The Five Greatest Warriors – Matthew Reilly

The Five Greatest Warriors – Matthew Reilly

Essentially what Matthew has done is make these Jack West Jr books into a lord of the rings style trilogy. In that each book doesn’t finish the story, just continues it. In fact the second book much like its twin the two towers has no conclusion and leaves the story hanging on a cliff hanger no less. What a pain it would of been to of read these books back when they were released and reach that end and have to wait a year or so for this book to wrap things up.

This book picks up right from the cliff hanger from the previous one. The story then moves on the follow the team as it tries to find the remaining stones and pillars and naturally save the world. Which of course is done after quite some adventuring. It was refreshing to see someone other than the US being the bad guys. Matthew does seem to have something against them, with the US being the bad guy in numerous stories. Art imitating life anyone? Here we have Japan filling the role of the “bad guy” to the extreme, wanting to destroy the planet and thus erase the events of their WW2 defeat which stripped their nation of honor. Extreme, yes but then again when you hear of a small minority of Japanese schools removing reference to Pearl Harbour and calling the US the aggressors, is it really that much of a stretch?

This book really did have a “Return of the king” style to it as many plots from the previous ones were wrapped up however i couldn’t help but notice his choice of titles for this series. “Seven Wonders” “Six Stones” “Five Warriors” clearly a countdown which precludes the need for four more books to complete the countdown. And sure enough in the interview at the back, he suggests this very notion and implies there will be more. Which aside from some real stretches of the imagination in terms of plot so far, i am actually quite looking forward to. I have really taken a shining to these characters

The Six Sacred Stones – Matthew Reilly

The Six Sacred Stones – Matthew Reilly

This is a continuation of the story started in Seven Ancient Wonders. Which is a rather strange thing considering, All the plot lines wrapped up rather nicely at the end of that book when the machine was used and the planet saved. So i couldn’t see where this book was going to go. Well the story follows that, the Japanese find a way to undo the effect the machine had and that the solar flare caused by an enormously large sunspot (plot from previous book) was just a precursor to an even deadlier dilemma. A rogue planet of dark matter entering our solar system

Since dark matter isn’t 100% understood or identified, it can serve as a feasible plot device however we once again get drawn into the world of an ancient advanced civilization that died out eons ago. The same civilization that built the great machine from the first book also built six shrines around the world, which also held machines and giant pits that reach to an unknown depth. This idea was rather hard to swallow.

Regardless we are once again led on a wild ride as we try and discover the locations of these 6 shrines and the titular sacred stones to power them. However this story only covers several of the stones the rest are left for the next book.

This series while requiring some suspension of both, belief and scientific knowledge. It is still quite a thrilling adventure story and am really starting to like these main characters. Quite possibly because the Protagonist Jack West Jr is Aussie

Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly

Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly
I have been a Matthew Reilly fan for awhile now and have managed to buy all his books, i just haven’t got around to reading them all. Specifically i hadn’t read the Jack West Jr series. They are action and adventure novels kinda like Indiana Jones. And until recently i haven’t been in the mood for it. I had imagined this series was similar to his scarecrow series in which it is just a collection of one off stories. But the Jack West series isn’t like that. It seems my run of picking up trilogies continues but unlike Star Wars Aftermath or Lost on Mars. This series has part two and three already released.
We find that Jack West Jr has been put in charge of a multi national task force with the aims of preventing the destruction of the planet. Lofty goals i know. The story is all based around an ancient machine used to protect the planet from a deadly solar flare. Solar flare plot is believable, there are big ones that could really mess up life on earth but ancient advanced civilizations i found a stretch. Yeah i know there is some evidence of many unknown ancient races and myths but i just find it hard to picture an even more ancient and yet advanced like western society civilization. Where is the evidence?  But anyway its a story so we can suspend realism for a moment. This ancient civilization much like our many known ancients civs were good at astronomy and knew of the impending doom and built a machine to protect Earth. In fact they used the machine in the past to protect earth and when they died off for unknown reason they left the machine for others to find
Long story short. The Egyptians knew about this, knew that the flare occurred regularly so they found the machine and built the great pyramid to use it. After the Egyptians saved the planet the broke the machine into pieces and hid it in the locations of the seven ancient wonders hence the book name.
Our story is simple jack must find the pieces and save the planet. Naturally there’s a twist who ever uses the machine will ensure his county becomes all powerful for a millennium. Which is why the Egyptians hid the pieces. So naturally there is a group of evil US forces trying to find the pieces and Jack and his team represent a coalition of small nations who don’t want the US to win.
After suspension of belief on a few plot issues namely advanced ancient civilization etc it is quite an Indiana Jones like  adventure finding the remains/locations of the ancient wonders and navigating booby traps all to save the planet quite a fun read and strangely for part one in a trilogy, wraps up plot ends quite nicely. Going to dive straight into part two to see how they continue on

Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson

Aurora – Kim Stanley Robinson

I stumbled upon Kim about a year ago, when i picked up 2312 as part of my mission to find a female author who doesn’t  ADD a love story to her book. Imagine my surprise to find out Kim was male. In hindsight i probably should of done some further research. Anyway i loved his sense of grandness and would defiantly grab another book of his. Fast forward to a year later and near where i used to work in the city(Sydney) there was an actual Dymocks bookstore, i’m surprised they (bookstores) still exist. Anyway i regular used to visit the bookstore from a price checking point of view, to see if they had any of the books on my wishlist at bookdepostory.com for a cheaper price. In the history of my price checking visits i NEVER found a physical bookstore had a cheaper price than an online bookstore based halfway around the world. Its crazy how that works out. Anyway on one of these price checking missions i saw this book sitting there in my beloved Sci-Fi area. I thought oh Kim has a new book out cool, i flip it over to read the blurb and find out it doesn’t have one, just quotes from newspapers etc. I was stumped, how can a book not have a blurb. I wasn’t aware Kim was a behemoth of the literary world like Tom Clancy or Stephen king. who could release a book without a description and simply say its my new book buy it and people would. So onto google i go to see if i can find out some info but i cant find much. I’m hesitant these days to grab a book on a whim now based on its cover or blurb. As the bitter taste of defeat still hangs over me after the pain of picking up a young adult love story. Damn you Amy Tintera (reboot) making the awesomeness that is a zombie Apocalypse a sub plot to a love story. I glance at the cover again and at the tiny spaceship on it and decide Kim’s previous works are reason enough for me to take a chance and break my rule of not buying a book that doesn’t have a blurb. So i bought it and let me tell you i am glad i did

Aurora is an interesting piece, The story is about the ship pictured on the cover and its journey towards Aurora. However to keep things interesting the story isn’t written from the point of view of one of the 2000 colonists living on board but from the point of view of the Ship. The ship is managed by a computer system and over the course of the ships 170 year journey it begins to exceed its programming. At the start of the novel we are introduced to a character who is very much the reason for the computers growth. Devi pretty much the head engineer and goto person for issues. She is the first person in the history of this journey to crack open the ships code and start changing things. As part of its “growth” she tasks the computer with compiling a summary of the story of the ship. Naturally the computer struggles with the concept of a summary and how it decides what to keep and what info isn’t needed and this starts of the stories narrative. I just felt it was a unique way of writing.

The ship is a multi generational ship and as it approaches Aurora, wear and tear is really showing with lots of things breaking down. I cant really go into too much detail of the story as it would be spoiler filed but Aurora is an amazing story of humanities first interstellar journey to a new home and a tragic insight into the very idea of social politics and in turn that of human nature

Well done Kim another fantastic story crafted here!

Lost on Mars – Paul Magrs

Lost on Mars – Paul Magrs

I have a frustrating tendency lately to pick up books which are parts of trilogies that havent been finished. Unbeknowst to me at the time of course, its kinda frustraing to get to the end of a book that you have been really enjoying and as you approach it, you say to yourself how will he wrap this up. Then it finishes and you find out you have to wait for the author to write part two and three. I hate waiting, i was the kid who stuck downstairs at christmas carefully unwrapped his christmas presents to see what he got and then wrap them back up. In fact it gets worst, there was one time i got a boxset of the 3 original robocop movies, i watched two of them then wrapt it back up, just in time for the morning festivities. Thats bad i know, but anyway back to this book. This book blends a good mix of sci fi with life in the mid west, frontier style. Third generation settlers on mars have developed small communities, they each keep to themselves and there is no contact between communities or earth. LIfe is that of isolation. Think of this as Little house on the Martian Praire, if anyone gets that refference. There are rumours that have drifted down from the original settlers of Martians but everyone thought it was just nonsense stories from old ladies, the kind to scare kids. That was untill people start going missing. First its the town drunk, then someones kid, but soon Lora’s Grandma and father go missing, Then Lora sees the Martians and after a chance encounter with a friendly one sets of on an adventure with her family to escape the coming Martians. What follows is an amazing journey across an unforgiving and unfamiliar landscape what she and her family discover at the end aside from a giant plot hole makes them rethink their entire existence on Mars.

Such a great read, it really captures the imagination with the view of frontier life on Mars. Good to see a strong willed female protagonist. If you over look the giant plot hole (read technology being used well before its invented) its a great read. Eager to grab parts two and three whenever they are ready

Star Wars Aftermath – Chuck Wendig

Star Wars Aftermath – Chuck Wendig

I have mixed feelings about this novel. I was lead to believe these novels would fill the void between episode 6 and 7 and yet after reading it i walk away knowing nothing more than i did earlier. There is only one key piece of information to come out of this. One paragraph at the end drops a hint about someone who was thought to be dead but isn’t. quite vague i know it was so small it could of easily been a tweet.

The Novel is pretty much a natural follow up to episode 6. Just like anything in the real world. if an organisation lost its top leadership they would regroup and determine a new leader. That’s what we find here. Several high ranking Imperials meet up on the plant Akiva to discuss what to do next and who should lead them. I felt this plot was quite logical

Naturally Rebels find out about the meeting and so begins an adventure. Sadly the down side to this story was. It had no main characters from the films in it. We had some brief lines from Mon Mothma and General “it’s a trap” Ackbar. But the biggest part was probably Wedge Antillies. I just felt without any main star wars characters the story was really missing out on something,

It is part 1 of a trilogy so ill be interested in seeing how the story evolves, perhaps some of these characters will feature in episode 7, which would make me think better of this novel