Short Take: “Ghost Brawling,” Michael Todd, Michael Anderle

Pros: Very intriguing setting
Cons: A few details
Rating: 4 out of 5

Michael Todd and Michael Anderle’s novella Ghost Brawling: Soldiers of Fame and Fortune, Book 7 is book seven in the series Soldiers of Fame and Fortune Full Series Omnibus: 12 Book series. To start with, we get to see Billie “Wild Bill” Hickok do a job in London–assassinating a parliament member and making it look like a suicide. Then Holly starts training to go into the Zoo in order to find the things she needs to cure J.B. Somewhere in there, Holly also finds the time to listen to one more story about the Zoo.

Billie is magic. You can tell the authors are a bit infatuated with her, but that’s actually okay. She’s capable of making mistakes, even if they’re small ones, and otherwise she’s just a truly awesome badass of a woman. And she’s even capable of having fun with it! For instance, sometimes she’ll pause and save a life or three in the Zoo, upkeeping her reputation as the Ghost of the Zoo. Holly has done dangerous work before, even if it can’t compare to the Zoo, so it’s believable that she is good but needs experience.

The story Holly listens to involves someone making a WMD out of materials from the Zoo–something that could kill everyone–but it’s never explained why no one since then has done such a thing. I fail to comprehend why it isn’t still a threat. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it; I’m trying to skirt around the details of what happens so as not to spoil them. In another portion of the story, a mech shows up in the Zoo. It’s never explained why the various teams don’t take mechs with them in general, since it’s so much more effective. Also, as usual in thrillers, if there’s a single Japanese mercenary on a team, he inevitably prefers to fight using swords. (Insert eye roll here.)

At any rate, I’m still enjoying this series, and I’m looking forward to finding out if the ladies can save J.B.!

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