#BookReview: The Demon Crown by James Rollins

Tom Clancy Meets Jeremy Robinson Meets Brett Battles In An Epic Race To Save The World. Yet again, Rollins manages to blend different things from science and history in ways that seemingly only he can, though this time he did indeed have shades of the other authors named above. You’ve got the Debt of Honor ties to Tom Clancy with similar villains. You’ve got the Island 731 ties to Jeremy Robinson via using the real-world Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army for some of the backstory. And you’ve got the PROJECT EDEN ties to Brett Battles’ epic series via the ultimate endgames of the bad guys.

And yet Rollins manages to make this story completely his own, with only fans of the other three authors being able to see the connections probably at all. The follow up from The Seventh Plague in the opening scene with Sigma characters is great, and really drives home the very humanity that makes this series so truly compelling. But then the action picks up dramatically, and because of the nature of the threat… never really dies down. Once again the team is split with various people going various places, so people who don’t like following multiple trains on a given story may not like that bit – though at least here, we basically follow the two halves of the Sigma team + the bad guys (a bit). One interesting feature here is that Rollins actually bakes the life span of the featured creature into the narrative here, having one chapter devoted to each stage of its development – from that stage’s perspective. And yes, there are some utterly horrific scenes here as well, as virtually anything based on Unit 731 must include.

Overall an excellent tale and strong followup to The Seventh Plague, and sets in motion events which are sure to pay off down the line as well. Very much recommended.

This review of The Demon Crown by James Rollins was originally written on June 7, 2023.

#BookReview: Beyond the Horizon by Ella Carey

A Warm Blanket. Ok, so I’m ripping off a video game review I just read with that title for this review, but it fits. This book has exactly one feature that others of its type -WWII flygirl stories -released in the last year or so did not, and while that one feature winds up enhancing the story pretty dramatically, it can be a bit jarring at first due to mostly not having any time cues. The effect turns out to be mostly cool, as I personally came to see the fades in a very cinematic fashion. It just took a few chapters to pick up on what was happening. If you have read some of the other WWII flygirl stories this year, you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re new to this particular type of tale, this is still a solid entry in that line. It isn’t overly new or revolutionary, but it is a solidly comforting warm blanket. Very much recommended.

This review of Beyond the Horizon by Ella Carey was originally written on October 22, 2019.

Featured New Release Of The Week: The Spitfire Girls by Soraya M. Lane

This week we’re looking at a tale of three people who come together to face nearly insurmountable odds during World War II. This week, we’re looking at The Spitfire Girls by Soraya M. Lane.

The story here was brilliantly executed… in its first two thirds. In this section, the drama focuses around the race to determine who will be the first female to pilot a four engine bomber beyond training and the race to get Spitfire fighters to the USS Wasp for an emergency trip to Malta to shore up defenses there. Lane brilliantly balances the personal and the professional through this section across all three of her leading ladies, and the book truly shines.

But after the race to get the Spitfires to their staging base, the book switches gears and the balance of the drama stumbles as the primary emphasis is placed on the personal while the professional primarily happens off screen and is more often told of in letter form than shown. While there are still some haymakers thrown here, including one that touched this reader personally with his father having similar struggles, it just isn’t quite as “unputdownable” through this section as the first two thirds of the book were.

But the final chapter of the book is an excellent ending to the mainline story, and while the epilogue is arguably unneeded, it does at a final exclamation – and catharsis – point.

Overall, a strong book that could have been stronger, and I’m looking forward to reading more work from this author.

And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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