Mind Raider: The Kalamatra Rebellion Book One by P.K. Tyler and S.M. Blooding – Review

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Review by Riley

Mind Raider is one of 23 full length novels in the Dominion Rising anthology. Even if I had not gotten an advance copy of this story from author P.K. Tyler, it would have been the first one I turned to when I opened my copy of Dominion Rising (pre-ordered last March). If Mind Raider is any indicator of the quality level of the other stories in Dominion Rising, I say, go buy it now. While it is still only 99 cents! Mind Raider is top-notch science fiction!

I found this two-sentence blurb for Mind Raider.

One weapon to re-write everything. One team to stop it all.

It is a great teaser and while many would zero in on the word ‘weapon’, the book is really about the ‘team’. These characters come from worlds and backgrounds so different that it is amazing they speak the same language. And yet a common goal unites them. Keva Duste is a genetically enhanced soldier. Hale Reeve – well, it is not readily apparent what he is at first. Maybe a mercenary. Dothylian is an Elite.

They don’t always work well together, not really. They don’t really like each other all that much. But they have the common goal of trying to survive when the powers that be are are against them. These characters are imperfect, which is why I like that they change over the story. They grow.

Tyler and Blooding have built a fascinating universe of diverse political and social structures that are at odds with each other. Extremely different goals lead to conflict. And always there is someone or many someones who pay the price for their conflicts. As the first book in the Kalamatra Rebellion series, Mind Raider paves the way for a potentially fascinating story line. But be prepared to groan when you reach the end and the next book is not available yet.

Author P.K. Tyler provided and copy so that I could bring you this honest review.

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Victorious Dead (The Asarlaí Wars, #2) by Marie Andreas – Review

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Review by Riley

Check out this awesome cover. Like the cover of the first book, the heroine, Vas, is covered in weapons. If that causes you to deduce that the story is going to be action-packed, you would be correct!

About Victorious Dead

The galaxy was in for a world of hurt—chaos unseen since the violent, sadistic Asarlaí ruled. For the first time in her life, Vas doesn’t know if she can fight hard enough to stop it.

Vaslisha Tor Dain was a simple sort of mercenary starship captain. She fought hard, drank hard, and killed people when all else failed. Those were the good days–blown to interstellar dust when a band of crazed monks tried to resurrect a race of long-dead homicidal rulers: the Asarlaí.

Vas and her crew defeated the first wave but at great cost, both professional and personal.

Now lying low, she’s been taking tedious recovery jobs with a new ship, a new second-in-command, and a galactic government that has gone into hiding but is still on the hunt for her and her ship. But there are noises in the distant corners of the galaxy that the Asarlaí have found new allies and another way to come back from the great beyond. A painful and brutal way that will destroy worlds.

In the darkest night of deep space, if she sits too still and thinks too long, she still misses her former ship, scattered in pieces across the universe, and Deven, her former second-in-command, also scattered in pieces across the universe.

When what should have been an easy job with easy money backfires in her face, the cosmic conspiracy engulfs her again. The ghost–make that ghosts–of her dead lover appears, as do the deadly, long-gone Asarlaí who want their empire of worlds back, never mind that other beings live there. And Vas realizes lying low was never a possibility, not for the Warrior Wench, and never for her.

Death is final. Except when it isn’t. But the righteous in battle are always VICTORIOUS DEAD.

Publication Date: June 10, 2017
Series: The Asarlaí Wars, #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

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Review of Victorious Dead

Victorious Dead is told entirely from the viewpoint of Vaslisha Tor Dain, otherwise known as Vas. Vas is a little rough around the edges. Check out this opening sentence of the book:

VAS HAD BEEN DRIBBLING BEER over herself and her chair for at least three minutes.

Talk about first impressions. Vas tends to shout first and ask questions later. Even when, you as the reader know that Terel (ship doctor) or Gosta (techie guru) has something critical to say that Vas really needs to hear.  Lines like these are common in The Asarlaí Wars books:

Vas added that to her growing list of ‘worry about it later’ problems.” or “Vas knew the fact that she could open a secret sealed box could be a bad thing, but it was going to have to wait in line.

Most often she just notes to herself that she needs to think about something later. Or have a long talk with someone later. By the end of the book, Vas owes a lot of people long talks. I doubt those talks will ever happen. But those things she needs to know will come out – eventually – and at appropriately opportune, yet dire, situations.

Vas has a tendency to pick up and trust crew and passengers she barely knows. There was the time she offered a high-ranking position to one of her crew, even though she knew he originally came on board to spy. Does Vas lack good judgement? Probably. It is amazing she is still alive. Then there were those people that she added to her crew because their planet was about to be destroyed. Well, one of the refugees was a cute kid that had earlier helped Vas out. Okay, Vas is truly good-hearted. Despite that fact that she earns her money as a mercenary, she does have very particular ideas about how people should be treated.

For readers of Warrior Wench, Deven will make a re-appearance. Yea! Deven was a pretty critical and very fascinating character in that book. Supposedly Deven was dead at the end of that story. But he has come back from death before. As a character, Deven needs more development. He is quite the inscrutable character. At one point Vas thought “He was definitely back to his normal self—” Really? What exactly is normal about this guy? But there is this thing between Vas and Deven. As the reader, I don’t like a guy with so many secrets, but Vas likes him, so I will put up with him. By the end of Victorious Dead, I felt I knew more about the mysterious ancient race of Asarlaí, than I did about Deven.

If you have not read Warrior Wench, there are little bits here and there referencing the events of the first book, but I would think it would be hard to piece together. I highly recommend reading Warrior Wench first. Besides, its a good one too!

If you read Victorious Dead, here are a few more interesting things you will find:

Shadow ships
Commonwealth attack ships
Breach to another dimension
Warrior Nuns
Prophecy
Three Devens

One thing she was not, and never had been, was retrospective. Things happened, you adjusted, and you moved on.

Those two sentences pretty much sum up my impressions while reading Victorious Dead. If you read Warrior Wench, you already know this. Especially the moving on part. The story is constantly moving on from one perilous situation to the next. That can be good and that can be bad. I love the constant high octane action.

But there is absolutely no time to catch your breath. Ever.

The author provided a copy of her book so that I cold bring you this honest review.

 

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Links

Add Victorious Dead to your Goodreads shelf:

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Purchase Victorious Dead or Warrior Wench

By the way, did you know that Warrior Wench is the winner of a the Scifi & Futuristic category of the 2017 Prism awards?

What Are You Reading This Weekend?

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Dino Rodeo by Terry Fan

It’s rodeo week in my town this week.  A cowboy never knows what kind of beast he will draw.

Art available at Society6.

Dominion Rising has been available for pre-order for several months now.  Have you heard of it?  It is a collection of 23 brand new scifi and fantasy novels. There are a lot of great authors, include P.K. Tyler who has teamed up with S.M. Blooding.  I am reading their contribution to the anthology, Mind Raider: The Kalamatra Rebellion Book One.  Dominion Rising releases next Tuesday but you can pre-order now and the price is right.

Forgotten Ages (The Complete Saga) by Lindsay Buroker was on sale last week, so I bought it along with Audible version.  I am really liking this fantasy/archeological mystery/romance.

What are you reading this weekend?