Excellent Adventure Starter. For those who like their adventures to be Indiana Jones type – including both going into the jungle and facing down Nazis – well, have I got a book for you. This combines that basic style with Grumley’s usual science/ science fiction bent to produce much more nuanced characters who have much bigger personal stakes than his “breakthrough” series, to great effect in the closing moments. About the only negative is that the final confrontation… isn’t really there. At least not what could have been the *really* cool parts. Still, while I’m not as intrigued about this new series as I was in BREAKTHROUGH by the end of its first book, I definitely want to see where Grumley goes with this. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads review:
The Master Turns To Horror. With this book, Jeremy Robinson – The Modern Day Master of Science Fiction – again attempts a horror book… before bringing it back to the scifi action that is his bread and butter. He first establishes a loveable galoof of an anti-hero: an Army veteran who has PTSD from his experiences in Afghanistan who can’t quite fit in with his suburban civilian “normal” life. Then, he begins building in the mystery and the horror, slowly ramping it up to truly horrific levels across several different types of horror, finally culminating in a truly utterly horrific sequence that, arguably, hard core fans of Mass Effect who are familiar with Mass Effect 2 in particular may be at least somewhat jaded to. And then, the actual scifi action conclusion – almost as though Robinson has made us see hell, and now wants to leave us on a more interesting/ happier note. Long time fans of Robinson may see at least a few similarities to his 2010 “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” retelling, TORMENT, though for me that particular book was so horrific *because* it was essentially a modern day version of that famous sermon (which was, in itself, essentially a then-modern retelling of Dante’s Inferno). For those like me who literally had nightmares for *years* after reading that book, I can tell you that this one isn’t anywhere near that bad – at least not in the same ways. It truly is utterly horrific in a couple of sequences in particular, and these new horrors may indeed haunt your nightmares for quite some time. But dammit, that is what makes Robinson the Master. 😉 Very much recommended.
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO MARCUS SAKEY IS??? Ok, so this was a fun rib at a fellow author that Parks tossed into this book, and if you’re in the know, it was genuinely hilarious. I don’t know if Parks and Sakey know each other or have any kind of relationship at all, but it was hilarious regardless. And great levity in an otherwise pretty heavy tale that asks the classic trolley problem in a much more personal and yet global context: If you knew that one singular person was going to be the thing that ultimately tips global warming beyond repair and that billions of lives would thus be lost, could you kill that person? What if that person was your wife? Through the first 2/3 of this book, this is the primary driver and raises a lot of thought provoking questions, as Sakey’s own books tend to do. The back third goes more to direct action tale (as the back parts of Sakey’s own books tend to do), but the interesting connection here given the ribbing is that there are elements that *could* tie this tale to Sakey’s own Brilliance Saga. Whether this was the intent, this reader has no clue. But again, an interesting thought experiment. Ultimately this is a fun mystery/ action tale that mostly sticks to the realistic – even the exact scenario of the finality of global warming is plausible given the facts recorded in After Cooling by Eric Dean Wilson, which releases just weeks before this book itself does. If you’re looking for *purely* mindless action, eh, there are other books better suited to that. If you like “action with a brain”… this is going to be *exactly* what you’re looking for. Very much recommended.
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.