Crimson Son by Russ Linton

Crimson SonCrimson Son by Russ Linton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of the audiobook edition of Crimson Son by Russ Linton ; a book in my favorite genre, superhero prose fiction!

Crimson Son is the story of nineteen year old Spencer Harrington, the son of the world’s last active superhero the Crimson Mask. Two years ago his father’s arch nemesis the Black Beetle kidnapped Spencer’s mother and ever since that day he’s been confined to his father’s arctic bunker where he is primarily left to his own devices. Plenty of time to stew in resentment for his father and the Black Beetle. When at last an attack on the “Icehole” and an escape pod set him free he has only one thing on his mind; finding his missing mother, a task his father has failed at for two years. As he begins to delve into the world of Augments, as the super powered are called, other people begin to get caught up in Spencer’s story. There’s Emily and her wealthy doctor friend Martin, Spencer’s own childhood friend Eric; and a group of World War II veteran’s once know as Force Zero.

Fast passed and exciting, Crimson Son moves at action thriller speed from beginning to end. Russ Linton’s writing is concise and focused while maintaining the suspense of the story throughout. There are no wasted contemplations or dry parts, or thankfully cliched romance. While the story comes to a very satisfying conclusion there is certainly the opportunity for a sequel or prequel to this one. I personally would love to read more about the members of Force Zero and find out more about the world of the Augments.

Since this was an audiobook edition I’ll briefly speak about the performance of narrator  Mitchell Lucas. I’ll be honest, I didn’t warm up to his voice right away, in fact I found it mildly annoying until he got to the part in the story where he was doing other character’s voices and not just Spencer’s voice. Then I determined that this was just the way he had decided to portray Spencer, as somewhat immature? Bratish? I always struggle to describe the influence of sound that a narrator brings to the table but it certainly had some influence of the way I saw the character. He certainly is able to portray a wide range of voices well, and have all of them sound distinct from each other. I truly enjoyed the performance though and felt that he made a real contribution to the excitement of the audiobook.

“This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.”

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Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld

ZeroesZeroes by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well. I can see why the book is called Zeroes. This has some moments of brilliance but there are a lot of problematic parts too. The story starts out in a very compelling way and gets right into the action. We are quickly thrown from one outrageous event to another as things spiral out of control for Ethan after he uses his power to try to get a ride home one night, and becomes embroiled with the local mafia.

The first thing is that the characters are generally a bunch of immature, whiny, shallow, unlikable brats. Ok, they are young so I give them some leeway with that in the beginning. However, there is the expectation that they would have a bit of emotional growth by the end of the book but I just didn’t see that in the story and for me, that’s a problem.

There are six main characters in the story and the narration is broken up between all of them. There are three girls and three guys. My general impressions of them are as follows:

Ethan aka Scam – To me he is the most likeable character and the easiest to relate to. He lacks forethought, he doesn’t consider the consequences of his actions. He’s the only character who really tries to help anyone else without thinking about what he’s going to get out of it. He’s also the scapegoat of the other characters and they blame him for everything. He has by far has the coolest power of the group. A seemingly omnipotent voice that knows all sorts of things it should rightly have no way of knowing.

Chizara aka Crash – She’s self righteous and has a I’m-better-than-you attitude about everything. There’s a very snotty feeling about her, even when she’s “helping” she’s really just getting off on her own little power trips while looking down her nose at the other characters. I found the descriptions of how her power over high tech works to be exceptionally boring.

Riley aka Flicker – A blind girl with the power to see through other people’s eyes. She has a twin sister and is seeing a therapist for some vague reason. She’s sort of obsessively stalking Thibault, and I feel like getting close to him is the only reason she involves herself in the story.

Thibault aka Anonymous – He’s sort of pitiable. His power makes other people forget about him, even his own family. I don’t really understand why he’s hanging around the others. Loneliness, I guess? The romance between him and Riley feels super contrived as a plot device.

Nate aka Bellwether – The one who they call Glorious Leader… yeah. He’s an obnoxious little dictator with visions of grandeur. He has the power to compel people to follow him. A very rapey power if you ask me.

Kelsie aka Mob – Has the power to influence the emotions of large groups of people. Introduced as sort of the ultimate party girl.

Call it dangling plot threads or major plot holes; but the story feels largely unsatisfying. We are given no explanation whatsoever about how the Zeroes got their powers. Parts of the story are repeatedly referenced but never detailed. Romance themes are thrown in like an afterthought and add nothing to the story. I just don’t think it holds up too well on it’s own. Maybe it will be better as a set but for that we’ll have to wait awhile and see.

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Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Firefight (Reckoners, #2)Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh. It’s an ok book, I liked it well enough but I didn’t love it. Maybe it’s just a case of middle book syndrome. I was finding it hard to press through this one at some points.

The main character David just all kinds of annoys me. The things he does, the way he acts, his obsessive behaviors, the stupid metaphors, and the obsession with guns. I don’t like him, I find most of the side characters more interesting than him in this book. It’s the interesting world David lives in that will probably get me to pick up the next book to see what happens.

I didn’t like the way this book ended either. None of it. And the religious nonsense, really just altogether, no. Anytime religious themes starting getting mixed into the pot my interest just totally tunes out. It ruined it for me.

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