RRS Roundup: Reality War 2

This week on Read it! Review it! Share it! I’m addressing the first noteworthy sequel to find its way onto the Green Porch. And it’s a grand adventure.

The Reality War Book2: The City of Destruction

I’ve also reviewed the first book in this series and highly recommend reading it before the second. Rather than being separate entities, they are parts of the same whole. That being said, The City of Destruction is as toothsome as it is brainsome. It is a mind-altering twisty tale not without a devastatingly-human element.

Two opposing forces, intelligent races, duel across time and space to win a war that dictates whether they ever even existed. History will remember only the winner, but does that make them righteous? or merely victorious?

In a story where some sacrifices last forever and others never happened (or sometimes both at once) the main players develop complex motives and even more complex complexes in a manner that kept me thinking about the repercussions of human relationship.

I love time travel when it’s done right. The City of Destruction was just that, sporting a host of character-testing contradictions that beg readers to inspect their deepest selves. If right and wrong were irrelevant would I abandon my humanity to do what had to be done to save it? Read it! Review it! Share it!

RRS Roundup: Moses in Space

On this week’s Read it! Review it! Share it! I’ve got a unique little sci-fi retelling of the story of Moses from the Biblical book of Exodus. So let’s get to it!

The Worker Prince

It’s not that often that a science fiction story bordering on space opera comes along that everyone will enjoy reading. That’s what Schmidt accomplishes with the Worker Prince. Revolving around a recent graduate prince who leaves home for his first assignment only to discover his slave-class origins, the story mirrors that of the Biblical Moses in many aspects.

While the main protagonist, Davi Rhii, does not spend 40 years in the dessert, he does wrestle with identity issues and the status quo of an empire built on the back of slave labor. The conflict that ensues is the classic story of one against the many. The result is watching an individual discover his unique place, and this is something most of us long for in our own lives.

Schmidt finds a nice balance between moralizing and adventure in his tale that I thought suited anyone between the ages of 13 and dead.

That being said, it didn’t hit the sweet spot for me. I prefer a little more grime and grit in my space opera. Rhii is a champion and hero more along the lines of Luke Skywalker (without all the whining) and less like Han Solo. But the prose is elegant and well-paced.

If you enjoy young adult literature, coming of age tales, and/or science fiction adventure then you’ll enjoy The Worker Prince. Read it! Review it! Share it!

RRS Roundup: Serial Steam

This week on Read it! Review it! Share it! I’m taking us back into the world of steampunk. But this ain’t your daughter’s steamy McSteampunk. This is genuine anachronistic steampunk.

Spring-heeled Jack and the President’s Ring (The Magnetron Chronicles)

First I have to clarify. This is a steampunk serial adventure, but it is not the The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. This one is by D.L. Mackenzie. Part of a planned 5 novelette serial, this second installment picks up with the solving of the mysterious death of Dr. Hogalum by Phineas Magnetron and the rest of the Hogalum Society (Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with the emphasis on gentlemen).

Truly anachronistic, witty and fun these stories embrace a vocabulary-stretching voice that reflects the Victorian era while sneaking in a bit of the post-modern sense of humor. With a Sherlock Holmes sort of intellect Magnetron endeavors to unwrap the mystery of his deceased mentor all the while coming up against Compost, his arch-enemy.

The supporting cast of gentleman are noteworthy as well. Despite the number of characters, Mackenzie manages to keep them set apart with unique names and backgrounds. There is not a tremendous amount of character development to slow down the story, but each of the gentlemen stands in a position to be called upon to carry a storyline when needed. (A nifty feat for a serial).

While there is a smaller story arc that comes to resolution within this serial, it feels like a minor note in the overall arc. This frustrated me somewhat, but I suppose that is the point of a serial. (Think TV mini-series in print.) At around 100 pages I recommend you Read it! Review it! Share it!