Friday, February 27, 2015

James Review -- RCN Saga: The Sea without a Shore

This week I decided to review RCN Saga: The Sea without a Shore by David Drake. The story opens with Captain Daniel Leary doing some fishing with his servant and surrogate father Hogg. It then switches to the Republic of Cinnabar’s naval archives where Aedle Mundy, usually Daniel’s communication and signals officer when he’s on active duty and an elite agent for Cinnabar’s intelligence service. She meets a young female midshipmen whom she later arranges to have join the crew for the main adventure of the book before setting in motion the likely firing of the clerk who is basically not doing his job. She then leaves to meet Daniel’s sister Deirdre who needs her help with a problem. The colony world Corcyra has declared independence from Pantellaria, the planet which colonized it.  During the recently ended war, the Leary family invested in the shipyards on Pantellaria, which was controlled by the hostile Alliance of Free Star during the war and used to build warships for their fleet. Unless the Leary family helps arrange support to defeat the rebellion, these dealings will be revealed, but Deirdre and her father don’t want to give in to the demands, so Deirdre asks Aedle for help. Meanwhile, the husband of Cinnabar’s intelligence chief is asking Daniel to help protect his stepson Rikard, who is making a new life for himself on Corcyra as part of the Transformationists, a small religious group that supports the rebellion. Rikard believes he has found an ancient treasure but excavating the find will be very dangerous with the war on, and he is seeking a ship and crew to help. Daniel buys a small freighter and loads it with weapons to be delivered to the  Transformationists after rescuing Rikard from the crew of a ship he had almost hired to transport him. But soon after arriving at Corcyra, the former Alliance Garrision, now a faction of the rebellion, tries to seize the weapons, forcing the freighter Kiesche to flee, leaving some of her crew behind. Eventually it is revealed that the rebels feel they need more anti-ship missiles to prevent the Pantellariaian forces from using their destroyers as air support. Unfortunately, the team sent to negotiate the purchase of the missiles was captured by pirates on the return voyage and is now being held hostage. Daniel volunteers to rescue them upon returning and neutralizing the leader of the Garrision faction, and decides that he wants to help the rebels win the war without buying more missiles, so he begins planning a final push to drive the Pantellariaian forces away from Corcyra for good. Meanwhile, Aedle, who hasn’t shared the details of her request from Deirdre with Daniel, is struggling to aid his plans without dooming his family to disgrace. And there are still some personal enemies of Rikard lurking.
I give this book a 7.0 out of 10. There’s a lot of political maneuvering and deal-making in this book, but not much actual combat. There are no battles in space at all and the ground actions are mostly small scale and often more brawls then military combat. It was interesting, but I felt it could have definitely used more action sequences. I’m still hoping that either the truce between the Alliance and Cinnabar collapses in the next book, or a new enemy for Cinnabar appears, because in my opinion the series needs to get back to a full-scale war rather than the minor conflicts that this book and the previous one focused on.

Friday, February 20, 2015

James Review -- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown

This week I decided to review Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown by John Jackson Miller. The story is primarily told in the form of a flashback, with the first two chapters, final chapter, and a few interludes in the present. It opens with Admiral William Riker facing a disaster which threatens his wife and daughter, though he eventually realizes it is a holodeck simulation. He then meets Simus, a Vulcan or Romulan, who shows Riker a record of the admiral leading an attack on a Federation communications beacon. It then flashes back to Riker on the USS Titan preparing for a diplomatic meeting at a station known as Far Embassy, between lone representatives of four member states of the Khitomer Accord allies and four members of the Typhon Pact. Riker soon returns from the meeting and arranges a transfer to the USS Aventine, captained by Ezri Dax. After the transfer he explains to the Aventine crew that he has been briefed on a new program developed by rogue members of the Typhon Pact. Known as Takedown. He explains that this program is capable of taking down the entire communications grid for the Khitomer allies, and orders attacks against Typhon Pact communications stations that are likely to be used to deploy the program. After the Aventine loses contact with local allied communication stations, he orders them attacked as well to contain the program, but when the Aventine crew refuses to carry out those orders, he seizes control of the ship from the holodeck, Eventually he clashes with the USS Enterprise, which is investigating attacks on both Khitomer Accord and Typhon Pact communications stations launched by Aventine and ships commanded by the other Far Embassy attendees. Riker manages to pass a clue to Enterpise which leads them to suspect that his abilities have been enhanced, and his actions guided by the Cytherians, a race the previous Enterprise had encountered who had great skill at enhancing the mental abilities of other species far beyond their normal abilities. Meanwhile, Senator Bretorius, the Romulan attendee who was utterly insignificant before being enhanced and knows it, has been scheming to use his new abilities to seize control of the Romulan Empire, and formed an alliance with most of the other attendees to seize their home nations and then the galaxy. While the Aventine, Enterprise, and Titan mount a desperate defense to keep Far Embassy’s technology from falling into the hands of Bretorius and his allies, Captain Picard and Admiral Riker meet with the Cytherians, trying to find out the motive behind the chaos and convince them to undo the modification and damage they have caused.
I give this book a 9 out of 10. The author did a really good job of keeping me wondering what would come next in both the present and flashback scene to the end. The story was a lot of fun and the battles were entertaining, despite being mostly one sided. it also had some humorous bits that I loved. I wish we had gotten to see some scenes focused on the Far Embassy attendees other than Bretorius and Riker though.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Praise for God School

God School has just received its first review, and I'm happy to say it's glowing:

Last night I couldn't fall asleep so I thought I would read a few chapters of "God School" by author Scott Kinkade. Well it's now 2.07 am and I have read the whole thing!! Although the author has created clever fantasy world and crafted an exciting story, the real strength of this novel is the development of the intriguing characters, including the hero Ev. The author does a good job of describing the surroundings and feelings of each scene. Its short, but I'm not surprised - as in this day and age many authors cut their books up into two or three, although I for one am not bothered either way. It is truly worth the price and time to read. I really hope the second book is right around the corner!! --Cyril Patrick Feerick

God School is currently available on Amazon (feel free to click on the link on the left side of this page).

Friday, February 13, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Betrayal

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Betrayal by Aaron Allston. The story opens with a short scene of Luke Skywalker discussing a recent vision of a dark man who doesn’t exist yet, with his wife Mara Jade Skywalker. It then shifts to Adumar, where Jacen Solo and his apprentice and cousin Ben Skywalker are investigating a Proton Torpedo factory which is suspected of using used to created munitions to export to other Galactic Alliance worlds rather than being used for local defense or sent to the central Galactic Alliance military as part of a new program to limit local defense forces in favor of the central military. A battle ensues after they discover a hidden portion of the factory producing weapons. The scene then shifts to a dinner of the combined Skywalker and Solo families which degrades into an argument over the new regulations on local defense forces, and whether such regulations would have decreased the damage suffered in the Yuuzhan Vong War or made things worse. Luke eventually takes Jacen aside and explains that the Galactic Alliance has found evidence that Corellia, one of the loudest of the many planets protesting the new defense force and military hardware export restrictions, is believed to be building a secret assault fleet and seeking to reactivate Centerpoint, an ancient station used to build the Corellian system, and just as effective at destroying star systems as it is at building them. He asks Jacen to take on a mission to disable or destroy the station, while an Alliance fleet moves in to awe the Corellians into backing down. But Han and Leia find evidence of what is coming and warn Corellia, leading to the fleet operation turning into a massive battle. Then the Alliance admiral in command of the forces in the system decides to invade the outermost planet of the Corellian system. This only makes the political crisis worse, and attempted truce talks end with both negotiation teams being targeted by assassins. Corellia’s leader is among the causalities, leaving Han’s cousin Thrackan, not known for moderation, playing nice with others or liking the idea of Corellia being controlled by any form of outside government, in power. Jacen and Ben depart to try to discover who is behind the assassination, but soon find themselves caught in a web of seemingly random incidents involving insane and suicidal people who are quite willing to target bystanders. Meanwhile, Han and Wedge Antilles believe that the only hope of preventing a full scale war is to drive the Alliance forces from Corellian space and begin plotting a daring bomber raid to clear the path for an attack on the Alliance’s main ground base in the Corellian system. As the raid and battle rages far away, Jacen confronts the force behind much of the recent bloodshed and must choose from many possible paths at a time where one slip may bring a nightmare to reality.
I give this book an 8 out of 10. It was very interesting but the author writes some of the best humor scenes to be found in Star Wars, in my opinion, but that humor was mostly missing from this book. Also, there are a few parts that I question the purpose of in the story. Finally it is never a good sign when a key plot point requires the government of the galaxy passing a law at what I feel would be pretty much the stupidest possible time the history of the Star Wars galaxy to enact such a measure. It is like the Galactic Alliance senate wanted a civil war less than two decades after the most devastating war in the setting’s recorded history or something. The battle sequences were well done but I wish there had been some more viewpoint characters in the major battles. In particular, during the first battle between the Galactic Alliance fleet and Corellia’s defense fleet, you don’t see any of the space battle from the point of view of the Corellian forces. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Incident 27 -- Chapter III

Here's the latest excerpt from the sequel to God School. Coming soon (I hope).

Chapter III

Back at the Academy, in Hercules Hall, the large auditorium used for assemblies and talent shows, the students took their seats. Ev and Maya had met back up with Jaysin only an hour before, when he had returned from his preempted trip to Chrichton. “Right strange business this is, interrupting my vacation. Better be a good reason for it,” he had said.
            Presently Bethos came onstage with a microphone in hand. The diminutive black god with the purple suit may have looked strange anywhere else, but here at Divine Protector Academy he was both revered and respected. “I’m sure you’re all wondering why we called you back here. Well, a certain incident is currently taking place at the Tower of Babel. A while ago, one of the faculty members stationed there reported someone—probably another god—trying to gain entry. There’s a strong possibility Zero Grade is behind this, and with them active again, you may have all been in danger while away from here. That’s why we called you back here until we can ascertain what is going on. And, unfortunately, that’s all we can tell you right now. Please go about your normal business on campus until further notice. Thank you.”
            In the hallway outside Hercules Hall, Ev, Maya and Jaysin stopped and discussed these latest developments with much interest. “So someone is trying to get into the Tower,” Ev said.
            “But who could it be?” Jaysin asked.
            Ev asked Maya, “Do you think it could be Zero Grade?”
            She shrugged. “I honestly have no idea. It could be, but Belial and I severed all ties with the organization when we went rogue. I can’t think of anyone he would have given the Blood Key to upon his death.”
            “Suppose you weren’t his only disciple,” Jaysin suggested. “Suppose he had another that he never told you about.”
            “I guess it’s possible. I know for a fact he kept secrets from me. He would never tell me where Zero Grade’s main base was, for one thing.”
            “That would certainly be a good thing to know,” Ev said.
            “Let’s keep supposing,” Jaysin continued. “Suppose Belial did have another disciple. When he knew his death was upon him, he couldn’t have given the Blood Key to Maya, since she had already betrayed him.”
            “It was not a betrayal,” Maya insisted.
            Jaysin replied, “Sorry. Poor choice of words. When he knew his death was upon him, he couldn’t have given the Blood Key to Maya, since she had already turned against him.”
            “Better,” Ev said.
            Maya nodded her approval, and Jaysin continued. “Now, then. We know he gave the Key t’someone because it didn’t stick around when he bit it. He clearly sent it off to someone else, someone he could trust.”
            “But who?” Ev asked.
            “Don’t call me a prophet, but I have a feeling we’ll find out soon enough,” Jaysin said.
            They spent the rest of the day with a dark cloud of doubt hanging over their heads, wondering just what was headed their way.

* * *

The Academy team had made their way into the Tower. They stepped into the Bifrost and mentally commanded it to send them to wherever the intruder was.
            Nothing happened.
            “The intruder’s gone,” Freya said. She was team leader.
            “But the entrance hasn’t been resealed,” Aphrodite noted.
            Atlas frowned. “Bastard probably didn’t even care. He got what he was after and then high-tailed it out of here.”
            A lightning bolt of fear struck Freya. “But then, where’s Heimdall?” They hadn’t seen any trace of the Norse god since arriving in the area. They suspected he had disobeyed orders and gone after the intruder, but couldn’t be sure.
            “We should tell the Bifrost to take us to where he is,” Dian Cecht said. As usual, the Academy physician offered sound advice without a hint of emotion.
            “Good idea,” Freya said.
            They gave the Rainbow Bridge the command, and immediately they were enveloped in its multi-colored brilliance. They materialized in a pure white chamber, and Freya’s anxiety skyrocketed. This was the top floor. Why had Heimdall come up here?
            They quickly spotted his lifeless corpse in the center of the room. Each of them—with the exception of Dian Cecht—uttered gasps of horror as they ran over to render assistance.
            “Shit,” Atlas said, his chiseled countenance in agony. “Bastard butchered him.”
            Freya covered her mouth to keep in the cry of anguish that desperately wanted to get out. Aphrodite put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
            Dian Cecht passively examined Heimdall’s body. “He’s been dead for at least an hour. Only thing to do now is decide how to handle the body.”
            Freya couldn’t think about that right now. “Atlas, please pick up Heimdall and let’s go. We need to get out of here and send a message to Bethos.” Their telepathic waves couldn’t get through the haradium lining the walls of the Tower,
            “Wait. We should see if anything’s missing,” Aphrodite said.
            They looked around. Their attention almost immediately settled on the open vault in front of them. Even without going in, they could see it was missing.
            Dian Cecht was the first to voice their thoughts. “The Ark of the Covenant is gone.”
            The worst-case scenario was happening right before their eyes. “But how?” Freya said. “It should have taken someone a hundred years to crack that lock.”
            “Doesn’t do any good thinking about that now. We have to get out of here, and fast.” Atlas gathered what was left of Heimdall in his beefy arms, and they went back to the Bifrost and left the Tower.

* * *

A few days later.
            First the Academy faculty used their powers to conjure a Viking ship from the previous universe. Then they put Heimdall’s body in it. They proceeded to lower it down to the sea, being careful to have it land away from the jagged rocks at the base of Mt. Orleia. Finally, Brandon Strong summoned a flame to ignite the ship. The only thing to do now was respectfully watch the whole thing burn.
            The faculty and students looked on from the hangar, their faces a solemn wall.
            “Did you ever meet Professor Heimdall?” Jaysin asked Ev. They stood amongst the throng of people.
            “Only once or twice. I hadn’t taken his class yet.” Heimdall taught Physics.
            “I know the Asshole Three took his class,” Maya said. “Yet I don’t see them here.”
            “They probably figured they were too good for this,” Ev said.
            “Not a lot of respect in those three,” Jaysin agreed.
            Wanting to change the subject, Ev said, “They still don’t know who killed Professor Heimdall?”
            “If they did, they wouldn’t necessarily tell us right away,” Maya said.
            Jaysin nodded. “They like their secrets, the faculty.”
            “What makes you say that?” Ev said.
            “Well, for one thing, they won’t confirm anything was stolen from the Tower.”
            Ev shrugged. “Maybe nothing was stolen.”
            “Ah,” Jaysin countered, “But if nothing was stolen, they would’ve said nothing was stolen. Instead, it’s this ‘We can neither confirm nor deny…’ nonsense. That means something was definitely stolen, mate. But what?”
            Ev said, “Having faced several of the Artifacts stored in the Tower, I can think of a few possibilities, none of them good.”
            “What if it was the legendary ultimate Artifact, the one that makes all others looks like toys?” Maya dared to ask.
            “But we still have no idea what it is or what it does,” Ev pointed out.
            She looked grim. “That’s what makes it so terrifying.”
            Someone shushed them and reminded them this wasn’t the time for chitchat. They kept quiet for the rest of the funeral.
            After a while, the ship burned completely and was lost beneath the waves. When that was finished, everyone gathered in a circle around Bethos in the hangar. “A great injustice has been committed,” he said. He then shook his head. “No—let’s call it what it is: a murder. An unknown enemy has taken the life of one of my dear friends. Heimdall was a good man. He didn’t deserve this, and I won’t rest until his killer is brought to justice. I want to make things very clear. This is not about revenge; Heimdall wouldn’t have wanted that. Instead, we are going to find the culprit, and we are going to bring him or her to trial. The trial of a god is a very rare event, but it does happen, and there are procedures in place. Once we have apprehended Heimdall’s murderer, we shall carry them out.”

* * *

“That’s all well and good,” Brandon said afterwards in Bethos’ office. “But we still have no idea who to look for. And if Zero Grade is responsible, they sure as hell aren’t going to be cooperative in our investigation.”
            “I say we take the fight to them. Make them hand the sonuvabitch over to us,” Atlas said.
            “You’re talking about another war,” Freya said. “Wasn’t the last one bad enough?”
            Atlas rushed to his own defense. “I’m not talking about war. I just think we ought to turn up the heat a little. You know, twist their arms so they’ll tell us what they know.”
            Aphrodite warned, “The slightest provocation could ignite a full-scale conflict. We have to be extremely careful. Our next move needs to be well thought out.”
            “Besides which—we don’t even know where to find Zero Grade,” Brandon said.
            “I’ll bet Maya BrĂ¼nhart knows,” Atlas said. “We should make her tell us.” Heimdall’s death had made him uncharacteristically aggressive. He was normally easy-going and wouldn’t even dream of interrogating a student.
            Bethos reminded him, “We questioned her thoroughly after the Stiftung Crisis. She was only able to give up one Zero Grade base to us, a castle in the Murnau Islands. We investigated it but found it deserted. If Heimdall’s killer really is Zero Grade, they probably won’t be dumb enough to go back there.”
            Atlas was growing more agitated by the minute. “So then, what are we supposed to do?”
            Brandon said to him, “I think you’re missing the big picture here. The enemy has the Ark of the Covenant, the most powerful of all the Artifacts. If he uses it, our world is finished. We have to get it back.”
            “Fortunately,” Bethos said, “the Ark is very complicated. It can’t be activated so easily. So here’s what we’re going to do. I want everyone involved in the search for it. Call all alumni worldwide have them actively looking. Be sure they understand the stakes involved. Tell them if they see the enemy to not engage. I won’t have any more deaths because of this. Furthermore, all classes are suspended while we deal with this. All faculty members must devote themselves fully to finding either the Ark or the killer.”
            They agreed, and left to spread the word. Bethos leaned back in his easy chair. He hadn’t been able to relax lately.
            Just who was behind all this, and why were they doing it? The more he thought about it, the more he felt these crimes just weren’t Zero Grade’s style. As the minutes passed by, he doubts mounted. What if it wasn’t Zero Grade at all? What if it was someone else, possibly someone with a grudge against the Academy?
            Could it be…?

* * *

Arcturus entered the sleepy hamlet of Blasdow, a remote village in the Tru Republic. Children were playing in the gravel roads, sheep were being tended to in the fields, and overall there was a strong sense of peace and normality.
Well, Arcturus, thought, time to for that to change.
He snapped his fingers, and a multitude of dark shapes rose up from the ground.
Soon he will come, and we can begin for real.

* * *

Freya rushed into Bethos’s office. “We have a problem,” she said.
            “What now?” he asked.
            “I’ve been in the Prayer Chamber monitoring the thoughts of the world, hoping to gain some clue as to where the Ark is. Suddenly there were very strong prayers asking for help. A village in the Tru Republic is under attack by monsters.”
            Bethos raised an eyebrow. “Monsters?”
            She nodded. “Yes. Dark; large upper bodies with spindly legs; claw-like hands. Sound familiar?”
            Giving a frustrated exhale, he said, “Refghasts.”
            “Request permission to send a team. Some second-years should be enough to handle a group of refghasts.”
            He leaned forward in his chair. “Granted. And I think I know who you want to send.”
            “That’s right,” she said confidently. “A group of students who have proven they can handle high-level otherworld enemies.”
            “Better get to it,” he said.

* * *

Ev, Maya, Jaysin, CiCi and Daryn Anders found themselves summoned to Freya’s office. “Thank you for coming,” she said from behind her desk.
            “What’s this about?” Ev said.
            “A village in the Tru Republic has come under attack by refghasts. Several people have barricaded themselves in the cellar of a house, but it’s only a matter of time before the monsters get to them. We need a team to fly over there and kill the refghasts.”
            Intrigued, Jaysin said, “You mean…?”
            “That’s right,” she said. “It’s time for your first official mission. Since you handled the Nephilim so well, this should be no problem for you.”
            “We certainly sent those refghasts packing in Stiftung,” Jaysin said.
            “Until Maya shot us,” Daryn added.
            “Watch it,” Ev said. True or not, he wasn’t about to let Daryn say such things. He had considered the ginger a friend up until recently, but now he wasn’t so sure. Daryn had been bitter about Maya’s betrayal even during the Stiftung Crisis, and that anger had only grown since then. Was this due to the developmental disorder—Ashbury’s Syndrome—Daryn suffered from? Ev just didn’t know.
            “Is this going to be a problem for you?” Freya asked Daryn.
            Daryn straightened up and adopted a professional posture. “No. No problem. No problem at all.” Ev seriously doubted his words.
            “Good,” Freya said. “Now, Daryn, since you come from the Tru Republic, I trust you know the way to Blasdow?”
            He shrugged. “I’ve passed through there a few times. It’s a ways from the major economic centers. Anything that happens in Blasdow won’t be noticed for quite a while.”
            She nodded. “Very well, then. Because of your military upbringing, and your knowledge of the area, I’m putting you in charge of this mission. Think you can handle it?”

            “Good. Now hurry up and get over there.”

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Movie Review -- Jupiter Ascending

Today we have the latest film from the Wachowskis: Jupiter Ascending. Is it worth your time? Let's find out.

The story revolves around Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), the daughter of a Russian and an Englishman. She and her mother make a living by cleaning houses. It's a very humdrum existence, but little does Jupiter know that change is coming. After being convinced by her idiot cousin to sell her eggs, she goes to a fertility clinic and is accosted by malicious beings who don't seem quite human. She is saved by the arrival of man/wolf warrior Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), who spirits her away and later reveals to her the existence of aliens. As it turns out, Earth was seeded by the House of Abraxas, an extraterrestrial dynasty, a hundred thousand years ago for the purpose of one day harvesting humans in order to make their elixir of everlasting life. Furthermore, Jupiter is the genetic reincarnation of the Abraxa matriarch and heir to Earth, a fact which does not sit well with the matriarch's soft-spoken son Balem (Eddie Redmayne) who wants the planet for himself. Balem's brother Titus (Douglas Booth) and sister Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) also have their own plans for Jupiter, and their schemes soon conflict with one another.

After a fierce battle across the Chicago skyline, Caine takes Jupiter to see his old commanding officer Stinger (Sean Bean). At Stinger's farmhouse they are attacked by mercenaries working for Balem and Kalique. Jupiter is kidnapped and taken to the Abraxas home planet with Caine in hot pursuit. Can he rescue Jupiter and keep her safe from her new-found enemies? Will she become ruler of Earth? Or will Jupiter's family be dragged into the struggle?

Jupiter Ascending is certainly a visually appealing movie. That shouldn't surprise anyone, since it's from the same duo who brought us the Matrix movies. This particular film packs a CG punch and is fun to watch. It's also got kickass action scenes which will not disappoint.

However, the movie does little else to distinguish itself from other space epics. It's got your standard space ships, aliens and lasers, and it's nothing you haven't seen before. Unlike The Matrix, Jupiter Ascending doesn't break any new ground. Instead, it's like a well-worn glove--comfortable, but the same color you've seen numerous times. And the story, while mildly interesting, is one that has been done before, so it didn't really excite me.

In short, Jupiter Ascending is a cool-looking, if not exactly revolutionary, film.

Friday, February 6, 2015

James Review -- Halo: Mortal Dictata

This week I decided to review Halo: Mortal Dictata by Karen Traviss.  This is the last ook of the Kilo-Five trilogy. Unlike book two, which focused primarily on the plot regarding UN military’s efforts to keep the civil war among the remnants of the Covenant going, this one focuses almost exclusively on the reborn colonial independence movement. Specifically, it focuses on Staffan Sentzke who believes, correctly, that his first daughter Naomi was kidnapped by the government and replaced with a clone who died less than two years after taking Naomi’s place. Naomi, who was kidnapped to become part of the Spartan-II program, survived the war and has now been attached to the trilogy’s namesake unit which has been assigned to deal with her father. Early in the book, Staffan obtains a former Covenant battle cruiser equipped with anti-planetary weaponry which he rechristens the Naomi. Meanwhile, while observing her father, a few of the memories that were suppressed during Naomi’s training arise. And a group of former Covenant personnel are seeking to reclaim the Naomi. After capturing part of Kilo-Five, Staffan begins negotiations to trade the battle cruiser for his daughter being offered the chance to leave the military, but  during the negotiations the former Covenant forces strike and both sides must unite to face their assault.
I give this book a 4.5  out of 10. The story is OK but adds nothing significant to the plot of the series. There are massive scaling issues like claims that the battle cruiser can wipe out a planet when earlier works have shown it taking hundreds of ships to do so. And the single biggest flaw--an all too common one for this author--is that she forms an opinion on something, then writes the books as if her opinion is the truth, even if earlier stories in the setting show otherwise. I don’t think anyone who has read the series considers the Spartan-II program, which kidnapped children to train as child soldier and replaced them with clones who usually died very swiftly, along with maiming many of the subjects, a good thing. But the author is convinced that the entire program was the fault of the woman who came up with the idea and that the government and agencies which approved and funded the project weren’t at fault for it. The story also implies that Doctor Halsey feels no remorse for the project when she’s been shown attempting to protect the Spartans and atone for the harm the project did to its subjects in multiple prior stories.