'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Last Praetorian

The next book in my fantasy blog review is 'The Last Praetorian' by Mike Smith.

Front Cover




Synopsis

Commander Jonathan Radec is a man desperately trying to escape from the mistakes of his past. 

Now the owner of Vanguard Shipping, his primary concerns are trying to keep his ships flying and his crew alive. However, the shadowy Syndicate organisation has set their sights on the Commander and his business, having sent a beautiful assassin to kill him. To make matters worse, she’s become the target of his infatuation, much to the dismay of his ex-girlfriend. Recently elevated to President of the Confederation, she’s still very much in love with him and capable of making his life a living hell.

Surrounded by a galaxy beginning to tear itself apart, with enemies on all sides, he’s now also unwillingly tasked with trying to save the Confederation – for which he has little regard. Jon has little going in his favour, except a crew consisting of the elite of the old Imperial Navy, all of whom would fight to the death for him, and a past that possibly makes him one of the most dangerous men alive.

The Last Praetorian is a Science Fiction adventure/romance, which tries to answer the question: “Can you ever find redemption for the mistakes of your past?”

My review


First of all this is a sci-fi book. I know lots of non-fantasy people find a hard time differentiating between the two but for me there's a clear divide and it does annoy me a little when I walk into a bookstore and find the fantasy section invaded by sci-fi books and vice-versa.

I do read the occasional sci-fi book if the plot is interesting. Most times I find when reading sci-fi, is that my level of concentration has to be notched up another level than when I’m reading fantasy books. I’m not saying fantasy books are simple, it’s just that sci-fi by their very nature it seems; have to be overly complicated with their terms and definitions. So often I’ve found myself lost in the description of a space-particle jump or terraformation. While reading sci-fi I need to be able to take in every page so that I’m not struggling to understand the next one, and that can be tiring if all you want to do is sit back and relax. I guess that’s one reason why I tend to be selective when it comes to reading sci-fi books.

Anyway, moving on....

What caught my interest in this book was that it was going for free - and I'm always one for reading a free book. My interest was further cemented by the amount of positive reviews it had garnered on Amazon.uk and Amazon.com. It had received 313 reviews from amazon.com with an average rating of 4 stars. To say my expectations were high would be an understatement. However, I did try to dampen my excitement, as in the past I’ve found books that were positively reviewed by so many people but left me disappointed and wondering what they saw and what I saw (actually maybe it could just be me).
Well, I’m glad to say the book met my every expectation.

Brilliant.

That was the first word that entered my mind when I finished the book. The book is based around the principle character, Jonathan Radec, who is part of an elite group of soldiers, whose task it is to protect the emperor. The books starts of well, not dramatic, but enough to draw me in. It only got started when a certain person is killed. I'm not going to say who it is, but it's kinda obvious.

There are two storylines in play while reading this book. One, recalling the past and the other the present. Normally I'm not a fan of flashbacks, as I mentioned in my previous post but its done well in this book.

The pace of the book is great. It moved from one scene to another at the right time and there was enough action scenes in it to keep hold of readers who are into that. What I did enjoy above all else was the interactions between the characters. Several times I found myself smiling at how characters played off each other. It felt natural and not awkward.

One aspect of the book that I was intrigued in was the romantic part of it. I enjoy reading romance in a book, as I find it brings another dimension to a story. Most are tacky, and others are too sappy, but this one was done right. It was believable and endearing.
There is a love triangle in the book, which I  felt was a bit forced.

One minor point of criticism I found, is that it divulges into too much politics and I did find myself glossing over those parts.

I'm now scratching my head trying to think of anything else I didn't like.

I guess the action scenes were not your - edge of the seat type action - but it was still done brilliantly and got me turning the pages swiftly, eager to find out what happens next.

In truth, I couldn't find a lot of negatives to say about the book, and I’m lucky that I got it for free.

The book finishes on a cliffhanger, and the author, Mike Smith, has done a great job in not only finishing the book on a high but writing an ending that won't fail to draw in readers into buying the second installment.

Conclusion


A great book that lived up to my expectations and I would not hesitate at all to recommend it to others. If you enjoy a good action book intertwined with romance, then this is definitely one for you. 

My rating out of 10 stars:



High 7 - A book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would have received an 8 if not for some minor points highlighted above.

***

Give it a go, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much I did. Here's the link for Amazon UK and US.

Until my next post, have a great day.

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