Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells
If you’ve ever thought, “You know what Dune needed more of? More magic and a biker gang!” then this book was written for you. If you are looking for your next stick-it-to-the-corporation space opera rebellion, this book is also for you.
During a routine run through the desert, the gun-toting and chain-smoking biker Hob discovers the bullet-ridden body of her leader’s brother. The dead man’s daughter is still missing, and all the signs point to TransRifts Inc., the company that has the entire planet in a stranglehold. So begins a story of biker gang meets post-apocalyptic desert planet with a dash of Dune and a pinch of X-men. Continue reading
Vick’s Vultures by Scott Warren
Another tasty space opera treat from the book universe.
Victoria Marin, privateer and captain of the salvage spaceship Condor, is in the red and in danger of losing her ship if she can’t locate fresh salvage and bring home some new xenotech for profit. It seems too good to be true when her crew catch a distress signal in nearby space. What she finds there, though, is a drifting wreck and an inconvenient survivor – First Prince Tavram, heir apparent to one of the largest and most powerful empires in known space. And there’s a deadly, powerful warlord from an opposing empire hot on his trail.
Vick’s Vultures is a space opera in the military spirit of Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series and David Weber’s Honor Harrington books, with the alien species density per planet of the Star Trek universe. It’s light on description, great with the action, and tight on the military maneuvers. And unlike the genre’s ubiquitous young, untested commander persona who has to figure things out as crisis looms, we get Captain Victoria, a veteran with a loyal, established team, ready to rumble with the universe. Continue reading
Shrouded by Frances Pauli
“When Vashia arrives on Shroud as an indentured bride, Dolfan recognizes immediately that they are meant to be together. Broken, lost, and on the run, she trusts no one, but Dolfan has enough faith for the both of them… Until his people’s sacred ritual gives Vashia to someone else.”
“This one looks right up your alley,” my friend told me. “It’s science fiction full of planet royalty and court machinations and forbidden romance.”
“Nnnngghh,” I said. At that point, I may have been lying on the floor, holding a pillow over my face.
“Four words: Arranged Marriage Space Opera.”
Oh. Well, why didn’t you just say so? Continue reading
When I first launched theCanaryReview a few years back, I was going to make it a blog dedicated solely to space opera books. Then, I realized I’d never be able to sit still within one subgenre.
But I still love them. And so I bring you a couple more fun reads from this delicious sci-fi romance gene.
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
Captain Ari Rose is the only person to survive being a prisoner of war of humanity’s alien enemies. Ever. Stripped of her command and banished to her father’s scientific expedition to finish a Ph.D. she doesn’t want, Ari wonders why she bothered to survive. But when pirates commandeer her father’s ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.
As far as pirate leader Cullin is concerned, if Ari hasn’t been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Continue reading
Book Review: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
(Vorkosigan Saga #15)
I can’t believe it’s been fifteen books already. Here is the latest installment in this military space opera series, following Ivan Vorpatril. In the past, Ivan has played the Watson to the series protagonist Miles’ Sherlock Holmes. But with Captin Vorpatril’s Alliance, it’s his turn to get his very own book.
Captain Ivan Vorpatril, confirmed bachelor, is happy as an admiral’s aide on an easy assignment, far from the politicking of the empire. On the other side of town, Tej Arqua and the exotic blue-skinned Rish are on the run, assassins on their heels and a price on their heads.
And of course, Tej and Rish’s troubles soon become Ivan’s very big and inconvenient problem.
Bujold does it again – the novel is a rollercoaster of plots and resolutions, all with the humor and wit we’ve come to expect and love in her Miles’ series. I wasn’t very keen on reading a book from Ivan’s point of view (he’d never really struck me as an exciting character), but man, was I wrong. Ivan is great. He’s my favorite. I want more books about Ivan. Continue reading
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
(Vatta’s War series)
I have a weakness for space fantasy, so when I saw this cover staring out at me, I thought, “Oh no, I am absolutely not–“, but my hand was already reaching.
I started Trading in Danger at 10:23pm yesterday and finished it in one swoop. The last half I power-skimmed, bleary-eyed but enthusiastic. It was five minutes till four in the morning when I reached the back cover. As a result, I have no idea what to rate this book. All I know is this: it kept me turning the pages well past any semblance of a normal sleep schedule. And I love it for that.
Ky has just been kicked out of the military academy. Of course, she still has her family business and support to fall back on: the Vatta trading corporation’s run by her father, and he’ll find her a place in it. The problem? She’s failed again–and she doesn’t want to be seen as the irresponsible, pampered girl she used to be.
When her family gives her a ship and sends her on a trade route to get her away from the media mess she’d caused, it’s two-parts well-meaning banishment, and one-part opportunity. And then things begin get complicated.
Warships and pirates complicated.
Changing Vision by Julie E. Czerneda
(The second book in the Web Shifters series)
In a futuristic world, where humans and aliens have spread across the galaxy, Esen Alt Quar, a web shifter — a biological animorph, the last of her kind — shares a trading business with her friend and human, Paul Ragem. On taking her first vacation after fifty years of self-imposed exile, danger strikes, both accidental and malevolent. New species of aliens, old enemies, abduction, ghosts, torture, a super-weapon, the imminent destruction of a planet, and family grudges all rear their heads over the space of 500-some pages.
Now as with the other Czerneda books I have read so far (just three, to be fair), this novel suffers from the breadth of detail it attempts to cover, and from the scope of its interstellar action. At the same time, and though there are a lot of them, the minor characters are carefully three dimensional and undergo their own personal growth and redemption.
Changing Vision sets itself apart in another sense as well; it is neither the sword & sorcery genre transposed into space, nor is it a thinly veiled pretense for a romance novel. While I do enjoy romance (and, of course, the inevitable angst) in my Space Opera, the strength of this series is Continue reading