Humorous books often fall flat for me but this time I must admit I often found myself chuckling quite a few times. Orconomics takes a look at the financial eco-system that fuels a world where being an adventurer is a standard career pursued by many and heading into a dungeon to slay monsters for loot is merely a job. Adventurers are common and all of them are part of the Heroes Guild where they can achieve levels when they are assigned points for killing foes. What is a foe? Well it is anything designated as such by the guild and quests are contracts that are funded by investors who are investing in the potential loot to be collected by killing those foes. This book takes a look at those in the background of this peculiar financial eco-system, and how they are manipulating things to their advantage, but the main stars are a party of down-on-their-luck adventurers caught up in the middle of these machinations.
The latest interstellar war has been a back and forth affair so far, but an advancement in technology on the human side of the equation offers up a unique opportunity. So far the enemy has had the tech advantage due to their faster-than-light (FTL) communications, which allows them to react much faster than the humans or tadpoles, but now FTL travel without a tramline is becoming a reality. This means that ships will no longer need to take a predictable path from one star system to another and humanity can strike directly at the home world of the enemy. There is a catch though: it is a one way trip, which means it is a win or die mission for every ship involved.
Ark Royal book 8 picks up right after the events of book 7, Vanguard. The first engagement of the war is now over and both Susan Onarina and Georgina Fitzwilliam find themselves in very different situations based on their decisions during that conflict. Vanguard barely survived to make it home under Susan's leadership and upon return to Earth she finds herself taken into custody for relieving Vanguard's former commander. Although she is quite certain that he was unfit for duty, Susan knew at the time that taking such a drastic step would have consequences and now is the time to find out just what those consequences are. On the other hand, Georgina is now in the uncomfortable role of being first middy in charge of four new midshipmen and she is not certain that she is ready for this new responsibility.
Each trilogy within the larger Ark Royal series centers around a single ship and an associated alien contact story line. The initial trilogy featured an outdated carrier class ship, Ark Royal, and first contact with the race that became known as the tadpoles, which led to an interstellar war. The second trilogy featured a heavy cruiser class ship, Warspite, and first contact with the planet Vesy that contains a reptilian race not as technologically advanced as humanity. The Warspite trilogy had us fighting amongst ourselves and it just wasn't as good as the original. This third series features the first ship from a new class of battleship, Vanguard, and another story of interstellar war that hopes to recapture the glory of the initial series. Does it work?
Now that the battle for the metal islands is over, the aftermath of that battle becomes the new focus. The former residents of the Hive now find themselves living on the surface and the ancient prophecy fulfilled isn't the dream life that was expected. X quickly discovers that uniting the Sky People and the Cazadores into a single community is much harder than just letting them kill each other. Neither side truly respects the other and just because X is weary of killing it doesn't mean everyone else is. X's attempt to form a new combined society in the metal islands could lead to a brighter future, but it is far more likely to just result in the extinction of the human race...
Every year one or more of the twelve dragons of good fortune choose an apprentice dragoneye to serve them. Boys study the dragon magic, a combination of sword forms spellwork, for years hoping to be chosen. Eon has trained for years but in the standing before the dragons she risks her life because imperial law says that any woman using dragon magic will be put to death. She is literally handicapped in achieving her dream because Dragon Magic is heavily dependent on stylized sword work. The ceremony begins with the appearance of eleven spirit dragons but only Eon thinks she sees movement where the twelfth dragon once stood. The Mirror Dragon hasn't been seen in countless years and is nearly forgotten. Eon is stuck performing one of the most difficult of the Dragoneye sword forms and is certain that she failed to attract the dragons. But on the point of dismissal the Mirror Dragon appears briefly signaling its choice of Eon, then quickly fades away. In that brief contact Eon hears her true name, Eona, and discovers something long forgotten. The Mirror Dragon is female.
Nick is Nicholas Valiarde, a moderately wealthy gentleman who dabbles in the art trade and lives in an old mansion with his actress mistress. He is also Donatien, a notorious underworld crime boss who pulls off cunning heists while staying one step ahead of the law. Ironic, since he once attended the university and studied law. But all of that simply covers his real motivation, getting revenge on the nobleman who framed his adopted father for necromancy. Edward Valiarde wasn't even a sorcerer, but money convinced the police, magistrate, and jury that he was a necromancer. By coincidence Nick crosses paths with something that looks like real necromancy and before long he is reminded why it is punishable by death. Tracking this killer will see him working with the inspector who arrested Edward, trying to save the Queen, and using all his skill just to stay alive. But in the midst of all this death and mayhem can Nicholas finally get justice for his beloved father?
I am Legend was published way back in 1954 and it has been brought to film twice, both times starring big name actors. The first time was in the 1971 film, The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston, and then again in 2007 with the film, I am Legend, starring Will Smith. That is quite an interesting pedigree, but does the original story from over 60 years ago still hold up? It's is a horror story about the last man on Earth struggling to survive in an apocalyptic world set in the late 1970s. A plague has wiped out most people, except for Robert Neville, and the crazed infected lunatics that rule the streets after the sun goes down. Neville must take full advantage of the daylight to make sure he accomplishes all required survival tasks in order for him to get through the night. Day by day this is a never ending struggle for survival and Robert is no longer sure he can continue to win it...
The Burning White is the long anticipated conclusion to the Lightbringer series and it is the longest book in the series by far. Brent Weeks brings all of the main characters back and he weaves the many threads of story together into one epic battle that determines the future of the Seven Satrapies. Then he tacks on three Epilogues and a "Postlude" just to make sure that he brings additional closure to some of the character arcs. That certainly has to be enough right? Nope, there is also a Shawarma scene available online which is intended to be read only AFTER you have read the book (link will be provided later.) This is all very welcome by me since I love closure, and I hate to be left hanging, but is the ending truly satisfying?
The Avatar race harnessed the power of the sun and channeled it into crystal powered weapons, ships, and even immortality. Their technology was a combination of science, mysticism, and music. Their greatest scholar, Questor Anu studied the legends of the Vagar people and predicted that their world was due for a mysterious cataclysm. Secure in their superiority his people discounted his warnings as madness but a few followed him and survived. As he predicted the Sun rose in the west, the seas tipped in their bowls, the magnetic poles of their world changed, and a second moon appeared in the sky. An ice age overtook their ruined cities and the surviving 500 Avatars struggled to hold on to their empire as their crystals slowly drained of power. Just as they are losing they are about to fall to the Vagar rebels a new foe appears, the armies of the Crystal Queen Ameiya. With a civilization to match the Avatars at the height of their power, they slaughter all who oppose them and drain sacrifices to feed Ameiya's endless hunger.