Friday, October 9, 2015

James Review -- The Makaum War: Guerilla

This week I decided to review The Makaum War: Guerilla by Mel Odom. The story opens with Master Sargent Frank Sage and his Makaum friend and scout Jahup searching for a suspected treaty- violating Phrenorian military base in Makaum’s jungles. Upon finding the base, they identify Phrenorian Captain Zhoh GhiCemid,a warrior whose skills Sage knows all too well, as he arrives at the base.

Then the story switches to GhiCemid’s viewpoint as he examines the base and eventually meets its commander General Rangha, who is revealed to have only reached his rank due to the actions of one of his ancestors, and whom GhiCemid’s has no respect for.

Back In the Makaum capital, Noojin, Jahup’s closest friend,  is hanging out near the human military base Fort York despite her disliking the human presence on her world. She is playing with a small local lizard when Jahup’s younger sister, Telilu, tries to sneak up on her. But the peaceful time among the two young women and the lizard is soon ruined as Noojin sees a group of Makaum planning to ambush a human patrol. And to make matters worse, left with no other way to warn the soldiers, Noojin shoots one with an arrow which she knows won’t penetrate the soldier’s armor. But when the soldier returns fire, Noojin and Telilu barely escape with their lives and are then forced to give themselves up to the humans while fleeing the Makaum attackers.

Master Sargent Sage is informed of what happens en route to the fort and, while Jahup is being treated for injuries sustained during an attack of local wildlife, the master sergeant is sent to convince Noojin to reveal what she knows. He succeeds after telling her a story about his childhood in a remote South American village and pointing out that the attackers might strike against Telilu in the fear that she could identify them as well as targeting Noojin herself. They meet with Hahup’s grandmother, who is a member of the Quass, the leadership of the Makaum people, and then the master sergeant sets out to find the attackers and those aiding them.

Meanwhile, Zhoh GhiCemid suspects that General Rangha has been engaging in criminal activities, including arms dealing, and sets out to find proof of his suspicions. His quest and Sage’s brings them and their allies to a spaceport where their forces must form a temporary alliance. But the Phrenorians are hiding part of their objective, and what of the assassins who arrive earlier in the book?

I give this book 8 out of 10. I like the details of Frank Sage’s early life, even if there is a tragic note to them, and that the author includes some information on Phrenorian culture from a Phrenorian’s viewpoint rather than filtering it through a human viewpoint, and does the same with Makaum culture. I also like that the author makes it clear that not all the Makaum who wish for the offworlders to go away are violent, some just see the changes brought by the offworlders as a bad thing, though from what I can tell, based on the descriptions of prior events, the previous book focused far more on the negative effects of offworld interference on Makaum.

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