The Dragon Factory picks up shortly after the events of Patient Zero as the Department of Military Sciences is faced with a new, completely different threat. This time around there is no zombie plague but rather a planned extinction wave targeted to wipe out a specific large portion of the human population. With the concepts of eugenics, genetic manipulation, and disease weaponization all taken to mad scientist levels the DMS must beat the clock to figure out who is behind the threat and neutralize it before the Extinction Clock counts down to zero. The story is a bit more complex than the first book and therefore starts slower but it eventually comes together and builds to a satisfying crescendo.
This book has many things to like about it, and some not to like, which might very well be appropriate as the story revolves around the combination of opposites. There are two main characters in this one - Prince Jalan Kendeth, a womanizer and self proclaimed coward, and Snorri, a Viking warrior out for revenge against those who attacked his homeland. Snorri and Jalan form an odd couple dynamic as fate thrusts them together and sends them out on a suicide mission where they must find a way to get along or they will both end up dead. With their opposing personalities playing off each other they both face obstacles in their own unique way while never really knowing the bigger picture of what is going on.
It is tough to find the right kind of funny when it comes to books and even harder when it comes to humorous sci-fi. I dip my toes in these waters often and usually come away perplexed as to why other reviewers thought the book was funny. I took a similar chance on this one and while I do like the main character Hank the overall story leaves a lot to be desired. Steven Campbell tells a meandering tale that fluctuates between interesting and mind numbing and Hank's humorous outlook on life just wasn't enough to carry the day with this one.
Some books take a while to find their legs and get going but this is not one of them. Right from the beginning I found my curiosity piqued and I was rooting for Joe Ledger even though I still didn't know too much about him. Jonathan Maberry does an excellent job of story telling in Patient Zero by the manner in which he reveals the bigger picture while at the same time providing increased insight into the man that is Joe Ledger. Patient Zero is a bit of a mash-up of 24 with a zombie apocalypse and things remain interesting from cover to cover.
Having enjoyed all 6 existing books in Abercrombie's First Law series I find myself always craving for more. That is why I picked up Sharp Ends despite the fact that I tend not to like collections of short stories. Add on that Steven Pacey narrated the audiobook and there was no way I could resist this one. The Abercrombie/Pacey audiobook combo is one of the best that I have ever listened to and the two of them just bring out the best in each other. Pacey's narration of these characters is just superb and I highly recommend that you give this series a listen even if you have already read it. To my delight many of my favorite characters from the prior books do make an appearance in these short stories including, but not limited to, Glokta, Logen, Dogman, Bethod, Whirrun, and Nicomo Cosca. However, in the end, the short story format left me wanting more and feeling unsatisfied as favorite characters appeared and were gone before I knew it.
The Symphony of the Ages is a long fantasy series about three friends prophesied to save the world. It starts when a boy finds himself a thousand years in the past where he meets and falls in love with Emily. They shared one night together and then he was inexplicably gone. She sets out with a broken heart to find him and in one of the few realistic aspects of the series ended up a prostitute called Rhapsody. She eventually studied to be a Namer, a loremaster who can speak true names which gives them some power, and a musician. While running from a former evil client and his goons she meets The Brother, whom she names Achmed the Snake, and his friend Gunther. An Assassin by trade The Brother was forced to work for one of the evil Fedor because it had his true name. By renaming him Rhapsody has unknowingly freed him and the three flee into the center of the earth, literally walking and crawling from one side of the world to the other. The discover that there is a prophecy about "The Three" who might be able to save the world from destruction by the Fedor. Rhapsody also falls for a guy who might be evil, is half insane, and as a young man got sent back in time for a single night...lots of us make bad relationship decisions.
In the Bitterbynde books the world of Erith is a dangerous place full of wights, both Seelie and Unseelie, and the Faeran themselves are barely a memory. The title character of the Ill-Made Mute has no memory, no voice, and a face that is horribly scarred from paradox ivy poisoning. At night the servants share stories of Seelie and Unseelie wights, how to escape them, and most often about people who died. Although Erith is a fantasy world the author pulled these stories from real tales, mostly from the British Isles. These stories become very important as the Mute journeys in search of a name, her memory, and something to remove the scars left by the poison. Naturally this all turns into a greater quest that will determine the fate of both faeries and humans. The series really stands out due to a poetic writing style that blends well with the tales of Eldritch lore.
"Damn strange" is how one of the characters in Imajica responds when he hears an odd tale recounted to him and that phrase is certainly applicable to Imajica itself. This story is ambitious, complex, and bizarre on many levels. Within this tale our world is known as the fifth dominion and it is the only one of the five dominions that remains unreconciled. For centuries, the Tabula Rasa has kept the powers of the other four dominions at bay but the time for another possible reconciliation approaches. The Tabula Rasa will go to any extreme to prevent such a reconciliation as the other dominions are full of strange and powerful creatures that are not welcome here.
The Engines of God was my introduction to Jack McDevitt and I could hardly put it down. I really got caught up in both the stunning scenery and the action sequences. Its almost like a cross between Star Trek and Game of Thrones; they explore fascinating new worlds, go where no human has gone before, and in true GoT fashion not all characters make it out alive.
Eye of the Moonrat has its fair share of fantasy tropes and while Cooley's writing style is rather simplistic he has created a complex and interesting world that you want to learn more about. The main character, Justan, is your standard fantasy teen who is struggling to live up to the reputation of his father. He is trying to qualify for entrance into the battle academy and despite putting significant effort into his training he just doesn't seem to have what it takes to get in. However, Justan does have some compelling abilities that make him unique and this book slowly reveals just what he could be capable of. There is more to Justan than meets the eye and some influential individuals have taken notice of him and begun to manipulate his destiny.