Review: “Lucky Revenge,” Joshua James

Pros: Plenty of machinations; great action
Cons: A bit confusing
Rating: 4 out of 5

In Joshua James’s Lucky Revenge: Lucky’s Marines | Book Six, the Cardinal Order has joined forces with the alien Dalmuk to attack the home world of the Empire. The Emperor is coming back with a fleet aided by the alien Da’hune to try to offset this. It seems like it’s going to be a fairly straightforward clash–but nothing involving Emperor April is ever straightforward. She has plans within plans, and she needs Lucky and his marines to go through an open “corridor” within space and blow it up from the other side.

It took me a little bit to work out again what all the various alliances were, so try to read this book while the previous one is still fresh in your mind.

I found some of April’s machinations a little opaque and overly complex. She tends to the extreme of paranoia and secret-keeping. It makes her character interesting, especially when paired with her particularly entertaining brand of crazy, but she does tend to over-complicate things. Maybe I’m just a little sleepy today, but I never did entirely figure out why she did certain things in a certain way and added particular layers to her plan.

The narrative tone is snarky, sarcastic, zingy, and clever. I really enjoy the feel it lends to the book.

“This would be hilarious if someone wasn’t trying to kill us,” Rocky offered. “Oh, wait, it’s still hilarious.”

The action quotient, as always, is high and creative. Lucky and his marines, while trying to deploy, get their drop ship blown up and end up making their way to a space station in a highly dangerous, unusual, and eventually hilarious manner. A chase scene that plays out on slow-moving cargo-loader drone platforms–something that sounds ridiculous–is explosive and exciting. As usual the Hate puts in an appearance and Lucky gets the ever-loving crap beat out of him. Things get seriously bloody, folks! Thanks to on-board AIs, nanobots, med bots, regeneration patches, and so on, the marines can take an awful lot of damage and keep on ticking.

Make sure to read past the author’s note at the end–the author included a copy of “Lucky Shot” in the kindle ebook version I read, which is Lucky’s origin story. This volume is a solid entry into the series, and I look forward to the next release!

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