Exigencies and despair are two of Stephen R. Donaldson's favorite words and there is no shortage of either in this final entry of the Gap Cycle. The fifth book of the series is the largest of the bunch, and despite some of the typical un-needed bloat found in any Donaldson book, it builds up to a worthy conclusion. Holt Fasner has put the Earth itself in jeopardy with his attempt to unlock Amnion secrets that will allow him to live forever and Warden Dios turns out to be just as culpable for the extreme actions he takes in an attempt to stop him. Both have abused their power in unforgivable ways and those who have been the recipients of that abuse, mainly Angus and Morn, finally arrive back at Earth just in time for a public reckoning.
The Summoner trilogy, by Taran Matharu, is a YA series that combines classic rpg video game elements, a Hogwart's like academy, and the teen vs teen survival trials of the Hunger Games. Fletcher is an orphan who finds, and successfully uses, a demon summoning scroll in a world where the human battlemage summoners support the army in an endless conflict with the orcs.
Brandon Sanderson's magnum opus continues with Words of Radiance (Book 2 of The StormLight Archive) clocking in at 1088 pages which makes it the biggest book ever printed by Tor Books. I only wish it were bigger - it's that good. The world is rich and deep, the characters are complex, and the magic systems are true Brandon Sanderson - well defined, unique, and interesting. All of the main characters are back and the story just gets bigger and bigger. For most authors the end of this book would be a satisfying conclusion to any series but it is obvious that this one is just getting started. Sanderson set the bar so awfully high with the Mistborn series that I am truly impressed he was able to surpass himself with the Stormlight Archive.
Our solar system will never be the same. Book 6 of The Expanse picks up right after the end of the last one in the bleak aftermath of the sudden and devastating attack on Earth by the Free Navy. Out of nowhere they laid waste to the bread basket of the solar system and now humanity struggles to pick up the pieces and find a way to survive. The super powers of the solar system who were central to mankind's expansion into space now find themselves mere shadows of their former selves and short on resources. Earth is in disarray after the attacks with billions of starving people and Mars is a hollow shell after being left behind by those that moved through the Ring Gate to colonize other planets with actual atmospheres. To add insult to injury, those same Martian defectors were the source of the military ships acquired by the Free Navy to wreak havoc on Earth so Mars also finds itself in the middle of a political upheaval.
Just wow. This is the first book of the Stormlight Archive series and it represents over ten years of world building on the part of Brandon Sanderson. The world is so rich and the magic systems are so detailed that this single book contains more depth than most Fantasy series do in their entirety. The paperback version is 1280 pages (the audiobook is 45+ hours) of great character development and story telling. The entire series is planned to be 10 books in total composed of two story arcs of 5 books each. The Way of Kings is an amazing work of fantasy that grabbed my attention from cover to cover and is not to be missed.
This one starts slowly as the Machiavellian schemes of Holt Fasner and Warden Dios are flushed out in great detail. However, when the story finally transitions back to the main characters aboard the ship Trumpet things really pick up speed. Fasner and Dios are locked in a battle of plots and schemes that puts the very government of Earth, and their own lives, in great peril. With a new bill being proposed that would move the UMCP (the human police) out from under Holt Fasner and over to the government itself, Fasner is willing to go to any length to stop such an action, including terrorist actions against the government. At the same time, the two of them are also manipulating events as they relate to Trumpet who is on the run from the Amnioni with multiple other ships in pursuit.
The war with the aliens that was the backbone of the Ark Royal series is over and it's now time to deal with the aftermath. Humanity knows it is not alone in the universe and only a fraction of Earth's infrastructure and space navies remain intact. Heavy losses were suffered by many nations and the balance of power is changing. It is within this turbulent time of rebuilding that Warspite, the first of a new class of heavy cruiser produced by the Royal Navy, is created from a combination of alien and human technology. The series begins by following Captain Naiser on Warspite's maiden voyage and it is composed of all new characters that are basically the next generation after the main characters from the Ark Royal series.
This book grabs you right from the prologue as Joe Ledger asks a series of questions, including: Where were you when the lights went out? That's the question isn't it? Where you suddenly reminded that civilization and the comfort of infrastructure is just a garment that we wear? Did the sudden dark remind you that all of the things that we expect to be there for us are fleeting? You were absolutely sure someone was going to come and fix it right? Then there was a moment when you realized that the lights weren't coming back on, that maybe they wouldn't, that maybe they couldn't...
Django Wexler is a strong new voice in military based fantasy, The Thousand Names follows the story of two very different soldiers facing impossible odds under an eccentric new commander. Captain Marcus d'Ivoire was the senior-most surviving officer after a bloody rebellion forces the Colonial Army into retreat. As a common born graduate of the War College he never imagined being in charge of a regiment so he's relieved that the Royal Army is sending a colonel to take charge. Winter Ihernglass is a Ranker, one of the rank and file. Most of the Colonials were sent there because they were an embarrassment or did something criminal but Winter wanted to go where no one would ask questions because "he" is a "she".
Never forget that when Stephen R. Donaldson is the man doing the writing that there is no end to the misery that the universe will dump onto the main characters. It is no surprise when fate (aka Donaldson) conspires to back all three of his main protagonists into a corner at the same location in Forbidden Space, a little outpost known as Billingate. This illegal outpost, where human pirates and Amnion conduct dark dealings, becomes the backdrop for the convergence of Angus, Nick, and Morn and all the vitriol they carry for each other. It is not mere coincidence that this happens because two of the most powerful men in existence, Holt Fasner, head of the United Mining Company, and Warden Dios, head of the UMCP, are plotting against each other and using Morn, Angus, and Nick as unwilling pawns in their struggle.