Pros: Less confusing than its predecessor; great action; interesting world-building
Cons: Still a bit confusing in places; typos
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lucky Legacy: Lucky’s Marines | Book Two is the sequel to Joshua James’s Lucky Universe. While that book was a bit confusing and the opening didn’t grab me, I really enjoyed the world and the intense action scenes, as well as the fun characters. Now some of them are back, assigned to security on a planet that’s evacuating–and doesn’t have the resources to evacuate all of its people. This will put the marines smack dab in the cross-hairs of some very angry people. Lucky, Jiang, and Malby are all back, with a new Sergeant to keep them in line and a scientist whose help they’re going to need. They soon discover that some very unsavory experiments have been going on involving alien Da’hune technology, and their Empire is in great danger. They realize that if anyone is going to save the Emperor, it’ll have to be them–but the enemy has some advantages that keep Lucky’s AI, Rocky, and the Hate from giving him such an unusual edge.
James’s two greatest skills, in my opinion, are his action scenes and his character building. The book is non-stop action, with ground battles, running battles, daring leaps from one setting to another, space battles, lots of shooting, hand-to-hand combat, etc. James keeps the pace going strong, with just enough time to take a look around and get in a breath or two between battles. There’s also plenty of snark between the characters and fun character-building. Malby is an entertaining ass, Lucky and Rocky still get in some of the best lines between them, and the new Sergeant, Nuchick, is a hard-ass who keeps things hopping. Nuchick also shares some history with the scientist who joins the group–it probably isn’t exaggerating to say the two of them hate each other, while Malby develops a crush on the scientist and Lucky admires his new boss. Again we get to see more of the Hate, although this time any questions that get answered just yield more questions.
The world-building is neat, particularly now that a bunch of different alien races are joining the fun. I’m still a little muddled on just how the Da’hune tech has gotten everywhere, and in other cases how it hasn’t taken over more than it has. Somehow the Union always puzzles me the most; I appreciate that this is partly because we’re seeing most things from Lucky’s point of view and he doesn’t know much about the Union, but there has to be some way to give us more insight. We do get some of that in this installment–it’s definitely better than the last book in that area–but we could use a bit more.
This installment in the series had a noticeable amount of typos of the won’t-be-caught-with-a-spellchecker variety, but you know if you’re the kind of reader who will be bothered by that.
I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and look forward to reading more!