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, 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, 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.

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

Star Trek Enterprise: Beneath the Raptor’s Wing

Beneath the Raptor’s Wing

Author: Michael A. Martin

Genre: Science Fiction, space Opera

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

At the start of the twenty-first century, unconditional war swept across the Earth. A war that engulfed the great and the small, the rich and the poor, giving no quarter. Each side strove for unconditional victory, and as battle built upon battle, the living began to envy the dead. Chastised by the cataclysm that they had unleashed, the governments of Earth came together. Humanity vowed to put an end to war and to strive for the betterment of every living creature. A united Earth created Starfleet, an interstellar agency whose mission was to explore the cosmos, to come in peace for all mankind. It was a naïve wish that was battered by interstellar realities, yet man persists in the belief that peace is the way. Banding together with other powers to form a Coalition of Planets, humanity hopes that the strength each can offer the other will allow for peaceful exploration. However, the rise of the Coalition strikes dread within the Romulan Star Empire. They feel its growing reach will cut them off from what is rightfully theirs. The Romulans know that the alliance is fragile, that the correct strategy could turn allies into foes. Perfecting a way of remotely controlling Coalition ships and using them as weapons against one another, the Romulans hope to drive a wedge of suspicion and mistrust between these new allies. One Starfleet captain uncovers this insidious plot: Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise. Determined not to lose what they have gained, outmanned and outgunned, the captains of Starfleet stand tall, vowing to defend every inch of Coalition space until the tide begins to turn. The Romulans now plan to strike at what they see as the heart of their problem. With nothing left to lose, the Romulan Star Empire engages in all-out war against humanity, determined once and for all to stop the human menace from spreading across the galaxy.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: Oh man, did this book move slow. It took me about a week to read it. I do remember in various Star Trek shows that when it came to the Romulans, humans pretty much beat them back singlehandedly. This book explores why that happened. Basically, the other signers to the Federation treaty all shared Vulcan based technology. Earth and Alpha Centauri did not. For some reason, humans are a lot more adaptable than Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites. It is very interesting to me that Vulcans got to the point where they voluntarily ceded its influence in the early Federation so that human could take over. The next book is the conclusion.

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

Star Wars Crucible

Star Wars Crucible

Author: Troy Denning

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes—and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I feel really bad because I haven’t reviewed the last Star Wars books that have come out. The Crucible sets the stage for the next story arc in the Star Wars universe. I can tell from this book that it is going to be a major change. Luke, Leia, and Han Solo have been fixtures in the Star Wars universe. Finally they are passing the torch on to the next generation. It’s about time too! I mean, this book takes place 45 years after Star Wars: A New Hope. In that book, Luke and Leia were 18 which means they are about 63 now. They cannot handle all the adventures that are being thrown their way. Not to mention, they can’t recover from injuries the way that they used to. Vestara Khai is back. I’m sure in the end she will renounce her Sith ways and marry Ben Skywalker, but I’m sure that the writers will drag it out quite a bit. Tahiri is also back. Jaina Solo became a Jedi Master in the last book. I’m hoping we see motherhood in her future.This whole Force Monolith thing is going to be interesting. It appears that there is more than one. The monolith has the ability to give Force abilities to non-Force sensitive people. This of course spells trouble.

1: a vessel of a very refractory material (as porcelain) used for melting and calcining a substance that requires a high degree of heat
2: a severe test
3: a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development

I think the title of this book was particularly apt because all three definitions of the word crucible applied in this book. I think Luke, Leia, and Han faced their greatest test and realized that they had to change. Physically, they could not go back. The Force had forever changed all three of them. I saw an interesting tie between this story and Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void. In the Dawn of the Jedi, the series is really getting into the beginnings of the Light/Dark side of the Force. The thing is Light/Dark isn’t necessarily good/evil. Nature has creative forces and destructive forces, but the destructive forces (for example a wild fire) aren’t necessarily evil. In fact some destructive forces are necessary to pave the way for new life. Luke realizes that at a certain point. It is all about balance.

Anyway, I’m eager to see where the new story arc goes.

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

Star Trek Vanguard: What Judgments Come

What Judgments Come

Author:   Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

Genre:    Science Fiction

Rating:    LI

Spoiler Filled Synopsis:  This book takes place immediately following Precipice.  As you know, Diego Reyes, the Commodore of the station, was court-martialed. for allowing Tim Pennington to publish a report about what was really going on in the Taurus Reach.  Reyes was supposed to be sent to a penal colony with the Federation, but ended up being captured by the Klingons and then finally was with the Orions- specifically he was being housed on the Orion ship that was docked to Vanguard station.  Starfleet couldn’t do anything about it.  So in order to extract Reyes, the Orions would have actually had to harm him.

Anyway, as you know the character Bridy Mac was killed in Declassified.  She and Quinn went to a planet where the Shedai Apostate existed.  The Apostate told them that the TKon empire had developed some devices that could capture the Shedai.  Bridy sacrificed her life to keep this knowledge from falling into the hand of the Kingons.  Quinn is still mourning.  T’Prynn decides to use Reyes as a spy.  The Orions had a device that could imprison the Shedai, and Starfleet wanted to know where they obtained the device.  Reyes agreed to be the spy to get the information.    T’Prynn does manage to extract Reyes.  They discover the world where the Orions found the devices and dispatch a ship to obtain more.

Meanwhile, some of the crew attempt to communicate with the Shedai Wanderer who had been imprisoned in one of the devices.  The reader discovers that the Wanderer is imprisoned with the Progenitor.  The attempt at communication disrupted the device to the point that the Wanderer was able to escape.

This entire story is told flash back style by Reyes.  Starfleet gave him a new identity and banished him from the Federation.  Tim Pennington tracked him down.  The last book is called Storming Heaven, and it is told from Pennington’s point of view about the last days of the station.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion:  This is definitely not one of my favorite series.  There is a lot of set up in this series.  I am imagining that some of these events will play a bigger part in books to come.  I enjoyed learning more about the Tkon Empire.  There was a 3 story arc featuring this empire.  In that arc, Q takes Picard on a tour of his life to show him why he tests humanity.  Q meets another non-corporeal entity who appears to be Shedai.  From what was revealed by the Apostate, the Shedai caused the Tkon sun to go nova.  In that arc, that non-corporeal entity destroyed the Tkon sun.  The Tkon were very advance.  They had built a huge transporter device to replace their sun with a new star.  I will be interested in seeing the last book.  Capturing the Shedai just does not seem like a very good idea at all.

Posted in Liked It, Sci-Fi Friday, Star Trek, Uncategorized

Star Trek TOS: Allegiance in Exile

20130225-221717.jpgAuthor: David R. George III

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

A beautiful green world, rich in fertile soil and temperate climate . . . a textbook Class-M planet that should be teeming with life. Scans show no life-signs, but there are refined metals, including those associated with a space-faring race . . . and a lone city. But where are all of the inhabitants? Captain James T. Kirk leads a landing party from the U.S.S. Enterprise, hoping to get some answers.

The away team discovers a city in ruins, covered by dust, utterly bereft of life. Tricorder readings indicate that this is no ancient metropolis—it has been deserted only for a year. And just beyond the citadel lies what appears to be an ancient spaceport . . . a graveyard of ships that have clearly been sabotaged.

With these ruins too far from either the Klingon or the Romulan Empires, the Enterprise crew can only wonder: Who could have done this? And could this unnamed threat now pose an imminent danger to the Federation?

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion:

Hmm. I had no idea that the Federation’s relationship with the Bajorans went back to the days of James Kirk. From the other books, it was clear that Bajor had attained long distance space exploration far early than humans. The Ascendants also featured in this book. They place a much larger role in the Deep Space Nine series. I’m interested to see how this beginning relationship with both species will play a larger part in the upcoming books. Recently in the Star Trek series, nothing in any of the stand alones is mentioned by accident. It always plays are larger role.