Review: Tails from the Apocalypse

Tails of the ApocalypseTails of the Apocalypse

by Chris PourteauStefan Bolz, David Bruns, Michael Bunker, Nick ColeJennifer EllisHarlow C. FallonHank Garner, E.E. GiorgiDeirdre GouldEdward W. RobertsonSteven SavileDavid Adams

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is a collection of short stories… Tails… about what happens to the animals in the wake of an apocalyptic event. Post-Apocalypse or Inter-Apocalypse are tough times for people, but have you ever thought about what you would do with your cat in a zombie outbreak? What happens to Fluffy the bunny or Bubbles the goldfish when aliens invade? For our four-legged friends, their dependence on humans is the biggest liability they have in a cataclysm… catastrophe… dogvastation… cowlamity… OK, I’ll stop now.

Usually, I only give my own summary of what the book is about in my reviews. This time, though, I’ll let the book speak for itself as well, by quoting its own blurb. This is probably something I should have thought about doing a long time ago, but…

Anyway, here’s the book’s blurb.

The Doomsday siren calls on civilization’s last day. Natural disaster. Nuclear war. Pandemics. These are the ways the world ends.
Nobility. Self-Sacrifice. Unconditional Love. These are the qualities of the heroic animals in this collection.

The Walking Dead meets The Incredible Journey in 14 amazing tales by today’s most talented independent authors. Seven stories set in all-new dystopian landscapes. Seven stories set in the bestselling post-apocalyptic worlds of David Adams’s Symphony of War, Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania, Nick Cole’s Wasteland Saga, Hank Garner’s Weston Files, E.E. Giorgi’s Mayake Chronicles, Deirdre Gould’s After the Cure, and Edward W. Robertson’s Breakers.

When the world ends, the humans who survive will learn an old lesson anew—that friendship with animals can make the difference between a lonely death among the debris and a life well lived, with hope for the future.

The actual story-telling in most of these was quite good. The structure was choppy in a few, but mostly the ones that were done with the animal as narrator. I found them fun. Of course, we are talking about apocalypse events, so most are of a sad bent. That being said, they are also very touching. I especially love the ones where the animals illustrate their loyalty to the humans for whom they care.

The only negative I have is that it was heavily dog-centric. I like doggos, but I’m a cat person at heart, so I would have liked to see more from that angle.
Now we get to the individual story reviews. The way I reach my overall rating is to review each story (0-5 stars) and average them together for the book. That brings this one in at 3.5 stars overall, and I call it a Tail Wagging Read.

Be warned, the individual reviews probably contain spoilers:

  • The Water Finder’s Shadow by David Bruns (5 star)

    Only special humans can find water in a dried-out future Earth, and their worth as anything but slaves is tied to that talent. One man finds that his talent is linked to his dog, but dogs don’t live forever.

    This is one of the best in the book. Warning: if you have ever watched a beloved pet grow old and fade away, this WILL bring you to tears.

  • When You Open the Cages for Those Who Can’t (a Breakers short story) by Edward W. Robertson (3 stars)

    A little girl who’s parents succumb to a Plague outbreak takes it upon herself to help the animals at a local shelter when the people don’t come back. She learns a harsh lesson about evil among the remnants of humanity, but true friendship in the form of her chosen furry peoples. This story shows promise for the series it is based upon, which I might need to check out.

  • Protector by Stefan Bolz (3.5 star)

    An act of kindness toward a wounded wolf cub in a time of desperation creates a loyalty that saves a clan. Quite a well-written story. It has good pacing and tension. Another teary eyed ending for me.

  • The Poetry of Santiago by Jennifer Ellis (5 stars)

    A long-lived cat adopts an antique store widower in doomed modern Pompei. The only cat-focused story of the book. It is well done, and the perspective of the cat felt almost perfect.

  • Demon and Emily (a Symphony of War short story) by David Adams (3 stars)

    A family flees an invasion by sentient alien bug-beings, but tragedy strikes on the way. The young daughter and her dog, Demon, end up with the army as they attempt to evacuate. This is a decent story, and I’m interested in the series because of it. I can only give it three stars though. I would like to it four stars, but the ending felt forced into a sad one when it could easily have been happy.

  • Keena’s Lament (a Weston Files short story) by Hank Garner (3 stars)

    An interesting take on the Flood of Noah from the perspective of a Watcher (a descendant of the fallen angels among men). He sees the building of the Ark, but doesn’t believe. He has a canine companion who witnesses the end with him. Entertaining, but I tend to frown on odd Biblical twists that contradict things.

  • Tomorrow Found (a Wasteland Saga short story) by Nick Cole (4 stars)

    A wanderer twenty years after the apocalypse searches for the past with the help of dog who keeps him going. Another great story in the book. Excellent glimpse of the world in a short story, with a character whose drive to complete his task has you rooting for him and his friend.

  • Pet Shop (an After the Cure short story) by Deirdre Gould (4 stars)

    A pet shop parrot named Surly Shirley finds friendship despite the zombie apocalypse, but her new friend might be too soft for this new world, especially considering the company he’s keeping. I liked the story, and I liked the portrayal of the parrot’s personality which is the reason I give it four stars. I do have to say that it’s only the premise that the infected can be cured that makes the human protagonist anything but a useless idiot in the zombie apocalypse. I can’t fault the storytelling at all, so four stars it is.

  • Kael Takes Wing (a Mayake Chronicles short story) by E.E. Giorgi (3 stars)

    A doomed falcon chick is rescued by survivors of the apocalypse and given tech upgrades and made part of the family. Although I never picked up what the apocalyptic event was, the story is fine without the info. It’s told from the perspective of the falcon, and is very interesting. Another series that might need investigating.

  • The Bear’s Child by Harlow C. Fallon (2.5 stars)

    A ‘feral’ human survivor of a disease apocalypse, a self-imposed outcast of her own clan, is adopted by a mama grizzly in her efforts to escape other ‘civilized’ humans who are out to exterminate all the diseased ferals. The story was decent, but it left too much unexplained.

  • Wings of Paradise by Todd Bareselow (0 stars)

    Quote from Paragraph 2:

    “Of the seven billion people living when the world ended, only a few thousand souls survived [snip…] Within six months, most of them were gone too, victims of the plague unleashed by the Earth’s core in retribution for a century of cumulative abuse. Fracking for oil and natural gas was the undoing of man.”

    No. Just No. I quit reading there. I refuse to pollute my mind with bull-crap.


  • Ghost Light by Steven Savile (4 stars)

    A planeload of passengers crash-land in Scotland when the nukes fall. They hope for and soon search for a reason to go on, but they really just want to go home.

    This one starts oddly. Then it continues oddly. The ending is a surprise that totally made me re-evaluate the story. It’s good, and I won’t spoil it for anyone.

  • Kristy’s Song (a Pennsylvania short story) by Michael Bunker (4 stars)

    A dog helps a man avoid totalitarian technocracy in a city on the Shelf of New Pennsylvania.

    I didn’t realize what world this was written in when I read it, but it made sense afterward. I have read the Pennsylvania series and it is quite good. Michael Bunk is a great story teller. This one is no exception.

  • Unconditional by Chris Pourteau (4 stars)

    A small dog who loves a small boy and considers him to be his twin, will stop at nothing and do whatever it takes to show his love, no matter what that means in a zombie apocalypse.

    Great story telling from the dog’s point of view. The ending is perfect… and shocking.



Review: Vader (Star Wars: Darth Vader, #1)

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: VaderStar Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader by Kieron GillenSalvador Larroca (Illustrator)Adi Granov (Illustrator)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this comic collection up as an Amazon freebie a while back and finally decided to look through it. I was pleasantly surprised with the story, and the art was top notch.

The time-line is between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. In true Sith fashion, Palpatine liberally assigns blame and shame on all who failed to perfectly execute his fool-proof plans. The brunt of which falls on Vader for not preventing the Death Star’s explosion. Plans within plans begin to unfold as Vader vies to maintain his supremacy on many fronts at once. New events you never knew about are intermixed with both ANH and memories of Prequel events.

The only negative I have is that the Expanded Universe seemed far more interesting than the plot in this divergent series. I am one of those who see the Thrawn Trilogy by Tim Zhan and much of the EU as canon (screw the Yuuzahn-Vong, they are worse than Jar Jar), and the new take (Disney productions) as an alternate time-line. That doesn’t mean both can’t be good, but I can’t help but compare the two and find the newer lacking. All that observation is for free! 🙂

Still, I found the survival of the strongest competitor to ring quite true to the mentality of the Sith.

I didn’t like the sudden worshipfulness of the techno-archaeologist toward Vader. It seemed contrived. That lost one star.

Spoiler in the next paragraph. Highlight to read–>The fact that Vader’s competitors do not use the force, but managed to give him some grief made no sense either.<–

Two stars down.

The rest was fine. I would read the others in the series if they went on a deep sale. I give this a handy 3 stars and call it a Worthy Read.

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Review: Clockwork – Mystery Anthology by John M. Floyd

ClockworkClockwork by John M. Floyd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This isn’t my normal fare. It’s a collection of mystery shorts, mostly what you might call ‘cozies’. I chose to read it because it was written by a college friend’s dad, I like a good mystery every now and then, and I also like to read southern authors, especially ones from my home state of Mississippi.

Mr. Floyd’s ability to write well is beyond question. The descriptive elements are weaved in unobtrusively, and always leave you seeing exactly what’s there without being overly intricate. The modern stories range in timeline from the 80’s to pretty close to present day. Some of the stories in this particular anthology are a bit anachronistic, and the plot would no longer work because of current tech; however, as long as you can suspend that part of your brain and live in the moment of the story, it works fine. There are a few that jump back to the wild west, or just after, that are actually my favorites.

I do know for sure that it’s not the genre I prefer for entertainment. The short story format is where my problem lies, I think. I prefer more intricate, drawn out, complicated plotlines than a short story can provide. There weren’t many that I couldn’t immediately see where the plot was going, and many of them were tropish. There were a few twists that were interesting. If you like that sort of thing, and many people do, then you will probably enjoy the book more that I did. Taste is subjective… some people like hot sauce and others don’t.

As for characters, again, short stories make for shallow development as a general rule. There are only a couple major ones from the anthology that stood out to me.

The main two were recurring characters who appear in several different stories. Sheriff Jones and Ms. Potts, while possibly endearing to fans of shows like Matlock or Murder She Wrote, were kind of annoying to me. As a writer, I should be able to describe what bothered me about them, but all I can come up with is that they gave me an ‘ick factor’ that made me not like them. It’s a personal preference, no doubt.

Conversely, I can’t praise The Warden’s Game enough. That story is absolutely riveting, and is, by far, the best in the anthology. It has an old western feel, even though it takes place in rural Alaska. It is a tale whose theme is of justice found from mysterious sources. I think the fact that it is also one of the longer stories makes it more appealing to me. The characters are able to be developed in more depth, which increases my concern for them. The plot, while not unique, still managed to pull me in because of my like for the theme.

All told, I can recommend the book to those who like to read mysteries, especially cozies. I give it three stars and call it an Interesting Variety Read for me.
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Review: Black Tide Rising (Anthology – Book #5)

Black Tide Rising (Black Tide Rising anthologies Book 1)Black Tide Rising by John Ringo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An anthology of stories in the Black Tide Rising universe created by John Ringo. A great mix of well known authors play around in the sandbox of the master of Mil-SF. It’s a great adder to the overall universe. Typical mix of good and mediocre found in an anthology, but mostly good. The final Ringo story also might leave you gape-jawed at the potential for things to come in the series.

TLDR: The Flint, Williamson, and last Ringo stories are worth the price of the book. These three get 5 stars. There are other good ones as well in the anthology. My average rating for the book is 3 stars (36 over 12 stories), and I call it a Worthwhile Read.

Individual story ratings below. Beware of spoilers (I try not to, but they are short stories, so…)

Never Been Kissed by John Ringo (2 star)

Very short. Musings of Faith about the fate of all the people she knew.

Up on the Roof by Eric Flint (5 stars)

An excellent story of a group of survivors who make an excellent choice to ride out the apocalypse atop a gasoline tank farm. Really good setup, detailed enough without being boring, and good character development in a short time. I would like to read a full novel about this group.

Staying Human by Jody Lynn Nye (1 star)

Missed the mark on several key points about the behavior of the zombies in this universe. Sentiment is all over the place and turns very preachy about being better and not seeking revenge against the ‘poor infected’. Waste of my time.

On the Wall by John Scalzi & Dave Klecha (2 stars)

Annoying. Some humor, but of the obnoxious variety. The entire story is dialogue, which makes it read like an episode of Gilmore Girls. One of the characters is such a douche that he needed to be thrown to the zombies.

Do No Harm by Sarah Hoyt (3 stars)

An ER nurse must come to grips with ‘kill or be killed’ as the hospital is overrun with zombies. Good story. Great character development for a short story length tale.

Not in Vain by Kacey Ezell (3 stars)

A group of cheerleaders and their coach must step up if they want to reach a safe haven in the zombie apocalypse. Excellent character development, but too short. I want more!

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Grandpa? by Michael Z. Williamson (5 stars)

Grandpa is a vet, but his grandkids think he’s a gun hoarder that needs an intervention… until the zombies hit. Best one in the book. Grandpa was right, and he ain’t taking no more of your crap, you little shits!

Battle of the BERTs by Mike Massa (3 stars)

Interesting story of the teams sent out to control infected on the streets of New York before everything gets completely out of control. This one ties in directly with events form Book 1 in the series.

The Road to Good Intentions by Tedd Roberts (3 stars)

A small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains could be a refuge for some, but only if they can keep outside influences from ruining things. One man struggles with his own religious issues as the local pastor calls his survival of the fever a miracle and sets him up as a beacon of hope. A decent story with good details, but the ending is abrupt and left hanging. The use of religion as a plot device is bothersome.

200 Miles to Huntsville by Christopher Smith (2 stars)

A post-war Vet turned cop, his dirty-cop partner, and the prisoner they are escorting find themselves in a cultish Hicksville, Texas as the final shoe begins to drop. I didn’t care for this one mainly because of the use of religion as a plot device. The writing and characters were ok, but the blurring of good/bad would not be something I’d want to keep reading for much longer.

Best Laid Plans by Jason Cordova & Eric S. Brown (2 stars)

A group of thieves are determined to rob the Louvre despite the zombie apocalypse. Interesting, but too short to get to know the characters well. The humor is quirky and not all that funny to me (others might find it more so).

The Meaning of Freedom by John Ringo (5 stars)

An interesting interlude that shows the true nature of the ‘beta’ zombies that has been hinted at in the main series. It raises a huge moral question, which I won’t spoil. This one is a thinker, unlike the ‘killing infected’ or ‘using infected for medicine’ questions that I found to be trite in the main series itself. This story is a must read for the series.

Happy Reading!

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Review: Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising Book #4)

Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising, #4)Strands of Sorrow by John Ringo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winner in the Black Tide Rising series. This one finally brings the recovery of America back to the home shores. The hyper-effective Faith Marie Smith, who has now become the central character of the series, continues to push the limits of get it done action and zombie stomping. Luckily, she is surrounded by survivor types that come up with more ingenious ways to rid the land of its post-human plague.

The action in this one is almost non-stop. The logistics-speak is so finely woven with the next big zombie killing spree that you hardly notice it. I continue to learn new mil-speak each book I read, and I absolutely love to see what goodies that go boom will come from tackling the next hurdle in the race to save as much of humanity that remains. Characters continue to grow, and some new one get added to give yo more to like. Even the screw-ups seem to get a chance to shine.

From more guns on a helicopter than should ever be thought about, to tomahawks raising an entire host of infected, to the unparalleled bad-assery of an M1A1 Abrams (named Trixie of course) that pirouettes like a ballet dancer on a zombie juice slip-and-slide, this book will most assuredly peg out your kick-assometer! I give it four stars and call it a Kick Ass Read!

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Review: The Frontier Saga: Fall of the Core: Netcast: 03

Fall of the Core: Netcast 03 (The Frontiers Saga)Fall of the Core: Netcast 03 by Ryk Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The next big reveal. Who is the mysterious Unknown, and why is the bio-digital plague happening? This is the one where we find out, but don’t think that’s the end. There’s new twists and new threats, but a way to overcome them might just be available… if the cure isn’t worse than the disease.

Bring on Netcast 04! It’s a great story, but my impatience is killing me. Three stars and I call it a Leash-Tugging Read.

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Review: Who Takes No Risk

Who Takes No Risk (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #7)Who Takes No Risk by Ryk Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure if it’s the heavy foreshadowing, or if I’m developing my Ghatazak abilities to see potential outcomes, but the books in the series are becoming somewhat predictable.

This one was good, but not great. I was not surprised at any of the events that occurred. There were several that were meant to be highly emotional or shocking, but they did not impact me that way. The typical battle scene, although very complex and creative, was not as exciting as it usually is. It could just be me and my current mood though, so take that with a grain of salt.

I do hold out hope that a reckoning is on the way for the overreaching General of the Sol Alliance. There were some very convenient paths crossed to bring some damning information to the right ears. We’ll see how that turns out. I do hope that the hero of the series finally stops being so damned self-sacrificing and goes after a little bit of revenge. If he doesn’t fix things so they last, then what’s he fighting to accomplish?

One criticism I do have is that two characters have been built up over the last several books, but they have been pointless and useless. This episode they were captured and conscripted into the enemy’s army. All the things they had been working toward were shown to be pointless and, in fact, poisonous to the Corinari rebellion. The only reason I can see for even having them is that their trainer turns out to be someone important from the past, but it’s been so long since I read about him that I really don’t remember who he was as a character. I don’t like throw-away characters and plot-lines. It makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time after having read it, especially if it was boring to begin with. I hope that lack of tie in does not continue to be part of the writing style of this series.

Anyway, enough rambling on this review. I give it a solid three stars and call it a Good Serial Read.

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Review: Planetary Anthology: Mercury

Planetary: MercuryPlanetary Anthology: Mercury by John C. Wright, Benjamin Wheeler, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Corey McCleery, Joshua M. Young, J.D. Beckwith, Bokerah Brumley, Lou Antonelli, Declan Finn, Misha Burnett, A.M. Freeman, Dawn Witzke, David Hallquist

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Firstly, I must state for the record that I am an author in this anthology.

Secondly, I also state that the opinions expressed in this review are mine alone, and are mostly for my own remembrance of the stories. I do this with all anthologies I read (and books, too). My reviews of individual stories sometimes contain spoilers, so read them at your own risk if you have not yet read the book.

As a summary, I can say that this anthology was definitely worth the five star rating. No, I didn’t think every story was a five star, but enough of them were to justify the overall rating. I’m not rating them individually because I am a co-author. I will simply state that none are less than three stars for me, with several fours and fives.

Don’t read further if you are worried about spoilers. I try not to, but it is difficult with short stories. Plus, this is intended for me to remember with, and other interested parties to compare notes.

In the Palace of Promised Immortality by John C. Wright

Wright’s story is very deep. It took me a moment to figure out what was going on with the MC, but once I did, things became clearer. The deeper meaning is the overlay of the Christian concepts of Grace, Predestination & Free Will. Also, the concept of Purgatory being a causality loop in a time paradox was astounding. I will admit to stopping two or three times just to boggle at the allegorical weaving that this story entailed. It is a masterpiece.

Schubert to Rachmaninoff by Benjamin Wheeler

Unfortunately, this tale didn’t relly do it for me. I have read one other of Wheeler’s short stories, and thought it was quite good. It started off on a low note because I instantly hated the MC because I don’t like cocky braggarts. Then, I didn’t find the reasons for the necessity of his dangerous delivery to be believable. There were some other issues I had, but the nail in the coffin was a physics oversight. (Lack of an atmosphere means there can’t be a vacuum that sucks in dust and the MC’s bike). Not wanting to be all negative (my grumpy nerd side is showing a bit), I will say that it was full of vividly painted scenery, and there’s definitely a good writing style with plenty of action to be had. Wheeler writes well, I just didn’t like this particular story.

The Element of Transformation by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Lamplighter’s story is another fantastic tale. The son of Prospero the Magician gets thrown into prison where he runs across Mercury (the god). A loss from his past prevents him from acting in motivated self-interest until Mercury shows him some things from another perspective. It is complex, derives a bit from history and the real world while weaving in the mystical. Amazingly, the MC actually has growth, even within the confines of a short story. The ending was terrific, unexpected, and uplifting.

In Tower of the Luminious Sages by Corey McCleery

This was a very vivid tale of Oriental Empires and Ancient Dragon-Gods. A young female thief gets more than she expects when she tries to rob a tower with magical significance. She discovers a truth about her own origins and reveals a truth that can save an Empire. Well written and highly descriptive, this story paints its images on the theatre of your mind that almost paint by number in its exactness. You almost have no choice but to see what is described. Gripping and had a good ending.

The Haunted Mines of Mercury by Joshua M. Young

A scary tale that is but a glimpse of a much larger world and universe. While investigating strange occurrences in a mine on Mercury, the MC must face ghost/demons left behind… in the distance past of the planet, and in the recent past of his own heart. The main action scene in this story are pulse-pounding, and the lead it is spot on for tension building. Bravo, Mr. Young!

Quicksilver by J.D. Beckwith <– Hey, I know this guy! 🙂

I enjoyed writing this story, and spent way more time designing the Chariot of Helios in my head than I should have. I hope you like it too.

Ancestors Answer by Bokerah Brumley

A Japanese woman whose family honor has been completely tarnished by the action of her descendants is given the power and responsibility to go back to the land of the living to correct it.

Last Call by Lou Antonelli

Mercury’s core has been mined out to make a space fleet to protect humanity. An old hand of forty years has known nothing but ore hauling. Now that it’s done, he stays behind to close out the books. This one is very shy on character development, even for a short. It’s meant to be a sympathy torque, but it missed the mark for me because I didn’t connect with the MC.

Deceptive Appearances by Declan Finn

Two rough and tumble detectives stop a weapons dealer on Mercury, but only one of them knows the full score… because where would be the fun if they both did? Nice detective noir style story that’s self-contained and fun.

mDNA by Misha Burnett

A genetic courier and artificial insemination expert makes house-calls for the few remaining reproductive people on a dying Earth. I was a bit put off by this one, as it was a bit depressing and kind of an icky subject matter. Good writing though.

The Star of Mercury by A.M. Freeman

An entrepreneurial inventor with money woes is stranded on Mercury with a sickly daughter he needs to get back home to Earth for treatment. A jealous and disreputable nemesis keeps stealing his work. This story was amazing. It made me SO MAD at the bad guy I could have spit! I loved the ending!

Cucurbita Mercurias by Dawn Witzke

Devotion to achieving fame leads a terraforming botanist’s work on Mercury to a dark place when sweat and tears are no longer enough. Short, but oh so dark!

The Wanderer by David Hallquist

A failed attempt to seed a newborn solar system with life leaves a sentient ship lost and alone for eternity. A mystery in Mercury’s depths brings one man face to face with what could be mankind’s greatest discovery. Epic in thought and scope, this story is by far my favorite of the anthology. I hope for a sequel or expansion.

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Review: Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising Book #3)

Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising, #3)Islands of Rage & Hope by John Ringo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

YES! Finally we get to a real Ringo ringer! This one was perfectly balanced in terms of action, character development, and that patented Ringo ‘Holy crap, how did you think of that! That’s so friggin’ cool’ factor. I got several ‘Hell, Yeah!’ fist pump moments in this one, and one hell of an ending!

The plot takes you from the Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Gitmo. Then you have lots of different scenarios encountered during the clearance of the Windward Isles as they search for the ingredients to make vaccine for the sub sailors that are still trapped in self-imposed quarantine. The last two ‘missions’ are pretty awesome, but I won’t spoil those.

The main characters grow a lot in this one, and the Smith girls are still hyper-capable, but not as in-your-face Mary Sue as the last book. You get to meet some other folks that I found quite interesting, but I won’t spoil that for you. Hey, you even get to meet some royalty in this one!

Even the logistics portions of the book seemed to be more interesting and less info-dumpy that the last book. Probably because it’s interspersed with more action. And, thankfully, the mil-speak was much better explained in this one. I actually learned quite a bit.

I highly recommend this book, and it alone make the series worth diving into. I give it five stars and call it an Hoorah! Read.

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Review: To Sail a Darkling Sea (Black Tide Rising Book #2)

To Sail a Darkling Sea (Black Tide Rising, #2)To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book 2 of the Black Tide Rising series is the continuation of the exploits of the Wolf Squadron, a rag-tag flotilla of ships and survivors of the zombie apocalypse. John Smith and his daughters Sophia (age 15) and Faith (age 13) continue to save as many people as possible at sea while pushing forward with plans to save humanity by reclaiming the land. First, they have to perfect their techniques for moving the fleet and clearing some beachheads.

The plot of this sequel is basically the continuing story of trying to get your ducks in a row… and the ducks are drunk. The hinted at objective from book 1, reclaim Guantanamo Bay and start manufacturing a cure, is postponed due to weather (hurricane season) and is only launched on the last pages. The rest of the story is about the re-establishment of military discipline & organization, and supply lines. It’s a book about logistics. It’s interesting, but it is also NOT much of an action adventure book. Sure, there are a few zombie encounters which keep the pacing decent, but the focus is heavily on military maneuvers, the reasons for following orders, and a lot of inside jokes that you almost have to BE military to understand. I am not, so they fell on deaf ears.

I also find that the Sophia & Faith characters are annoyingly Mary Sue. It’s difficult to suspend my disbelief at times, especially when they all start talking the same. The stilted replies of “Point” (meaning ‘You have a point.’) and “Works” (meaning ‘That works.’) from different characters is standing out so much that I cringe when I see it.

I like the series. I like the premise. I even like the logistics discussions. I just hope the third book is better with more action. I give this book three stars and call it a Mediocre Read.

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