FOCUSED VANGUARD BY YOLAND YASIN

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

REVIEW DATE: MAY 10TH, 2021 

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What happens when most of the human population wipes out? A universe with few humans, struggling to survive.

War has ravaged every living organization, and now that it's over, minds turn to the uncertain future. Rumors of enormous reserves of food, water, and medicine become the basis of most missions.

But rarely is an abandoned stockpile left unprotected.

Focused Vanguard is a story written by Yolanda Yasin. For this review I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Cai Lonergan.

This short sci-fi story focuses on Captain Nathanael, a highly intelligent ape, and his crew also made up of highly intelligent apes. Their mission, investigate Bunker 3.0 in hopes to find food, water and other supplies that will benefit The Alliance after its incredibly long war with the Arad Empire. Nathanael has two goals in mind on this mission. One, find any worthwhile supplies. Two, prove to his superiors within the Alliance military that he is more than just an ape and that he has what it takes to be an officer in the Alliance military.

While exploring Bunker 3.0 Nathanael and his crew discover they are not alone, and while searching for supplies, Nathanael finds more than just supplies. He’s past pays him a visit.

What I did enjoy.

Be it short, this sci-fi adventure is a decent read. I enjoyed Nathanael has a logical goal that drives him forward throughout the book. The twists that Yolanda threw in during the middle and ending of the book were a pleasurable surprise. A lot of twists can be seen a mile away, but Yolanda does a magnificent job of keeping it hidden from the reader until the right time. These twists let the reader in on Nathanael’s interesting past.

I have to talk about the book cover. Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres. If a book has a great sci-fi cover, I will at least pick it up and read the blurb. Focused Vanguard has a brilliant cover that screams great sci-fi story.

What I didn’t enjoy. 

For a sci-fi story, I really wish there was more sci-fi elements. The sci-fi elements in this story weren’t bad, I just wanted there to be more of them. The world that Focused Vanguard takes place in has the potential to be a very interesting one. If Yolanda touched on the universe more, I would have been sucked me in more. The setting is okay for a sci-fi setting, but that’s just it. It’s okay. The narrator Cai Lonergran performance was average. It wasn’t good, but not bad either. Did it his narration take me out of the story? No, it didn’t. However, at the same time it didn’t draw me in either.

Final Thoughts

Focused Vanguard is a short but sweet sci-fi adventure. The audiobook is just under two hours. If you want a quick sci-fi fix, I would definitely check it out. It’s a fun, decent listen. If you are looking for an epic tale that takes you over all the universe, I recommend you look elsewhere. Despite this book being just decent read, Chambers does have me very curious about what is in store next for the universe of Focused Vanguard. 

Final Score

2 out 5 stars

HAJOGANA BY SAMUEL YAW

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION 

REVIEW DATE: MAY 20TH, 2021

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When Hâjogana was young, he aspired to be a governor of one of the colonies of the Konjor Supercorporation, making a difference in a vicious Galaxy with his benevolence.

As he grew up, he was given over to the Gaantegeu army in exchange for several prisoners. As one of the officers of one of the Galaxy’s greatest armies, he fought so well that he became one of its best fighter aces, renowned throughout the Galaxy’s realms. But out of a sudden, he was transferred back into his Supercorporation: firstly under the tenure of a vicious entrepreneur, and then under the direct authority of the sadistic governor Vannikon.

The Supercorporation has left him at the fleeting mercy of his tests and his abusive superiors. If he overcomes them, he will become the next Governor; but if he loses, he might face a cruel and excruciating death. Will he pass his coming tests and make it out alive?

From ace pilot to petty servant. Hâjogana, written by Samuel Yaw, is a sci-fi dystopian novel. Our protagonist Hâjogana, has been given to the Gaantegeu army in exchange for several other prisoners. While in captivity he goes from a petty servant to Vice Governor of West Luril. Using his newfound power as Vice Governor, Hâjogana implements a massive wave of reforms for the betterment of West Luril. The only thing that stands in the way of this new prosperity is the current powers that be.

 

What I enjoyed.

Lets talk about Yaws creativity of the world this sci-fi adventure takes place in. I enjoy the descriptions of both physical and other things of that nature with the different alien races within this novel. These descriptions really bring the sci-fi element to life for the reader. The world itself felt alive, like it was a character itself. What also made this novel interesting was that it is sci-fi, dystopian and political satire all rolled up into one. Thus having a a little bit of something for everyone if you are a fan of those genres.

 

What I didn’t enjoy

One of things that I first noticed was that the scene changing was very sudden. The world itself is well flushed, but not the characters. There is not much character development. To me it seems like that Hâjogana is just getting into one troubling situation after another. There is the potential for the for a brilliant father and son like relationship between Hâjogana and another character by the name of Bonjakon, however it isn’t touched on much. I feel there could have been so much story there, but it was left on the table.

Overall

Hâjogana is a great sci-fi story. Hâjogana starts at the top. Hits rock bottom with being a servant to an evil tyrant and then climbing back up to the top all while trying to better society and the people within it. Yaws world building talents are great. The world and its inhabitants are very well flushed out, allowing the reader to get lost in it. Even though the story has a lot that one would want in a sci-fi novel, it is lacking a few things. There could have been a lot more character development. I would have really liked to see what more Yaw could have done with the relationship between Bonjakon and Hâjogana. The story was a nice sci-fi read, but the transitioning between scenes could have been better. One can tell that Yaw has an outstanding talent when it come sci-fi and a brilliant mind for world building. I look forward to seeing what sci-fi works he comes out with in the future.

Final Score

3 out of 5 stars.

THE NIGHTMARE SCHEMATIC BY KYLE BENTLEY

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

REVIEW DATE: JUNE 2ND, 2021 

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Since he was a child, Connor has dreamt of horrible machines. Years of nightmares have left the young inventor clinging desperately to his unravelling sanity, but that isn’t the worst part; that would be the gnawing certainty he could build those mechanical terrors, no matter how impossible they might seem. Everything changes when his dreams reveal a new machine, a miraculous device that brings hope instead of terror, and could save humanity from the many threats facing our modern world. Connor sets to work immediately, desperate to know once and for all if the visions haunting him are merely bad dreams or something far more sinister. As the machine takes shape and forces Connor to question everything he thought he knew, unseen forces begin circling. Even with the help of his closest friends, can Connor escape the burgeoning threat? What’s more, will he ever unravel the mystery of the nightmare schematic?

The Nightmare Schematic is the debut novel of Canadian author Kyle Bentley, and the first book in The Age of Entropy series.

The Nightmare Schematic is a sci-fi adventure, focusing around an inventor named Connor. Since childhood Connor has been plagued with nightmares filled with various types of hellish machines. Each more disturbing than the last. In order to put the nightmares to rest, Connor knows what must be done. Connor assembles one of the nightmarish machines. With the machine of his nightmares built, Connors decides he wants to use it to better humanity, but his problems only intensify.

What I enjoyed

The Nightmare Schematic is a very interesting and well-written novel. First thing I noticed is that Bentley does an outstanding job at keeping the pace of the story. This was the very definition of a page tuner and I couldn’t put this book down.

During the construction of Conner’s machine, the reader really sees the toll this machine takes on him both physically and mentally. Bentley, in great detail, captures the toll this machine has taken on Connor. To the lack of sleep to not eating, etc.

Even though the overall focus is Conner’s journey assembling his machine, there are a few sub plots that all come together at the end. An example of this would the series that Connor watches, The Princess of Terava throughout the book. It was its own little sub plot on its own that also made me wonder what will have next with in that story as well. It was a nice sub plot to change things up from time to time during the story.

I want to touch on Conner’s nightmares. The description of the nightmare world (for lack of a better term) was top tier. When I see the nightmare world in my head, I see a clockwork hellish landscape with machines and machine parts all over. The visualization Bentley gives to his readers allows them to really get inside Conner’s head and get a better understanding of the nightmares that torment our protagonist.  

What I didn’t enjoy

I can honestly say I enjoyed everything about this book from start to finish.

Overall

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The Nightmare Schematic is not your everyday sci-fi adventure, but it is still an outstanding read. Bentley does a superb job at letting us inside Conner’s head. We can see the construction of the machine take its toll on Connor throughout the novel and this is captured extremely well. Be it the main plot of sub plot, Bentley kept me interested in both and left me wanting more chapter after chapter. I look forward to seeing what work Bentley produces next.

Final Score

5 out of 5 stars.

CRAZY FOOLISH ROBOTS BY ADEENA MIGNOGNA

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

REVIEW DATE: JUNE 22ND, 2021 

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Ruby Palmer finds herself on an entire planet surrounded by the things she hates the most: robots. Besides taking everything she says way too literally, the robots have problems of their own. A myriad of technical glitches are, on the cosmological scale, quickly destroying them. Ruby has the programming knowledge and skills that matter to them, but can she overcome her fears and find it within herself to help? Her survival, along with the survival of all of humanity and robot kind, depends on it.

Crazy Foolish Robots is a great fun work of art by Adeena Mignogna. The story focuses around Ruby Palmer. Ruby lives on the space station Astroll 2 with her two uncles. Eager to take part in the Titan expedition, but not meeting the age requirement of 21, Ruby takes matters into her own hands and embarks on her own journey to Titan. On her journey to Titan things go awry and Ruby ends up going up against her greatest fear, robots. Not just a few, but a planet’s worth.

What I enjoyed

I was hesitant about reading this novel. I am a fan of science fiction books. Just as equal as a fan of comedies, but I didn’t think the two mix well together in book form, but Mignogna proved me wrong. Mignogna uses situational comedy and doesn’t force the jokes. The comedy elements of the book don’t overtake seriousness elements and vice versa.

Being a huge fan of science fiction, it’s the little things that count. Instead of using a cellphone, for example, Ruby uses a device called communicuff. It’s one of those small little things that I enjoy in science fiction and Mignogna touches on those small but very important details throughout her book.

Ruby was a character I was invested in. She is someone I was able to really get behind and cheer for. She was the heart and soul of this novel.

What I didn’t enjoy

My only thing that I didn’t enjoy was that it really took awhile for things to really pick up. I was seven chapters in before things took off. Other than that, I have no complaints.

Overall

Crazy Foolish Robots is a great mixture of science fiction and comedy. Serious when it needs to be, but can have a fun light hearted tone. Mignogna pays attention to those small little details throughout her book which is really refreshing and lets the reader know she is a genuine fan of science fiction and has done her homework. The character of Ruby is a great breath of fresh air and gives the reader a character to be invested in. My only negative is that it takes a bit for the story to get going, but once it gets going, it gets going. Mignogna has truly made me a fan of this blend of science fiction and comedy. I have heard of this genre but thought I wouldn’t enjoy it. I would definitely consider reading more of this interesting mixture by Mignogna.

Final Score

5 out of 5 stars.

THE RE-EMERGENCE: AN AUGMENT SAGA NOVELLA  BY ALAN DELL

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

REVIEW DATE: JULY 6TH, 2021 

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“It was just a myth. Just a damn legend passed down from corrupted databanks...”

A strange probe from a long-forgotten satellite network appears in the P’hori star system. Its message: a dire warning signalling the return of an ancient mythological evil. Imperator Da’kora Corasar and the crew of the Qesh’kal are sent to determine the probe’s origin, and find that the satellite is not as they had expected. Corasar trusts the satellite’s data, but not everyone aboard agrees. Tensions rise and loyalties are tested as they track down the source of the signal. Thrust into conflict, the crew of the Qesh’kal must chase their foe across the galactic arm and save their home from certain destruction.

The Re-Emergence is a great sci-fi novella written, Alan Dell. Satellite Seventeen, which is part of a network of satellites constructed by P’hori picks up an unknown signal.. The P’hori learns of the signal, the crew of the Qesh’kal are tasked with finding the source of the signal received. Once they find the source, they have a new mission. That mission, making it home alive.

What I enjoyed

ANYONE can write sci-fi. Not everyone can write GOOD sci-fi. Alan didn’t write a good sci-fi story. He wrote a GREAT work of sci-fi art. Dell’s world building talents really makes everything come to life. The attention to detail that Dell used to create this world is something comparable to Star Wars, Star Trek and other sci-fi epics.

Another element of Dell’s work that sticks out and what really makes this sci-fi epic, epic is the crew of the Qesh’kal. None of them are human. It’s a small thing, but it’s those small things that really turn a good sci-fi into a great sci-fi.

The characters are ones any sci-fi fan can really get invested in. The story is told from the point of view of four characters, Da’Kora, Ra’azni, Ashfan, and Seventeen (Yes the actual satellite itself). All of which bring their own distinctive view of matters throughout the story.

There is another component that shows that Dell takes great time in crafting his work of art, a glossary. Dell has a glossary that defines words, terms and so on. This remarkable feature really made this sci-fi work stand out above all the other sci-fi works I have came across.

What I didn’t enjoy

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy is that the story is being told from four POVs. Although it is nice seeing things from a different POV, it can be a bit jarring.

Overall

Dell’s work of sci-fi art shows he is a fan of sci-fi and has done his homework for crafting this masterpiece. The world and story are full of nothing but excitement that will keep you turning the pages. Attention to details like a non-human crew, an entire glossary and other factors really make this work of art standout. I found the story having four different POVs entertaining, but a bit jarring at the same time. The Re-Emergence is just the first installment of The Augment Saga. I am adamantly looking forward to the future installments and what Dell brings to sci-fi writing.

Final Score

5 out of 5 stars.