Tag Archives: dystopian

The Rebellion Awakens (Sentrys of Terrene: Book One) by TC Marti Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A leader within the growing Insurgency against an Imperial war machine must test his faith after being taken to an Imperial stronghold, while two other rebels find a young girl who could turn the tide of the war in author TC Marti’s “The Rebellion Awakens”, the first book in the Sentrys of Terrene series and the latest entry into the Elementals universe the author has crafted.

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The Synopsis

War!

A strike from underground bases won the Insurgency’s first victory against Vranom Imperials.

During the battle, Insurgency spies intercepted a blueprint regarding the Imperials’ superweapon, the Fusion Bomb, constructed with enough Source energy to wipe out an entire landmass.

Commander Tage-Ras Svendson intends to celebrate the Insurgency’s victory after relaying the stolen plans before a confrontation with the notorious Venn Rhine forces him into a Vranom stronghold. With only a disembodied voice giving directions, Tage faces the ultimate test of faith.

Meanwhile, in Vranom’s capital city of Sunrise, two insurgents stumble across a girl who may hold a key to restoring justice to the lost world.

The Rebellion Awakens is Book I in the post-apocalyptic dystopian military science fantasy Sentrys of Terrene Series. Inspired by Star Wars with a touch of Avatar: The Last Airbender, join Tage-Ras Svendson, Sabre Kjaergaard, and Ren Elk-Jaer as they battle the People’s Republic of Vranom and expose the global superpower’s lies regarding the extinct Sentry Order.

The Review

This was a wonderful blend of action and epic sci-fi fantasy storytelling. The latest entry into the Elementals saga is the perfect way to jumpstart “phase II”, and the way the author is able to blend elements of the other books in the saga with this new world and its own mythos was remarkable to see come to life. The society for which this rebellion is born highlights the somber and fear-state atmosphere that compels the characters forward in their journey. 

The character growth and powerful themes really hit home in this novel. The cast of characters all played great roles in this story, but the character who best showcased the wonder and terrors of this world that the reader could relate to was Sabre, who found within herself her own form of rebellion by reading ancient texts hidden by her father and discovering the true ways of this world for herself, which flies in the face of the faith and government that they are all sworn to abide by. The concept of a fear-state and ruthless government rule is a dystopian nightmare that plays heavily into our own current state of affairs in the world, which makes for truly engaging and frightful narratives.

The Verdict

Mesmerizing, haunting, and entertaining, author TC Marti’s “The Rebellion Awakens” is a fantastic dystopian and post-apocalyptic thriller and a must-read first book in the Sentrys of Terrene series. The twists in the author’s story and the wealth of character development and dynamics will keep readers engaged with this narrative, and the rich mythos and world-building will have fans enthralled by this brand-new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10 

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About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic, and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

Dusk Upon Elysium by Tamel Wino Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A researcher for a trailblazing VR program hoping to perfect the system gets lost in the darkest recesses of the system itself and must confront his past and the darkness humanity has been plunged into in the real world in author Tamel Wino’s “Dusk Upon Elysium”. 

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The Synopsis

From the award-winning creator of Ékleipsis comes a dystopian narrative of affliction and obsession.

The world as we know it is forever lost. A deadly virus has scourged the planet and ravaged billions. Under the harsh ruling regime, survivors were “cleansed” and confined to isolated units, perpetually tormented by hunger, desolation, and desperation.

Among them is Geoff, a researcher for the trailblazing Paradiso, an authority-regulated virtual-reality program that allows users to momentarily escape their waking lives via implanted chips. He is devoted to perfecting the system—a vessel to preserve future hopes and dreams, where immense worlds prevail, brimming with vast possibilities.

But before long Geoff finds himself thrusted into the darkest recesses of these alternate realities, where he must confront not only his past but persevere against the unknown, fighting for his very existence.

Is all this magnificence just a grandiose illusion? Could there ever be salvation from the living hell into which mankind has plummeted?

The Review

This was a truly engaging novel. The author does an amazing job of capturing the grittiness of this world the author has created. The vivid imagery the author employed here did an excellent job of capturing the rich juxtaposition of the shocking dystopian reality of the real world with the atmospheric and beautiful scenery within Paradiso, bringing this sci-fi epic to life expertly.

The heart of this narrative had to be the dynamic character development and the stellar world-building that the author crafted. The emotional core of Owen’s past meeting the present day and the psychological effect of being so immersed into this virtual world help build upon the mythos of this illness-ravaged world that has left humanity on the brink of extinction and a powerful military keeping the survivors “in check”, mirroring some of our own fears in the heights of the recent global pandemic we all endured.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and haunting in its delivery, author Tamel Wino’s “Dusk Upon Elysium” is a must-read sci-fi dystopian novel of 2022. A great way to end the year for fans of these genres, the balance the author found between the mind-bending genres and the emotional core of these characters and their arcs made this story truly shine. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tamel Wino is a horror/thriller short fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on madness and human morality. He attended the University of Western Ontario, majoring in health sciences and psychology which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold, evocative narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.


When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic movies and travelling.

A King Ascends (The Tyrea Trilogy Book One) by Jane Mckay Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A man stolen away from his home planet must fight to rescue both his family and his world from a grueling threat and fight a villain for the right to rule his world in author Jane Mckay’s “A King Ascends”, the first book in The Tyrea Trilogy.

The Synopsis

A thrilling science fiction story of good and evil.

The sentient planet, Tyrea, is in danger. Unaware of the problem, Jon Tor is happy in doing work that he loves but knows something terrible has happened on his home planet when he is kidnapped, injured, and flees for his life. He desperately needs to save not only his family but his entire planet. Friends, on and off the planet, gather to help him survive the struggle to get home in time. He is facing an additional problem because he needs to survive long enough in order to put himself into the hands of his enemy. The two men must come together to battle for the right to rule.

Who will outwit the other and win?

The Review

This was a powerful and thrilling dystopian sci-fi novel. The author did an incredible job of diving head-first into the narrative’s action and showcasing the rich and diverse cast of characters and world-building the author. The tension the author infused into the story and the heavy atmosphere that builds as the weight of this planetary threat makes itself known was greatly felt in this story.

Yet it was the engaging character development and mythology the author built, along with a moving series of themes, that made this story feel alive on the page. The protagonist’s tale of tragedy and overcoming hardships was both relatable and inspiring, and the natural way in which the world around him adapts and engages with the advanced tech and multiple alien species was great to see. The emotional weight of the protagonist’s story and the themes of loss, love, and the grieving process overall made this a masterful sci-fi adventure.

The Verdict

Memorable, adrenaline-fueled, and entertaining, author Jane Mckay’s “A King Ascends” is a must-read sci-fi and dystopian epic, and the perfect opening story in the growing The Tyrea Trilogy series. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the action-packed adventure the protagonist finds himself on against the sinister villain keep the reader invested until the book’s final pages. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jane McKay is a graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in Geography. She loves her field because it touches on all the other sciences and allows her imagination to soar with lots of ‘what if’ questions. All her life she has wondered about the world outside her door. Credit through has to be given to her family who have kept her firmly grounded on this home planet. That’s okay, it only causes her to dream more. The best hope she has is to gather new friends to share her dreams.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BG86X98Q/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F62832573-a-king-ascends%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D4bFqEhJw87%26rank%3D2&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Sky Curse (Book One): The Chosen Five by Janet Kravetz Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In a futuristic world where climate change is worsening and mental health and population control have gotten out of control, one woman seeks a means of using technology to prevent a total apocalypse in author Janet Kravetz’s “Sky Curse: The Chosen Five”, the first book in the Sky Curse series. 

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The Synopsis

The Sky Curse series follows Cecilia Miller, a coder of artificial dreams living in the year 2045. It’s a time when climate chaos has become the norm and the collective mental health of humanity has fallen to a grave state. The world’s population has grown to a horrific twenty-five billion people, maxing Earth to its limit. Most are planning to abandon Earth and leave it to its fate as they colonize a new world through Titan pioneering (those beings are called Universalists). However, there are those who still hold on to hope for Earth and a humanity untainted by AI (those beings are called Localists). As humanity struggles to survive, it seems like only technology can help, and Cecilia is determined to be the one to bring it about. When planet Earth faces apocalyptic events, she must summon her resolve and resilience if she’s to have a chance to save this world.

The Review

This was such an intense, captivating conspiracy thriller that meets YA sci-fi and a dystopian novel. The novel read like a very mature story, with strong characters who represented the complexities of this novel’s themes. The tension and atmosphere the author creates in this novel were so palpable and captured the reader’s attention, allowing the narrative to shine through brightly. The characters felt organic and honed into the world around them so well, and each character, including the protagonist, became a vocal representation of the themes the narrative brings to life. 

What stands out in this novel are the incredibly complex themes and the rich world-building the author utilizes. The themes the author explores included the advancements in technology, climate change, humanity’s impact on the world, and the slippery slope between controlling humanity and curbing destructive behaviors. The reader is immediately treated to the themes through the advanced AI systems, virtual reality becoming virtual dreams and even the protagonist’s status as a Cyborg. The idea of a “big brother” state and the question of how much control humanity has on the impact of the world around them and how much is left up to fate was incredible to read and watch unfold on the page.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, adrenaline-fueled, and entertaining, author Janet Kravetz’s “Sky Curse: The Chosen Five” is a must-read sci-fi meets dystopian conspiracy thriller novel of 2022! The concept and execution of this narrative felt very much like George Orwell’s 1984 meets Issac Asimov’s expansive sci-fi collection, including I, Robot. The intimate way the author is able to capture the concept of finding one’s voice and stepping into your own power made this such a rich and unique story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Janet Kravetz (sometimes writing under the pen name Topaz Ruby) is an award winning author, poet and artist as well as a mental health advocate.   

Janet was born in Ukraine and grew up in Israel, where she had a career in legal research and public policy, joining the Israel Bar in 2009. Soon thereafter she immigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada and continued working in the field of legal research and public policy, while volunteering with various local committees for the promotion of diversity and inclusion. She speaks Russian, Hebrew and English. 

In 2013 she launched a career as an award-winning poet and in 2014 as an award-winning author, when her self-published book of poetry and art “Reaching Beyond Ourselves – Leading a Spiritual, peaceful and Diverse World” won the international Beverly Hills Book Awards for both content and presentation (under the pen name Topaz Ruby). In the following years Janet turned to writing more poetry and also a few unpublished manuscripts about topics of spirituality, mental health, diversity and the environment. She writes in plain language that children and immigrants can understand.

https://www.authorjanetkravetz.com/

Into the Mist (Into the Mist Book One) by P.C. Cast Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A group of women who gain supernatural abilities in the midst of a biological attack have to survive and face untold danger as they battle the impending apocalypse in author P.C. Cast’s “Into the Mist”, the first book in the series of the same name.

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The Synopsis

As men fall to the mist, the age of womankind begins to rise.

The world as we know it ends when an attack on the U.S. unleashes bombs that deliver fire and biological destruction. Along with sonic detonations and devastating earthquakes, the bombs have also brought the green mist. If breathed in, it is deadly to all men—but alters the body chemistry of many women, imbuing them with superhuman abilities.

A group of high school teachers heading home from a conference experiences firsthand the strength of these new powers. Mercury Rhodes is the Warrior, possessing heightened physical powers. Stella Carver is the Seer, with a sixth sense about the future. Imani Andrews is the Watcher, with a rare connection to the earth. Karen Gay is the Priestess, demonstrating a special connection with Spirits. And Gemma Jenkins is the Healer, a sixteen-year-old student who joins the group after losing her parents.

As they cross the Pacific Northwest, trying to find a safe place to ride out the apocalypse, the women soon learn they can’t trust anyone, and with fresh danger around every corner, it will take all their powers to save themselves—and possibly the world.

The Review

This was a gripping and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic read. The elements of sci-fi and fantasy that play into the narrative are perfectly utilized, for they don’t necessarily overpower the story at all but enhance it, and add more depth to the overall drama of the sequence of events that begins this cataclysmic event. The imagery and atmosphere (both figurative and literal) are well defined and give the reader a true sense of the world that has become their reality, delving into themes of survival, relationships, and the breakdown of society as a whole. 

The character dynamics and growth was superb in this read. The author really did an amazing job on page 1 of defining the relationships and connectivity of these characters, especially the core cast of women who serve as the backbone of this story. The way the author is able to flip the script so to speak on the post-apocalyptic story by having a group of women takes on the roles of protectors and heroes in a world that has turned into a nightmare was an inspired choice, and making the women feel realistic and vulnerable in one breath while also exuding strength and determination in the next was great to read.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and exhilarating, author P.C. Cast’s “Into the Mist” is a must-read suspense thriller that meets dystopian apocalyptic sci-fi read, and is one of my top suspense reads of 2022! The chilling nature of the attacks that lead into this main narrative and the heart-pounding thriller aspect of the narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seat as alliances and distrust form in the wake of civilization’s breakdown was so compelling to read. The shocking twists and turns will leave readers eager to read the author’s sequel when it inevitably arrives. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today, or preorder the book and receive it on July 12th, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

PC was born in the Midwest and grew up being shuttled back and forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school, she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today Best-Selling author and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. PC is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. Ms. Cast lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses. House of Night Other World, book 4, FOUND, releases July 7th, 2020. More info to come soon about the HoN TV series!

https://www.pccastauthor.com/

New Life in Autumn by Michael G. Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A newly dead detective tries to find a group of missing children and solve the mysteries of the floating city of Autumn’s long-lost history in author Michael G. Williams’s “New Life in Autumn”. 

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The Synopsis

RETURN TO THE MEAN STREETS OF AUTUMN

Valerius Bakhoum is dead and buried.

Too bad he’s still flat broke and behind on the rent.

Unsure what to do with himself—and of who he is—Valerius resumes his career as a detective by taking up the oldest case in his files: where do the children go?

Throughout his own youth on the streets of Autumn, last of the Great Flying Cities, Valerius knew his fellow runaways disappeared from back alleys and other hiding places more than anyone realized. Street kids even had a myth to explain it: the Gotchas, who steal urchins away in the night.

With nothing but time on his hands, Valerius dives in head-first to settle the question once and for all and runs smack into a more pressing mystery: who killed one of Valerius’ former lovers?

And do they know Valerius is still alive?

Stalk the shadows of Autumn’s hidden places by Valerius Bakhoum’s side as he shines a light on secrets both sacred and profane, ones with shockingly personal connections to who he was—and who he might become.

New Life in Autumn is the sequel to the Manly Wade Wellman Award-winning A Fall in Autumn.

The Review

What immediately struck me about this novel was just how much the setting of this floating city called Autumn felt so alive on the page. A beautiful blend of dystopian sci-fi meets fantasy and hard-boiled detective mysteries, the author found a way to make the city itself feel like a character all its own. The intrigue and drama that the author’s narrative brought forth kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

The character growth of this narrative was such an engaging aspect of the story. The protagonist was so versatile and complex, both emoting the tough-as-nails attitude one expects of a seasoned detective and showing the raw emotions and shock of experiencing death and rebirth all at once. The LGBTQ-forward romance and inspired character development made this story shine brightly as well, making for a rich and diverse dystopian read.

The Verdict

Gripping, captivating, and entertaining, author Michael G. Williams’s “New Life in Autumn” is a must-read novel! The action and mystery surrounding this story feel both classic and yet futuristic all at once, and the rich character development, both the protagonist and the city, in particular, make for an emotionally engaging and mind-blowing hook that keeps us readers invested in this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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A New Life in Autumn - Michael G. Williams

Michael G. Williams has a new gay sci-fi mystery out, Books of Autumn book 2: A New Life in Autumn. And there’s a giveaway!

THE HARDEST PART OF DYING IS DECIDING HOW TO PASS THE TIME

Valerius Bakhoum died and kept no living. Now he can walk the streets of his city with a new face and a new name and finally feel a little bit respected. Too bad he’s still flat broke and behind on the rent. Unsure what to do with himself—and perhaps even of who he is—Valerius resumes his career as a detective by taking up the oldest case in his files: where do the children go?

Throughout his own youth on the streets of Autumn, last of the Great Flying Cities, Valerius knew his fellow runaways disappear from back alleys and other hiding places more than people realize. Street kids even have a myth to explain it: the Gotchas, who steal them away in the night. With nothing but time on his hands, Valerius dives in head-first to settle the question once and for all and runs smack into a more pressing mystery:

Who killed one of Valerius’ former lovers?

And do they know he’s still alive?

Return to the mean streets of Autumn by Valerius Bakhoum’s side as he shines a light into shadowy corners and finds secrets both sacred and profane with shockingly personal connections to who he was—and who he might become.

Warnings: This book does involve mild violence, capture and impending torture by antagonists, and discussion of the murder of children.

About the Series:

What would you do if you found yourself free at last–and all alone–in the sin-drenched paradise you were told you’d never reach?

Books of Autumn is a series telling the story of Valerius Bakhoum, a down and out private eye in Autumn, last of the great flying Cities, at various points in his life.

In A Fall in Autumn (2020 Manly Wade Wellman Award), we meet Valerius as he winds down his career and his too-short life.

In New Life in Autumn, Valerius navigates a surprising second chance and questions of who he is–and who he might become.

Walk the mean streets of Autumn by Valerius’ side in this award-winning study of the kindness and compassion found in the places where humanity’s lowest ambitions lurk!

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Michael is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47243/?


Excerpt

New Life in Autumn meme

Across three quarters of the City of Autumn, street kids are an unthinkable paradox. For the most part, the Pluses and the PlusPlus and all the other manifold forms of intentional humankinds only ever run into the sorts of kids someone wanted badly enough to design. There are already a billion people in the world between the Empire, the Eastern Expanse, and the less-organized places nobody’s fought over quite yet. Having kids willy-nilly wouldn’t add up, not with so many people already in line for the breakfast bar. That’s one of the many objections the Spiralists put forward to continued cultivation of Artisanal Humans like me—well, like I was.

That’s going to take some getting used to.

Anyway, widespread cultural insistence on bespoke offspring leaves a lot of kids out in the cold, literally. The ones I described before, orphaned by chance or abandoned for turning out imperfect or who got tired of their old life and decided to chase a new one are, in the remaining fourth-to-fifth of the City, as common as cobblestones and just as underfoot. There are plenty of them, and the supply continually refreshes, and I went to distinctly other streets than theirs. It isn’t that I wanted to avoid them, but talking would have taken money or some sort of barter and I was too short by half on either. I suspected it would have generated too much information rather than too little. A street kid asked to tell a story for a steam bun or a little reliably spendable scrip will gin up all the story you want and then some. I didn’t need urban legends. I needed facts, and that meant a much more gruesome start than some urchin milking my wallet with tall tales of what goes bump in the night.

I mentioned to Clodia one time that I had a friend who worked the Cisterns. The City of Autumn is like any town: its people have to piss like anybody else and its gutters often swell with rain. Autumn routinely flies into weather systems to gather up fresh water, and there’s a vast infrastructure to purify it for use by humankinds. I could spend ten pages telling you about the ponds in Down Preserves where rainwater burbles and bubbles under pressure, mixing in fresh air. The whole City sleeps atop a bed stuffed with pumps and gravity lines, charcoal and scrub algae, grates and artificial reefs and purpose-built shrimp—but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll simply say this: by the time water gets to us, the only thing left is the scent of the air where it first fell as rain. I don’t understand how the process works. I don’t care, either. The important thing, the thing none of us think about too much in case it, too, is another pretty lie in the quilt of them we make over our lives, is it happens. Sip from Lotta’s to remember the dead, cup your hands in the fountains of Domino, turn on a tap in the average Autumn kitchen, and you’ll enjoy the aroma of a field somewhere in Afrique, or a mutant blossom somewhere on a nameless plain in the vast Recovery Zone between Big River and the Salt Flat.

But on the other end of the system? Once all that delicious water has run its course through bodies and beer kegs and ice machines and steam plants?

That’s called Cistern Intake. I knew a gal who worked that part of the system. You could smell it on her from ten meters away. I always felt sorry for her, because it was so baked into her skin, ground down into her pores, she didn’t even smell it anymore herself.

On the plus side, she always had plenty of room in a bar. Nobody crowded her for long.

Frankie was a Mannie. Generally speaking, no variety of Plus—nice, “normal” people with designer genes—would even be considered for her job. Even applying for it might result in getting a replication error assessment. Odds are good you’ve already heard the story from a few years ago about the PlusPlus whose big ideas on “lived egalitarianism” got her carted off for genotoxicity screening. What most folks don’t know, however, is it was a stunt on both sides. Sure, she only wanted to make a point by suing the City for the right to join a scrubber team, not actually take the job if they offered it. But the City went out of its way to make the counterpoint in response, escorting her kicking and screaming away from the workhouse where they keep the little gliders they use to clean the Fore Barrier’s external face.

I assume she hoped to drum up publicity for her so-called perverse beliefs. I think she expected the City would do something to make an example of her, sure, but something more symbolic. You know, a big fine she could never pay, or maybe a few nights in the Palace of Imperial Justice. Something Imperial media could print without making anybody lose their lunch.

Instead, they dragged her —did I mention the kicking and screaming?—straight to the Hive. No trial. No judge. No pretenses. The Hive is right there at the front of the City, and the tiny portion of it sticking out above street level is visible if you climb high enough in Down Preserves and look to the Fore. The joke goes, they put the City’s worst criminals out there so we’ll hear them screaming if we crash into anything. This lady’s worst crime, though, was trying to prove we’re not all equal, not in the lives we’re allowed to lead or the risks we’re expected to take in the course of them. It sounds like heroism to you or me, but to the powers that be, the Sinceres, the Spiralists, and all the other people who don’t care if the Empire is a heap of shit as long as they’re near enough the top to catch a breeze, she’d committed the worst kind of social treason: she’d violated the spoken and unspoken rules propping up the class system on which they relied.


Author Bio

New Life in Autumn - Michael G. Williams

Michael G. Williams writes queer-themed science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror celebrating monsters, macabre humor, and subverted expectations. He’s the author of three series for Falstaff Books: the award-winning vampire/urban fantasy series The Withrow Chronicles; the thrilling urban fantasy series SERVANT/SOVEREIGN featuring real estate, time travel, and San Francisco’s greatest historical figures; the science fiction noir A Fall in Autumn, winner of the 2020 Manly Wade Wellman Award; and a bunch of short stories. He strives to present the humor and humanity at the heart of horror and mystery with stories of outcasts and loners finding their people.

Michael will be the Guest of Honor at Ret-Con in 2023, co-hosts Arcane Carolinas, studies Appalachian history and folklore at Appalachian State University, and is a brother in St. Anthony Hall. He lives in Durham, NC, with his husband, a variety of animals, and more and better friends than he probably deserves.

Author Website: https://michaelgwilliamsbooks.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/mcmanlypants

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/MichaelGWilliamsAuthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/mcmanlypants

Author Instagram: https://instagram.com/mcmanlypants

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6429992.Michael_G_Williams

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/michael-g-williams/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-G-Williams/e/B001KIYBBU/

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Civil War (Chronicles of Rondure Book 1) by TC Marti Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman trained for years to be the best warrior and Smoke Master of her people must fight her way to expose her world’s corruption within it’s political system and go rogue against the very people who trained her in author TC Marti’s “Civil War”, the first book in the Chronicles of Rondure series. 

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The Synopsis

I was Culled at age five into the Bastille Military, the World of Rondure’s superpower…

…Having lived on-base for thirteen years, military life taught me two things: Mastery of the Smoke Element and to never apologize about using it on enemies.

Now that I’m awaiting a sure life sentence for the crime of exposing Bastille’s true crimes, they’ve left me with no choice. When they try to extradite me, I will call upon my Sword of Smoke and escape this predicament, using every combat technique they taught me against them.

Then, I’ll take it upon myself to finish a mission I started years ago; to unplug the People of Bastille and let them know who the real enemy is: their home nation and its Capital City of Paramount.

As I go rogue, every authority figure with money, power, and influence in the Bastille Empire will want me dead. Thanks to them, I’m one of the most powerful Smoke Masters in the World of Rondure. And I’m ready to break the spell the people of my nation have lived under for over a century.

Calling all fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and George Orwell, Civil War features a strong heroine, with epic fantasy tropes bending into science fiction with dystopian and thriller elements, non-stop action, and stakes so high that Mina Hirai’s success or failure will set forth the fate of Rondure forever.

The Review

This was yet another fantastic entry into this beautifully written world of the author’s creation. The first book to connect the author’s original trilogy with the next trilogy in the Elementals of Nordica Saga, Civil War takes readers on a much more intimate journey than previous iterations of this series had done. Focusing instead on a first-person narrative, the story shows one young woman’s fight to escape a deadly prison sentence after learning of her government’s betrayal, and the fight to lead an insurrection to liberate the people of the government’s negative influence. The same balance of sci-fi and dystopian settings with the fantasy elements of the characters and the mythos overall made this such an impactful story to dive headfirst into.

The protagonist was definitely the driving force behind this narrative. The author’s ability to craft a more intimate and emotional narrative from the view of Mina Harai was a brilliant call, as it allowed a more personal view of the chaos and corruption Rondure was experiencing and the painful fight those who saw the corruption had to endure to reveal these dark truths. The connections she made, the horrors she was both witnessed and experienced, and the heroism she showed made her arc so engaging and the world-building and mythos as a result much more captivating.

The Verdict

Mind-blowing imagery, entertaining, and brilliantly written, author TC Marti’s “Civil War” is a must-read novel of 2022 for fans of sci-fi, dystopian, and fantasy-driven action-adventure narratives. The rich mythos that was expanded upon and explored in this narrative was amazing to read, and the personal development of one of the world’s heroes made this a stunning story to get lost in. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

Parched: The Days Before Exile (The Wastelands Book 1) by Anne Joyce Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a world torn apart by nuclear war and water barons tightening their grip on the worsening water supplies, two people find themselves confronted with a dark and hidden agenda in the wake of a string of disappearances in author Anne Joyce’s “Parched: The Days Before Exile”, the first book in The Wastelands series.

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The Synopsis

It’s the 2040’s and the world has become a more terrifying place than anyone could’ve foreseen. The country is recovering from a devastating nuclear war that has left much of the earth scourged and uninhabitable. Some billion-dollar corporations took advantage of the destruction by purchasing the rights to water and selling it back to the public at ridiculous prices.

Joshua Wyman and Maria Perez struggle to adapt to this new violent world where muggings and murder over water are a common occurrence. The new water barons assign an army of brutes called “Purifiers” to instill order, but when people start mysteriously vanishing, Joshua and Maria begin to wonder if the Purifiers are behind their disappearance.

When Maria receives a frantic email from a friend in danger, she learns of the water barons’ plans for the “indigents” who can’t afford water. She desperately searches for someone to share her dark secret with who might be able to help. When her information falls into the hands of a violent anarchist group, their beaten down, oppressed city must confront what its inhabitants have long since hinted about, but never dared to whisper. Uprising

The Review

This was such a unique and fun read for me. Coming into this story, I was intrigued as this was the “prequel” to the author’s book “Arid”, which I read and reviewed here before. Getting to return to this world and the characters before the events of that initial book from the author was such a unique and fun experience as a reader and reviewer. The story felt fresh and the mythos behind the water barons and the brutality of the Purifiers has perfectly mirrored in the dystopian atmosphere and haunting tone that the narrative took on as things began to break down at an accelerating rate in this narrative.

The blend of strong character development that really pulled the reader into the emotional element of this narrative along with the very real-world themes that this narrative dealt with made this such a brilliant story. The fight for survival and the desperation that comes in the face of society’s breakdown was palpable on the page, and the exploration of nuclear war, fallout, global warming, and big business controlling much of our society really has never felt more real or scary as it does now, especially in the face of more radical groups rising out in not only our nation but the world armed to the teeth hoping to impose their own way of thinking. The haunting atmosphere comes from the author’s natural ability to tap into the real-world fears we all have in this current climate.

The Verdict

Haunting, gripping, and entertaining, author Anne Joyce’s “Parched: The Days Before Exile” is a must-read narrative in 2022. The dystopian thriller was so engaging and was able to use creativity to highlight the real-world dangers and fears many have around the world today. If you haven’t yet, preorder your own copy of this book today, or grab your own copy on May 2nd, 2022!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Anne Rasico (AKA Anne Joyce) was born in a small town in Indiana you’ve probably never heard of. She composed short stories and comic books as a child to amuse her family and began writing poetry at the age of thirteen.

In 1998 she received an Honorable Mention for Literary Excellence for her poem “She Didn’t Come Home.” She attended business school and made the Dean’s List for three consecutive years, putting her love for writing on the back burner. It wasn’t until her mid-twenties that a political post on social networking rekindled her literary flame that has since become a bonfire.

In 2013 her novella When the Chips Are Down was named a Finalist in the MARSocial Author of the Year Contest. When she is not writing, thinking about writing, or going insane from writing she enjoys camping, fishing, swimming, and otherwise spending time with loved ones. She is mother to three extremely spoiled cats. Crazy cat lady? Probably.

Babouc’s Vision by Glenn Searfoss Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An appliance repairman finds himself overwhelmed when the gods choose him to be the one to condemn the people of his city, and as the lives of several others flood his mind, he must prove the people’s lives worthy of saving instead in author Glenn Searfoss’s “Babouc’s Vision”.

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The Synopsis

Babouc’s Vision is a riveting dystopian science fiction novel with thought-provoking commentary on society.

The year is 2041– and the gods are angry. While Carissa scours the city garbage for food and pretty things to show her grandfather, Tom and April strive to prove themselves genetically suitable to conceive a child. Luis becomes a man fighting to protect his unborn son from the gangs. Nora sits alone in her dark apartment, old, tired, and ready to die. And Izzy, how did he land in the streets destitute? In the backroom of his appliance repair shop, Harl putters at his workbench unaware the Gods have chosen him to condemn the people of CynCity. Harl’s world turns upside-down as his mind explodes with the lives of strangers. Struggling to remain sane, he must somehow prove the city’s population deserves to survive.

The works of Voltaire (The World as it is) and Dante (The Divine Comedy) inspired this book. As well, many events in the work reflect newspaper reports of criminal, social, environmental, and scientific events happening around the world. The bleak nature of these accounts explains the book’s overall dystopian feel, while the hope buried in the stories is gleaned from human perseverance.

The Review

The author found such a striking balance of world-building and thought-provoking themes. The exploration of humanity’s worst aspects and how the people in one city fair against those sins was so fascinating to read. The detailed way the author approaches this dystopian sci-fi read was amazing, as was the narrative overall, which did a great job of playing into the themes and genres of this novel with grand futuristic settings and larger-than-life characters.

The characters were the true heart of this narrative. The vast array of different characters really brought this sad and brutal reality to life so perfectly, either by adding to the chaos or becoming a victim of that chaos themselves. Yet the way the author brought out small glimmers of hope throughout the narrative to showcase how there exists those within the darkness to fight for a brighter tomorrow was amazing to read.

The Verdict

Creative, engaging, and thoughtful in its approach, author Glenn Searfoss’s “Babouc’s Vision” is a must-read dystopian sci-fi thriller. A philosophical and introspective look into the mistakes and sins humanity inflicts upon itself far too often, and those who work to fight for change for the future, this novel shines and does an amazing job of exploring the depths of humanity in an entertaining way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Glenn Searfoss is an American author of works in science fiction, mythology, computer science, and natural history. He lives in Colorado, USA with his wife.