Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Engines of War (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures Specials #4) by George Mann


*No Major Spoilers*

The Great Time War has raged for centuries, ravaging the universe. Scores of human colony planets are now overrun by Dalek occupation forces. A weary, angry Doctor leads a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against the Dalek stronghold but in the midst of the carnage, the Doctor’s TARDIS crashes to a planet below: Moldox.

As the Doctor is trapped in an apocalyptic landscape, Dalek patrols roam amongst the wreckage, rounding up the remaining civilians. But why haven’t the Daleks simply killed the humans?

Searching for answers the Doctor meets ‘Cinder’, a young Dalek hunter. Their struggles to discover the Dalek plan take them from the ruins of Moldox to the halls of Gallifrey, and set in motion a chain of events that will change everything. And everyone.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was actually my second attempt at reading this Doctor Who novel. I don’t remember why I didn’t finish this the first time, maybe it just wasn’t the right time. So let’s jump in the TARDIS and check out this review of Engines of War.

It was interesting seeing The Doctor in a negative light in the beginning of the story. Cinder is in the middle of the Time War, and because of it Cinder sees both sides of the war as ‘the bad guys’. However, when she meets the Doctor she sees just how fruitless her attempts at beating the Daleks were.

I liked Cinder as a companion, she brought a new perspective to the mythos of The Time War. When the Doctor takes her to Gallifrey to try and alert the High Council about the Dalek’s end game, she sees that her assumptions of other Time Lords was correct.

She [Cinder] could see now that all she’d been doing was screaming into the wind. Those victories she’d notched up on the barrel of her gun had been hollow, every one of them. She hadn’t changed anything, hadn’t really made a difference. She’d wasted so much time.

George Mann; Doctor Who: Engines of War

I enjoyed getting more context for the War Doctor and the Time War. On the TV show they show bits of it, but nothing like what this novel accomplishes. We get to see what the war has not only done on a single planet, but what it has done to the people of Gallifrey.

Overall, this was an excellent Doctor Who book. There was action, exploration, and we got to see a lot of Gallifrey. I’d recommend Engines of War to all Doctor Who fans and even casual science fiction fans.

Posted in Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Star Wars Edition


Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I feel like I really became a fan of Star Wars when I started watching the Clone Wars series on Netflix. I think they did an excellent job making it a good entry point for casual and hardcore fans. This story picks up shortly after that show leaves off. Ahsoka is left in the aftermath of Order 66, everyone she’s ever known is dead. So, she starts hopping from planet to planet trying to keep a low profile and hide from the Empire. However, she finds herself staying on this tiny moon and teaching farmers how to defend themselves against Stormtroopers and their battle droids.

Master Yoda had taught her that sometimes you found things you weren’t expecting, and it only made sense to use them when you did.

E.K. Johnston; Ahsoka

I enjoyed this novel. Ahsoka is one of my favorite characters from the Clone Wars era, and it was nice seeing what she gets up to after that tragic moment in Star Wars lore. I would recommend you watch the Clone Wars show before jumping into this story, although I think Ahsoka stands on its own as well.


Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Now, let’s say you like the Clone Wars, but was annoyed by Ahsoka. This is the prequel book for you. This takes place shortly after Anakin becomes a Jedi Knight and is no longer a Padawan under Obi-Wan. Shortly after the ceremony, a neutral planet has just been struck by a terrorist attack. The Jedi Council send Obi-Wan on a solo mission to secure the planetary leaders to trust the Republic/Jedi and not trust what the Separatists/Sith are saying about the attack.

“This was Skywalker and Kenobi as they should be: a team built on emotion and intellect, bravado and control, fire and ice. And despite no longer having the formal bond of Master and apprentice, they would always be connected. In fact, they were better this way.”

Mike Chen; Star Wars: Brotherhood

I also enjoyed Brotherhood. It was action-packed, filled with espionage, and a dash of soapy romance. I liked seeing the events not only from Obi-Wan and Anakin’s perspective, but their new found companions too.

Anakin forms a bond with a youngling who has Force abilities, but she feels others emotions so intensely that it causes her emotional distress. After talking with Anakin about how she feels differently than her fellow younglings regarding becoming a Jedi, she decides to learn how to use her abilities in healing and medical training. I am glad that the Jedi Council was understanding and accepting of her differences.

I would recommend Brotherhood for fans of Star Wars, and even for people not so familiar with the franchise. This novel stands on its own really well, just like Ahsoka, and I think it’s fun to read them back-to-back.


Vader by Kieron Gillen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This comic takes place shortly after the Death Star has been destroyed. Emperor Palpatine is disappointed that Vader couldn’t handle a handful of rebels. So, Vader sets off to gather intel about who the rebels are and if they’re a real threat to the Empire’s missions and goals.

Along the way he meets this renegade droid repairperson called Doctor Aphra and Vader uses her droids and tech for nefarious deeds. I liked Doctor Aphra. She is independent and she’s not afraid to do what she thinks is the right thing. Even when Vader is using her talents, she’s cracking jokes and being friendly with Vader even she knows he’ll kill her as soon as he’s finished with her.

Overall, I think this was a great start to this storyline, I hope I can continue this series in the future. I am a fan of Darth Vader, and I enjoy seeing him have depth and not just be this evil guy who kills everyone in his path.


Posted in Audiobooks, Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Doctor Who Edition


*No Spoilers*

So this is going to be more of a test than anything, I have read a lot of books that I thought were great, but I didn’t have enough for a full or rapid review. So, I’m going to rate and give my thoughts on these Doctor Who books I’ve recently read.


Empire of the Wolf by Jody Houser

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The art style was interesting, all of the speech bubbles were placed where characters had their mouths closed. It looked like they were communicating telepathically. Not sure if this is common or if I’m just noticing it in this comic story. Seeing the Eleventh Doctor interact with Rose has been a bit strange. In this storyline, Eleven just lost Amy and Rory and is in a major depressive episode. However, I thought he would be over the moon to see Rose again.


Doctormania by Cavan Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a collection of stories, two small ones and one big story. I think the bigger story was the best out of this collection. However, I think Rose sounded whiney and annoying throughout the collection.


The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s always interesting seeing the Doctor on a solo adventure, and even if he’s by himself, he won’t be for long. The Krillitane are a returning enemy, and the episode they were featured in gets referenced a bit throughout this story. This story had a good twist ending, and I kind of wish we could learn more about the Krillitane. They are an interesting villain and can almost go toe-to-toe with The Doctor.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Rogue Protocol (Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells


*No Major Spoilers*

Sci-Fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Continuing on with the Murderbot Diaries series, we have Rogue Protocol. Now I wasn’t that impressed with the previous entry, Artificial Condition. So I was going into this novella with cautious optimism. So let’s secure this review for Rogue Protocol.

We are continuing on Murderbot’s mission to find evidence against the company that tried to kill their team, while also trying to figure out its past before it became self aware. Murderbot is finding itself going to another mining planet where GrayCris had a contract. Now, a different exploration crew is going to evaluate this mining spot and clear it before the next mining team moves into the spot.

There needs to be an error code that means “I received your request but decided to ignore you.”

Martha Wells, Rogue Protocol

However, things go awry and it’s up to Murderbot and her newfound friend, Miki, to save Miki’s crew from combat bots. Miki is more of a “old school/traditional” robot as Murderbot describes it. Miki is close to his guardian, Don Abene, and it makes Murderbot have emotions about how its been treated in the past.

Overall, I found this adventure to be a lot more exciting than the previous entry to the series. Miki and all his crew are likeable, the action is intense, and I felt like there was a lot at stake. The mystery and saga continues and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it soon!

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

*No Major Spoilers*

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a series I’ve been wanting to delve into, but I just wasn’t sure if all the hype I was hearing about it would live up to my expectations. I read a lot of sci-fi, and so I guess it’s time to delve into All Systems Red.

When I first started reading this, it felt disjointed in regard to the way Murderbot interacted with the humans. For a long time I couldn’t describe why I felt like the humans were just cardboard. However, I think this was a stylistic choice to show how Murderbot feels when interacting with humans. They would just rather not talk to humans.

And in their corner all they had was Murderbot, who just wanted everyone to shut up and leave it alone so it could watch the entertainment feed all day.

Martha Wells; All Systems Red

There’s not much action in this first instillation, but it’s a great introduction to Murderbot and how they carry themselves and how they see the world around them. When the crew figure out that something is trying to hunt them down, that’s when Murderbot gets to shine.

This is a great place to start if you’re new to sci-fi, or wanting to get more into the genre. I know sometimes sci-fi gets carried away with all the science and tech, but All Systems Red explains the tech in ways I think newcomers to science fiction can follow.

Overall, I liked All Systems Red, I liked seeing a sci-fi mystery through the eyes of a robot. If you want a new take on the sci-fi genre or are looking for a quick read, then I’d recommend All Systems Red.