Posted in Loved It, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Wayfarer

9781484715765_p0_v3_s192x300 Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre:   Science Fiction

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: I didn’t realize that this was the conclusion to Passenger.  I assumed that this was the middle book in a trilogy. I guess I should have read the synopsis on the back of the book.  So what did I think?  I loved it.  A lot of ground was covered in this book, but it didn’t feel rushed.  It was very interesting to learn that the ability to time travel was a direct result of alchemy.  Usually you read about alchemy changing things into gold or giving eternal life; although there was some eternal life after a fashion in this book.  I’m a little bit sad that this series is over; however the ending does leave it open for the author to be able to return to this world at some point.

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Posted in Rated E, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Star Wars Bloodlines

9780425286784_p0_v1_s192x300 Author:

Claudia Gray

Genre:

Science Fiction

Rating:

Exceeded my expectations

Synopsis:

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE
 
When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing. . . .

Opinion:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a Star Wars Legacy fan!  I’m not happy about the fact that they did away with the expanded universe and decided to rewrite everything.  So I was not looking forward to this book.  I intended to dislike it on principle.

Therefore, I was quite surprised to discover that I actually enjoyed it.  How odious it is to end up liking something one is quite determined to hate.

This book takes place about 6 years prior to the Force Awakens; so some 20 odd years have passed since Return of the Jedi.  Unfortunately the New Republic is just as ineffective as the Old Republic.  The only difference is that with the Old Republic there were several factions.  In the New Republic, there are only those that are pro- central government, and those who are against.  Because there is no leader, nothing gets done. Injustices occur and no one can decide to do anything about it.  But someone is using this to further their own ends.

The ending was a bit anti-climatic.  If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the First Order is the bad group.  This story really explores how another “empire” was formed so soon after Palpaltine was destroyed. You also see the beginning of how Ben Solo ends up becoming Kylo Ren.

One thing that this book deals with that you really don’t see in the expanded universe series is how people react to finding out that Luke and Leia are the children of Darth Vader.  In the expanded universe, Luke and Leia’s action in the Rebellion seems to separate them enough from their father that no one has any problems electing Leia as the leader of the New Republic, but in this new universe people are terrified.  The fact that Luke and Leia suffered so much at their own father’s hands is a fact that a lot of people overlook.

Anyway, the book was well written.  It will be interesting to see where this new universe takes us.

Posted in Loved It, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Passenger

Author:  Alexandra Bracken

Genre:   Science Fiction

Rating:  L

Synopsis:

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

Opinion:

So I saw this book in the Young Adult section in Barnes and Nobles.  The description was very interesting.  You know how much I enjoy time travel novels.

This series is about people who are born with the ability to travel through time. It is not clear who the progenitor giving them this ability is, but this gift runs through families.  Etta has been kept from this life by her mother for a reason, but is thrust into the center stage without explanation or training.  It seems that each of these families has a “heirloom” for better word, and one man wants it in order to save a lost love.  See these passages through time only go to certain  years and there are many rules about where/when travelers can go.  This man, the head of the Ironwood clan, hid his first wife in a time where no passages connected in order to protect her as the traveler families constantly war with one another.  Well someone planned well and was able to kill the woman and there was nothing that Ironwood could do to rescue his wife.  However, the heirloom of Etta’s family can change that.

This is a grand adventure novel, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the novel.  Things ended at a really shocking point.  I do like the fact that one of the main characters is a young man of color.  Right now, it is shaping up that he’s going going to be the lead character in at least the next book.

Posted in Loved It, Rated LI, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Trek, Uncategorized

Star Trek Voyager: a Pocket Full of Lies

 

Author:   Kirsten Beyer

Genre:      Science fiction

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

 An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: Voyager from New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Beyer—and the sequel to Atonement and Acts of Contrition!

The Full Circle Fleet has resumed its unprecedented explorations of the Delta Quadrant and former Borg space. Commander Liam O’Donnell of the U.S.S. Demeter makes a promising first contact with the Nihydron—humanoid aliens that are collectors of history. They rarely interact with the species they study but have created a massive database of numerous races, inhabited planets, and the current geopolitical landscape of a large swath of the quadrant. When an exchange of data is proposed via a formal meeting, the Nihydron representatives are visibly shaken when Admiral Kathryn Janeway greets them. For almost a century, two local species—the Rilnar and the Zahl—have fought for control of the nearby planet Sormana, with both sides claiming it as their ancestral homeworld. The shocking part is that for the last several years, the Rilnar have been steadily gaining ground, thanks to the tactics of their current commanding officer: a human woman, who appears to be none other than Kathryn Janeway herself… 

Opinion:  Time travel and the multiverse.  This sort of thing can give you a headache if you think about it too much.  Fortunately I enjoy it.  This book involves three of the species from the episode A Year of Hell.  For those of you not familiar with the episode, Voyager encountered a species called the Krenim. A Krenim scientist have created a Weldon that was capable of erasing objects, people, civilizations from time.  The scientist was trying to make his people the most powerful species in the sector.  But by erasing species (enemies) it had some unintended side effects namely his wife and Provence was wiped out.  This scientist had created temporal shields for his ship so they would not experience the effect of the changes being made.  They spent a couple of hundred years trying to undo the damage before Voyager stumbled onto them.  Voyager was a wild card that threw the temporal calculations off.  So naturally he tried to destroy Voyager.  It was a rough year for the drew, but in the end Janeway destroyed that ship erasing it from the timeline and thereby resetting everything.

Once the timeline was restored, the Krenim didn’t tamper with the timeline as much.  But there was two particular species that they were hell bent on annihilating- the Zahl and Rilnar.  This book explores why the Krenim wanted to destroy these species.
As far as the other Janeway, well if you’ve read Star Trek Voyager: the Eternal Tide, then you know that every Janeway in the multiverse died on the exact same day.  This othe Janeway died but then was revived.  Very interesting as to why this occurred.  Let’s just say our favorite letter of the alphabet is back. 

We catch up with Tom and B’lanna who have had a son Michael Owen.  The book explores more the aftermath of the effects on Nancy Conlon after her brutal alien takeover in Atonement ( I need to post this review).

Anyway, it was a very enjoyable read.  

Posted in Liked It, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars

Star Wars Lords of the Sith

Author:     Paul S. Kemp

Genre:       Science Fiction

Rating:     L



Synopsis:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
 
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.
 
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”
 
Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
 
On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.
 
For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  I have to say I was really impressed with the fact that Cham came pretty darned close to destroying Vader and the Empire.  If he had done a little more planning, well….

The most interesting thing about this book was the fact that it delved into the relationship of the Emperor and Darth Vader.  Something that has never been touched on in prior books is that Vader didn’t fully have the Emperor’s trust.  I believe that in the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith it was briefly alluded to that the Emperor wasn’t getting quite what he bargained for in Vader.  First, Vade was missing a lot of limbs by that point, and it was insinuated that this would limit how powerful he could become in the Force.  Second, Vader still had underlying guilt about killing his wife.  In this book, that intense guilt crops up a lot for Vader.  In fact a couple of times it becomes a somewhat deadly distraction.  It never occurred to me that Vader struggled to embrace the Dark Side, but you get to see that in this book.  I guess this is what Padme meant when she said that she knew there was still good in him.

I liked this book better than some of the other revisionist Star Wars books that they’ve been publishing.  

I still miss the extended universe though.  

Posted in Liked It, Science Fiction, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Heir to the Jedi



Author:     Kevin Hearne

Genre:      Science Fiction

Rating:      LI

Synopsis:

Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot—and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.
 
A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.
 
Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  Well, I’m trying to be fair about this book.  It was a likeable read.  It was everything that you would come to expect from a Star Wars novel, but

WHY THE DEVIL DO THEY HAVE TO CHUCH THE ALREADY ESTABLISHED EXTENDED UNIVERSE AND START ALL OVER?  

Before this latest Star Wars movie rumor, the series was about to experience an enormous changing of the guard.  This was the subject of the book Crucible.  Since the newest Star Wars movies takes us back to practically the Rebellion, the powers that be (who are a little bit crazy in my opinion) have decided to scrap the past years of extended universe and start over.  I dunno if they think is going to capture more of the market.  

I’m not impressed.  Essentially there will be another Star Wars universe.  We are headed into comic book territory now.  By this I mean that every so often, comic books reinvent the story. 

**Sigh**

Posted in Liked It, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars

Star Wars Tarkin

20141217-193603.jpg

Author: James Luceno

Genre: Science fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: I was really surprised. I don’t think It was possible for Tarkin to be sympathetic. I found myself liking him against my will. I thought it was really interesting the relationship between Tarkin and Vader. There was a great deal of camaraderie between the pair. Tarkin has clearly figured out that Vader is Anakin. They seemed to have fought together in the Clone Wars. I don’t know that story. I hope there is a novel about it.

I thought it was also very interesting to see how Palpatine manipulated him into being his little tool.

Oh, also, Palpatine’s first name is Shreev.

You know Tarkin seems to have principles in this book. I mean, he is definitely a product of his upbringing, but he doesn’t appear to be evil. But I supposed over 18 years he eventually became to person we saw in Star Wars A New Hope.

Kudos to the author for humanizing Tarkin.

Posted in Liked It, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Trek

Star Trek: Seeker: Second Nature

Star Trek Seekers

Author: David Mack

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

A new mission: The late twenty-third century—Starfleet’s golden age of exploration. Desperate to stay one step ahead of its rivals, the Federation sends two starships, the scout Sagittarius and the cruiser Endeavour, to plumb the secrets of the vast region known as the Taurus Reach.

A doomed race: Drawn by mysterious energy readings to a lush green world, the crew of the Sagittarius find the Tomol: a species whose members all commit ritual suicide just as they reach the cusp of adulthood.

An old foe: The crew of the Sagittarius wants to save the Tomol from their cycle of self-destruction, but first they’ll need to save themselves—from the most nefarious Klingon starship commander in history.

Bluestockings Opinion: There is only one character from this book that readers will be familiar with and that is Captain Clark Terrell who you will remember was the black captain in the Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan. The crew is back in the Taurus Reach. I don’t think I posted any reviews of the Vanguard series arc (I need to correct that). The new species, the Tomol, have had their genetics tampered with by the Shedai. It seems some more benevolent species, the Preservers, took the remaining Tomol from their original home world after they destroyed it, and placed them on a new world with the command that once the Change started the individuals needed to sacrifice themselves. The Preservers also gave the Tomol a way to control anyone who resisted going to their deaths; the device could turn the person to stone.

Once I understood the Preservers role in this species, I was a little bit confused. Past books, in my opinion, had shown the Preserves to be a lot different than this. I would have thought that the Preservers would have fixed the genetic damage done to the Tomol. But as the doctor makes clear, she can’t fix the genetic problems without killing the Tomol. So I guess the Preservers are simply preserving the Tomol. Perhaps the damage to the Tomol genome exceeds even the Preservers’ ability to repair.

The Change that the Tomol go through gives them almost the same powers as a Q. Unfortunately, this happens when the Tomol turn 18, so they are experiencing a great physical change while going through puberty. (Yeah talk about a recipe for disaster!). Anyway, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. I hope that Starfleet can find some way to repair the genetics of the Tomol or if not, they need to find a way to limit them to their own home world.

Posted in Liked It, Sci-Fi Friday, Star Wars

Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown

Star Wars Maul Lockdown

Author: Joe Schreiber

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

It’s kill or be killed in the space penitentiary that houses the galaxy’s worst criminals, where convicts face off in gladiatorial combat while an underworld gambling empire reaps the profits of the illicit blood sport. But the newest contender in this savage arena, as demonic to behold as he is deadly to challenge, is fighting for more than just survival. His do-or-die mission, for the dark masters he serves, is to capture the ultimate weapon: an object that will enable the Sith to conquer the galaxy.

Sith lords Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious are determined to possess the prize. And one of the power-hungry duo has his own treacherous plans for it. But first, their fearsome apprentice must take on a bloodthirsty prison warden, a cannibal gang, cutthroat crime lord Jabba the Hutt, and an unspeakable alien horror. No one else could brave such a gauntlet of death and live. But no one else is the dreaded dark-side disciple known as Darth Maul.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: This book did something that I never thought was possible. It humanized Darth Maul. I recall that in one of the other Star WArs books, Count Dooku referred to Maul as an “animal.” For the most part that is correct, but Maul showed surprising compassion (though I doubt he’d call it that) on two separate occasions. This book also showed a vulnerability to Maul. He lived for his Master’s praise. It bothered him when or if he didn’t do something to meet his master’s expectation. That also surprised me. Reading some of the other Star Wars books and seeing the movie, he always seemed to have a swagger about him; there was no doubt that he would complete his mission.

There were two story lines that I would like continued: 1. whether or not he takes the boy he rescued as an Apprentice and 2. whether Vosa becomes a potential love interest. Wow!! Darth Maul in love, now that’s a scary thought.

Like others of Joe Schreiber’s works there was the out of control monster- Wolf Worm. Mr. Schreiber’s books seem to have a common element. It seems to be a group of people locked in a small space who are pitted against each other. There’s always some all consuming power roaming the area.

An interesting and quick read.

Posted in Liked It, Sci-Fi Friday, Space travel, Star Trek

Star Trek Voyager: Protectors

Star Trek Voyager: Protectors

Author: Kristen Beyer

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

Following the destruction of four fleet vessels at the hands of the Omega Continuum, the U.S.S. Voyager and U.S.S. Demeter set course for a region of the Delta Quadrant far beyond any­thing previously explored. Captain Chakotay is determined to prove to Starfleet Command that the fleet’s ongoing mission is vital to Federation interests . . . and the key to doing so may lie in a distress call Voyager received nine years earlier but could not investigate.

Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway is recalled to the Alpha Quadrant for an evaluation period to determine her next assignment. Given the trauma she has recently endured, Admiral Akaar, Starfleet’s commander in chief, is questioning Janeway’s fitness to command the fleet. Janeway’s primary concern remains the fleet’s safety— for their mission to continue, she must find a way to secure the resources they require. But the uncertainty of her superior officers has left her powerless to act in their best interests.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I think this book takes place, immediately following the events in the Fall story arc. So Admiral Akaar is still trying to find allies. Between the Dominion and the Borg, the Federation does not seem to be changing for the better. The change in attitudes that some of the high-ups in Starfleet have is very disturbing. This book really concentrated on Janeway’s character, specifically her protectiveness when it came to her former crew. In fact there is some suggestion that one of the reasons that the whole Borg and Omega thing happened stemmed from Janeway’s inability to allow her crew to function on their own and take care of themselves. The future Janeway protected her crew to the point that she decided to alter the timeline.

Janeway is definitely going to have to come to terms with this particularly as at least two of her crew, Tom Paris and Seven, are being put in personal situations that could cost them. In the case of Tom, his mother is trying to get custody of his daughter due to the fact that they staged B’Elanna and Miral’s death to avoid the Warriors of Grethor. Seven is about to become a guinea pig for what appears to be a unexpected disease affecting planets that were transformed by the Caeliar.

Anyway, I’m interested to see what becomes of Janeway’s return. I think she could become a balance to some of the undesirable influences in the upper echelons of Starfleet.