentler one of the pair—if anything, she is even more ruthless, willing to put heads on stakes to make a point. Revenge is everything!
There really are no good guys in this series, just shades of black. It would be a shock to the system to try to jump in here at book 5, without having read the preceding novels—the level of violence and disregard for life would be overwhelming. But my situation is like the proverbial frog in the pot of water—it has gradually come to a boil without my noticing!
Now my search for a copy of Bleak Seasons must begin. I couldn’t abide a constant diet of grimdark fantasy in my reading life, but I must know what happens to this two bloodthirsty duo.
Book number 258 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.