Going by my record so far I should just change the name of these articles to This Month on Kindle but I am, perhaps foolishly, holding out hope that I can keep to a weekly schedule with these updates. I’m exited about what is on deck for next week. Coming Home The new Alex Benedict novel from Jack McDevitt is coming out on the fourth and The Abyss Beyond Dreams the new Peter F. Hamilton came out last week and I will be getting to it next week. So hear is what I’ve been reading this week.
Hammerhead Resurrection Jason Andrew Bond $3.99
It’s not uncommon for me to have books preordered for over a year. That’s what makes it so special when you find a book you had no idea even existed. And you can read it now. I thoroughly enjoyed Bond’s first novel Hammerhead about Jeffery Holt a one-time hero who now works in a scrapyard breaking up spaceships having to go all hero again and face down rouge government elements with all of the assets and resources of the military at their disposal. It was a quick fun read that wrapped itself up and appeared to just be a one off novel. So I wasn’t looking for a sequel when it popped up.
After saving the day in Hammerhead, Holt returns to his breaker yard and tearing apart surplus spacecraft. His solitude is broken when the aliens that he became a hero fighting as a younger man have returned and Holt finds himself one of the few still alive with experience fighting them. Hammerhead was more of a conspiracy/action/thriller but Hammerhead Resurrection is a straight up military scifi pot boiler with epic battles and a Shakespearian death toll. It is a much different story than Hammerhead but I enjoyed it just as much and am now stuck waiting on the next one in the series.
Undying Mercenaries Series
Steel World B.V. Larson $3.99 or Free on Kindle Unlimited
Dust World B.V. Larson $4.95 or Free on Kindle Unlimited
Tech World B.V. Larson $4.95
When Steel World begins James McGill is a half hearted college student who dreams along with most of the rest of his generation of joining one of the premier legions of mercenaries that happen to be Earth’s primary export. Steel World describes a post contact universe ruled, or maybe administered is a better word, by the Galactics, a collection of truly ancient species that originate in the core of the galaxy and have been the head honcho’s for eons. In this galactic society slackers are not tolerated. Either a world can provide a unique product or service or the Galactics will wipe it out to keep their administration costs down. Life on the comparatively primitive Earth still being on the rough and tumble side at the time of contact one of the few things of value that the Earth has to export is death and destruction, hence the formation of the Earth’s Mercenary Legions.
Now fifty years after contact it is the dream of James McGill and most of his peers to join one of the elite legions and go visit exotic worlds meet new and interesting people and kill them all while they are bringing hard Galactic currency back home and helping to raise the living standards of everyone on Earth. The reality for most though is crushing student loans and the even more soul crushing jobs after that. That is the path James is on until the rug gets pulled out from under him when his loan application is denied. With no other options James goes to the closet Legion Hall and spends the worst day of his life getting rejected by every reputable Legion in the Hall. Luckily for James he is tipped off that there are less reputable Legions recruiting in the basement. Within a matter of hours James finds himself on shuttle heading to orbit.
The Undying Mercenaries Series definitely falls in the Young Adult category. James is a cocky, precocious young man who’s ability to talk his way out of trouble is only marginally staying ahead of his ability to get into trouble. I don’t like the Galactic culture that the books take place in. It’s depressing, Earth is just a backwater planet in constant danger from being coldly and dispassionately wiped out. If you stick through the three books there are some hints that changes are a coming and there are some major shake-ups coming for the Galactic Empire. There is one piece of technology that Larson’s exploration of elevates the Undying Mercenaries above many of the countless examples in this genre. The Legions have a resurrection technology that allows them to basically print new bodies for soldiers as soon as aliens can kill them. Except under extreme circumstances a soldiers mind is being constantly backed up and being killed in combat has become a matter of course. While unpleasant nobody fears death. A true death on the other hand, dying with no hope of being resurrected that is perhaps even more feared. While this technology is nothing new in the world of space opera I don’t remember anybody pushing the concept as far as Larson does in these books. While the stories themselves are only passable seeing the tactical and strategic implications of the resurrection tech is always interesting.