In the first book of the series, Star Nomad, Captain Alisa Marchenko and her crew never even made it to their destination, but they finally do in this book. The Empire may have lost the war, but the planet of Perun is still a stronghold for Empire supporters, so the Star Nomad isn't exactly welcome. Luckily for Marchenko, one of her passengers, Alejandro, is able to use his influence to clear the way for an authorized landing. Alisa is here to be reunited with her daughter, who she hasn't seen in years, and Alejandro is here to do some research on his mysterious artifact to further his unknown quest. Marchenko isn't sure exactly what happens after she is reunited with her daughter, but she is still dreaming of a life as a freighter pilot and plans to take her daughter with her. However, it doesn't take long for her to learn that something dreadful has happened and all her plans are for naught. While she was off fighting in the war, the Starseers came and took her daughter away, so it's time for a new plan. Track down the all powerful Starseers and get her daughter back, no matter what the cost....
Book 6 of the Innkeeper Chronicles pushes its mix of fantasy and sci-fi humor to the edge of the ridiculous with this galactic version of "The Bachelor". The Spouse candidates are a fantastically diverse group of aliens and according to rumor at least one of them wants to assassinate the Sovereign of the Dominion instead of marrying him. But behind the "show" there is a surprising amount of substance. The metaphorical spotlights are on several minor characters from previous books and at long last we learn Caldenia's backstory.
The war is over and the Empire has surrendered, but that doesn't mean things are going well for everyone, especially on the mining planet of Duster. Fighter pilot Alisa Marchenko has finally recovered from injuries sustained in a crash during the final battle of the war only to discover that she has been left behind on this mostly lawless planet. She has no money and no way to return home to Perun where her daughter is, so she hatches a plan to fix up the dilapidated freighter that she grew up on, which has been rotting in a local scrapyard for the last 6 years. She enlists the help of Mica, the pessimistic engineer from her old ship, who also wants to get off of Duster and they set out to fix up the Nomad. Of course things don't go according to plan and they wind up with a few other interesting individuals they have to deal with in order to leave, including the enemy cyborg who happens to have taken up residence in the freighter now.
If The Princess Bride were written by Hoid, also known as Wit, it would be something like Tress and the Emerald Sea. The tale begins as many YA fairytales do with Tress setting off to rescue the boy she loves from an evil sorceress. However, since Hoid is our narrator, it loses the feel of a YA book with the first detailed description of the gruesome way people die if they happen to breathe in a spore from the Verdant Sea. Since the Sea is made up of spores instead of water, it's a fairly common fate for those travelling across it. At least the Verdant is the least dangerous of the seas that she must cross to find her love while escaping smugglers, surviving on a pirate ship, and negotiating with a dragon. It's a good thing she makes some friends along the way because all of that is easy compared to facing down an immortal sorceress.
The invading forces have finally arrived on the shores of the kingdom of Belleger, and yet the nature of this enemy remains mostly unknown. Two books of build up leave us knowing only one thing about this army, and that is their ultimate destination: the Last Repository. The enemy plans to destroy the final storehouse of all books and knowledge and unfortunately for King Bifalt, Belleger is on the way. This means he must fight a war that shouldn't really involve him. He hates sorcery and having to expend the lives of his people to protect the sorcerers of the Repository galls him. To make matters even worse, Queen Estie has travelled to the Repository in order to unlock her own gift for sorcery, which means that she too is lost to him. At least now that the invaders are here, Bifalt will finally be able to see who they are and what he is up against. To his surprise, what he learns is that the enemy is not who he thought it would be and many of them have actually been embedded in Belleger all along...
In the 23rd century humanity achieved faster than light travel, not through engineering, but with genetic experiments that resulted in human magic. A trained Jump Mage can teleport a starship up to one light year every few hours, and in the Protectorate of the Mage-King of Mars they are essential. Damien Montgomery is a newly certified Jump Mage and Rune Scribe of only average power. He never mentions that he doesn't need to study runes to identify a spell because he can actually see magic and what it's doing. But in order to prevent his crew from being murdered by pirates he uses his unique ability to save the ship, and suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in the interstellar Protectorate. In addition, the alterations he made to the cargo ship are very illegal so the crew is now running from both the law and the pirates. If you enjoy political conspiracies, and lots of combat in space complicated by a little magic, you might enjoy this.
Zombie apocalypse books are a dime a dozen, but this series was able to carve out a unique identity due to the main character being an alcoholic with an entertaining sense of humor. In a constant state of inebriation, Gus was prone to having insightful conversations with his trusty bottle of Captain Morgan, and those two were able to team up to overcome many a dreadful situation. That is why when book 3 focused solely on a different main character and not Gus, it just wasn't the same. I am happy to report that Gus is back for this book, which takes place a full 4 years after the start of the zombie apocalypse. Humans now have the upper hand and the zombies have been prone to deterioration over time, resulting in many not even being able to walk any more. Gus lives on a farm with a few other survivors and they try to rebuild a bit of what has been lost. All that sounds good but there is a troubling development that puts the entire rest of series.at risk. Gus has stopped drinking.
Murderbot (MB) is back in its first full length novel of the series. MB returns to its role as a planetary expedition security bot but now it's actually getting paid. Things went alright; it only had to interrupt watching shows long enough to kill a few pirates, but of course the whole thing would have taken less time if the humans would have just listened. Not its favorite humans, they know better. However, on the way back to Preservation is when things get completely derailed because they are attacked by.....ART?? Murderbot doesn't really believe in the concept of "friendship" but ART's attack still seems out of character. Murderbot thought humans were the biggest inconvenience in its life, but it turns out aliens hijacking its not-friend is far worse.
The Mistborn series started way back in 2006 and felt rather complete at the time. It was unique for many reasons, but one of the things that stood out was the detailed magic system that used various metals to generate amazing powers. Allomancers are able to metabolize metals and do amazing things with them, leveraging different metals in various ways. Most people gifted in this way burn only a single metal, but very rarely someone is able to burn them all, and such a person is called Mistborn. Little did I know at the time, but author Brandon Sanderson had a plan to keep the series going in a rather unique way. He wanted to take this magic based society and move it forward through time to explore how industrial and technological advancement would mix with magic. The Alloy of Law kicks off the 2nd Era and introduces two very entertaining main characters in Wax & Wayne, taking place a full 300 years after the original. This series combines a Wild West vibe with the Allomancy of the original series, adds in even more magic systems, and then expands to explore the Cosmere in a detailed way. Does it all add up to something worth your time or does Sanderson take it all a bit too far?
No one likes or trusts SecUnits, especially a SecUnit, and most especially Murderbot who hacked it's own governing module and now has to worry about detection as well as rogue SecUnits. Technically, it's a rogue SecUnit itself. which are usually easily identified by the trail of dead bodies but before it could start killing helpless humans it was distracted by the entertainment serials it downloaded. Turns out it would rather watch soap operas while going through the motions of its job than kill the clients it's contracted to protect. Not that it's never tempted, humans are definitely irritating. Murderbot's narrative is cynical, ironic, sarcastic, and occasionally touching. Its adventures are full of action but also include a running commentary on the foibles of human nature. Hence, the irony and sarcasm.