Friday, March 18, 2016

Secret Files of the League of Silence: Forlorn Hope review

Jack is back!
For those of you who don't remember my love letter disguised as a review, go look up the first Cry Havoc book and enrich your life right now. For those of you who have, I have good news. Forlorn Hope, the second book in the series, is still awesome.

Where to begin? Well, our intrepid heroes unsheathed in the form of Salem, Jane, Paris and Sand have been slaughtering Illurian forces with the same sort of precision and excellence that we've come to expect, but they are not without changes. Salem, before having been the life of any party and loving attention has become reclusive. Sand has exhibited a seemingly self-deprecating attitude that one wouldn't expect from a FOSsil, but I'll get more into that later. Paris has finished his trials with the Khajali, and please allow me a moment to fawn over his weapon. Y'see, FOSsils are granted dream blades, which are like lightsabers except that you can use your mind to change their shapes and make your sword look like a shark made of liquid fire coming to eat your face. So when Paris opted to have a Khajali sword, the rai'lith, I was somewhat confused. Why wouldn't you want an awesome dream blade? Well, as it turns out, aside from being an awesome melee weapon, it can spit out blasts that rival ship-mounted weapons. Fair enough then! I also feel a mixture of shame and envy of Jack Hanson for having thought up these weapons before me. My time will come!

Where was I? Oh, right. Yeah, our heroes have been making things hairy for the invading Illurians, but since they breed faster than roaches they are still holding their own. But R&R time is essential, even for super soldiers, and Clay, being awesome, is sure to get them the rest they deserve. I must also take a moment to remark how impressed I am with the execution of the character Clay. I probably already did so, but allow me to do so again. He could so easily be a grim-dark character, brooding in the shadows and talking about how no one understands him. But he really comes across as being haunted by his past yet still being a character and moving on. He always seems to be on top of things and in control. I love this guy. Oh, and having a suit of armor that has a blood-thirsting soul of its own doesn't hurt either. Also, should I feel my manliness is in question when I think that him having a bunch of cactus plants was adorable? Nah. I think that was cool.

This book is primarily about getting to know the other FOSsils and the legendary scytheclaws mentioned in the last book. Clay assumed they would murder him on site and was ready to go about a suicide mission for the greater good, but things take a positive turn and the two groups bond and build bridges, rather than burn them. Now, I think this is my fault, but I plain have trouble remembering their names. They do have character, but I have difficulty distinguishing some of them. I think it's just because there were so many coming so fast. Although I thought there would be more, there's only one fire-team worth of FOSsils. To be fair, that's all they really need. I was under the impression there were maybe 30 or 40, but I think that's just me misinterpreting things.

Onto the scytheclaws! Okay, the raptors are actually a lot of fun, although again, I have trouble with the names. One in particular really stood out as being a cheeky chatterbox. So cute! Now, as if being super-enhanced soldiers with insane power armor, laser swords and guns wasn't enough, they are now partnered with insanely deadly raptors as war mounts armed with their own armor and a slew of mounted weapons. This sounds like the sort of thing I would have come up with during my many bored hours wasted in school, but done way better than I could have dreamed. So for all of you that have been pining for the end all be all awesomeness scifi with dinos and super soldiers, you have your wish.

We spend a lot of time with the elder FOSsils who pass on their sage wisdom to the younger generation, so we get a good amount of character building and interaction. Another part that I really liked, much earlier, was with Sand and Paris talking. Sand has taken to putting himself down, trying to maintain his persona of the inoffensive little guy of the troupe. Paris points out that little Sand is apparently Satan to the Illurians, of whom he slaughters en masse while manifesting his powers, and how he should probably have a bit more self esteem. Sand however is nonplussed. The Illurians, who tamper around with all sorts of genetic mayhem and aren't shy about slavery, experimentation on other beings and stuff like that are terrified of Sand. If they think he's a monster, what does that say about him? This was a great character moment that really helped bring home some of what the poor guy is going through, since he is a legitimately nice guy.

Oh, another character development I feel worth noting is another romance brewing. I won't say between whom it takes place, but it felt right and was actually very sweet. There was some really good character interaction and a bit of more intimate up close contact. As a dedicated lover of literature, I felt it was my duty to read this particular portion several times. For science you understand. Stop looking at me like that.

Anyway, the ball really gets rolling when Petra, Salem's best friend and Sand's sister are kidnapped by the Illurians as obvious bait for traps. The blue-skins have kind of had it with these four hooligans wiping out divisions of soldiers and want to put a stop to it. But now they have robo-raptors with grenade launchers and lasers. So... yeah, not a great plan. Rescue missions ensue, intrigue takes place, war ripples across worlds as aces are pulled from holes and lasers fly. I won't give away the ending aside from the wins that take place, but there is a reveal that actually made my jaw drop and a cliffhanger that almost made me swear. It was one of those moments that told you a game changer was on the way, one that would hurt.

The third book ought to be a cornucopia of mayhem as we see these guys really clash. I'm hoping we can have more combat this time around. Heaven knows these guys are ready for it! I eagerly await the next installment of The League of Silence series. Go buy Forlorn Hope and read now! If you haven't bought and read Cry Havoc, please do so now. Please?

Buy here!

No comments:

Post a Comment