Review: “Lucky Invasion,” Joshua James

Pros: Wonderful action and characters
Cons: A little forced
Rating: 4 out of 5

Joshua James’s Lucky Invasion: Lucky’s Marines | Book Five is an excellent continuation of the series. Sergeant Lee “Lucky” Savage is once again sent on a desperate mission for the foundering Empire. As always, the odds are more than stacked against him. He and his team of misfits are to deliver a mysterious payload to the Da’hune, hopefully in return for their help against a new and even more menacing alien invader. It’s a protection of some sort from the new aliens, but it seems to be missing a power supply. Meanwhile, someone’s trying to kill off Emperor April, and as always she has her own additional plans for Lucky and his marines.

The characters in this series are straight out crazy. But don’t worry, they’re all crazy in their own, unique way. I still find April’s foul mouth and sweet, crazed smile to be one of my favorite combos, and despite the fact that being the Emperor keeps her at a distance, she finds her own way to weigh in on the events of the story. All of our favorite marines are back and up to their asses in trouble.

The world-building isn’t as visible here, just because the basic lines of the various factions have been drawn in by now. The description of the planet Lucky’s Bastards find themselves on is very evocative; it’s easy to envision to constant rain and muck and the kelp-clogged giant river. There’s even a tiny bit that touches on the idea of multi-planet ecosystems, which I found fascinating.

Some of April’s crazy plans-within-plans feel a little forced this time. I don’t want to give away the ultimate game, but it just felt stilted. Still, it made a good excuse to see the Hate rise up within Lucky again, resulting in one hell of a fight between him and some nasty aliens. The fighting is clever and inventive, with plenty of unusual obstacles and irate bad guys to keep things entertaining. And hell, April’s crazy like a den of foxes, so it isn’t so hard to imagine that she’d make things more complicated and secretive than they need to be. Certainly this installment in the series is enjoyable enough that I’ll continue reading!

“Bastard,” Ellery said to Lucky with a sigh. “I see you haven’t changed.”
“I keep trying,” Lucky said. “But it never sticks.”

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