Monday, August 27, 2012

Jonathan Maberry: The Dragon Factory

This is the second book in Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger series. While there is not too much of a reference back to the first book, the first book, Patient Zero, does set up the characters and relationship and how Joe becomes involved with the DMS (plus it is a great read) that you may feel the need to read it first.

Joe Ledge and the DMS (Department of Military Science) are being hit on different fronts and one of them is their own government. Someone inside the United States government wants to dismantle and take control of Mindreader and is willing to go to any lengths to get it. If that was not enough, there is a mysterious email sent to the DMS that show creatures that are of myth and fantasy but seems very real on video. Additionally, there are red flags being set off all over the world as diseases that were thought to be extinct growing in rapid numbers, but only affecting people of certain race and color. Little does Joe and his Echo team know that there is a count down to the end of the world, and there is nothing that can be done once the clock hits zero. Joe, Echo team and DMS resources are spread thin as they try to unravel all the mysteries surround the attacks as well as protect the world from extinction and that some old points of views about the people of the world, never really do die.

I am a big fan of this series, so do not worry if you liked the first book in this series and are worried about the second one living up Patient Zero, I think that Maberry has succeeded in writing an awesome second book for this series. I love that Maberry continually has you questioning whether what is happening within the story could be real, could be happening on some level right now, within this novel that is the development of super-bugs with specific targets as well as combining the DNA of different animals to create new creature or Hybrids. As human have always been fascinated with creating and destroying everything around them, I think that theses were perfect topics for Maberry to explore and you get the real creepy/scary feeling when you read the information that he has amasses for this novel, you questions what is really being done behind all those closed doors around the world. I really appreciated that you can tell that Maberry has done his research on genetics for this book, as he is able to explain the creation of the creatures within this story. Maberry, knows how to weave a interesting story that is not over whelmed by the action (although there is quite a bit of action in this novel, I think there is more than the first book). The Joe Ledger series are for those who like their action reads, and maybe want to try something out with a sci-fi mix to it, as Maberry has succeeded on melding the two together, basically flawlessly. 
I really love the development of Joe's character within this novel as well as his relationship with Grace. I think that it was smart for Maberry to introduce something good into Joe's life, so that everything is not the dark, that consumes him. There are some big events within this book that I know will define Joe as a character in future novels, so if you also liked Joe as a character in the first, just watch out in this one. I also liked the introduction to Eighty-Two (yes that is his name). It was just a very interesting perspective to have especially when the voice if that of a child. I do wonder if Maberry will continue to have Eighty-Two within the books as I could see him being a fixture within the DMS.

I like that Maberry is not afraid to let his main character get hurt, both physical and mentally and the mentally part is what makes Joe who he is and his ability to be the best at his job. Maberry also does a good job of letting those around him get hurt as well, and you never really know which individual on Joe's team is going to survive (well except for Church, I would like to see the day where Church actually gets to be part of the action). This really adds to the suspense and even though people may get attached to certain characters, that suspense is what makes Maberry's books more interesting and more real as we all know not everyone can survive a battle (especially in this book as there are some very unique genetically modified creatures/humans/species).

This book does have several point of views, but I found that the majority of the chapters were focused around Joe voice. However, if you dislike having different points of view within the book you read then you will probably not want to pick this one up. That said you will be missing out a great if you choose not to pick this up.

I'm a big fan of Maberry and his Joe Ledger series, I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this series. Maberry's seamless way of making everything within his story appear real, will always keep me coming back for more and maybe just keep a better eye on the headlines, as things like this really could come true. The Joe Ledger series are for those who really enjoy their action adventure novels, with enough suspense and twists and turns to always keep the reader guessing.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Jeff Abbott: Collision

Jeff Abbott takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride, where anything can happen when two people are thrown together by fate, design, plan or maybe all of them put together.

Two men who are living very different lives and have chosen different paths, however, one act is going to send them onto a collision course of interaction. Ben Forsberg is a successful corporate security consultant, who is mourning the accidental death of his wife on their honeymoon and a man only known now as Pilgrim does the dirty work that even the CIA won't touch. They are thrown together in a hail storm of bullets and either is unsure of who they can trust they become leery partners. They set out to figure out who framed them or if the other is just part of some other elaborate plan. As the body count continues to rise each man will have to confront aspects of their past, present and future especially not everyone and everything is what it seems, they really do not have any where to turn for help, they just need to try to survive.

This is the second book that I have read by Abbott, and it did not disappoint, I like that Abbott tends to do things on the darker and grittier side of things, he does not sugar coat much. Abbott seems to have a way of writing an action adventure/thriller that it becomes so much more than just gun fights. He is able to weave a tale with interacting plot lines that you are forever guessing how things are going to end and who is going to betray who next. Additionally, I find that Abbott never over does the action or gun fighting scenes. While in the action adventure genre there are always going to be scenarios where the real aspect is questionable, I find that Abbott does not flirt with the line too much, but there are some scenes, where you question whether that could really happen or not.

I loved Pilgrim in this book, I was completely fascinated with every part of his character. He was hard and soft all at the same time, and although he gave up his family, he was still dedicated to his country, his second chance and doing what he believes is the good work for the USA. Pilgrim is given the jobs that the government does not want to be connected to. Pilgrim's main flaw is that he is loyal to a fault and does not question what is asked of him and this is where he gets taken advantage of. The more I read about Pilgrim present and past, the more I liked him and wanted to know more. Along with the plot/premise of this novel, he is a major draw for me.

I did not really care for Ben Forestburg; I felt he was real in his lack of wanting to believe that this was truly happening to him and that there really must be a mistake. I just found that his character is fairly whiny (which I believe is what Abbott wanted him to be). Ben is definitely a sharp contrast to Pilgrim, which may be why he was not my favorite character. However, it was interesting to see how Ben changed throughout the novel, once acceptance sets in and by hanging out with Pilgrim. I found it interesting that Ben began to ask himself, "What Would Pilgrim Do?"

I applaud Abbott for never taking the easy way out and allowing all of his characters to be invincible. He allows them to get hurt mentally, physically, and you are never sure who is going to make it out in the end. I think by never truly knowing which characters are going to survive, it adds to the overall suspense of the book because each scene, could be a character's last.

This book does have chapters by different characters, and a multi-storyline that intertwine with each other which allows the reader to try and put everything together before the author takes you there. However, if you are not a fan of novels that have quite a few characters that could be considered main as there are several chapters by then, then this book is not for you.

I'm becoming at very big fan of Abbott, his books are able to keep me on the edge of my seat, wanting more and not wanting to put it down. I know by picking up an Abbott book the story is going to move at a fast pace. He is able to create very in-depth character(s), which is an aspect that is often lost in the action adventure genre. I'm looking forward to picking up my next Abbott read.


Note: There are some scenes within the book that depict torture.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Alicia Wright Brewster: Don't Call Me Angel

With her debut indie short story Alicia Wright Brewster introduces the reader to a fallen angel who is struggling to get out of Hell.

Six does not really know why she was sentenced to Hell, some sort of Bureaucracy from above but as soon as she was placed there Six has had several plans to get out of Hell, all that have failed, but she has spent centuries planning and working towards her next plan. But can Six really handle being back in the real world, where she knows she will be hunted be be brought back to Hell and the feelings that she thought she had lost towards humans resurface and test her resolve to not to be involved in their every day lives. However, Six is going to have to be aware of a threat that is even closer to her, as all is not what it seems.

I was surprised when I opened up the book on my Nook and discovered that it was only 85 pages, but I had told the author that I review her story, even though I tend to stay away from reads that are this short, I just did not expect it to be this short. The premise of the story is what really caught my attention and I wanted to see what kind of story Brewster could develop in this few pages.

I found that Brewster was able to create a story about Six (even with the shortness of the book) that kept me wanting more and more. Brewster could have taken the premise of these 85 pages and made it into longer story and I think that she still would have been successful. I think that it is harder to write a short story that develops characters and creates an interesting and engaging plot than it is to write a 300 page book. I think that Brewster succeeds on all aspects. I think in future books this series may move into a more paranormal romance area, just based upon these 85 pages, but for right now, it is a fairly dark paranormal read (which I love).

I found Six (Yes it is an odd name, but do not worry the name is explained in the story) as a very interesting character, her time as an angel and then a fallen angel have changed how she views humans as she sees them as having everything, yet never being satisfied with what they have (which I think is very true for a large portion of the world population). To make things worse she can feel the emotions of each human that she passes, from sadness, to anger to fear to happiness and Six struggles with blocking it out and not helping out. Even after centuries of darkness, cold, hatred and not understanding why she was banished she still has the ability for compassion, even if she does not want it.

Brewster's short tale is a blessing and a curse. Brewster left me wanting to read more about Six and her new life and I was interested in the story, however, I think that by having a longer novel Brewster would appeal to more readers (myself included). I hope that Brewster decides to release a longer second book or puts the additional stories that she is writing together to create a longer read so that her story is not lost within the stacks of read longer books. I know I will be looking for book two, book one leaves the reader with quite a bit of a cliff hanger.

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