Sunday, December 28, 2014

Red Rising: Book 1 of the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown

Red Rising: Book 1 of the Red Rising Trilogy.  Pierce Brown. Delray Press.  July 2014. 416 pp. hardback, paperback and e-book. ISBN #: 9780345539809.

On the planet of Mars, there are different colors or classes of people living, each with a very specific purpose.  Darrow, the protagonist, is a Red, one of the miners whose job is to work and obtain as many minerals as possible which eventually make the planet livable outside of the enclosed environments conducive to living and breathing in a foreign environment.  His wife is a quiet woman who dares to sing a song in public that will condemn her and Darrow is forced to watch and even participate in her execution.  Her song which symbolizes the Reds’ hope for freedom from their very harsh living conditions will be sung all over the planet despite the efforts of the ruling class to forbid it to be heard ever again.

So begins this very violent, strife-ridden science fiction novel in which Darrow himself escapes, is caught and condemned to die. He, however, will be rescued after his escape from death and transformed through an agonizing process into a superman belonging to another class, the Golds.  The description of his transformation is uncanny and the reader will hold his or her breath at the challenges inherent in each step of this phenomenal process!  One also learns about the functions of the other “colors” of people living in different carefully sectioned areas of Mars.

Now comes a greater challenge!  For Darrow has set his own personal mission, to destroy the Golds and earn freedom for his people in the Red Zone.  For that, Darrow will take on a new name and attend a Gold school where he is taught to be a killer and a master manipulator of whatever strengths and weaknesses appear in his presence.  Only the strong will survive this Darwinian gauntlet and appearances are deceiving in this battle. For the strong are really the pampered and the weak have powers and strategies indicating unusually sharp intelligence, all of which will be needed to emerge victorious from this phase.

Darrow fully engages in the complexities of this phase of his learning and the reader again is flipping the pages to see what happens next.  Each new battle phase is unexpected and therefore more riveting than the previous one.

Red Rising… is superb science fiction that would even make a great movie!  Highly recommended reading for all, especially science fiction fans!

Lyda: A Quest to Find Her Anunnaki Ancestors by Robert E. Bonson

Lyda: A Quest to Find Her Anunnaki Ancestors.  Robert E. Bonson. XLibris.  October 2014. 268 pp. paperback and e-book. ASIN #: B00P0LMYK8.

Lyda is a young, 30 year-old woman whose haunting dreams have led her to believe that she is the descendant of the ancient Anunnaki people, a group of extraterrestrial beings who came to Earth with a well-defined mission.  They would experiment with DNA and actually be responsible for creating men and women, servants who would be able to provide the mine materials the Anunnaki needed on their home planet.  But things go awry in this process and the Anunnaki historically create a flood that destroys most of Earth’s inhabitants at the time. Now Lyda is seeking to discover her background which involves a secret Amulet with supernatural powers from the Anunnaki.

She engages the help of an investigative author, Russell, and his fiancĂ© Carol; a man, Fenton Stonefeather, who has the power to visualize places and objects from far away just by sitting near an envelope with minimal details about the condition in question; a clairvoyant, Clarene Davis; a former detective, Jim Menard; and the couple Alden and Jocelyn, who host this large group who will each contribute something to Lyda’s quest.

Now begins the battle, for there are warring divisions within the Anunnaki.  Two in particular want to find the Amulet and keep it from Lyda; these two have different reasons having to do with the Earth’s over-population and depletion of resources.  One will bring hope but the other unmitigated disaster!

Lyda… is a detailed read that also includes geography and history of the Mesopotamian area of the Middle East as well as the famous Epic of Gilgamesh.  To a large extent it’s based on Sumerian clay tablets that reveal secrets of the Anunnaki.  The essence of the story raises the question of whether or not this super-race of beings from another planet left behind a segment of humans specifically created to carry out Anunnaki plans for the planet and what may be the consequences if these plans fail.

Lyda is fascinating reading, especially for those who enjoy paranormal stories! Nicely done, R. Bonson!

A Year with Geno by Annette Drake

A Year With Geno.  Annette Drake. Baskethound Books.  June 2014. 415 pp. E-Book. ASIN #: B00L5XKU92.

Caroline Taylor has enough troubles with her unreliable ex-husband coming and going when he pleases, constantly disappointing her sons who sense he really doesn’t want to be with them.  His girlfriend makes things even worse.  Now Caroline finds out she’s going to be evicted because her landlord wants to move back into the house.  During her many dead-end attempts to find a decent place to visit she meets Air Force Sgt. Geno who seems to always show up just when she desperately needs help!  Eventually she agrees to rent his basement, with very clear rules so that neither encroaches upon the other’s space. That’s when the subtle passion rings and misunderstandings as well!

Geno’s ex-wife is living with a beer-slugging, crude boar.  While she has glimmers of his true personality, she seems blind or perhaps it’s the old story that she has nowhere else to go and no one else to take care of her. Her treatment of the children she had with Geno is also severely lacking.

No spoilers here.  Suffice to say that Caroline’s bully ex-husband is about to pose a serious challenge to her custody of their boys and Geno’s ex-wife gets dumped by her loser boyfriend only to reappear as a challenge to Caroline’s presence in Geno’s home.  Caroline will survive the bumps in her quest for a peaceful, loving home for her boys in the middle of this Eagle River, Alaskan community.

This is a simple story with a romantic edge constantly being thwarted by misunderstandings and ex-spouses whose sensitivity skills seem primitive, to say the least.

It’s worthy of note to see how the author writes in the voice of a male so well.  Geno is masculine but with an edgy sensitivity that entrances and frustrates Caroline. It takes a fine balance to achieve that mix which adds to the intrigue of this slowly sparking friendship and more.

A Year With Geno is a nice romantic read that will satisfy those who love a good old-fashioned passionately growing fire spiced with some credible family drama!