The Master Outdoes Himself. Jeremy Robinson, the Modern Day Master of Science Fiction, truly outdoes himself here. While the first Infinite was one hell of a trippy, mind bending ride, this one still has elements of that – but also goes back to Robinson’s more “bread and butter” approach of balls to the wall action. Almost a love song to long time fans while still being completely new and approachable to even people who have never read any of his books – even Infinite – this book seemingly has more callbacks and cameos from previous Robinsonverse books than any other, *including* his actual execution of his Avengers Level Event (ALE) in PROJECT LEGION. And without going into any detail – though those who have known me for a decade now will get this reference, but most of those have already read the book in question anyway as well – let’s just say that there is ONE BOOK that I ALWAYS reference whenever anyone asks me for the most terrifying book I’ve ever read, and it happens to be one of Robinson’s. AND HE INCLUDES THAT WORLD IN THE MANY CALLBACKS IN THIS BOOK! Honestly, when I first noticed that we were back in that world, my entire body broke out in sweat and I nearly blacked out. That is how terrifying that world is – it *literally* gave me nightmares for *years* just thinking about it. And this sadistic author has the balls to go back there, *knowing* one of his most ardent fans has that level of reaction to that tale. CURSE YOU, JEREMY ROBINSON!!!! ( 😀 ) Still, absolutely one of the Master’s best books to date, and one that even ALE 2 will have a hard time topping… IF it ever actually happens. Very much recommended.
Robinson Is Back With Another Mindbender. In this book, The Modern Day Master of Science Fiction creates yet another absolute breakneck thriller that also happens to be one of the most mind-bending books of his career, right up there with ALTER and INFINITE. It *also* is one of the few books at this “more developed” stage of his career where he openly wrestles with religious and philosophical issues, and indeed the very debate between our two primary characters on these topics is some of the most intense and intriguing bits of the book. Still, for those who want to gloss over the philosophy and focus on the action, there is still quite a bit of that here as well, and indeed the debates often happen in the middle of the intense action. (Think: Brian and Dom having a debate about the nature of reality *while in the middle of the airplane chase scene* at the end of Fast 6.) There are numerous reasons I call Robinson “The Modern Day Master of Science Fiction”, and this book just adds to them. Very much recommended.
Solid Yet Could Have Been Transcendental. If you’ve seen the 2016 movie Nerve, you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting into here. The two are very similar in overall concept, though ultimately both use the common concept to speak to different issues. With this particular book, you get more into The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s mantra – everyone has a price – even as the book tries in spits and spurts to discuss much weightier metaphysical topics. Hell, the book name drops Aquinas and Lewis and uses Thoth, Christ, Freud, and Heaphestus as characters! And while all of these add some interesting wrinkles to the overall tale, ultimately this book suffers from the same fate as Marcus Sakey’s Afterlife. By this I mean that, as I said in the title, it is a solid action/ scifi book that could have been transcendental with a bit more care. Very much recommended.
Strong Story, Abrupt Ending. This was a strong story of two women brought together by circumstances largely out of their direct control… wherein such circumstances happen to be a prison riot on the moon. Excellent tale from both the military and business sides, and without too much “science fiction” other than the setting itself (and *some* of the tech, but that level of tech is rarely mentioned in the story). Other than the very abrupt ending that feels like the author wanted to end the book with the final words of the last chapter and only tacked on an epilogue after an unknown third party insisted on it, the story was amazing. The ending was *almost* enough to drop it a star, it was that jarring. Still, a very much recommended book.
The Master Made Me Cry! In this latest book from the Modern Day Master of Science Fiction, Robinson yet again does something he has never done before – he left me in tears at the end of a tale. In yet another foray into gut punching emotional drama (while still keeping the pulse pounding science fiction that is his bread and butter), Robinson outdoes himself again in exploring just how much a man will lose in order to survive – and whether or not the man can ever revert fully to what he was before the change. Simply amazing.
Not Your Normal Meg Story. Other than taking place near a trench in the Pacific Ocean, this isn’t your typical Megalodon story at all. With this one, the terror takes place in an enclosed-ish island/ reef area with the trench just outside the reef, and thus the terror is a bit more immediate. Definetly an interesting take on the subgenre, and one that is perfectly safe to read when in the Atlantic or Caribbean – neither of which have ever (to my knowledge) featured a Meg story. 😀
Satisfying Conclusion. This was designed to be the conclusion of this series, and it does an admirable job of that – other than the whole cash grab issue of separating one story into two books. In this back half of the tale begun in the previous book, we spend the first half resolving the issues that ramped up in the back half of the book before it, before pivoting to the battle begun in the front half of the prior book. And it is this back half where virtually anyone who has ever fought by Jake Bronson’s family’s side comes back for one epic battle against one last group of people tied to Luciano Battista, the bad guy from the very first book. This book wraps up the series nicely while allowing the possibility that at least some characters could come back in a future series… or not. Overall a truly satisfying conclusion to what should have been a 5 book series, rather than the 7 book series it currently exists as.
Great But… Yet again the author splits one tale into two books, rather than giving us one complete adventure in one book. This one picks up almost immediately after the ending of the previous book, and tells half of what should be an AWESOME tale. But clearly the author was putting just enough here to whet the appetite to increase sales of the next book, the finale of the series. Perhaps if the author had split the longer books at the beginning of the series into shorter books as well, it wouldn’t feel like such a cash grab. But he has already given us books of nearly 500 pages in this series, so why not finish it off with two 600 page books encompassing what turn out to be the final four books of the series? The only reason that makes any sense at all is that it is nothing more than a blatant cash grab on his part. And while I don’t have any qualms about anyone making a buck, I do have major problems with being so blatant and forcing the reader to buy yet another book to get the completion of the story of the book they were reading. In all honesty, had the story within this book been even slightly less compelling, I probably would have given only a single star, just because of the cash grab nature of this book.
Satisfying Conclusion. Originally, this book and its predecessor were called a “Duology” within the overall series, and in that sense, this book provides a satisfying conclusion to that two-book storyline (that I still feel could have been condensed into one book, even just taking these two books as is and combining them to form a 600 ish page book). It also does a good job of setting up the next book via a particular unresolved thread that leads to a blatant cliffhanger – so blatant that the author tags a note just a couple of lines later swearing that the story will continue. (As those of us reading years later already know.) Overall a great continuation to the series, and I’m looking forward to diving into the next book momentarily.
Good But Incomplete. As with any of the books in this series after BRAINRUSH, read the earlier books first. That said, the author introduces some new writing techniques into this book that are a refreshing change of pace, and that is most welcome. HOWEVER, the reason I dinged this book a star is because it feels like the author took one story and broke it into two – similar to how Hollywood did a lot of book to movie adaptations there for a while with the last book, except obviously here this is an author himself doing it to his own book. Yes, the combined single book of this one and the next one would have likely gone over the 600 page mark, and maybe the author didn’t think that would sell as well or some such. But this feels like a money grab, even with the solid story, with the splitting into halves.
All of that said, there is more peril than ever built into this book, though the peril in this tale is more personal (vs the last book’s more global scale).
If you’ve gotten this far in the series, you won’t be disappointed with the story here – and you’ll be reaching for the next one as soon as you’ve finished this one!