Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bound Soul (Halcyon #3: A Quest for Revenge) - Joseph Robert Lewis

    2011; 248 pages.  Full Title : The Bound Soul (Halcyon #3: A Quest for Revenge).  The concluding book in the “Halcyon” trilogy.  New Author? : No.  Genres :  Action-Adventure; Alt History.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

    The full title sums it up rather well.  Don Lorenzo’s soul is imprisoned in an aetherium sword, and Qhora is on a mission to recover the weapon, free the soul, and take her revenge on Aker, the dastardly perp.

    But Aker has fled Marrakesh, and is bound for Alexandria, Egypt.  To catch him, Qhora needs something fast.  Like an airship.  Like Taziri’s innovative Halcyon 3 airship.  But how to persuade Taziri to fly them across the African continent?  Ah, that’s what they invented money for.

What’s To Like...
    Stylistically, The Bound Soul is much like the first two books of the series – constant action, interesting characters, multiple POV’s, a decent storyline.  The Alternate World is unchanged (although Joseph Robert Lewis places you in a different part of it for each book) , you can read details of it here and here.

    There’s a nice blend of old friends and new people.  Tycho and Philo are neat characters to meet.  The aetherium (aka “seireiken”) swords are fascinating inventions.  They cut through anything – flesh, bone, metal, other seireiken – like it was paper; but they are no match for a speeding bullet.  Atoq and Wayra aren’t here, but Turi, a giant “harpy eagle” (see book cover) fills in nicely.

      Best of all is the Halcyon 3, which is more like an airplane than an airship, and can transform itself into looking like a locomotive engine.  Kewlness!

     Although part of a trilogy, you can read TBS as a standalone novel.  There’s no cussing, but the book opens with a sex scene; which makes me wonder who the target audience is.  And Don Lorenzo’s plight basically removes him from the storyline (until the very end), which frankly takes away the most interesting character of the bunch.

    They sat down together on the old tarp on the floor and shared the rest of the water.  The girl spent every moment staring all around her at the walls, the seats, and the controls.  She even leaned down to run her fingers over the rivets in the floor.
    “You like machines?  Want to be an engineer one day?” Taziri said.  “Well, keep up your mathematics and you too could have an exciting career in flying strange people to dangerous countries in the middle of the night.”  (loc. 1504)

    “I want to know about the burning swords.  I want to know about the assassinations.”
    “You want a great deal,” Khai said calmly.  His eyes closed a small fraction.  “In the east, they would call that the path to suffering.”
    “In the east, they worship cows.  You’ll pardon me for thinking their ideas are stupid.”  (loc. 1653)

Kindle Details...
    The Bound Soul sells for $3.99 at Amazon. Book #1 in the series, The Burning Sky sells for $0.99 and Book #2 , The Broken Sword is going for $4.99.  It seems like the prices change quite a bit on each of these, and if you're patient, you might even occasionally find them for free.

“That’s what happens when you bring magic swords to a gun fight!”  (loc. 3640)
    Although The Bound Soul finishes this trilogy, Joseph Robert Lewis has already published two other series set in the same Alt-World; the Chimera duology and the Europa trilogy.  ANAICT, these take place slightly after the Halcyon books.  I don’t think he’s written a prequel recounting how Don Lorenzo and Qhora met over in the New World.

    Overall, these books are quick, fun reads.  They don’t have the depth of, say, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.  OTOH, after 600 pages here, you’ve been treated to three exciting adventures and a completed series.  600 pages wouldn’t even get you through one of the 14 WoT books.

    8 Stars, both for The Bound Soul in particular and the Halcyon series as a whole.  Think of them as being “Epic Lite” (I love oxymorons), and enjoy them for the escapist Alt-History they are.

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