Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review - The Epherium Chronicles: Crucible (Book 2)

The Epherium Chronicles: Crucible (Book 2)
By T.D. Wilson
Publisher: Carina Press
Published: May 26, 2014
ASIN: B00I66AA00

Amazon Synopsis:

January, 2155

Earth Defense Forces Captain James Hood is on the mission of his life. The Cygni solar system is just one space-fold jump away. One more jump and they'll have reached the fledgling colony that Earth desperately needs if the human race is going to survive. But a plot to derail him has already damaged his ship, threatened the lives of his crew and cost him time. Time the colonists might not have.

So much depends on him now, but Hood's confidence is shaken. It's self-doubt he thought he'd buried, a brutal mind-killer for all military commanders. Yet danger 
surrounds his team; a brutal insectoid alien race is still out there, intent on eradicating humans, and a greater threat from an unknown, elusive enemy has emerged.

The forces at work on Cygni are like nothing Hood has trained for, tactically or emotionally. When put to the test, he must choose to either trust the unlikeliest of allies, or run and seal the fate of the Cygni colony forever.

Book Links

My Thoughts:

Crucible is the second book in The Epherium Chronicles Series. I recommend reading the series from the beginng. If you would like to read the review of Embrace, please click here.

Captain James Hood and his ship the Armstrong arrive at Cygni 4, the outpost where 25 years ago Earth sent colonists in ships fitted with Embrace sleep units so that they could make the journey to this planet in order to colonize this planet. At the time they sent these colonists, space-fold technology did not exist, so what was now a one week journey, took them 25 years.

We discover that many of the colonists have had their brains reprogrammed and are really criminals reprogrammed to have new personalities. Hood and his crew are suspicious as to whether or not this reprogramming actually worked, but as he and his head of security Maya Greywalker interview the colonists, nothing seems to be amiss. When Greywalker recognizes one of her old adversaries, she senses that something is not right, but she has no evidence, and her old adversary’s behaviour does not even indicate that he once knew her.

I loved the rich descriptions of the new life forms that were being discovered on this new world. Especially interesting was Max. You could tell from the few discoveries that had been made that there were going to be a lot more interesting things to find.

As in Embrace, the author did a wonderful job of developing the characters of the new players added to the story. I did start to find it difficult to keep all the characters straight in my head. I really would like to see this book as a movie because then there will be faces to go with the names and that will make it easier, plus the plot is movie-worthy.

I really liked the life form they found in the cave and the fact that they befriended it. Just as in any culture there are those who are honourable, respect life and are willing to sacrifice for what is right, this creature had these same qualities, though not all of his race did.

Even though Hood’s confidence has been shaken, he continues to push forward to ensure that the fledgling colony is prepared in case of an attack by the Cilik’ti. Hood shows himself to be a master forward thinker and planner. The author shows this with his references to the chess moves during the battle sequences. That doesn’t mean that the Armstrong actually wins the battle. You’ll be biting your fingernails waiting to see if he wins or not.

The battle scenes both in space and on the ground were well described and easy to visualize and follow. I could almost believe that I was there watching it all take place. They were at times a little gory, but fortunately is was mostly bug gore and not people gore. The author captures the tough reality of it and how it affects those who endure it.  I was very sad when Kree’s ship blew up. I liked him.

The physical combat scenarios will not disappoint readers either. You might just discover just how tough the beautiful Maya Greywalker really is.

I have to admit it, I’m not usually all that much into war books, but this one was excellent. I was invested into the characters. I needed (and I still need) to know what is going to happen next. The battle is over. A good ending to this book. But obviously there is more to come. I can’t wait for book 3

I gave Crucible 4 stars out of 5. Science fiction fans everywhere will want to get this book. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to the author who provided a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

T.D. Wilson was born in 1968 in Troy, Ohio and has been an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy from a very young age. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and has supported the systems and networks in several of the largest Supercomputing data centers in the world.

His early thirst for adventure in reading began as he explored many of the great stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As his reading scope expanded, Mr. Wilson was fascinated by strange new worlds from the magical of Middle Earth and Narnia to the far reaches of space in Star Trek and Babylon 5. As a science fiction author, he strives to integrate a realistic flavor to his worlds by providing his readers a feel for the real science in science fiction. A topic he loves to discuss with his friends and readers.
 Mr. Wilson still lives in Ohio with his wife and their two sons.

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