#BookReview: Almost Midnight by Caroline Swart

Action Packed Series Starter. This is one of those series starters that ends on an “oh SH!T” cliffhanger – and while it could possibly be debated if the story should have continued on from there in a longer tale, it also told a complete story to that point, so I’m personally comfortable leaving the rating at 5* rather than deducting a star for blatant cash grab. But I could also see other readers making a different call on that point.

Still, for what the story actually is up to that point, and even through that point in making the reader want the next book *right this second*… this is a truly great book. The story has elements of a wide variety of known and not-as-known scifi, from Amy Adams’ Arrival to Neil Blomkamp’s District 9 to Jeremy Robinson’s Unity to Meg Pechenick’s Vardeshi Saga, and yet still manages to feel fresh and unique even within its lost memory / alien invasion / sudden awakening type of story.

This is one that contains several elements of several different genres (including a few teases of romance), so certainly nearly everyone will likely find something here to like – and thus the book could have near universal appeal to some level.

Overall a strong tale well told, and I’m truly looking forward to the next book here. Very much recommended.

This review of Almost Midnight by Caroline Swart was originally written on November 14, 2022.

#BookReview: Aeon Rising by Matthew Mather

This week we’re looking at an action packed series starter from a thrilling scifi author. This week we’re looking at Aeon Rising by Matthew Mather.

Action Packed Series Starter. This is one hell of an action packed series starter for Mather, and one that despite a few similar general ideas (such as crippled communications due to space activity) with his CyberStorm series never gets quite as dark as that one can. Indeed, the darkest thing here is unfortunately all too common, but to reveal it specifically would be a spoiler (though even here, Mather manages to put a scifi twist to it in furtherance of his ultimate series objectives). The different types of action here are reminiscent of everything from nearly-every-Amazon-based-action-movie-you’ve-ever-seen such as Predator or Anaconda, just to name a couple, to more urban based ala Daniel Pyne’s Sentro Security or a Mission Impossible / Jason Bourne type. Throw in some elements similar to Deep Impact, as well as a few other elements of a few other popular tales that would be a touch spoilery to add here, and you’ve truly got a promising start to a potentially long series. This book is mostly set-up without ever truly *feeling* like it is mostly set-up – the action is tightly paced, as is the exposition, there is just *so much here* that by the end it is quite clear that this series is intended as a trilogy at minimum. Very much recommended.

#BookReview: Ascending by Meg Pechenick

Contact meets Mass Effect’s First Contact War meets Arrival meets Ender’s Game. Reading through this wholly original tale (at least in its particulars – the generic story is more of a trope of scifi), this reader absolutely got flashes of all of the above. And considering that I personally *love* all of the above, that was not unwelcome. Truly a strong tale of first sustained contact, exploration, and the difficulties in understanding and assimilating with a wholly alien world. Truly excellent work, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. Very much recommended.

This review of Ascending by Meg Pechenick was originally written on October 13, 2019.