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Friday, June 25, 2021

Catalyst Gate by Megan E. O'Keefe - Review


Official Author Website
Order the book HERE
Read Caitlin's Review for Velocity Weapon
Read Caitlin's Review for Chaos Vector

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Megan E. O'Keefe is the author of the Scorched Continent trilogy and The Protectorate series. Her short fiction appears in Shimmer, Podcastle, and Barnes & Noble. Megan's debut fantasy novel, Steal the Sky, won the Gemmell Morningstar Award and her space opera debut, Velocity Weapon, is nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: In the final book of this explosive Philip K. Dick Award-nominated space opera, the universe is under threat and an ancient alien intelligence threatens to bring humanity down - unless Major Sanda Greeve and her crew can stop it . . .

The code has been cracked. The secrets of the Casimir gates have been revealed. But humanity still isn't safe. The alien intelligence known as Rainier and her clones are still out there, hell-bent on its destruction. And only Sanda can stop them. 

With the universe's most powerful ship under her command and some of the most skilled hackers, fighters and spies on her team, it will still take everything she has to find the key to taking down an immortal enemy with seemingly limitless bodies, resources and power.

FORMAT/INFO: Catalyst Gate was released on June 22nd, 2021 by Orbit Books. It is 564 pages split over 82 chapters. It is told in third person from multiple POVs including Sanda, Biran, Jules and Tomas. It is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS:  Humanity’s days are numbered. At least they are if Rainier gets her way. The strange entity would have wiped out the human race if Sanda and her crew hadn’t interfered, but Rainier isn’t going to let that be the end of the story. With her fingers in multiple factions across the galaxy, Rainier is poised to start turning groups against each other to burn everything down the old-fashioned way. But Sanda has a lead on something that might be the key to stopping Rainier once and for all – but only if she can stay out of Rainer’s grasp long enough to find it and figure out how it works.

Catalyst Gate is the smashing finale to a trilogy that was already poised to be one of my favorites of all time. Both Velocity Weapon and Chaos Vector were fantastic reads, and Catalyst Gate manages to follow them up with an adrenaline-pumping whirl of action, suspense, and twisty mysteries, mixing them all together into one satisfying finale. There were a lot of balls in the air at the end of Chaos Vector, and O’Keefe catches them all and puts them to rest with ease. Answers about the gates, their origins, and humanity’s role are finally on the table, and it’s nice to see the payoff. One of the few quibbles I had was it occasionally felt like an absurd number of bad guys emerged at the eleventh hour, but in a final book that is trying to continuously up the stakes, that’s to be expected.

Sanda, of course, is the star of this finale, the weary hero who keeps getting back up and taking on one insane task after another. She’s got a mission and she’s going to see it through, but she’ll be damned if she doesn’t get to be a sarcastic pain the entire way. Unsurprisingly, Tomas was my second favorite character – he broke my heart in Chaos Vector and he continues to be a person trying to make sense of an increasingly bad hand of cards that life has dealt him. His trajectory continues to be a fascinating to watch, especially when I look back to his seemingly simple origins in Velocity Weapon.

Perhaps most surprising was the development of Biran into a worthy defender of the galaxy. Biran’s always been a bit of a weak link POV character. Part of the elite and secretive Keeper organization that guards the gate technology, Biran has been a bit naïve if goodhearted, always outmaneuvered because he’s not even aware there’s a game being played. But after fumbling around for the first few books, Biran finally grows up. He still is the kind of man who wants to give peace a chance first, but now he’s prepared to back up soft words with an iron hammer if someone goes against him. I found myself actually looking forward to his POV chapters for once, and I’m glad that he evolved into someone I could root for.

CONCLUSION: A series as twisty as The Protectorate is always in danger of falling apart at the finish line, as the author scrambles to provide answers in a rush (answers they may or may not have thought of when beginning the series). Catalyst Gate, however, completely sticks the landing. It delivers a few last-minute twists to keep readers on their toes, but is ever-driving towards the finish line. If you’re a fan so far, you’ll be well rewarded; if you haven’t started the series yet, rest assured that it’s a journey well worth taking.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

SPFBO: The First Cull and semi-finalist update


The time has come to make choices. Not always comfortable, not always happy for all concerned, but such is the nature of this competition. 

Cover Reveal Q&A: The Darkest Dawn (Rings of War #1) by Marc Mulero


Official Author Website

Order The Darkest Dawn over HERE


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Birds of Paradise by Oliver K. Langmead review


Official Author Website
Order Birds of Paradise HERE
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Guest Post: At the Intersection by Sarah Chorn


Sometimes, I feel like I live my life parked at an intersection no one seems to notice. They just blast right through it, their windows down, music blaring. There and gone in a blink.
Our days are full of intersections, paths crossing, unexpected turns, bumps in the road. Sometimes there is no road, you just turn into a field somewhere and blaze your own trail.

Master Artificer by Justin T. Call - Review


Official Author Website
Order the book here
Read Caitlin's Review of Master of Sorrows
Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker (reviewed by Will Byrnes)


Official Author Website

Order The Hidden Palace over HERE

Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Golem And The Jinni

Monday, June 7, 2021

Ten Low by Stark Holborn review

Order Priest of Gallows over HERE (US) and HERE (UK)

Dark Sea's End Release Interview with Richard Nell (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Empire's Ruin by Brian Staveley review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRIAN STAVELEY is the author of the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne series, starting with The Emperor's Blades. He has taught literature, religion, history, and philosophy, all subjects that influence his writing, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. He works as an editor for Antilever Press, and has published poetry and essays, both in print and on-line. He lives in Vermont, and divides his time between running trails, splitting wood, writing, and baby wrangling.

FORMAT: Publishes on July 6, 2021, with Tor Books. Print length: 752 pages Cover art by Richard Anderson.

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