The New God Of Science Fiction Strikes With His Best Yet. Robinson, the New God of Science Fiction, squarely takes on an element of scifi/ fantasy that he has been circling a bit tangentially for a few books now via Mind Bullet and Tribe in particular, and in this particular book takes the characters from both of those former books + The Dark and combines them into an “Avengers” crossover event… to travel through Khaos and encounter many creatures from the Greek myths. In classic Robinson style, we get a lot of heart, a lot of action, a lot of banter… and in the end… well… you’re going to want to have SINGULARITY, the final book in the Infinite Timelines “MCU approach to storytelling” event, in your hands the moment you finish this book. Yet again, Robinson proves himself capable of using any element of science fiction and spinning his own unique brand of chaotic action into it, masterfully telling his stories his way incorporating any form of prior science fiction, from the ancient to the bleeding edge. Truly masterful, and very much recommended.
LOTS Of Moving Parts. This is one of those longer books at 634 pages with a LOT of moving parts that can be difficult to track at times – but which it is hard to say that McBride could have separated into two books at any given point. MAYBE by separating out some of the individual threads into two separate yet concurrent 300 ish page books? Yet I struggle to think that the tale would be so compelling without seeing all that is happening at once.
Essentially this is the tale of the beginning of the Apocalypse, and McBride makes it clear in his author’s note that a major inspiration was The Stand (which believe it or not, I’ve never read). Another somewhat similar story that I drew several parallels with from one of McBride’s contemporaries is the Project Eden series by Brett Battles, which I’ve noted for years was the best full series I’ve yet read.
Here, McBride begins to make his case to take that title, and despite the length here and just how many individual threads are all going on… he absolutely makes a strong opening statement. By the end of this book, it is quite clear that this particular tale setting up the Apocalypse and showing how it began is complete… and yet it is also quite clear that several threads will be left for subsequent books and at least a few of them are likely to not be resolved until the final book of this series, whenever that may be. Very much recommended.
Tropical Adventure Turns Mystical / Fantasy. This is one of the rare books from Wood (in this series, he does have a pen name that is more pure fantasy) that has any level of actual fantasy in it, and even here it is more of a mystical bent that *could* be read as more scifi – though it is certainly on that boundary, in a similar place as roughly half of Ted Dekker’s Circle Quadrilogy.
What starts out as a tropical vacation quickly turns into a race to find and obtain priceless artifacts which leads to the mystical/ fantasy payoff – meaning that prior to the fantasy section, this is a pretty standard Maddock Adventures book, with the usual elements – various people showing up from prior adventures, Bones showing up where he isn’t “supposed” to be, Bones wise cracking and cracking bones, Maddock outsmarting most everyone and being all chivalrous while doing so, etc. The things that long time fans know and love, but done in a way such that newer readers won’t be lost – but will be enticed to go back and read about these prior adventures with the various connections.
Overall a fun and quick – just under 200 page – read, and thus a good actual beach read. 😀 Very much recommended.
Another Excellent Maddock and Bones Adventure. This is yet another episode in the sprawling universe that is Maddock and Bones, one with at least a few callouts that won’t be obvious unless you’ve read the entire universe of these stories to this point. That noted, it can indeed work reasonably well as an entry point into the series, as most of the callbacks are more tangential than essential. (And the essential ones are explained well, but are slight spoilers for previous books – for those that particularly care about such things.) Overall a fun romp through the Amazon and Inca lore, and very much recommended.