Friday, 31 January 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Fall of Icarus by Jon Messenger

I received a copy of Fall of Icarus, book 2 of the Brink of Distinction series, in exchange for my review.

Picking up from the ending of Burden of Sisyphus, the Alliance has now officially declared war on the Terran empire.  Keryn has now graduated and has been assigned to the same carrier as Yen Xiao, who formaly served with her brother. Since meeting each other at her brother's memorial, the pair have felt an instant attraction and are drawn to each other. But the consequences of an engagement with the Terrans makes their fledgling relationship harder, and it almost ends because of some poor personal choices. War is coming and they both need to decide where their loyalties lie.

Link to Goodreads
Link to amazon

The overwhelming thing that struck me after finishing this book was the sense of confusion over who was on the good side and who was on the bad side. I know at first read that may sound like a bad thing,  but on the contrary, it provides me with what I like from characters and from plots; moral ambiguity. The characters in Fall of Icarus made bad decisions because of how they felt, and depending on the situation,  some of those choices could be seen as evil. Good people do bad things and bad people do good things.

Take Yen for example, I'm not all too sure about my feelings towards him right now (because of events that happened in this book). Overall he seemed to be a 'good' character, but he was controlled a lot by anger, qnd later a little by power, and when that started to get the better of him I stopped liking him as a character so much,  even going so far as to not want him with Keyrn anymore.

Not saying that Keyrn hasn't made any mistakes herself, though I do believe that I am probably a little blinded by the fact that she is a strong female character and I find myself instantly liking her for that.
I felt that the sci-fi elements kicked up a level slightly,  particularly with the amount of time spent in space battles and flight, as well as the same vivid character descriptions that I found so enjoyable in the first book. I'll be honest, there were times that I actually felt as if I was living in the Universe that Messenger created, though I'm sorry Earth, but I'd want to be on the side of the Alliance!

The other thing that kicked up a level was the romance.  Whereas in the previous book any romance was just mentioned in passing (see Ajni and Nova) there was a whole plotline in this book dedicated to the romance between Yen and Keyrn. Though it is a secondary plotline, and I believe it added to the story rather than distracted from it.

I'm really enjoying this series so far, it is full of twists and turns, fast paced and captivating action sequences, as well as detailed and complex characters...basically what isn't to like about it!

This review is a part of the Blog Tour that trips down imagination road is doing on behalf of Clean Teen Publishing (and a big thanks to them for it!) Check out the other books offered by Clean Teen Publishing on their website, and don't forget to check out the other reviews I am doing for them this week!

You can also enter the giveaway which is for all of the awesome books I'm reviewing this week!

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Adult Sci-Fi Series Published Through Crimson Tree Publishing

Guest Post: Humanity and Science Fiction

Before I started writing the Brink of Distinction trilogy, I buried myself in science fiction novels, absorbing everything I could about the genre. One of the last series I read before I started writing was The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell. The story centered on two factions of humans fighting with one another as they both laid claim to the explored space. Near the end of the series (sorry for the spoilers), they discover that there’s probably an alien race existing beyond their borders, one that is a threat to all humanity, if only they could set aside their differences.

It was a great series, one that I devoured, book after book. The idea that humanity would have to band together against an alien threat is a staple of science fiction, from Ender’s Game to Starship Troopers. 

But is it realistic?

These stories paint the picture of a humanity expanding to the stars, with the original colonists described as heroes to those who awaited word of their settlements from Earth. When they encounter aliens, the aliens are always hostile with the intent of wiping out the colonies before turning their attention to Earth itself.

Except I’ve study world history. Humanity doesn’t have a good track record of benevolence when meeting new cultures. In fact, 95% of the time, the invading culture wipes out the indigenous population. If that were the case, then why would we assume that humanity would be the victims in an intergalactic war?

That train of thought became the premise for the Brink of Distinction trilogy. It’s always been my belief that the only thing that would push humanity to colonize the stars would be overpopulation or over polluting of Earth. If that were the case, humanity would colonize under a manifest destiny mentality. The establishment of colonies would be priority number one, regardless of the alien races that might have already existed in the worlds they discover.

I invite you to come read the trilogy, consisting of BURDEN OF SISYPHUS, FALL OF ICARUS, and PURGE OF PROMETHEUS. It’s an interesting take on the science fiction genre, with humanity clearly the antagonists throughout the story.

Burden of Sisyphus
Between the alien Alliance and the Terran Empire, a neutral zone stretches between the galaxies, a demilitarized zone that was established 150 years previous, following the Great War. The peace accord granted a semblance of peace to the universe. The peace, however, is a facade, and it is the responsibility of Michael Vance and his covert operations team to maintain that illusion.

Recently, the Alliance lost contact with one of their outposts near the neutral zone. Surveillance scans show an abandoned city and no signs of life. The Alliance does what it always does: send in the best. But an unexpected betrayal leaves Vance and his team stranded. Worse, the city that was supposed to be dead is quite alive. And the monsters that now roam its streets are slaughtering his team, one at a time.

Fall of Icarus

The Terran Empire has broken the Taisa Accord and invaded Alliance space in this exciting second novel in the Brink of Distinction series. Survivors of the Empire's first assault, Yen Xiao and Adam Decker swore vengeance against the Terrans. Joining forces with the enigmatic Keryn Riddell, the three warriors must find a way to destroy the Terran fleet. But the Terrans have a secret weapon: a biological agent sold to them by an renegade smuggler. Now it's a race against the clock to capture the smuggler before the Terrans decimate the Alliance home worlds.

When everything they do proves to be not enough to stop the Empire's violent invasion, the Alliance takes the fight directly to the Empire by invading Earth! But Earth may not be the biggest threat to the safety of the Alliance. The biggest danger may be one of their own.

Purge of Prometheus

The final confrontation between the Alien Alliance and the Terran Empire begins in this exciting conclusion to the Brink of Distinction trilogy.

One-by-one, the brilliant suns of Alliance space are disappearing, left cold and lifeless after exposure to the Terran biological epidemic. Trapped on one of the sunless worlds, Keryn Riddell, the ruthless Wyndgaart warrior, fights against both a frozen landscape and her Terran captors.

As Keryn fights for her life, the psychic Yen Xiao leads the Alliance fleet in pursuit of the Terran Destroyers threatening the Alliance homeworlds. Yearning for leadership of the fleet, Yen begins to wonder just how far he’ll go for the power he craves.

I invite you to come read the trilogy, consisting of BURDEN OF SISYPHUS, FALL OF ICARUS, and PURGE OF PROMETHEUS. It’s an interesting take on the science fiction genre, with humanity clearly the antagonists throughout the story.

About Jon Messenger

Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Jon's books include Wind Warrior, Flame Caller and Water Shaper which was published through Clean Teen Publishing and quickly hit the best selling lists of Amazon. Jon Messenger has won a readers choice award as well as the Clean Teen Publishing writing contest for his Novella of Wind Warrior, which is also featured in Wonderstruck. Messenger's sci-fi series, Brink of Distinction, was picked up by Clean Teen Publishing's adult imprint: Crimson Tree Publishing in the Fall of 2013. 

Twitter: @JonMessenger