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Book review: Mercury’s Shadow, by PJ Garcin

Mercury’s Shadow, by PJ Garcin, was over on Sadie’s Spotlight a while back, and the author was kind enough to send me a copy of the book. And since I’m between semesters, I finally had a chance to read it.

One man’s lust for power threatens the future of humanity—can a young girl from the outer system stop it all?

Imogen “Chim” Esper is thrust into the center of an interplanetary conflict when her family is torn apart by the cruel and indifferent Kardashev Corporation. Forced to run, along with her robotic best friend, Chim struggles to find her place in a society that is poised for revolutionary transformation.

The Kardashev Corporation dominates all commerce and politics in the solar system. Its megalomaniac CEO, Alton Neal, is hell-bent on transforming society by capturing the full energy output of the sun through the creation of a Dyson Swarm.

Citizens of Earth and the stations throughout the system must band together to protect access to the lifeblood of the system or risk becoming permanently enslaved to the Kardashev Corporation.

my review

Honestly, this was fine, if just not my jam. For one, Chim is a lot younger than I had expected. Her exact age isn’t given (why isn’t her exact age given), but it says she left Earth as a toddler and had been on the space station for about 15 years. So, I’m guessing she’s 16-18 years old. So, this book was a lot more young adult than I was hoping for. Of course, that’s no condemnation. It just means I was less of the intended audience than I realized going into it.

Second, the whole plot-line hinges on a super advanced community of scientists coming to a single teenage, self-taught hacker that one of them stumbled across to save the galaxy. And it just didn’t fly. What’s more, there were a lot of similarly incredulous events. (To list them would be spoilery, though.) I acknowledge that a younger reader might have been more willing to accept them without critique. But that doesn’t make them less true.

The villain is a cliched, single megalomaniac with galaxy-spanning power. Most of the characters were either good or bad, with no shades of grey or nuance. The plot was very linear. There were no twists or turns or red herrings. And the dialogue clunked at times.

However, despite my criticisms, the book isn’t bad. It holds together. It has some memorable characters (Quinn is my favorite), and it has a great cover. I think it’s just a matter of getting it into the hands of the right reader.


Other Reviews:

Book Tour & Review: Mercury’s Shadow (The Kardashev Cycle, Book 1) by PJ Garcin

WE RIDE TITANS

Book Review: We Ride Titans, by Tres Dean

I accepted a review copy of We Ride Titans, by Tres Dean (author), Dee Cunniffe (colorist), Sebastián Píriz (Illustrator), Jim Campbell, Adrian F. Wassel (Editor). The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for a sample page, author and illustrator info, the tour schedule, and a chance to win a copy of the graphic novel for yourself.

Pacific Rim meets Shameless in this sci-fi kaiju action adventure, female helmed thrill ride where one woman must keep the monsters in check – as well as her explosive family!

It’s Mechs vs. Kaiju in this hard-hitting, action sci-fi adventure!

Kaiju hit hard. Family hits harder.

Just when you break free … you get pulled back in.

Trying to keep your family from imploding is a tall order. Titan-rider Kit Hobbs is about to find out it’s an even taller order when that family has been piloting the Titan that protects New Hyperion from the monstrous kaiju for generations. With an addicted, spiraling brother, a powder keg of a father, and a whole bunch of twenty-story monsters, she’s got her work cut out for her.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. I liked the art and use of color. I appreciated the sibling affection and inter-generational discord. There is a little bit of background romance, and I liked that it wasn’t sullied by needless cheating to give the story artificial grit. There’s diversity and appropriate use of mental health services to address the result of generational trauma.

I did think that the introduction of the villain was abrupt, and I could have done with a little more backstory. The mother’s role was never defined in any significant way, and the kaiju just exist; we’re not told anything about them. All of this could have been improved with a little more length and time to unfurl. All in all, however, I’ll call this one a winner. If you’re at all into the mecha genre, check this out.

we ride titans photo


Other reviews:

The Real World According to Sam: Blog tour review, We Ride Titans

You Are The Wall – Character Outshines Spectacle in Vault Comics’ We Ride Titans

 

 

 

Intergalactic Exterminators

Book Review: Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc, by Ash Bishop

I accepted a review copy of Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc by Ash Bishop through Turn the Page Tours. It was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

intergalactic exterminators inc

Finding work is easy. Staying alive is a little bit harder.

When Russ Wesley finds an unusual artifact in his grandfather’s collection of rare antiquities, the last thing he expects is for it to draw the attention of a ferocious alien from a distant planet. Equally surprising is the adventurous team of intergalactic exterminators dispatched to deal with the alien threat. They’re a little wild, and a little reckless. Worse yet, they’re so impressed with Russ’s marksmanship that they insist he join their squad . . . whether he wants to or not.


my review

As is so often the case with books I neither love nor hate, I had mixed feelings about this book. It started off really strong. I was interested in the characters and the emerging plot—real what will happen next territory. Unfortunately, the book quickly lost that initial bust of energy.

Instead of Russ going to space and having the adventure I was hoping for, the book spends quite a lot of time diddling its thumbs with earth-side drama. Then, once he (and Nina) finally make it to space, there’s no single, coherent plot to follow. Instead there’s a series of episodic mini-adventures that wash and repeat until the book ends…and I can see it picking right back up with more of the same too.

intergalactic exterminatorsNow, the writing is pretty good and I think Bishop managed to avoid some of the most common action-hero pitfalls. Not every female in the book threw herself at him, for example. (There was one moment I thought Bishop was going in that direction and I got cranky about it. But I was given a reprieve from having to read another such scene, thankfully.)

All in all, I’ll call this a middle of the road (for me) read, with the caveat that I bet it will find it’s audience and do well.


Other Reviews: