Friday, June 29, 2018

Mark Wandrey's Cartwright's Cavaliers

Me: Oh look, Cartwright's Cavaliers is going to be free all weekend. That's pretty cool.

Devil on My Shoulder: Oh, those evil, mean, hateful people. Didn't you just pay five dollars for that book like two weeks ago?

Me: Well, yeah, but...

Devil: But NOTHING!!!! We must have our revenge! Let it burn!!!

Angel on my Shoulder: You did pay for it, but let's face it. It was worth the five bucks. Actually, it was probably worth more than that. It was a really good book.

Me: That's true. I really enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, being a dude who has had some financial problems, watching Jim rise from the ashes and resurrect his father's business was kind of inspirational.

Devil: F that! We paid when we didn't have to.

Angel: Never mind you, devil. Aren't you a fan of violence for its own sake?

Devil: What has that got to do with anything?

Angel: You can't tell me you didn't enjoy the fight scenes. You can't tell me you didn't chuckle when all that stuff blew up.

Devil: Ok, yeah, that didn't suck. I still don't see why it's okay that we spent all that money.

Angel: And you can't tell me that the Adayn chick doesn't smell a little fishy to you.

Devil: Ok, she stinks. I'd think more brimstone and less fish though. She does have a sneaky feeling to her.

Angel: And listen, that space battle was hot, right. I mean, mass chaos death, screaming, no one knew what was going on.

Devil: Oh, okay, so I enjoy jacked up situations and that WAS a jacked up situation.

Angel: Oh, and Jim's mom was definitely one of yours, the way she screwed him and his whole company over and almost killed it. You know you loved that.

Devil: Yeah, it did make my day. I mean, how do you not love pure, self-centered evil like that? It was the greatest thing EV-AR! But there were soldiers in the book.

Angel: It's military science fiction, you knob. Of course there were soldiers in the book.

Devil: And they like worked together and stuff.

Angel: Mm-hmm. That's that soldiers do.

Devil: And some of the guys who helped Jim did it because they were still loyal to his dad and HIS DAD WAS DEAD!

Angel: Yeah, mortals are funny like that. They don't stop caring about each other just because one of them dies. Especially if it's someone they've fought and bled with.

Devil: I'm a devil jackass. I don't like it when people care about each other.

Angel: Oh, that's too bad. I mean, these guys work their tails off for each other. I was almost in tears when that cap...

Devil: I knew it. You're a wuss!

Angel: I know you liked that little Splunk thing.

Devil: You know, I have to have some respect for anything that looks that demonic. I mean, have you seen the stuffed animal version? She's a dead wringer for an imp! If only she had a bad attitude instead of acting like an animal companion in a Disney movie.

Angel: You know that Disney movies make hundreds of millions of dollars and are still watched decades later, right? And that they're so successful that people travel for thousands of miles and pay gobs of money to meet those same animal companions in “person?” And that they do it simply because they love them?

Devil: Huh?

Angel: And you can't tell me you that you don't want your very own pet Tortantula.

Devil: Heh. You know those things are cool. And they totally kick major ass. But what has that go to do with anything?

Angel: Never mind. Listen: You read this along with the rest of us right?

Devil: (snarky) Obviously, you dolt.

Angel: And now this is the second Four Horseman Universe book we've read, right? And we've reviewed both of them now too, right?

Devil: Yeah.

Angel: And we got the first one free even though that one was never offered for free to the public right?

Devil: Ok, yes. Come to the point will you?

Angel: Do you doubt for a single moment that the rest of the books are going to feature huge amounts of chaos and carnage?

Devil: Nope. Not at all. We're going to see lots of explosions. I can't wait. It's like it says in my favorite song. Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit...

Angel: I get it, guy. And we got this one sooner right?

Devil: Yeah. Unlike those slack-tards who didn't buy this thing up front.

Angel: So you're admitting that it was worth the five bucks to get it early?

Devil: No. It's FIVE STINKING DOLLARS!!

Angel: Ok, so what did you not like about the book?

Devil: I find it unrealistic that the mercs in the book would follow an obvious slug like Jim. I mean, he's a slug. These are guys who work their tails off to stay in shape to be better soldiers and all that guy does is eat pizza and drink Coke!

Angel: Uh, the book does show why they respect him. He earns it. And also, c'mon guy. Have you looked in the mirror lately? What else?

Devil: Uhhh... uhhh... Well, there's some mushy stuff.

Angel: C'mon guy. We already covered that. Is that really the best you've got? CAN YOU NOT COME STRONGER THAN THAT?

Devil: What's your point?

Angel: My point is that this book was five bones well spent.

Devil: Yeah, I guess it was.

Angel: Even if everyone else can get it for free for the next few days.

Devil: Now wait a minute...

Angel: Nope. I'm right. You're wrong.

Devil: Okay, so maybe you got one right on accident. Just this once. Don't think it'll ever happen again!

Angel: Oh, I'm sure it will. I'm an angel. You're just an a...

Me: That's enough you two.

Devil and Angel together: HMPH!

Me: Listen, we enjoyed Cartwright's Cavaliers so much we actually bought the sequel to it Asbaran Solutions. And we're not even sure that they won't put it up for free at some point.

Devil: WHAAAATTT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?

Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 Whacky Bloggers

Cartwright's Cavaliers
Mark Wandrey
Seventh Seal Press, 2017

Cartwright's Cavaliers is available for free from June 29 to July 1, 2018, and for purchase thereafter, at the following link:



Friday, June 15, 2018

Brent Weeks's The Broken Eye

When I first sat down to write this review, I was trying to decide whether Brent Weeks was a totally freaking awesome author or just a big, evil meaniehead who got his kicks from torturing his sweet, innocent readers. Then I realized that the two are not mutually exclusive. It's obviously both. I shall, for the nonce, embrace the power of “and.” Then again, we must enjoy it. How else would this guy have sold elebenty bajillion books?

So, yes, I'm behind but I finally got around to reading The Broken Eye and it was freaking epic. Weeks has a way of bringing the mighty low and promoting the weak to power. It's hard to follow sometimes but it's on full display here. The all powerful Prism, with his powers taken from him, is now a galley slave. The son of a drug addicted prostitute is elevated to one of the highest posts in all the Seven Satrapies. I mean seriously, keep a scorecard. Or better yet don't because Weeks has provided one for us in the back of the book. It's like one hundred pages long. But it's cool because a story this huge needs a big cast.

One of the great things about The Broken Eye is how the characters remain themselves throughout everything. Gavin Guile, fallen Prism, now plots to get home instead of to rule the Seven Satrapies. Karris White Oak, scion of a destroyed noble family, marries him and consorts with a member of the Spectrum, the ruling body of the Seven Satrapies. Kip, the kid who grew up poor, now stands to inherit a fortune and the political power that goes with it. Teia, a slave, trains to be part of the Blackguard, a unit of elite bodyguards and the only group allowed to carry arms in the capital. The list goes on.

Weeks knows how to write a hero. Kip is self-doubting but doesn't give up. He nearly dies because of his sheer stubbornness and dedication. Teia does what she must, even though she hates the necessity of some of it. Cruxer, leader of a squad of Blackguard inductees makes decisions and lives with them. He knows how to balance the good of his people with the missions they have to accomplish. Karris White Oak risks her l;ife to save her husband and leaves everything that ever mattered to her behind to follow a new path, a duty she never sought but is forced to undertake.

Weeks also knows how to write a villain. The Color Prince seeks to enslave all around him by telling them they'll be free after he takes over. Andross Guile is the embodiment of self-interest, pushing forward with his goals and the expense of anyone who gets in his way. Seriously, to Andross there are three types of people; those he can use to further his goals, those in the way of his goals and those that don't matter. He's a villain's villain. I love to hate that guy.

The Broken Eye is like every other Brent Weeks book in one respect: The reader cannot allow himself to become comfortable with the way the story is going. Everytime you think things are going to work out a certain way a plot twist hits. Upon reflection they make sense, but you can never see them coming. Reading is one of my favorite forms of physical relaxation. I kick back, put my fee up and crack open a tome. I don't relax mentally when I read Weeks's work. I'm constantly trying to figure out what comes next. It never seems to work but it definitely keeps me interested.

The action sequences in The Broken Eye are amazeballs. Luxin (light turned tangible through magic) is an amazing weapon and the martial arts present here are crazy too. Primitive guns, blades and magic. You just can't go wrong. Well, maybe you could be Weeks didn't. Some of these sequences made me want to go out and hit something just to fit in.

Ok, so the actions of the Spectrum do kind of piss me off, but that's kind of the point. They're so busy denying the fact that they are at war that they won't fight an enemy that is invading their country and killing their people. They're pretty typical politicians in other words. Say soothing things to the population and do nothing to accomplish anything. I have to believe that Weeks is doing this intentionally. They do manage to appoint Andross Guile as promachos (basically a wartime dictator and leader of armies) but then he basically does nothing as well. In actuality, they do manage to throw a big party for their biggest holiday so I guess that's SOMEthing, even if it's the WRONG thing. But what do I know? I'm just the reader.

On the other side of the equation are some of our aforementioned heroes who want to do what they need to. The problem is that they don't have the political power to raise the necessary army themselves and, while some of them are crazy powerful, they don't have the ability to win the war without one. The other side has lots of powerful people too. This war is going to be a battle royale, if the Spectrum ever gets off of their asses and decides to fight it.

Honestly, I wanted to see more of the war than I did. Bad news arrives occasionally, but we don't get to see the fight up close and personal the way I wanted to. It makes sense given the plot of the book, but it's a bit frustrating. A lot of what I enjoy about fantasy fiction is the fighting and the wars. We don't get that here. It's still an awesome book though, and there is a sequel already out.

It's only fair to mention that The Broken Eye is third in a series. The first two were The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife. I recommend them all (and I'm reading the fourth book, The Blood Mirror, currently) but I would not recommend The Broken Eye as a standalone. There is too much going on here that is carried on from earlier books. Seriously, if you're going to read TBE start at the beginning with The Black Prism. You'll thank me later.

Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 Lightforged Arrows

The Broken Eye
Brent Weeks
Orbit Books, 2014

The Broken Eye is available for purchase at the following link:


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Lucasfilm's SOLO: A Star Wars Story

Right, so let's just put this out there: I didn't go see SOLO: A Star Wars Story right away because I thought it would suck. One of the writers came out and talked about Lando Calrissian being a pansexual. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against people being paansexual if that's what's natural for them. I'm not against pansexuals being portrayed in movies or books or on TV, whatever. What freaked me out was that they were bragging about it. Whenever I'm lectured about diversity and inclusivity I assume that I'm being told that I have to see a shitty movie because I'll be some kind of -ist or -phobe if I don't. Don't think I'm right? Two words: Ghostbusters reboot. 'Nuff said.

That much being said, I kind of wish I had gone sooner. This was a good movie. I'm going to make a comparison here. Some of you are going to be turned off by it, but it's valid, I think. Think about the Star Wars prequels. Okay, I'll wait while you stop swearing. Ready?

Listen, we all hated The Phantom Menace. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is not supposed to be a little goofball. Jar Jar Binks was annoying. The plot meandered and in a lot of ways the movie was more about cool stunts by Industrial Light and Magic than the story. Attack of the Clones was a love story. Actually, it was a creepy love story. Padme was so much older than Anakin that it shouldn't have worked. Star Wars is about wars, not lovers. And again, special effects were more important than the plot. If you remember the beginning and the car chase through Coruscant, it was sweet looking. What it didn't do was a whole lot to move things forward. But let's stop for a second and talk about Revenge of the Sith. What were the complaints about that? I don't remember tany. People weren't up in arms about that one.

Revenge of the Sith did what it set out to do. It was the true origin story of Darth Vader. The first two movies were pretty much fluff and filler, but ROTS was a good flick. Yes, it was a special effects extravaganza. Star Wars always has been. The thing was, it was a good story. We found out what happened to Luke and Leia's mother. We saw why Darth Vader ended up in a bionic body and couldn't breathe right. We watched the Jedi fall and Yoda exile himself to Dagobah. We found out why Obi Wan Kenobi lived near Luke. It wasn't perfect. Nothing made by a human ever is. It was pretty close, though.

SOLO: A Star Wars Story is like that, only better. This movie harkens back to A New Hope. SOLO is probably the best SW movie since Return of the Jedi. There is so much in this movie. I don't want to spoil too much, but pretty much everything you wanted to know about Han Solo is in this movie. He meets Chewie. He meets Lando Calrissian and gets the Millenium Falcon. He becomes an outlaw. We even find out how it makes sense that the Falcon made the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs. I mean, it's a bit goofy, but it makes sense and it's Han Freaking Solo. This is Mr. "Never tell me the odds." In context it really does work. OH, and we get to see who shot first in another context. I like it.

For the record, I can't seem to think of a better word for Lando than pansexual. It makes sense. It moves the plot forward. I don't want to get into exactly why I say this, because it's too big of a spoiler, but it works. It also makes Lando even more interested in keeping his ship. In a way, it makes what happens in Cloud City make sense. Emotion often clouds human judgment. I can't think of a better way to hurt a man and make him angry.

Alden Ehrenreich makes a good Han Solo. Look, he's not Harrison Ford. No one _is_ Harrison Ford, except Harrison Ford. But Harrison Ford isn't quite as young as he was in nineteen seventy-seven. They needed someone new and they found him. Ehrenreich did a damn good job of portraying the Solo character. He didn't have all of Ford's mannerisms but he's not Ford. It works.
Donald Glover actually plays a better Lando Calrissian than Billy Dee Williams did. He's just got this awesome vibe. He's so relaxed in his element and he's an awesome pilot/owner of the Falcon. His love affair is believable when it probably shouldn't be. I really got into his character. Let's be honest here. Lando was really a minor character in the original trilogy. In SOLO he takes second place only to Han himself. He gets a lot of screen time. He earns it. I'd hate to say that he steals the show at times, but well, he does. is a hell of an actor. I want to see more of him. I know that SOLO is a standalone but maybe we could see him starring in something else. I'd pay to see it. I'm just sayin'. A quick look at IMDB shows Glover in a lot of movies, but I'd like to see him in a starring role.

Of course, it's not a perfect movie. Han seems to be a bit more naive than I thought he would be. Granted, he fell for Leia pretty quick in the original trilogy but the way effects him in this movie is crazy. He follows her into a situation that quite frankly doesn't make any sense. This guy's name is Solo because he's a loner. This is the guy that rescued Leia for money to pay off his debts. Han Solo is not Mister Nice Guy. I don't know if I like that part of the plot. Also, we had never heard of fuel in Star Wars until The Last Jedi. This film centers around it. The Kessel Run turns out to be about getting unrefined fuel. The whole thing is centered on a substance that no one knew existed through the first four decades of the franchise. I find that to be a bit annoying, even if I didn't have a problem believing it. All in all though, the film was a good time. It's a popcorn flick and it delivers that feeling of fun.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Blaster Bolts

SOLO: A Star Wars Story
Lucasfilm, 2018

Some SOLO: A Star Wars Story related merchandise is available at the links below.













Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Chuck Wendig, False Accusations of Racism and Leftist BS

(Screen shots of Chuck Wendigs comments can be found at this link.)

My friends, I have a confession to make. Whenever I hear a cast or crew member (or a director if he's not part of the crew, I always get confused about that) come out with an announcement about a character's sexuality and/or status as a trans person and/or talking about "representation" in a film I assume it's because they're trying to lay a guilt trip on all of us. Think about the Ghostbusters reboot that we were supposed to see, not because it was a good movie, but so our daughters could "have their own heroes." As long as there is a good story behind a film, I'm all about it. But in too many cases, I think Hollywood has mistaken "inclusive" for "entertaining." I don't go to a movie to see "inclusion." I have a limited amount of money and I worked sixty-five hours last week. I spend my time and money on your product because I want to escape for a couple hours. A good story helps me do that.

That's not to say that inclusion is a bad thing. Black Panther was inclusive as all hell and it was one of the best Marvel movies up to this point. Wonder Woman was an excellent flick and had a female main character. Of course, action movies in general have had black leads for decades. Just ask Wesley Snipes and Will Smith how they spent the Nineties. The Star Trek franchise, especially the original series, was inclusive when inclusive was still referred to as "integrated," and it's been a favorite of mine since before I learned to walk. They were good stories and I enjoyed them all.

It's just that when I hear a Hollywood insider bragging about how inclusive their movie is I assume that it sucks. When they start bragging about things other than the plot and the characters, I start assuming that they're either

A.) Looking for an excuse as to why the movie bombed ahead of time

OR

B.) Trying to keep it from bombing by telling us all that we're either an -ist or a -phobe if we don't go see it and therefore attempting to force us to buy tickets.

OR

C.) Hopefully B but maybe A. This is probably the most common reason.

That's why I waited to go see Black Panther (It was a damn good movie. See my review.) and also why I hesitated to see Solo: A Star Wars Story. When writer Jonathan Kasdan came out stating that Lando was I just assumed that what I just talked about was happening. Looking back on it, I guess it was inevitable that people would talk about skin color and the cast of Black Panther but I was hesitant there for the same reason. In both cases, I waited to see what other people would say after they saw the movie before I went. In the case of both movies ninety plus percent of the people I know who saw it loved it and I, therefore, went to see them. In the case of Ghostbusters I can't remember a single person who said they like it after they saw it and I haven't see it. I didn't go see it at the theater. I haven't rented it. I don't plan to. If Hollywood wants my money for an inclusive movie they can have it IF they can make a good movie, that I want to see.

All of this leads me to Chuck Wendig's little hissy fit. Apparently, anyone who didn't like The Last Jedi or hasn't seen SOLO is, indeed, an -ist or a -phobe. The audience didn't hate TLJ because of the extreme stupidity of some of the characters or because they ruined Luke Skywalker for us. They hated it because the characters had different skin colors and the main character was female. Listen guys, I've had enough of the lying here. I'm going to lay it out for you.

Yes racism still exists. No, it should not. Not everything that happens is good. That much being said, it's not the be-all, end-all reason that everything happens. Really. Are there some people that hated TLJ because it had a mixed cast? I'm sure there are. I haven't met, talked or electronically corresponded with any, but I'm sure they're out there. I already admitted that racism happens. The thing is that we're talking about a very small percentage of the fan base here.

And yes, I'm aware of the harassment suffered by Kelly Marie Tran. Some assholes ran her off of social media. That's exactly what they are: Assholes. That doesn't make them racists (Yes, all racists are assholes, but not all assholes are racist) and it doesn't make them misogynist. I had no problem with the Rose character, but a lot of people did. They were too stupid to separate a character from the actress who played her. Harassment is illegal and Tico would be perfectly justified in taking some type of legal action but don't mistake straight up trolling for racism. Sometimes an asshole really is just an asshole. And, for those out there who missed the entire point of this paragraph, no it was not okay that those assholes harassed Tran.

The problem like Wendig and others like him is that they live in a world where what succeeds should depend on how well if supports their political beliefs and not whether or not it's a quality movie. Listen folks, it doesn't work that way. For one, not everyone believes as you do. For another, you haven't reached the level of political power where you can force people to watch something just because you told them to. This is still the United States and not Panem. There is no such thing as required viewing.

And yes, you are lying when you try to make everything about racial hatred. It is possible to dislike something a non-white (or not-male, or-non straight, or non-cis) person did on its own merits and not because you hate them for being what they are. Really. It's even possible to like something that a non-white, or non-male or non straight or non-cis person did and not like it just because they fit into that category as well. Seriously. I loved Doogie Howser as a kid and How I Met Your Mother as an adult. Barney Stinson is the man. I'm a Neil Patrick Harris fan. No, it's not because he's gay. It's because he's a good actor. That's the way it should be.

Yes, modern social theory does say that we should seek out -isms and -phobias in all of their forms, but you're forgetting that there is something called confirmation bias. Basically, and this applies to all human beings including myself, if a person expects to find something they will. If a person expects to find racism they'll find it. If a person expects to find sexism, they'll find it. If a person expects to see evidence that the other side is over-reacting to something because they perceive something as an -ism when it's not they'll find that too. I'm not perfect but at least I acknowledge my biases and try to work around them. Those of you out there who like to label everyone they disagree with as an -ist don't bother. We're all the same to you and any objection to your ideas means hate, at least as far as you're concerned.

Star Trek is a cultural icon. In a society where flashes in the pan are common it has thrived for over fifty years now. It was the first integrated show. It featured the first interracial kiss. It has tackled ideas like racism, sexism and environmentalism for decades. If you don't think that having a bridge crew featuring white men, a black woman and an Asian man was cutting edge in 1967 then you really need to take a history class. The reason that it works is not that it supports those ideas. The reason it has succeeded is because it is entertaining. If you want to get your point across you need to chill on the screaming hatred and finger pointing and work on putting a quality product together because we're not going to buy your crap just because you yell -ist. Nor do we care if you're offended.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Kacey Ezell's Minds of Men

(Due to the fact that I pretty much suck at life, Kacey Ezell got left out of my Memorial Day promotion featuring works written by veterans of the United States Armed Forces and featuring the US Military in action. I didn't get word to her quickly enough and by the time she inquired about submitting, I didn't have time to read and review the book. My fault, not hers. My bad, Kacey. At any rate, Kacey is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (class of 99). She flew the UH-1N and Mi-17 helicopters. She had at least one deployment to a war zone, that being Iraq.)

Psst.... Hey, you. The one reading the blog. I see you there. You think I'm talking to someone else. Listen, I need you to work with here, okay? I'm about to share with a review about a book named Minds of Men by Kacey Ezell. But uhh... well...

*Jim looks over both shoulders*

It's umm... Alternate history. And I've got a history degree. And if one of my old professors were to find out that I read a book that they'd consider to be historical fiction, I'd be in deep doo-doo. If they found out I enjoyed it, I'd be in even deeper doo-doo. And if they found out I featured it on my blog and encouraged others to read it, I'd get to find out if it was possible to impeach me and take my degree away. So, I mean, yeah, Minds of Men kicks ass, but if you talk to any history professors from Oakland University (where I got my BA) especially, or Wayne State University (where I did some graduate work but never finished) then you didn't hear how good this book was from me. K? I mean, you can still say you read and enjoyed it if you don't mind the inevitable backlash. Just don't tell them it's my fault. I've got kids.

On the other hand, Minds of Men is a really excellent book. Kacey did a great job of creating a world where things are close enough to be recognizable but just far enough away to be considered fiction. She sucked me into this thing quickly. I really did enjoy the premise of this story. It gets going and doesn't stop. Ezell knew what she was doing when she wrote this. This is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, her first published novel, but it doesn't read like it was written by a rookie. It's entertaining as hell and holds together well.

The premise of the book is that some very few rare women are able to communicate telepathically. By using this ability they can effectively create a network among people. The Women's Army Corps recruits twenty of these women to send on bomber missions during World War Two in Europe. They end up flying in B-17s. This results in faster communication and saves lives and improves accuracy. The real joy of the book is in the characters as always, but the telepathic networking is what holds the story together and it is fascinating.

I have to say this: In order for the premise of the book to work, you have to give Ezell about ten pages or so. It's not a lot and it makes more sense once you see what they're doing in action. I was a bit skeptical at first. I mean, radio was in common use by every side in World War Two. I didn't see how telepathic communication would be any faster or work any better. I kept reading though and I'm glad I did. The difference between radio and psychic networking is the difference between dial up internet and a gigabit connection. It just takes a bit of patience to let the characters explain it to you. Oh, and without going into massive amounts of spoilers, let's just say that networking isn't the only thing these ladies are capable of. Seriously, read the book if you want to learn what all they can do. There is an awful lot there and almost all of it makes sense.

Minds of Men is well named. It turns out that they psychic women can bond better with men, even though (or maybe because for all I know) men don't have psychic ability. Our heroine, Evelyn "Evie" Adamsen, bonds psychically with her crew (and yes, she becomes as much a part of the crew as any of the men because she earns it) and goes through hell on Earth with them. Seriously. I've often thought (as someone with zero combat experience) that in all of the wars in history and all of the places that humans have fought and all of the specialties of the people who have fought, the worst job literally ever would be to end up hanging in the sky over Europe in a plane flying straight and level about to drop bombs with nowhere to hide and no way to dodge. Knowing that someone is trying to kill me would be bad enough. Making it easy for them so that I can get my job done is probably a bit more than I could get through. Evie does it though, and so does her crew.

There is more to Minds of Men than simply bomber missions though. I don't want to spoil the book, so I'll just say that possibly the most harrowing part of the work doesn't happen in the sky. Ezell, having been a pilot herself, shows us what I would expect most pilots nightmares to look like. This aircrew goes through some bad stuff. They come out of it okay-ish though, and a lot of that has to do with Evie herself. Her gifts save them all.

Speaking of Evie, she's a damn well written character. I watched part of a video earlier today about the problems with women in fiction. The vlogger (whose name I don't remember and am too lazy to go look up) spoke about a dichotomy between the wilting violet type and the utter badass type. Weak feminine characteristics versus masculine women. Evie is neither. She doesn't straight up bitchslap dudes, and she doesn't just fold up and die and wait for the men to come and rescue her. Evie uses her abilities and keeps her guys alive but she is not the physical threat that some women are, despite differences in muscle mass and size that most women would face in the real world. I really enjoyed her.

Oh, and the cover says it's book one of The Psyche of War. That means we've got more coming from Ms. Ezell. I'm stoked. This is some seriously good stuff and I'm in for the next one. Whenever it gets here. Of course, I'd never be that fan and actually bother an author about when the next one's coming. I wouldn't dare tell someone to shut up and take my money or anything. That's just not me.

Now, I guess it's time for the disclaimer: If you're a feminazi who can't stand the thought that a woman might need some help from a man at some point in her life then maybe this isn't the perfect book for you. Conversely, if you're a whiner who wants to pretend that a female MC is some kind of political statement, like the guys who whined about the women in the new Mad Max, maybe you should spend some time doing manly stuff instead. I mean, it does include members of the Women's Army Corps. So, if you're a whiny little bitch on either side of the line then, assuming you can't develop the maturity to handle a good book based on its merits and not your politics, I would suggest something else. On the other hand, if you have at least as much mental and emotional maturity as the average eight year old, buy this book and read it.

Bottom Line: 5.0 out of 5 Stars

Minds of Men
Kacey Ezell
Theogony Books, 2017

Minds of Men is available for purchase at the following link: