Book Reviews: Four for the Fourth!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Four for Fourth

With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, I wanted to give GeekDad readers a few book possibilities to entertain them before the fireworks and afterwards. These four are in no particular order — I enjoyed each and every one of them. Have a safe and fun Fourth of July to those celebrating this coming weekend!

Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea (out now)

Koko

As I was finishing up this great action story, I was thinking that it contained a good mix of Tank Girl (attitude), Die Hard (chase scenes), and Fifth Element (technology and atmosphere). In 2516, Koko Martsteller is an ex-mercenary just trying to make a living as a bartender/brothel owner in The Sixty Islands, an Earth-based chain of man-made islands that serve up any type of entertainment one desires. Koko’s as comfortable serving a mixed cocktail as she is field servicing a Sig 1-9Z pulse round rifle. She got offered the job from a previous ex-mercenary who’s now on the fast-track for upper-management of The Sixty, so now she’s all confused as to why her boss has now sent a squad of corporate security to kill her.

Koko is snarky, dangerous, and very intelligent. She doesn’t give up easily, so expect a roller-coaster ride as Koko proceeds to use all her contacts and skills to survive as a trio of bounty hunters proceed to chase her around one of the thousands of hulking ships orbiting the globe in low-Earth orbit. Plenty of explosions, bullets, wise cracks, and surprises will leave you wanting more. And the best news is that Koko the Mighty will be out in Summer 2015. Yippee-Ki-Yay… this book completely rocks.

California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout (out now)

California Bones

I’m a huge fan of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim novels; I never really gave Urban Fantasy a chance until these stories came along, and now I’m always on the lookout for more. One really pleasant surprise dropped on my doorstep last week — California Bones. It’s Los Angeles, but not our LA. This one is full of magic, and is part of the independent Southern California that has broken away from independent Northern California and the United States Of America. The man running Southern California, Hierarch, is in control because he controls the magic that comes from bones. Griffin bones. Unicorn bones. Dragon bones. All kinds of mythical creatures’ bones. Grind them up, cook them, eat them… and you’ve got power. And that power depends on the type of bones you ingest.

Daniel Blackland was given a dose of Kraken when he was young by his father, a powerful osteomancer. Daniel’s father was onto a big secret related to bones and magic, diving deep into the physics and quantum aspects of energy and magic, when he was killed (and eaten) by Hierarch for both his power and risk. Daniel, abandoned by a mysterious mother and raised by his Uncle Otis, a criminal and dealer in bones, has fallen into a life of crime himself. Uncle Otis has a job for him… one Daniel could retire on. He’s going to break into Hierarch’s storehouse, the Ossuary, and it’s going to take Daniel and his colleagues — a shapeshifter, a safecracker, and a rejuvenating strongman — all their skills and tricks to survive.

Plenty of twists and turns, and some great world-building with a unique take on magic are going to entertain you. (And I wouldn’t be surprised if this story makes it to the big screen one day.)

William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher (July 1, 2014)

Jedi

If you’ve read the first two books, Verily a New Hope and The Empire Striketh Back, then you knew this was on its way. Once again, Doescher applies his talents at recreating The Bard’s art with a retelling of Episode VI.

It’s all here — Han in Carbonite, Jabba, Leia in the “metal-fashion’d suit,” Endor and Ewoks, “Fie! ’tis a trap!” and Vader’s redemption. And scattered throughout the book are number of fun surprises — my favorite being “Tis Well To Be a Gangster,” a twist on a familiar rap song sung for Jabba and minions just before a strange bounty hunter arrives with a certain Wookie in tow.

Woodcut drawings are once again scattered throughout the book, and look at that cover! If you’re a Star Wars fan, these three hardcovers deserve a spot on your bookshelf.

Resistance by Samit Basu (July 8, 2014)

Resistance

Okay, yes, technically this sequel won’t be out until after July 4th, but that means you’ll have time to find and read Turbulence, the book that sets the stage for this follow-up tale of super-powered heroes and villains in the year 2020.

I’m not kidding — Turbulence was a breath of fresh air in the world of superhero novels. That novel took place in India, and it was so interesting to read Basu’s take on superheroes and super villains in that country and culture. Resistance takes place 11 years later, and is much more broad in its settings — New York and Japan are added as key locales for the storyline. That first group to obtain super powers is now joined by additional waves as the source of the powers (but not the reason) have been discovered and more humans have received them. Once again, humans given extraordinary powers tend to move towards good or bad, and that’e exactly where the sequel picks up, with teams of heroes fighting against villains while at the same time managing their websites and Twitter feeds to see what the public thinks of their actions.

But in the shadows, someone is targeting super powers, good and bad. And when the major characters from the first book are once again pulled together as a sinister conspiracy is revealed, things are going to get out of control fast. I have to be careful about saying too much because there are so many potential spoilers, some of them taking place right at the beginning of the book!

If you read Turbulence and enjoyed it, just know you’ll love this one, too. And if you haven’t discovered either book, you’re in for a great ride.

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