Columbus Day – TwoMorePages Book Review

Columbus Day – TwoMorePages Book Review

This was a pretty fantastic book. I mean, obviously, since I’m writing this review. You’ve probably noticed by now that I don’t generally write reviews for books that I’m “meh” about.

The writing style of this book was particularly amusing. The protagonist tells the story as though he’s recounting a tale, complete with asides to the reader, which I found pretty fantastic. And the introduction of Skippy was absolutely amazing – the book flew by once that happened.

I can’t really talk more about this book without starting to spoil things, so here we go!

Skippy!

I feel like this was basically two different books in one. Part I of the book details the invasion of Earth, and Earth’s response to it; and Part II is SKIPPY-TOWN!

I loved Skippy-Town haha. Yeah sure, it’s kind of cheating to introduce an AI that’s smarter than all the other species in the book combined to help out protagonist, but the way he interacts with everyone, especially Bishop, our protagonist, is extremely well done.

Several times, it’s shown that Skippy is not in fact omnisicent / omnipotent. He just is very smart, and doesn’t think the way that we do. For instance, he can totally take over a Thurasian star carrier by himself, but he forgets that we meat bags can’t survive in vacuum. Whoops haha.

But more importantly, the way the author wrote Skippy’s personality was AMAZING. One liners here and there and everywhere. The banter between him and Bishop MAKES the story, especially when you contrast it to the interactions between him and other people in the story. I especially liked the poignant moment where he describes why he and Bishop get along so well – namely, that Bishop is the only person who’s treated him as an equal rather than a machine. And his illustration of that point? That Bishop constantly calls him out and points out that he is an asshole. TROLLOLOL.

Once he enters the story, the game sort of becomes a videogame, where Bishop, as the antagonist, gets to play almost on God mode. Skippy can disable weapons (except the Lizard weapons), and take over entire starships. That’s cool.

Ordinarily, that would be really hard to write in a way that keeps the audience interested, because how interesting is it really to go around murdering everyone when they don’t really have a chance?

But the author did a great job here as well, introducing tension by showing that the good guys can indeed get hurt *and die*, even with God mode enabled. So kudos to that.

I loved every bit of Skippy-town. He made the story for me.

Part I

Oh, right, I said there was a Part I to this saga, right? Despite the amusingness of Part II (Skippy-town), Part I was actually pretty dark. You follow Bishop as he gets shipped off to an alien planet, presumably under the guise of protecting Earth from the Ruhar (the hamsters), only to see him first get stuck on what he considers babysitting duty, and then to see him learn that maybe he’s on the wrong side of this war after all.

Actually, it’s worse than that. I felt like the analogy that Bishop talks about in the book is pretty spot on. Earth is N. Africa in WWII. Both the Allies and the Axis don’t really care about the native people, and said native people get slaughtered because they are so far behind the major fighting powers technologically. So what’s Bishop to do? Just be sad? Earth has essentially been conquered by the Lizards; the Hamsters, while objectively better, do not necessarily care about liberating Earth, and have killed several hundred Earth soldiers.

Part I gets *dark*. Bishop talks about how he feels shooting down the two Hamster dropships, ostensibly killing 1,000 Hamster soldiers in the process. He describes the nightmares he has where he thinks he saw the pilot of one of the dropships look straight at him and ask “Why?”

He also sees a young pilot who refuses to shoot a Hamster school get reprimanded by basically getting executed by having the power cut off in her plane, forcing her to crash. Her last words and thoughts were basically “I didn’t have control of the plane. I didn’t mean to shoot that school full of kids.”

After he gets reprimanded and jailed for refusing to kill Ruhar civilians, he ends up in jail, where he learns that because the Kristang (the Lizards) don’t value female lives, the women soldiers who also willfully disobeyed orders to murder civilians were being raped, tortured, and hung while the male prisoners were merely being sentenced to death. He learns later too that since he’s a guy, he got to eat, while the women prisoners were starved during their ordeal.

This is some truly dark stuff for a book that ends on such a light-hearted note. It’s a weird contrast and I sometimes wonder if the author meant to change the tone so drastically when Skippy was introduced.

Conclusion

Anyway, this is an action book. There isn’t a lot of time spent on character development; heck, you can argue that *nobody* grew as a character, not even Bishop, our protagonist.

But it is extremely entertaining. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. I wonder if it will do what The Atlantis Trilogy did, where each book has the same writing style, but each book is also a different kind of story? Or if it will be more of a continuation of the adventures of Skippy and the paisley, no wait, the paramecium pirates (you’ll get that joke after you read it the story haha).

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The Atlantis World – TwoMorePages Book Review

The Atlantis World – TwoMorePages Book Review

Hoooh boy, we finished the series! I will say I’m a little sad it’s over, and I felt like A.G. Riddle could have made this two books, considering how much stuff we learned in the last say 20% of the book.

This book was decidedly sci-fi, taking a very different turn from the other two books, which you could conceivably describe as action (book 1) or action/mystery (book 2) with a little sci-fi thrown in. We learn about the enemy that General Ares is so very worried about; we learn about the backstory of the girl Atlantean scientist that saves us as a species way back when; we learn about Atlantean society as a whole!

There are some things that, in retrospect still don’t make 100% sense, but I suppose anything in the sci-fi genre never will make 100% sense.

Okay, enough non-spoiler talk. Here we go!

 

Dorian Sloane

So…about that theory that I had that Dorian Sloane would turn out to be a hero for humanity. I was…kind of right? I rather dislike the way his character went out. It seems so out of character for him to just space himself. In his mind, he was the good guy; he was trying to save humanity. Humanity is in shambles back on earth; surely he would have tried to find a way back to try and save what was left? Bah, oh well.

Jurassic Park

I feel like there was a large opportunity lost here in not exploring the dome on the ship more, the one that held the biosphere with the invisible carnivores. I was very surprised that it was over with in what seemed like just a few chapters. When it was first introduced, I thought for sure that would be the unique thing in this book, much like the journal was in The Atlantis Gene and the whodunnit was in the The Atlantis Plague.

But not so much! No big deal though, I did very much enjoy the adventures of our protagonists (and antagonists!) as they had to navigate this foreign world basically, with invisible creatures trying to murder them.

One of the more common criticisms about this series of books is that it didn’t describe the scenery well enough, that it was too plot driven. Not so with this section of the book! I could vividly see the action happening in my mind as Kate and David went through the jungle, as Dorian scanned left and right with his laser scope, trying to find the invisible animals that had butchered his men.

 

Crap, I let too much time pass before finishing this review

So um, here’s where the review is going to get a lot more unspecific. Alas, I let like 2.5 months go by before I picked it back up, and now I only remember the large impressions that the book made and am significantly less excited than I was before. You can probably tell from the tone now vs the tone above haha.

If you read about this book elsewhere, you will notice a common theme running through them. Whether or not people liked the book (and there were definitely opposite sides on that), they all felt like the story was rushed at the end. Alas, I do have to agree with that assessment. The denouement came so quickly at the end to wrap everything up. We definitely could have had a second book to deal with that, but oh well.

 

Backstory Flashbacks

That being said, I do like that we get to have the entire universe and backstory fleshed out. Like book 1, A.G. Riddle chose to show how we got to this point with the use of flashbacks, both from the perspective of Kate and Sloane’s Atlantean counterparts.

General Ares was obviously built as the antagonist throughout the entire story, and we get to learn why he’s such a hardass. He experienced the genocide of most of his race, rebuilt it, only to see if fall back into ruin because while he remained a hardass, he saw his society get soft. And then saw it fall again. So in his mind, the downfall of his race was tied to the softness than he never lets himself feel anymore.

And we get to learn so much more about Kate’s Atlantean counterpart, Isis. You kind of got the impression that Isis accidentally messed everything up in the past (with the best of intentions!) in the past few books. This time, you get to witness it firsthand along with Kate. She’s the one who accidentally damns her society with gene therapy. Whoops. The road to hell is paved with good intentions…right?

 

The End

So, alas I don’t remember a ton about the ending now that I have almost 3 months rust on me. I remember thinking that things were rushed, and that stuff didn’t 100% make sense, but oh well. For instance, the Atlantean faction that Isis helped are the ones that end up saving the day, but they arguably are the weakest force around compared to the Sentinels and the Serpentines. How does that work?

And it’s revealed that Ares’s plan all along was to mess up Earth so badly that the new bad guys will want to come and assimilate all the people on the planet, thinking that everyone on the planet will willingly join the ~~Borg Collective~~ the Serpetines. Um, what? This entire time, I thought we were training a race of super soldiers to go and fight some bad guys. That’s what Dorian Sloane sold me on. What? You could have messed up the planet in other ways than that. It…didn’t quite make sense to me.

But oh well. Not everything ends the way you want it to. And overall, I was entertained by the overarching story. I will still fight anyone who says the first book, The Atlantis Gene, is not a good book haha. And I rather liked the second book, The Atlantis Plague. Too bad the author has said we won’t revisit this world at all, but it was nice spending time in it nevertheless.