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Lethal Heritage: Blood of Kerensky (Volume One) Review

Lethal Heritage: Blood of Kerensky by Michael A. Stachpole

Lethal Heritage

In a time when humanity lives among the stars and planets of distant universes and battles are fought using giant machines called BattleMechs, a war unlike any before is about to begin.  Divided by hundreds of years of strife, the Successor States have been in constant conflict among themselves, but a new enemy has arrived that will challenge everything they know about warfare.  The Clans strike with deadly force, throwing the separate nations into total turmoil.  With their almost inhuman physical capabilities, unparalleled technology, nearly indestructible machines, and relentless love for battle, the Clans threaten to destroy anything that stands between them and victory.  Now, the Successor States must either find a way to work through their political differences or face complete annihilation.  The future of humanity may very well rest on the shoulders of a few special soldiers who must not only battle to save their homes, but also fight to prove themselves as capable MechWarriors.

Lethal Heritage is a rough and tough story set primarily in the years 3049 and 3050, a time when humanity resides on distant planets and moves between them using large JumpShips capable of space travel.  There is no mention of Earth and, as such, the reader is never quite certain if the book follows our real-world timeline or creates a new one.  This is a great perk for readers who enjoy complete removal from realism, even though there are definitely some technological elements that will be familiar.

While it starts off slow at first, taking time to carefully introduce each of the many characters responding to the deadly space invasion, the pace picks up about one-third of the way through and remains consistent from there.  For the most part, the characters are alluring, especially newly graduated Victor Davion, heir to the Federation Commonwealth, and Kia Allard, a brilliant, yet self-conscious, strategist and pilot.  Kell Hound mercenary Phelan Kell, however, definitely warrants the most attention, as his internal monologue provides great entertainment and his experiences shed light into the inner workings of the Clan.  The weakest storyline follows Tai-i Shin Yodama, a member of the Draconis Combine, but the information provided from his perspective does ultimately add to the overall plot.  Each character possesses his or her own strengths and weaknesses and the variety provides a little something for every reader.

Stackpole’s writing style is solid, demonstrating a consistent voice while also integrating elements geared to match each of the individual characters.  There are a few sections that seem “staged,” but the flow of thought and dialogue is relatively natural for the majority of the novel.  The content can sometimes seem dense, but that is due in large part to the fact that there is a significant amount of information to process through.  For example, keeping track of the varying leadership factions and less-essential characters can be difficult.  On the flip side, the book is certainly not lacking in depth and any reader should be satisfied with its thoroughness of detail.  Stackpole is also successful in keeping the techno-speak believably complex, but still accessible to the general reader.

Overall, Lethal Heritage may take some time to work through, but it is a definite must-read for science fiction fans – especially those who enjoy giant robots!

Ratings

Plot – 4/5

Setting – 4.5/5

Characters – 4/5

Creativity – 4.5/5

Writing – 4/5

Overall – 4/5

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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Dragon’s Bait Book Review

Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

Dragon's Bait

Synopsis

For sixteen-year-old Alys, witches, dragons, and lost souls are things far away from the small town she grew up in.  Saint Toby’s was always her home and the people within it, while some more questionable than others, were all she had ever known.  That is, until the day she was wrongfully accused of being a witch and offered up as a sacrifice to a dragon.

Ultimately betrayed and condemned to die by those she once called friends, reeling from the loss of her only remaining family, and with nowhere else to go, Alys gives up.  Coming face-to-face with the source of her impending demise, however, doesn’t work out exactly as she expected.

Instead, Alys finds a most dangerous ally and sets out on a journey to exact her revenge.  Charmingly frustrating, shape-shifting dragons are the least of her problems, though, as Alys slowly realizes that vengeance isn’t everything she thought it would be.  In fact, her single-minded determination to destroy the lives of those who ruined hers may very well cause Alys to lose the one thing she has left.

Review

Dragon’s Bait is a delightful little story about loss, revenge, and love.  While the book doesn’t overpower the reader with any one of these elements in particular, it eludes to each lightly at varying states.  This functions as both a benefit and a limitation.  While the book is enjoyable, easy to read, and short, it does lack a certain level of depth.

Alys is presented as a somewhat one-dimensional character and her actions are usually predictable.  Her role is unique, however, as she spends the majority of the book seeking vengeance and plotting bad things against those who wronged her.  This deviates from many other young adult fiction protagonists who run from issues until the climax of the book when he/she can no longer avoid them.  Instead of waiting for action to find her, Alys propels the story forward, her choices setting the foundation for what happens next at every turn.

Her accomplice, the dashing “young” dragon, Selendrile, provides the reader with more intrigue, as details about his life and existence are explored only to the extent that Alys discovers them, which isn’t much.  His character remains a curiosity, but his existence pulls at the heart-strings.  While the faint presence of potential romance between the two is endearing and sweet, it is arguably too subtle – the readers almost have to be looking for it.

Vivian Vande Velde’s writing style is simple, but she delivers a solid story that definitely meets the needs of her targeted upper-elementary to middle school age group.  Versed fantasy readers will likely find this quick read pleasant, but may not be completely satisfied when it comes to the details.  Overall, however, Dragon’s Bait is enjoyable, serves as a wonderful introduction to young adult literature, and is very well-suited for younger audiences.

Book Ratings

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Setting: 3/5
  • Characters: 3.75/5
  • Creativity: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3.75/5
 
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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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My Book Collection

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One of the primary goals of this blog is to introduce new books to readers.  Another goal is to encourage reading among those who haven’t enjoyed it previously.  One of the ways I hope to accomplish these two goals is by providing an ongoing list of books I own and have read.

Every few posts, I will provide information about a book (or two) from my personal collection.  These posts will be brief and are not intended to function as reviews, per say, but will rather be a quick snippet of what the book means to me and why I chose to add it to my personal library.  As I blog about these books, I will also add them to My Book Collection page, so that they are easily accessible for reference when looking for a good book to try out.

Many of my first books are physical representations of my transition from a struggling student to a successful young scholar.  The words on their pages not only tell interesting stories, but represent the long and difficult journey to my success.  Each has been impactful and furthered the development of my passion for literature.

I will forever be adding new books to this collection and, while many of my early books are young adult fiction and fantasy, titles and genres will vary drastically as more are added.

 

For this post, I am going to start at the very beginning of my collection.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Rowling, J. K. (1989). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.  As explained in my first post, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first book I ever enjoyed and, as a result, is officially the beginning of my book collection.  My mother forced me to listen to her read it in its entirety and her persistence (in addition to J. K. Rowling’s brilliance) formally ended my opposition to reading, opened my eyes to the joys of reading, and made me into a successful student.

Rowling, J. K. (1999). Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was the second book to be included in my collection.  After my mother caught my attention with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, she began encouraging me to improve my ability to read aloud with her.  She and I took turns reading each chapter until we finished the book together.

Rowling, J. K. (1999). Harry Potter and the prisoner of azkaban. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.  The third Harry Potter book symbolized yet another vitally important step in my reading career, as it was the first book that I read completely aloud to another person.  My mother has said that it was sometimes almost painful to see me struggle through each chapter, but that she had never been more proud when I finished it.  This is also my favorite book within the series – I LOVE Sirius Black.

Rowling, J. K. (2000). Harry Potter and the goblet of fire. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire earned its place because it was the first book I ever read completely by myself.  From that moment on, I was hooked on reading and I have been collecting books ever since.  This is probably my second favorite from the series, as I really enjoyed the trials and seeing how each could be overcome.

 

What books do you have in your personal library?  Better yet, what was the very first book (or books) that started your collection?  Please also feel free to comment on your experiences while reading these Harry Potter books!

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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