I didn’t have the pleasure of reading the book before Rogue Invasion, but it didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of this installment! Rogue Invasion highlighted the role of the teacher and the non-soldiers in a war that was being fought in more than two fronts. While the school itself is a school for adapted soldiers, we don’t forget as readers that Brant teaches kids, from 6-year-olds to kids in high school. Not the type of people we picture a soldiers. The backdrop was great, I loved reading all the preparation that went into the politics, and the drama, of both IAS and the Maverick crew. A pleasantly surprising read!
by Marjorie King
Starscape Media, July 2020
Science Fiction, Space Opera
Rated: 4.5 / 5 cookies
e-ARC provided by Reedsy Discovery
Time for an adventure with the Mentor instead of the Student.
Don’t get me wrong. I love watching Luke train under Obi-wan, and Harry learn from Professor Dumbledore. But this story puts the teacher center stage instead of killing them.
Join Brant as he teaches mutant students to harness their abilities. Defend him as he goes head-to-head with stubborn administration blinded by politics. Fight beside him as he protects his school from space pirates.
It’s time for the SciFi Mentor to be the hero. (And yes, Knox is back, along with the rest of the Maverick crew.)
Review originally found on Reedsy Discovery.
I actually hadn’t realized this book was the second in a series, up until I opened up to read it. I’m only sorry that I didn’t get to read the first book in order to really understand Knox’s character and the rest of the Maverick crew. From what I’d read, they were a fun bunch, and it seemed that this book referred to a lot of events that happened beforehand.
That being said, with the amount of times events got referred to in the previous book, I could kind of tell as a reader where the story was going and wasn’t overly confused by the plot. The story mostly follows Brant Mallet, a graduated student of IAS and an ex-member of the Maverick crew–albeit for a short time, it looks like (and still he considers himself part of that family). Brant Mallet is doing what he loves the most; teaching adapted students to perform their very best. And when I say adapted, it mostly means mutations that relate to heightened senses–and in some cases, an adaptive enough ability to predict the future (or possible futures) to a mathematical calculation. (That’s pretty impressive, I may add.) Some jarring news comes to play involving his school, and Brant not only has to wade the cold, often thankless waters that is being an educator, but he also has to swim through the volatile administrative politics to boot.
As an educator, I totally relate to Brant’s plight. And it’s gratifying to see a bit of myself on paper. Brant isn’t just a soldier with skills way above his pay grade; he’s also good at his current job. A lot of the beginning shows Brant’s work within the IAS, how he plans lessons for each of his students, how he facilitates and organizes drills and classes with fellow co-teachers (Celeste Yawisaki is my absolute favorite, no surprises there), and how he deals with his own adaptive limitations. There’s a lot of stress involved, and Brant is overly critical of himself through the story.
There is some brevity and action, though, and those who find the humdrum of Brant’s POV to be slow-paced will find that there are other perspectives littering the narrative. Knox makes a return as a POV (I’m assuming), while other characters also fill in the missing bits of narrative that cannot be told through Knox or Brant. The only thing I will say is that there were so many of these POVs it was difficult to really get the sense of any of their characters. This was definitely an epic story that could have benefited from longer narratives for each character, though I suppose some of these characters may have also been recurring ones from the previous book.
While I did enjoy reading through much of the politicking and prepping for the action to come, it was a little disappointing that most of that action took all of 2-3 chapters to occur. One minute there is a conversation, and then BAM, “suddenly, death” happened, and it was over within the next two chapters. I would have loved to have returned to Tamra’s POV at that point, just to see how the soldiers actually felt and what they did in that particular moment in time. Yes, we do get a sense of what they did through DeVaun’s conversation, but actions speak louder than words, right?
Other than that, I really enjoyed Rogue Invasion. I definitely got the X-Men Prof. Xavier-ish references to the synopsis, but my mind also went to Grissom Academy in Mass Effect 3 (because of course that’s where my nerd mind goes to when it comes to space operas). I could also see a bit of Firefly in Knox’s crew, and I totally ship Knox’s captain to Ximena’s mechanic. They’re adorable.
I imagine there’s more to be said about the AI Wars and Shadow/Teacher later, in possibly a third novel, which I hope is the case, because part of me sympathizes with the villain in the story.
4.5 out of 5 cookies! Overall, a great read!