Tomorrow War is another short book from 22 year military veteran J. L. Bourne, but unlike Day by Day Armageddon there are no zombies this time around. In this story the zombies are replaced something far scarier - other humans and a dysfunctional government. Keeping a similar journal format to the Day by Day series, the main character, Max [Redacted], writes down his experiences as a form of self therapy to help him cope with the things he decides that he must do to survive. Max is a trained killer working for the US government when it all goes to hell and he must live with the fact that his last covert mission is the root cause of the financial collapse that ruins society as we know it.
The war has spread and it now consumes the entire solar system. Blood and violence are pervasive as the fledgling Republic tries to hang against those who oppose it. Many want to return to the old color based society while others view this conflict as an opportunity to rise to power, so there is no shortage of combatants available. Like the last book, Iron Gold, this story is told from the perspectives of the same PoV characters (plus Mustang this time) and each of them experiences this conflict from a different location within the solar system. With such a complicated set of battles it will take you some time to get your bearings, especially if it has been a while since you read the last book, but once you get everything sorted out this is another wild ride in a series that remains surprisingly compelling.
I enjoy books that deal with the fall of civilization as we know it. Be it nuclear war, zombies, aliens, an EMP or a virus, each story provokes the same questions for me: What would I do? Could I survive in this new world? Would my morals be tossed aside when my survival hangs by a thread? That is what makes the genre so interesting to me. Earth abides approaches the fall of civilization in a very different and laid back way. Mankind is practically wiped out overnight and the world becomes a lonely place for the few survivors. There is no gigantic battle or war as a back drop for this tale, nor is there any real lingering threat from the contagion that practically eliminates the human race. Rather it is a theoretical tale of what would happen to the earth if you took humans out of the mix. Is that a worthy premise?
The Rynax brothers, Asti and Verci, decided to go straight and are almost ready to open their gadget emporium when Holver Alley burns to the ground. None of the shopkeepers have enough ready cash to rebuild so its not surprising when someone offers them all quick money to sell out. The brothers find it suspicious that someone wants to buy every lot in a poor neighborhood so they start looking into the buyer. Finding that information proves remarkably difficult even for Asti, who was in Druth Intelligence. Since it's obvious someone burned them out on purpose, the brothers, along with some of the other shopkeepers and residents, go back to their roots and set up an elaborate scheme to steal the information they want and get some payback.
Something is not quite right in Wayward Pines, Idaho - that much is obvious from the start of this book. At first, things just seem a little off, but the story slowly reveals just how wrong things actually are. The little things start to add up to something that just doesn't make any sense. You experience the story from the perspective of Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke, and he is not the type to just let things go. His need to understand what is going on drives him to poke his nose where it isn't wanted, and the more he peels back the onion the more bizarre things get.
Whitney Firestone is the greatest thief in all of the Glass Kingdom, at least in his own mind, and he will never hesitate to brag about his accomplishments. Most people dismiss his tales out of hand, so in a moment of boasting to an unreceptive audience he vows to steal the glass crown off the king's head to prove his abilities. This sets up a series of events resulting in this mischievous thief going on a quest with Torsten, the Wearer of White. He is a holy knight who has dedicated his entire life to the Glass Kingdom and he has no tolerance for those who break the law. This trope pairing contributed to my inability to get into the first half of the book, but fortunately the excellent world building and overarching story eventually won me over.
Back in the 1850s when The Power arrived on Earth and started granting magical abilities to a handful of humans, it seemed like a potential boon for the human race. 80 years later tells us otherwise as the level of strife between those with abilities and those without has become a real issue, but it also pales in comparison to what lies ahead. It turns out that The Power has been fleeing from planet to planet for millennia in a vain attempt to escape a voracious predator, and Earth is just the latest stop. This predator has consumed countless worlds in pursuit of The Power and Earth is next up on the menu. Of course, Heavy Jake Sullivan is not going to go down without a fight, and while he is no match for this world eating entity, he is also not planning to fight alone...
Veranix is a not so humble student of magic at the University of Maradaine. But at night he takes to the rooftops as the vigilante known as the Thorn. Armed with his bow, a magic rope, and trained as an acrobat, he seeks revenge on the drug lord who killed his father. Like any good acrobat he walks a narrow line while he balances his studies with his secret work with the help of a pretty gardener and his brother who belongs to the same street gang their father once led. The Thorn is an action packed young adult batman-esque adventure.
The first book of the Grimnoir Chronicles focused a lot on Heavy Jake Sullivan but also offered up a number of teasers indicating that Faye Vierra was somehow different from other Actives. Well this book explores that difference in great detail while at the same time revealing lots of details about the source of the magical abilities that give the Actives their power. Add in the new shady Office of the Coordinator of Information (OCI), which is hell bent on rounding up Actives for the safety of the people, and you have a story that is action packed from cover to cover.
The Constabulary is my personal favorite among Maresca's interconnected Maradaine series. There's law, disorder, magic, politics, spies, and a dash of sarcasm. Satrine Rainey is a former Druth Intelligence agent who needs a decent job to support her family after her husband, a detective inspector, is nearly killed and left comatose. She appealed to the chief of the Constabulary for help and he offered her the poorly paying position of clerk because they don't hire women as Inspectors. So she calls upon her former training and forges a new letter offering her the position she wants in her old neighborhood of Inemar. Minox Welling is a young inspector with a highly analytical mind whose dogged pursuit of the truth annoys his fellow Inspectors leaving him free to partner with Rainey. Welling is also an untrained mage because his gift developed too late to be accepted to either of the mage schools. Which proves to be a problem on their first case together, investigating what appears to be the ritual sacrifice of a mage.