Book Review: Chaos Reigning

review-cover-chaos reigningTitle: Chaos Reigning [Consortium Rebellion 3]

Author: Jessie Mihalik

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Interplanetary intrigue and romance combine in this electrifying finale to the Consortium Rebellion series.

As the youngest member of her High House, Catarina von Hasenberg is used to being underestimated, but her youth and flighty, bubbly personality mask a clever mind and stubborn determination. Her enemies, blind to her true strength, do not suspect that Cat is a spy—which makes her the perfect candidate to go undercover at a rival House’s summer retreat to gather intelligence on their recent treachery.

Cat’s overprotective older sister reluctantly agrees, but on one condition: Cat cannot go alone. Alexander Sterling, a quiet, gorgeous bodyguard, will accompany her, posing as her lover. After Cat tries, and fails, to ditch Alex, she grudgingly agrees, confident in her ability to manage him. After all, she’s never found a person she can’t manipulate.

But Alex proves more difficult—and more desirable—than Cat anticipated. When she’s attacked and nearly killed, she and Alex are forced to work together to figure out how deep the treason goes. With rumors of widespread assaults on Serenity raging, communications down, and the rest of her family trapped off-planet, Catarina must persuade Alex to return to Earth to expose the truth and finish this deadly battle once and for all.

But Cat can’t explain why she’s the perfect person to infiltrate hostile territory without revealing secrets she’d rather keep buried. . . .

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik is the third book in the Consortium Rebellion series and the first book from both this author and this series that I’ve read. Luckily, dropping into this series out of the blue wasn’t a problem. I am a huge proponent of books being able to stand on their own, regardless of where they sit in a series, and Chaos Reigning did a fantastic job of standing on its own two feet.

The writing was excellent; clear, easy to follow, well-written, and free of glaring errors. The characters were fantastic and had a lot of depth to them. I loved the main female lead as a character – she was both smart and determined and took no guff from anyone. The plot was filled with political intrigue, romance, and good old run-and-gun thrilling moments that kept it moving at a quick pace. I don’t tend to read a lot of science fiction as a rule, but this one was right up my alley. If you enjoy series like Dune or Jupiter Ascending, you’ll most likely enjoy this one as well.

The only part of this book that I perhaps didn’t enjoy as much as I would have liked to, was the romance. It was a very slow build to begin with, which was great, but towards the end of the book, it became very forced. There just wasn’t enough there to convince me that what the characters were feeling was real, and by the time the relationship between the main characters became a genuine out-in-the-open thing, I just wasn’t feeling it. If you are more of a science fiction reader, and less of a romance reader, you may not notice it, and it’ll probably be fine, but as someone who reads romance avidly, it did bother me and knocked this book down a star.

Overall, this was a really good book. I enjoyed it more than I expected, and for reasons other than what I’d intended. If you enjoy science fiction, space operas, and action/adventure stories, I would recommend you give it a read.

Book Review: Sacred Planet

review-cover-sacred planetTitle: Sacred Planet [The Dominion 1]

Author: Austin Rogers

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Only one woman can stop it. Only one man can save her.

After centuries of expansion into the galaxy and no contact with intelligent, extra-terrestrial life, humanity is split into three superpowers, each dominating one of the spiral arms closest to Earth: Orion, Carina, and Sagittarius. Divided along political, cultural, and religious lines, these galactic mega-states have grown alien to each other over time. Inter-arm relations have eroded. Minor differences have become dangerous disparities.

Now a ruthless religious faction threatens to plunge the galaxy into a catastrophic war.

Conflict sparks when Sierra Falco, the Carinian prime minister’s daughter, is attacked on her space yacht by a powerful and shadowy enemy. As a popular advocate for peace, Sierra’s loss destabilizes the fragile balance of the galaxy. But her attackers’ plans are disrupted when a rugged band of scavengers stumble across the yacht and jump at the opportunity to make a profit. Davin, captain of the scavenger ship, is caught between the lure of fabulous wealth and the nag of conscience as he is dragged into a conspiracy bigger than he can imagine.

A race begins between those who seek to prevent war and the secretive forces who want to escalate it-apparently with Earth in their crosshairs.

In this universe, Earth-the Sacred Planet, the epicenter of human civilization-holds the coveted key to victory.

Whoever controls Earth controls the galaxy.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m making a strange sort of exception with this book that I wouldn’t normally make. Here’s the thing: I didn’t like it—but I’m going to give it three stars anyway. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Technically speaking, this book was exceptionally well written. There were no obvious typos or grammatical errors. The writing was clean and easy to follow. I have zero complaints about the writing itself.

The characters were colorful and interesting—the crew of the Fossa being by far, my favorite characters of the book. They acted and spoke like real people, and as a whole, were very well crafted. I especially liked Sierra and Davin, and found myself gravitating towards their chapters as the story wore on.

The world building was intricate. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a book with so much thought put into the politics, the religion, the customs and slang and… well, everything.

But… I was bored—and that’s not the author’s fault. The book shifted characters constantly. There were chapters full of religion and political intrigue. There were space battles and distrust.. and a whole bucket-full of amazing scenes filled with grand imagery… and those are all things I just don’t enjoy. I like character driven fiction. I’m bored by  war and politics. It’s not anything the author or the book did wrong or offended me with—it’s just that this particularly well crafted book, wasn’t my cup of tea. I honestly wanted to stop reading about the time the third chapter rolled around (but I stuck with it), and it was a slog the entire time.

So even though I really didn’t like the book (and normally would have given it one or two stars), I’m going to give it three, because I do think it was a very well written book, and I’m positive that there are science fiction readers out there that will absolutely love it… but for someone who spends most of their year reading the Romance genre and YA fiction, this just wasn’t a great fit.

If you enjoy science fiction, particularly Sci-Fi with lots of intrigue and political machinations, I encourage you to pick up a copy. It is a very well crafted book.