Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1) by Craig Alanson

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*No Major Spoilers*

We were fighting on the wrong side of the war; we couldn’t win. And that was the good news.
The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits.
When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar, wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria, to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn’t even be fighting the Ruhar; they aren’t our enemy, our allies are.
I’d better start at the beginning…

~

I have been looking for a sci-fi novel that involved first alien contact that didn’t leave the reader with their nose stuck in a military dictionary trying to figure out what was going on. I don’t usually read military fiction because the author can forget that not everyone reading their books may not know all of the military terminologies. Luckily Columbus Day explains all of the jargon and military slang. I like how the main character is telling his story like he’s talking to ordinary people, all of the lingoes is explained, and he explains various types of strategies and the pros and cons of each.

Another thing I enjoyed about Columbus Day is how the main character relates to the enemy as well as their allies. When the Ruhar first attack, Bishop and a ragtag team of military friends abduct one of the enemy soldiers to get intel on the enemy, and one of the other enemy soldiers got hurt by debris. Later, we learn Bishop felt guilty for not being able to check for injuries on the enemy.

“Soldiers are soldiers, whether they have fur, skin or scales. So, logically, the Ruhar lobbed a missile at the most imposing structure in the area, the potato warehouse, and took it out in impressive fashion. I mean, they blew the hell out of it, those soldiers must have had something against potatoes.” – Columbus Day

However, my opinion of the story took a dip when the author introduced Skippy, an all-powerful AI built by ancient beings many millennia ago. I feel like the author hit a roadblock in the story and created Skippy as a way to get the story going again. The author then forces us to read a game of “Pete and Repeat” about everything we had learned up to this point. I felt this dialogue was unnecessary to the overall plot.

I have since gotten used to Skippy helping Bishop and other human soldiers. Once you get over that significant speedbump, the story smooths back out into military space action. Even with Skippy doing a lot of the critical technical aspects of the operation, this doesn’t slow the momentum down.

Overall, if you are looking for a sci-fi space adventure, then I would recommend Columbus Day. I would also recommend this novel if you are a fan of military fiction, space adventures, and just looking for an overall good story. Columbus Day will leave you binging the whole series before the day is over.

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Humans by Matt Haig

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*No Major Spoilers*

Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man–as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son–who has no idea he’s not the real Andrew–the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.

I discovered this novel on a booklist that I receive in my email every other day. I only read the lists if the theme seems interesting to me, and that’s how I discovered this novel.

When this novel started, the commentary by the alien disguised as Andrew Martin was pointing out how alien humans looked to him. It kind of reminded me of Roger from American Dad. Roger has to dress up in various outfits to try and disguise himself so he can leave the house.

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Roger from American Dad 

I found this novel to be fascinating the way of character development from the alien’s point of view. Even though throughout the novel he remains fascinated with how us humans act, behave and believe, his overall opinion changes by the end of the novel.

Even though this isn’t a fully philosophical story, there is an over-arching plot. However, the challenges the alien faces on top of trying to stay under the radar in order to complete his mission makes for beautiful character development.

My favorite part of the story is when the alien gets sent into the mental hospital at one point, and the observations and people he meets there is fascinating for someone who has been in a mental hospital.

Humans, as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode.

Basically, the key rule is, if you want to appear sane on Earth you have to be in the right place, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and only stepping on the right kind of grass. – The Humans

I’ve got to say I really enjoyed this story on a variety of levels, everything from the character development to the philosophical approach the story had on the narrative. This story held my interest from beginning to end, the first letter to the final punctuation. This story is definitely recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi, aliens, a good overall story along with some thought-provoking undertones.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Good Doctor by Juno Dawson

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*No Major Spoilers*

On the planet of Lobos, the Doctor halts a violent war between the native Loba and human colonists. Job done, the TARDIS crew departs – only for Ryan to discover he’s left his phone behind. Again.

Upon returning, the Doctor finds that the TARDIS has slipped hundreds of years into the future and that something has gone badly wrong. The Loba are now slaves, serving human zealots who worship a godlike figure known as The Good Doctor.

It’s time for the Doctor to face up to the consequences of her last visit. With Lobos on the brink of catastrophe, will she be able to make things right?

I am a huge fan of Doctor Who I’ve watched both the “modern” and the “classic” series. I also enjoy the spinoff novels as well. Some stories can’t be told in an hour, so I look forward to the novels.

When it was first announced that the 13th Doctor was going to be a woman, I was against it from the start. I thought they were ruining 50+ years of tradition by making this drastic change.

When I started watching this newest Doctor, I was still against the change, but hopeful. I thought the 11th and 12th’s Doctor was getting too silly and losing plot threads left and right.

Overall, I am lukewarm towards this past season of Doctor Who. I felt the writing was hit-or-miss with some episodes, and some of the companions felt useless and like spare luggage at points.

So when the newest batch of novels was announced, I was excited to read The Good Doctor in particular. Graham is my favorite companion, and with him being featured on the cover, I thought he was going to be the only companion featured in this novel. Even though I was wrong, I was still hopeful about this story.

I didn’t realize the native Loba was a dog-like creature. Until the end of the first chapter, I thought they were cat-like. I haven’t read many sci-fi novels where the aliens were dog-like so this concept gets bonus points from me.

I felt like this is how a Doctor Who story should be told. No limit on run-time, and no rush to end the story. This novel was welcomed and restored my faith in the new writers for Doctor Who. The story was complete, whole, and didn’t seem to be rushed at the end.

‘On the horizon, looming over the entire town was a vast tower. It was almost the same shape as a block of flats, but, even in the gloom, Ryan could see it was painted dark blue. There were huge rectangular windows at the top of the stucture.

“Remind you of anything, Ryan?”

It was unmistakable.

It was meant to be the TARDIS.’ – The Good Doctor

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I like the message this novel sends a message about war. No matter who is in “the right” or in “the wrong” the roles get swapped over time. However, there is hope in times of chaos and war.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of Doctor Who, Science Fiction, Time Travel, and stories about wars. This novel will show some of the bad side effects of traveling through space and time, and I think you will enjoy the story as much as I did.

Read My Other Doctor Who Reviews Here!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Subhuman: Unit 51 #1 by Michael McBride

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*No Major Spoilers*

At a research station in Antarctica, five of the world’s top scientists have been brought together to solve one of the greatest mysteries in human history. Their subject, however, is anything but human.

Deep beneath the ice, the submerged ruins of a lost civilization hold the key to the strange mutations that each scientist has encountered across the globe: A misshapen skull in Russia. The grotesque carvings of a lost race in Peru. The mummified remains of a humanoid monstrosity in Egypt.

When a series of sound waves trigger the ancient organisms, a new kind of evolution begins. Latching onto a human host–crossbreeding with human DNA–a long-extinct life form is reborn. Its kind has not walked the earth for thousands of years. Its instincts are fiercer, more savage, than any predator alive. And its prey is the scientists who unleashed it, the humans who spawned it, and the tender living flesh on which it feeds.

I enjoy reading books based on conspiracy theories. I have reviewed a few novels in this category. So the summary of this thrilling novel caught my attention.

My only downside is that there were too many characters. I felt like I needed to take notes about who was who and why they were invited to the Antartic research base.

Other than that negative, I found this book to be enjoyable. It has an interesting premise that the author pulls off fairly well. I felt like this novel was inspired by the Alien franchise. The description of the monsters reminded me of the Xenomorphs in the famous franchise.

I am interested to see how this series progresses from here. I will highly recommend this book to science fiction lovers. If you enjoy conspiracy theories and the Alien franchise, then this is the book for you!

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Oops, Caught by Alli Reshi

33311439._UY2700_SS2700_ *No Spoilers*

In this sci-fi short story, we follow Mark Noland and Officer Gavson as they attempt to escape from an alien prison cell. The mission was supposed to be simple, an in-and-out job. However, due to outdated resources and unexpecting surprises, they are captured and will be killed in gruesome ways unless they can escape.

The LGBT genre is still a niche in the world of fiction, and this is not flat out LGBT, it’s more just hinted at. So I would say it has soft gay subtext involved.

Seeing Noland and Gavson work through their problems as they make an escape attempt is interesting. Their pasts are vastly different, but when it’s your neck on the line, it’s another ball game.

This was an entertaining read. I enjoyed it even though the beginning was a bit tough to start off. If you’re looking for a quick sci-fi read, this could be your book.

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