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Book Review: Alliance of Shadows by Mike Kupari and Larry Correia

Alliance of Shadows by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari
Alliance of Shadows by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari

Alliance of Shadows is the third book of the Dead Six series.  It does a fantastic job of wrapping up multiple plot lines involving international conspiracies, global crime syndicates, and elements of the supernatural.

It still doesn’t displace my favorite of the series (Swords of Exodus), but it is nevertheless an excellent read.  There are some scenes of utter awesomeness, shared between teh two protagonists… oftentimes as they’re trying to outdo one another.

There’s also a fantastic bit of character development and growth.  The last book saw one of the characters sent to a very horrible place, with any number of questions about his survival.  The agonies he goes through and the tortures he experiences are portrayed in a way that shows his humanity stripped away.

Yet he comes back from that… and in a way, the story about how he does that is some of the most touching writing I’ve read in years… and it’s all the more raw for the fact that it comes from two very damaged people forgiving each other and themselves.

Of course, that description doesn’t do the book justice.  There’s explosions, gunfire, criminals throwing themselves to their deaths, more gunfire, more explosions, struggles to save the lives of millions, and still more gunfire.  There are sudden but inevitable betrayals and there is true-blue dedication from unexpected places.  This is a page-turner, once I started I couldn’t put it down… but that’s no different from the other two books.

Oddly, I think my favorite thing about the book is that it comes to a final conclusion and wraps the story up.  Too often anymore book series drag on, with the heroes facing ever greater odds… or worse, becoming trapped in a loop of growth to regression, where they run the same character arcs or stories over and over.  In Alliance of Shadows, the authors have brought the characters to their conclusions.  They’ve achieved their goals, they’ve become the heroes… and they get their much deserved rest.

Read the entire series, you won’t regret it.

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Book Review: Swords of Exodus by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari

51tvoi5njtlSwords of Exodus picks up with the characters from Dead Six in dire straits.  If you haven’t read my earlier review for Dead Six, you can read it here.

This is my favorite book of the series.   In fact, this is the book I read first in the series, then I went back and read Dead Six.  From the first pages it reels you in.  You see the growth of Lorenzo as he becomes more than an assassin, you see the start of Michael Valentine becoming a leader… and you get a grasp of something bigger in the world, something possibly supernatural.

The various conspiracies and plots from the first book also take a bigger role.  In the first book, the main characters were on the edge of things, not even caring about the greater repercussions.  In Swords of Exodus, we get a chance to see them faced with those repercussions and we see them become heroes.

The other rewarding aspect is that we see Michael and Lorenzo fight on the same side.  They don’t really like one another, but that just makes it even more fun.  These are two of the most lethal people in the world and you can tell that while they respect one another, there’s a professional rivalry and a bit of wanting to see who’s the better killer.

All in all, Swords of Exodus is a fantastic book in a series that was great on its own.  I highly recommend it, particularly if you’re a fan of conspiracy-theory near-future thrillers.   I can’t recommend it enough.

Book Review: Her Brother’s Keeper

Her Brother's Keeper by Mike Kupari
Her Brother’s Keeper by Mike Kupari

I’ll preface this by saying that I read the eARC version of Her Brother’s Keeper and I did that several months ago when it was first available.

Her Brother’s Keeper is a solid space opera novel with definite elements of Military Science Fiction.  The characterization is solid and the story is engaging and exciting.

Mike Kupari has woven a tale whose characters have influences in Homer’s Odysseus and Horatio Hornblower and with a story that is at times as dark as David Drake’s works.

All in all, it is a solid and engaging read.  I will say that some of the side adventures were more interesting to me than the main story, but that’s more a matter of personal preference.  My main complaint would be that certain characters (who I won’t name for obvious reasons), basically had “red shirt” written in their description.  It wasn’t that they were bad characters, but compared to the description of other, more central characters it was the equivalent of “oh, and there’s Dave, don’t worry about him, he’s going to die.”

All in all, the characters were interesting, the adventure was solid and the characters who survive all have interesting growth.  A good read for those of you looking for a new author and I’ll be reading the future books.

DEBUT SOLO NOVEL FROM THE CO-AUTHOR OF DEAD SIX. Air Force weapons expert Mike Kupari, co-author of Dead Six and Swords of Exodus, offers up a science fiction adventure. When privateer Captain Catherine Blackwood is enlisted to rescue her brother from a treacherous warlord, she finds herself on her most dangerous mission yet.

It’s been years since Catherine Blackwood left the stodgy, repressive colony world of Avalon. Now the captain of the privateer vessel Andromeda, she is the master of her own destiny. But Catherine soon finds herself back on Avalon after receiving a plea for help from a most unlikely source: her estranged father, esteemed Avalon Council member Augustus Blackwood.

It seems Catherine’s brother, the heir to the Blackwood aristocracy, has gone off in search of treasure on the failed, chaotic world of Zanzibar. But Cecil Blackwood’s plans have gone very, very wrong, and he has been taken hostage and held for ransom by a fearsome local warlord. Augustus, knowing his daughter is the only one who can be trusted to return his son safely, swallows his pride and hires Catherine to bring her brother home.

Catherine takes the job—but it won’t be easy. Just getting to Zanzibar proves treacherous. And once she arrives, things only get worse. If she is to save her brother, Catherine Blackwood must face down danger at every turn and uncover a mystery four million years in the making.

You can get it from Amazon here