Tag Archives: space opera

Review of Virtues of the Vicious, by Martin Wilsey

Cover of Virtues of the Vicious

I received an Audible code for a copy of Virtues of the Vicious, by Martin Wilsey.

Description from Goodreads:

Elizabeth Cruze came to Earth for one reason: to buy weapons. She never counted on ending up in prison. Never fear, though, she’s not planning on staying there long. 

Special Investigator Neal Locke has made a career out of catching the most elusive and dangerous criminals. He’s never failed to “get his man.” 

When Cruze escapes from prison, Locke is tasked to track her down. She should be easy to find…all he’s got to do is follow the trail of bodies. 

But Locke has been an investigator for a long time. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that there’s more going on than what he’s been told… 

Review:

Much in the style of Leviathan WakesVirtues of the Viciousfollows someone going about their galactic adventure and an older, somewhat jaded investigator tracking behind them, slowly learning that there is more to his investigation than meets the eye. 

I generally enjoyed the story. I liked the characters and Wilsey’s writing style. I liked that the main characters were older and there was some diversity in the cast. However, I also three separate times tried to check Goodreads, Amazon or Google to ensure this wasn’t the second book in a series. It completely feels like it must be. Characters are mentioned that aren’t introduced until much later, the political system of the universe is left for the reader to figure out, and there is simply a distance felt that I imagined was caused by a lack of previous books. From what I could discern, this is set in the same universe as Wilsey’s other books, but not connected. 

There were a number of too convenient to be believed events that solved problems for the crew, Cruze seemed to find that crew willing to go to war with her without even trying (that could actually just be part of the previous point), and the villain was dispatched a little too easily. It was anti-climactic. 

I also thought the pacing was inconsistent and dialogue needlessly formal at times. The farther into the book I got the fewer contractions I noticed, for example. I think Shore’s narration exacerbated this though. While I think she did a good job, some of the sentences that I felt needed contractions and didn’t have them felt even more stiff in her mouth. 

All in all however, despite these complaints, I’ll be looking for more of Wilsey’s writing. I liked what I saw.

Review of Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1), by James S.A. Corey

I borrowed a copy of James Corey‘s Leviathan Wakes from my local library.

Book Description:
Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Review:
This was so good, you guys! I mean really good. I found the writing snappy, the humor on point, the banter witty, the diversity appreciable (even if the only significant female characters were the love interest and girl in need of rescue), and the moral quandary interesting. I liked the way the Belters’ and Inners’ cultures were notably different in ways that caused conflict; two men could do the right thing and it would be different things in the same situation.

There were a few leaps of logic that were maybe a bit too drastic to believe and the characters seemed to solve complex problems with relative ease. But all in all, I basically fell in love with them and can’t wait to get my hands on more of the series.

Review of Medusa Uploaded (The Medusa Cycle #1), by Emily Devenport

I borrowed a copy of Emily Devenport‘s Medusa Uploaded from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
The Executives control Oichi’s senses, her voice, her life. Until the day they kill her.

An executive clan gives the order to shoot Oichi out of an airlock on suspicion of being an insurgent. A sentient AI, a Medusa unit, rescues Oichi and begins to teach her the truth—the Executives are not who they think they are. Oichi, officially dead and now bonded to the Medusa unit, sees a chance to make a better life for everyone on board.

As she sets things right one assassination at a time, Oichi becomes the very insurgent the Executives feared, and in the process uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship that is their home.

Review:
I thought that this was basically ok, but it didn’t blow me away. I liked a lot of the characters, I greatly appreciated the diversity and that women played a big role in the revolution (even if they played almost none in the power structure of society), and I thought the whole thing had an interesting premise.

But from the blurb and cover I’d thought Oichi would be an actual worm and I was disappointed to find that was just a particular human slur. Further, since Oichi seemed to be able to tap into all technologies and impersonate anyone, I felt that everything happened far too easily. And that without considering how no one on her team turned out to be duplicitous, everyone she trusted turned out to be trustworthy (even children). How lucky that is.

Lastly, though I know the music played an important role, all the music references got tiresome. I was also skeptical about how they’re all contemporary. How many generations in the future and Bach, Holst, and Louis Armstrong are still the go-to composers? The movies references are all from modern-ish times too. After a while I found the references anachronistic. Surely the Earth that these generation ships departed from (or wherever) had written at least something new that was worth remembering.