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These images were provided by J.R. Handley and are used with is content. Any reuse without his permission is in violation of his copyright.

Character:  I mentioned in my review for Legion that Lance is the only character I could really hold onto.  While I still think the reader has too many characters to track, things calm down, and we do get to know more of the other characters. I remember GG, a Junton commander. Basil has an amazing hero moment!  Nhlappo is an interesting character as well.  Those characters create an effective base and allow the reader to grow closer to the characters around them. I’d say that’s a definite improvement.  Lance sort of disappears near the end of the book (not literally, like a spoiler, but his air time sort of falls off). The action is so quick, the reader shouldn’t really mind. Besides, I was more interested in GG’s arc at the time. This isn’t unexpected in a series. You’re going to meet a cast of characters, and some books may shift from character to character. I’m most looking forward to Nhlappo’s confrontation with Spartika. If book 3 delivers that, I’m a happy guy. I’d still like a bit more air time for those characters and fewer cuts to other characters, but as long as I have these guys to follow, I’ll be loyal to the series.

World building:  I still think fans of Human Legion will latch onto this more quickly, but I was able to track this story pretty effectively. Now, part of this is because one source of conflict is the survivability of the planet. This clever source of conflict allows a nube like me to get familiar with Human Legion terms and characters as I learn about the story. I didn’t feel nearly as lost in this book as I did at times in book one. Part is because I have a book under my belt, the other is because of that particular plot line.

Description: This is the strongest area of Handley’s writing. He gives the reader what he needs without taking away the readers imagination. He has a nice mix of active verbs and carefully placed adjectives that help the reader visualize through observation instead of narration. He does himself a credit with how he draws the reader in with scenes and action sequences. Action scenes are key in science fiction combat books, and Handley has that part down.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Fortress Beta City by J.R. Handley

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