Finally, I was able to mine a gem in Netgalley. Despite some minor issues, Skyfare didn’t disappoint from beginning to end. The story goes like this: An apprentice sorceress, Aimee de Laurent, just finished school and had a taste of what the real world is by becoming a portal mage for a spaceship named Elysium. As she was learning the ropes, Aimee and the rest of Elysium’s crew crossed paths with an evil, powerful and ruthless mage knight, Lord Azrael, who is on a quest to find the Axiom Diamond by any means possible.
Wow! This was a highly entertaining read. I loved that despite being a standalone (for now, maybe?) and the average number of its pages, Skyfarer managed to paint a world set in the galaxy that is believable and rich in folklore. And the way the author melded science and magic together without confusing me is quiet amazing. Another thing that made me appreciate this book more is that the main characters were full of flaws, each chained to his/her own struggles. Aimee, the overachiever student, is constantly hungry to prove herself so you can just imagine how devastated she is when her first display of magic outside of school went awry. On another hand, Lord Azrael, the angel of death of the Eternal Order has only one objective in mind and has no qualms on getting his hands bloodied. And yet, every time he kills and wreaks havoc, a part of him screams in pain and agony.
The storyline maybe predictable but I enjoyed how it was executed. There’s a perfect balance of action, adventure, suspense, and drama that I just can’t put the book down. I missed this kind of storytelling, straight up science fiction with no frills and nonsensical turns and twists. At the moment, I am still unsure whether I should pray for a sequel or thank the book gods for giving me the opportunity to read a standalone that is blissfully satisfying.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Unsettling at first but once you get used to all the jargons used in this book, you’ll find yourself having a hard time in putting it down. The basic premise is that the age of humans is coming to an end when the crosses (term for human/alien hybrids) that they’ve made—through vat culture—rallied together and started a resistance . Our female protagonist, Jaqi, who is a cross herself wanted nothing to do with the war and had spent her life in hiding and doing shady stuff. But just like the girl of destiny, she suddenly found herself in the thick of it all. Then, we have our male protagonist who is also a cross and a high ranking soldier of the resistance. Plus, he’s suffering from a terrible PTSD to the point that he got addicted to drugs.
It’s pretty interesting to follow the story particularly that we have these seemingly underdog hybrid crosses (who were once treated as machines and servants by the superior human race) made a reversal of their pitiful lives and are now doing everything to wipe out their overlords, the humans. I think it would have been more interesting if the book gave me a chance to know our characters (main or supporting) more because the way Ellsworth wrote them made me feel like I was just scratching the surface.
Also, I didn’t buy the idea of Jaqi throwing out all of her rules out the window for a couple of kids she just met. It just didn’t compute with her happy-go-lucky and always on the run personality. Personally, it’d made more sense if she had just left the kids to die and maybe…the author should’ve used another and more realistic way to trigger the events of the book.
Another thing that I wished for this book is for a more comprehensive world-building given the ambitiousness of the whole story. There’s a galactic war to raze the human race to extinction, a Dark Zone threating to swallow the whole universe, and hate-filled alien/human hybrids who, instead of using high-powered ammo, wield swords that suck the memories of its victims. There a lot of things worth showing in this book and I hope that Ellsworth will do such in the sequels.
All in all, I’m really glad to have given A Red Peace a try. It may not be as intense as Luke Skywalker discovering that he’s a Jedi but it’ll surely feed your sci-fi hunger. I’m looking forward to read the next book in the series.
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Bray finds himself revisiting his past and family on Earth, after several years away, while hiding from the Foundation and trying to figure out what to do. He needs to get off Earth, but the Scientist brought his computer here. Bray saw it when leaving Alpha, Foundation's ship, and knows he needs to get it. The computer holds the information that could help save Gryffin from the malfuctioning implants, but he has to break into Foundation headquarters and get it then get off world. Bray will have to get word to others off-world about what Foundation has in weapons and man power that could destroy the place he's come to love like a home.
Keith is one amazing narrator. I love listening to his work. I looooove his voice. Okay, serious stuff now. He voices the characters with their own voice through tone, accent, and heart. The inflection he puts in each character brings them to life as their own whole person. Wow. I'm drawn into the story and forget he's a narrator because the characters come to life as individuals. That's amazing work!
Bray and Garvan. Yes ma'am. And thank you. These two characters were growing to be some of my favorite secondary characters in the previous two books. Well, they aren't the only ones. So to get the treat of them together and fighting to survive along with learning about their pasts, sign me up! I was thrilled to get into this story with them.
This story is more emotional with memories of the past, and Bray working through everything from when he was young through now. The feelings he felt toward his parents and his brother were those of a child that didn't see or know the whole story. Then, he has to tell his uncle and cousin about his family in the here and now. I was touched by what Morgan told Bray of his mother and father. Bray didn't remember or see the adult side of things and it was touching to hear about them.
We get the story from Bray's POV on Earth. We also get sections from One's POV. These sections are very, very insightful. One is on the council that's behind all that's going on. We get to learn about their new colony they were trying to build. I'm not 100% sure about this colony and where it's at, but I'm sure it's going to be something mentioned more in the future. And the biggest piece of information.... One's behind Garvan being put in prison. Garvan knows something that could destroy One and everything he's working for. This puts a target on Garvan's head. We also get scenes from Garvan's POV, which are important moments when things start moving in their plans.
I think I mentioned in the previous book that I was growing to like Garvan quickly. And I was right. I absolutely love him as a character. There are times he brings a huge smile to my lips with his personality and responses. They aren't the quick clip one lines, Garvan is more one to talk and leave the hint in what he says, almost a genuine sarcasm. I do love him. Garvan knows a lot about the scans and equipment used on Earth to identify people. He really grew on me in the last book, and I really like him here. This is part of what his job was before he went to prison. And his story! We learn his back story here too. Oh Garvan...
The beginning felt slower, because there wasn't much Bray could do on Earth. I had an idea but wasn't sure how he was going to take on a huge Foundation headquarters on his own. But we get personal with Bray and Garvan. Then it all comes together and we get to what the Hunters do best. Fight.
This is another wonderful addition to the Nomad series. I always enjoy the writing and narration in the biggest way. I look forward to more books!
Lots of shitty sff tropes hitched to the specific kind of ugly sexual politics one finds in romance novels overwhelm what should (and occassionally is) a quipping romp through the universe. Rape threats and straight up sexual assault continue regularly from the first scenes to,the end of the novel. Before I get the "but that's realistic" chorus, I would like us to all take a minute and consider that this is clearly supposed to be a comic space fantasy with romantic elements, and the introduction of "rape as realism" is unnecessary, thematically jarring, and fucking stupid. And that's not even getting into a 45 minute diatribe about the very equation of rape with realism.
Which is disappointing because there are some nice comic moments and a gift for the absurd in Star Nomad, hidden in under bad world building and rape threats. Sure, a lot of it was derivative -- Firefly has its fingerprints everywhere, from setup to character types -- but I'm not looking to some romp through a pirate-infested asteroid belt to blow my mind or anything. (Unless it's Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit, and that shit was amazing.) The Paradox series by Rachel Bach, starting with Fortune's Pawn, contains many of the same elements found here, but is much more expertly done. Start there for your lighter space opera.