Category Archives: Science Fiction

Review: Echoes of Fate – Echoes Trilogy #3 (Cheryl Campbell)

A fine closing out of the Echoes trilogy.

After returning home from three years of a diplomatic mission, Dani is ready for some downtime. She finds that Catherine Houston, in command in Maine, has allowed her desire for more power lead her to murky and dangerous waters. Aunt Hattie, along with Mary and Dani, sabotage a lab where normal humans are being injected with Echo DNA, to try and create hybrid humans who can regen after being killed, as Dani does, and how the Wardens (the bad guys) do.

Speaking of the Wardens, the CNA is looking to finish them off and drive them the areas of Canada they’ve taken. Houston got lucky when Dani showed up in Boston and the fight went the CNA’s way, with Houston getting the credit for the win, but since then, her record has been rather mediocre, which is slowing her down from further rising in the ranks.

When they’re looking over the best place to attack the Wardens, Dani is not in agreement with Houston’s plan, and suggests an alternate target and strategy. However,they have no current information on enemy strength in that area. General Ramos agrees with the plan, and decides to lead a recon team himself – an exceptionally bad idea.

It’s also Oliver’s birthday, and although he is not yet of age, Houston decides there has been an error in his records, and that he’s a year older than he is. She orders Oliver and three other teens to be taken to boot camp, and from there, to be thrown into battle.

Meanwhile, there’s been no word from Ramos, and he is presumed missing. Dani is sent to go after him, along with Mary, Miles (who she’s been sleeping with for the past three years, after her last regen), and two others.

That sets up the remainder of the book quite well, and I’ll stop there to avoid spoilers. I’ll say this: there were a few things that happened that I never thought would happen, and that takes some guts for an author to do, so kudos to Ms Campbell for that.

The only ding I’m giving is for some extended passages of introspection that slow down the action a bit. Even with that, I’m still giving it five out of five stars. It’s a terrific series.

Thanks to Sonar Press and NetGalley for the reading copy.

Review: Complex (A.D. Enderly)

Complex is a complex (get it?) work. based on the premise that in a dystopian world set sometime in the future. Civilization has basically collapsed, and now corporations have formed their own city nations called Complexes, which have their own “citizens”, akin to serfs toiling away and being used for the corporations’ purposes, assigned to whatever job the corporation deems fit for the citizen to have. Anyone not attached to a Complex and who does not have a high enough social score lives in Legacy, a remnant of the loss or degraded civilization.On the Legacy side, people rarely work, and receive money each month to enable them to buy food and do whatever else they need to do.

On the Complex side, forces are working to generate a war between the Complexes and Legacy, as they believe, cynically, that recruitment for the Complexes.. There are conspiracies galore, double crossing, many fights, and an epidemic that threatens to run out of control.

The premise is a good one, and the story is well told. There are a lot of characters introduced right off the bat. The point of view shifts between these characters with every chapter, and keeping track of all of them can sometimes be tough, requiring flipping back to recall just who everyone is. The world itself is done *very* slowly and does take some getting used to. Likewise, as the end rushes toward all the characters, the world is quite disorienting, and sometimes comes so quickly, it’s difficult to understand how the various levels interact with one another.

Beyond that, I liked the book. All of the POV characters were drawn out nicely, and their various motivations were not difficult to understand. The tech – it is an SF dystopia, after all – was good, and the fact all citizens had AIs iimpanted in them was intriguing. The ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel, something that isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, so just be warned on that point.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

Thanks to Luminary Media an NetGalley for the review copy

Review: Echoes of Darkness – Echoes Trilogy #2 (Cheryl Campbell)

This is the second book in a series, but never fear – it works fine as a standalone and enough details are dropped in to understand where things stand.

The Big Bad Dude, Rowan apparently is very invested in capturing Dani, the main character. So invested, in fact, that he sends some Echoes to attack the caravan she’s in, heading back to the main base. Dani survives, as does Mary and a couple of others, and eventually they make their way back to base.

Echoes – of which Dani is one – are self-healers. They can die, but they will regenerate unless you do something drastic: kill them again as they’re regenerating, or give them a death that blows apart their bodies in some way, like decapitating them.

We get a lot of days in camp in this one – training, scenarios, that sort of thing. After one of their own – Oliver, a young man – is kidnapped, Dani and co go after him to get him back, heading to Boston after being forbidden to do so by the base commander. But the commander, knowing they were going to do so anyway, puts pressure on her teams to finalize their new secret weapon.

The battles are excellently done, although I had to question Rowan’s “leadership” of his teams in his quest to get to Dani. Perhaps more motivations for the drama between them is covered in the first book.

Overall, well-written. it could be a tad tauter in a couple of places, but none of those were show-stoppers. At the beginning, Dani is obviously attracted to Mary, but after getting regenerated, suddenly has the hots for Miles, another member of Team Good Guy. I get it – the B in LGBTQ stands for bi, after all, but I’m a little disappointed with this, given that it seems Mary and Oliver are Dani’s foundation of a sort.

The book sets itself up nicely for another book in the series. If nothing else, I’m going to read the next one to see if Rowan gets what’s coming to him.

Three stars out of five.

Thanks to Sonar Press and NetGalley for the review copy.