Review: Phase Shift
for sci-fi space opera readers who enjoy betrayal, angst and fighting for a potential lost cause @jeralibu @kmkjensen Phase Shift by Jenn Burke
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Be careful of what you wish for, because you might just get it. In another exciting installment of Chaos Station, Zander and Felix return to fight the good fight. This time, they are horrified to learn a whole new batch of super soldiers are being created like Zander's old team. A terrible blast from the past shows up in the form of the evil doctor bent on using Zander for her experiments again.
This latest book is hard for me. There are parts I really enjoyed and others which frustrated me. Frustrations will be discussed first as I want to end on a good note. First, I still loath the doctor and I want her to be ripped to shreds. I cannot understand how she keeps getting the upper hand. Second, the Guardians' reaction to this new batch of soldiers may be a bit extreme at first, but what doesn't make sense is Zander's response. I am disappointed with his tantrum. He does not seek to understand. He feels he is in the right and he demands to have things in his way. I think he forgets he is the ambassador, not the king to order the Guardians around. Then when he actually learns why the Guardians are so agitated, he still gives them the cold shoulder and continues his hissy fit. I just lost all respect for Zander.
For the good parts, I enjoyed the action. This book keeps a reader hopping with an adrenaline rush. I liked how Zander and his entire crew had to pull together with the colonist to figure out how to "save the world". Second, the authors inject great humour amidst tense situations.
"The Guardians transported us."
Zed knelt on the ground and held back Nessa's hair as she retched, his stomach clenching in sympathy. The only times he'd been transported by the Guardians, he'd been unconscious. Seemed like something he should be thankful for.
Flick steadied Elias and extended a hand to help Qek get to her feet.
"We said we wanted to help you, so here we are."
Elias looked up at Zed, his eyes dim and bleary. "Yay." (pg. 158)
The comedic timing for this is beautiful. The scene is set up so well and it is clear to see - even down to the "Yay". I can visualize scene and hear the resignation in Elias's tone. Hilarious for me. Other scenes that really amused me were the tentacles coming out of the holes. The way the crew and colonist fear them is totally understandable. But when Qek encounters them, her response freaks everyone out and also leaves them dumbfounded. I love Qek. She is fabulous.
Whilst this is a plot-driven story which I hope set us up for another book in the series, it is really the characters and how they react to situations which makes the book so good for me. Each of the characters are sort of misfits fitting together. They remind me of the crew from Joss Whedon's Firefly, but this crew is better. This world building is more robust and I like the aliens in this one better. I am eagerly anticipating the next book. Recommended for sci-fi space opera readers who enjoy betrayal, angst and fighting for a potential lost cause.