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.
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.
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.
The Commune series has been a pretty good one so far. It has focused on a group of characters struggling to survive in the mountains of Wyoming after a Coronal Mass Ejection destroyed society as we know it. The series has been a gritty apocalyptic tale, and sometimes it's been quite brutal, but it has always been centered in realism. I appreciate the straight up story telling that doesn't rely on zombies or alien invasions to challenge the main characters. Speaking of those characters, I've been rooting for them to make it for 4 books now, so I eagerly picked up book 5 to see what was in store for them now. To my surprise, those characters are nowhere to be found. This book is centered in Washington, D.C. so it feels more like the start of a new series than a continuation of an old one. Does it hold up or is this just a money grab that takes advantage of the series name?
The extraordinarily wealthy Tesla Crane and her husband are incognito on their honeymoon cruise. Not only did she inherit the company responsible for Earth's telecommunications, but she was a brilliant robotic engineer whose career ended in tragedy, leaving her broken in both mind and body. A few days after the ship begins its journey from the Moon to Mars the newlyweds interrupt a murder outside their cabin. Being a famous detective, her husband chases the fleeing murderer while Tesla waits for medical help with the victim. Unfortunately, the security chief arrests Tesla's husband as the easiest suspect ,so it's up to Tesla to make them see reason. When reason fails she sets out to find the murderer herself. The really strange thing? Another body has turned up in the waste recycling system but everyone aboard is accounted for. Have there been two murders? And who is this spare man?
This series started a little slowly 9 years ago with Terms of Enlistment, but it has been going strong since then and rarely disappoints. This one picks up right where the last one left off with the NCS Washington stranded in a sunless system deep behind enemy lines. Winding up here was an accident and they have no way back home, so the first order of business is establishing a source of water and then a source of protein. There is a promising source of water, but protein is likely to be a more difficult proposition. So Major Grayson takes his special tactics team onto a moon with signs of life in the hopes of discovering a source of food, and not a Lanky presence. Of course, this is a military Sci-Fi series so Grayson's hopes are shattered when a substantial Lanky presence is discovered on the moon. Then one thing leads to another...