Wrath of an Angry God by Gibson Michaels – DNF

Wrath of an Angry GodWrath of an Angry God

by Gibson Michaels
Series: The Sentience Trilogy, #3<

Kindle Edition, 340 pg.
Arc Flash Publishing, 2015
Read: March 4 – 5, 2017


I’m posting this because: 1. I didn’t want to look like I was abandoning this series on a whim. 2. If I’m going to say that I’m going to finish books that authors give me, I’d better have a reason for not sticking with that.

I’m not posting this because I want to trash Mr. Michaels or his work. I am curious about what happens at the end of this series — I’ve read about 978 pages of it, and on the whole, have enjoyed it.

So why am I not finishing this? Because frankly, I don’t care what the justification you give (and I can think of several), raping your wife for her own good (at best) or to get her to conform to cultural norms (at worse) is just not something I’m going to read.

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Defying the Prophet by Gibson Michaels

Defying the ProphetDefying the Prophet

by Gibson Michaels
Series: The Sentience Trilogy, #2

Kindle Edition, 370 pg.
Arc Flash Publishing, 2014

Read: February 23 – 27, 2017


The second installment of a trilogy has the hardest role — the first introduces us to the world, the characters, the conflict — basically sets the stage for everything in the series. The third has to tie up everything and give a satisfying conclusion. The second has to build on the first and make the audience want to read the end. There needs to be a clear arc to the book (or what’s the point), yet the conclusion has to make us thirst for more. It’s also bound to be the most overlooked entry in the trilogy (The Empire Strikes Back being one of the exceptions that proves the rule). As such, Defying the Prophet fulfilled most of the duties of the second installment, and was entertaining enough — but man, I just wanted more from it.

I also usually find it difficult to talk about the second installments more than the other two, so here are some general observations as I put off any real analysis off until I finish the series.

I was surprised — and pleased — at how quickly Michaels wrapped up the Civil War story in this book — I really expected it to go on much longer. I’m not entirely certain I liked the mechanism by which he did it — but I can’t say I disliked it, but it almost seemed a bit too easy. Oh well, he uses the state of military readiness of the various human governments to be able to respond to the looming alien invasion in an effective manner.

The battles between the human factions were good. The battles between Raknii and humans was great. Seriously great — particularly the first one. I’m not sure Michaels could’ve sustained things there longer without sacrificing quality, but I wish he did. Thankfully, there’s more to come on this front, and I can’t wait to see how things go there.

I didn’t find the plots involving the internal developments and movements with Raknii as compelling this time around — and they were my favorite parts of the first book. We also didn’t get as much of them this time. Still, I appreciate what he’s doing with the Raknii overall and would willingly read more about them beyond this series.

Meanwhile, at least a few people in the USA have started to figure out just how the AI that runs things for them undermined them in the lead-up to the Civil War — and during it. They still don’t seem to have a great idea what they’re going to do with that knowledge however . . .

My biggest problem with this book is that at a certain point it was like Michaels realized — “you know what I haven’t included in this series? Romance. I’d better fix that.” — and then, bang-zoom, we’ve got two love stories going. One page it’s all political/economic/military intrigue and action and the next it’s political/economic/military intrigue and action plus hearts, flowers, and anatomy. Which was awkward enough, but then those love stories just weren’t that well-executed. He reminded me of Aaron Sorkin’s attempts at romantic comedy in Sports Night, The West Wing, and The Newsroom — I loved almost every other thing Sorkin did in those shows, but man . . . romance just isn’t his thing (I’m not even going to mention Studio 60, because that was just bad all around) . Michaels tried — and I appreciate the effort, and could enjoy what he was going for, they were sweet, but I just don’t think he nailed the telling (and, yes, Mr. Michaels, if you read this, feel free to summarize this as “He favorably compared me to an Oscar Winning writer”).

So we’ve got an interstellar conflict to wrap-up; at least one species’ culture is going to be changed by this conflict; some internal shake-ups to go along with that among the Raknii; at least one human government responding to the sentient AI; the sentient AI up to something new; and a couple of other dangling plotlines — and 340 pages to do it all in. Wrath of an Angry God is going to be a busy, busy conclusion — should be a fun ride. This? This was good, but it’s clearly the middle volume and really the poof’s going to be in whether Michaels can stick the landing. My guess is that he can, but we’ll have to see.

Disclaimer: I received this novel from the author in exchange for this post — thanks Mr. Michaels.

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3 Stars

Storm Clouds Gathering by Gibson Michaels

Storm Clouds GatheringStorm Clouds Gathering

by Gibson Michaels
Series: The Sentience Trilogy, #1

Kindle Edition, 366 pg.
Arc Flash Publishing, 2014

Read: January 28 – 30, 2017


There’s a sentient, autonomous AI running around the computers that run (essentially) the State and Defense Department for the United Stellar Alliance. It’s trying to learn how to act more like humans while carrying out its duties — both official and unofficial. The unofficial duties include caring for (and learning from) the descendant of its creator — someone who wouldn’t be allowed access to the AI by anyone other the AI. There are some officers in the Intelligence wings of the Fleet who think that there might be something going on with the AI running FALCON, and set out to find it (if such is a thing).

Meanwhile, long-term stresses and problems within the United Stellar Alliance are coming to a head and the planets that make up the alliance are on the verge of declaring war on each other. The moves that the various entities make — and the politics behind the moves — fed into my political and historical interests (and other readers will resonate with them, too, I expect).

But here’s the best part — as interesting as all these things are — it’s not the main story. The main story involves an alien race, the Raknii. The Raknii are a warrior/hunter society, one who conquers pretty much everything they encounter — without mercy, without pity, without consideration for anything other than victory. But many of the leaders of this race are questioning this — and fear that the culture has gone astray. About this time, they discover a new race in the galaxy — one that will prove to be the ultimate test for the Raknii, which may help their culture get back on track. That race, of course, is humanity.

Each storyline worked for me in just the right way — the Civil War story was good, the parallels to the US Civil War were maybe overplayed, but they were used well enough that I’m not going to complain too loudly. The story of the AI learning about human cultures was nothing but fun — ditto for the efforts of Fleet Intelligence to get to the bottom of things. All this going on with a large-scale alien invasion looming unbeknownst to any human was a great touch — any of these would keep me reading, mixing them the way that Gibson did was icing on the cake.

The cast of characters in this is so extensive that I can’t really comment on them all — let’s just say that I liked just about ever character — no matte how they threaten the fate of humanity. About the only people I didn’t like were those from the Consortium (a group of businessmen that have more of an impact on the USA’s government than anyone appreciates) — and there’s just nothing redeemable about them (or frightfully interesting outside of their role as antagonists).

Michaels writes with heart, humor, hope and a pretty good attention to detail. There are plenty of infodumps throughout — especially concerning the Raknii, but also getting the reader brought up to speed with humanity’s politics/technology — but these are almost always woven in well with character moments and the over all narrative. I just had a blast reading this.

This is the first entry of a trilogy, and is one of those that doesn’t come to any real resolution as such. It’s more of a pause in the action before jumping into the next volume. I’m not crazy about those kind of books, but I get the thinking — the point is to move on to the next two books. Besides, I enjoyed this enough that all I want to do is move on, I can live without that temporary resolution. I’m giving this a 3-Star Rating, but do so in the expectation that the following entries will be ranked higher.

Disclaimer: I received this novel from the author in exchange for this post — thanks Mr. Michaels.

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3 Stars