Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Apex Predators

Apex Predators
Apex Predators by James Rowe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Science Fantasy/Space Opera
Reading Level: Young Adult (16+)
Recommended for: Fans of space opera, science fantasy
Trigger Warnings: Giant arachnids, murder, treachery, self-mutilation

My Thoughts: One of the things I tried to share through my Kindle from this story was a description of a spider the size of an elephant, because... that is Tabitha Ormiston-Smith’s biggest nightmare, I think. Sadly, the share did not go through. But, now I’m sharing it with all of you! Anyway, this book is full of lots of nasty critters, vicious aliens, kung fu, zombies... it’s insanely busy, with lots of really great ideas, and will definitely keep you entertained, but...

The main problem is that this book needs some serious editing, especially when it comes to the punctuation. The following quotes will, I hope, illustrate this effectively. I have tried to select quotes that will not provide unnecessary spoilers.
Geysonis are a highly dangerous half reptilian, half arachnid like creature, whose tail stingers often brought about strange constantly re-occurring necrosis of the afflicted body part which only meant amputation or death. The necrosis began on a genetic level as the Geysonis venom bonds to its victim’s DNA, this bonding constantly creates a digestible food for the Geysonis eggs which are simultaneously laid inside of the victim.

From there she was going to go out to the fringes, rumor at this academy has it that expeditions to the remnants of Old Earth uncovered DNA, DNA had been cloned, including that of the legendary Martial Artist Bruce Lee.
And if the errors on those two quotes aren’t glaringly obvious to you...*(see below) well, don’t worry about it. You won’t be bothered a bit by the book. Also among the issues are periodic switches in tense, and weird misspellings that seem to have snuck in after a spell check, such as “twicth”. I have learned from the author that this was due to an incompatibility between his spellcheck and the version of Word he was using, which has since been fixed.

One other problem I had was with the pacing of the fight scenes, which tended to bog down as each individual strike was described in detail. Which will be fascinating, I am certain, to anyone interested in martial arts and who can follow along, but the rest of us just want to know who hit whom and how and where without all the excess detail. Details are great in slower sections—character development and plot development depend upon it—but during fight scenes? Best to keep the action moving along. Laira’s ship also changed names. The first several uses were Evenening’s Dawn and then it was switched to Evening’s Dawn.

I did really like the various races that were created for this book, all the various offshoots and mutations of humanity, as well as the inimical Greys. I also enjoyed the Western-in-space feel of much of the story, and all the really very nasty critters. The character are interesting and mostly fairly well developed, although there are sections where randoms bits of information are just thrown in to give us character information, but not at a really appropriate place. There was also a great deal of humor in different parts of the book, which I enjoyed, of course.

It is obvious, from the glossary and the way everything came together, that the author carefully planned this entire book, and I think it paid off in the end, despite the editing issues. There is treachery, double- and triple- and quadruple-crosses, backstabbing and unexpected heroes. Overall it is really very entertaining. I am forced to rate it as only 3 stars due to extensive need for editing, but I think with editing this could easily be a really terrific book. I certainly would not point you away from it, but I would caution you that the editing problems can become distracting.

I am holding a giveaway for this e-book on my blog, Now is Gone, beginning Monday, February 3, 2013, so if this sounds like something in which you are interested, please stop by and check it out. Further information (about the book, the series, and the author) below.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author (who I know through Facebook) as a gift. He specifically told me I did not need to review it, but I am doing so anyway. All opinions are my own.

About the author: Learn more about James Rowe by visiting his blog or his Facebook page (links where formatting allowed).

Series Information: This is said to be book 1 in the Freelancer Chronicles. I have no information on when the next book will be available, but he is in the process of writing it and book three (60 and 40 percent completed) last I heard.

Synopsis (slightly altered to correct a few grammatical issues): "Secrets which span solar systems from days, wars, and races gone by are sometimes best left to die."—A maxim of the Arglois people.

A family of Xeno-archaeologists uncovers an ancient evil that threatens to bring about a new regime of darkness. Legends of demons throughout the planets could be traced back to this menace. It tears this family apart on its way to reclaiming power. The hidden truths behind the legends, and the current mysteries and horrors of the galaxy, are revealed on the tortuous and often betrayal-filled path to saving the galaxy. The two youngest members of this family, and a fallen paladin of the church, are all that stand in the path of this evil. They will be helped by new comrades, and hunted by new enemies. All will walk with pain and no one goes unscathed...

Riana Conlan and her little sister, Laira, make their way through the galaxy in pursuit of the evil sentience that destroyed their family.

The secret of that evil lies in the history of a planet that is covered in a semi-intelligent mold, which raises the dead and enslaves the mind of the living. Those enslaved—whether alive or dead—are referred to as Zom-Becks. Zom-Becks are a cross between the word zombie and the name of the planet: Zembeckis. The Zom-Becks, and the mold itself, acquire a new leader with a force of will that reins it under control. That willpower belongs to Joshua Hughes, a former paladin of the church, who is a true believer in God. Joshua Hughes must come to grips with his faith and his own status as a true zombie lord.

Meanwhile Riana resurrects ancient alien technology and becomes a force of legend, despite her permanent wound, which festers in her flesh and which threatens to kill her on a day-by-day basis. To stop the constant necrosis of her own flesh, she is forced to burn it away through fire every few weeks. Riana becomes the legendary Freelancer through her acts as a bounty hunter, an assassin, and an enforcer. She knows the end of everything is coming, and she is too weak and in too much pain to hope to live through things, so she prepares and trains her own legion of super commandos.

*Please note: If you are curious as to how I’d recommend fixing the bits I quoted above, here are my edited versions.
Geysonis are a highly dangerous, half-reptilian, half-arachnid-like creature, whose tail stingers often brought about strange, constantly reoccurring necrosis of the afflicted body part, which meant only amputation or death could stop the damage. The necrosis began on a genetic level, since the Geysonis venom bonded to its victim’s DNA. This bonding constantly created a digestible food (the necrotic flesh) for the Geysonis eggs, which were simultaneously laid inside of the victim.

From there she was going to go out to the fringes. Rumor at the academy had it that expeditions to the remnants of Old Earth had uncovered DNA, and that the discovered DNA had been cloned, including that of the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.
This is not perfect, of course, and I would need to consult with the author concerning his meaning behind that last sentence, but the punctuation is the main thing anyway.

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