Thursday, February 3, 2022

Radical Dreamer

Radical Dreamer (The Messenger #9)Radical Dreamer by J.N. Chaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ninth entry of J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert’s The Messenger series focuses on protagonist Newton “Dash” Sawyer and his Cygnus Realm attempting to take the war to their enemies, the Golden, instead of merely playing defense, with their martial space station, the Forge, continuing to fuel Dash’s efforts against their foes, leaving wreckage in their wake. When they capture an alien ship, they discover an ally who is part of a race called the Rin-ti, ancient adversaries of the Golden, who wants their people freed from Golden control, with Dash needing to use all it takes to claim victory.

The book begins proper with Dash battling a Golden ship in his mech, the Archetype, after which he has a War Room meeting in which he and his allies decide to seize planets controlled by their enemies. A comet provides water for the Forge and its inhabitants, with reconnaissance planned against the Golden and their allies the Far-Flung, among whom they discover a colossal space station. The ninth entry focuses a little more on ground battles, with Dash having before not given a second thought to terrestrial forces, although they initially fare well.

The Cygnus Realm manages to capture a Golden, although the prisoner is hostile, believing Cygnus to be the aggressive party, shortly after which the Forge comes under an electronic attack, with a metallic entity penetrating the space station as well. Afterward comes the rescue of Jexin, a member of an alien race known as the Kosan, who is religious as well. Dash further receives surgery to make him more cybernetic, albeit not with misgivings about losing his humanity. Later on comes the rescue of cryogenically-static humans known as the Displaced, along with critical battles at the end.

Overall, the ninth installment of The Messenger series definitely packs a punch with its excellent science-fiction action accompanied by thrilling descriptions, with some new material that helps it feel fresher than its precursors such as the inclusion of ground battles in addition to the space conflicts present in prior entries. Regardless, aside from the presence of mechs that have in the past played part in other media such as videogames, the literary series doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from other sci-fi franchises, although I would easily recommend this read to those who enjoyed its predecessors.

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