Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Black Gate

The Black Gate (The Messenger #11)The Black Gate by J.N. Chaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the eleventh entry of J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert’s The Messenger science-fiction series, the Cygnus Realm, headed by the franchise’s eponymous mech pilot, Newton “Dash” Sawyer, is at peace after its victory over the genocidal Golden. The titular Black Gate appears with a new threat known as the Deepers threatening human civilization again, against whom the Cygnus Realm is initially victorious. Indeed, one of the Deeper ships proves formidable, although some of their remnants they take aboard the Forge, with revelation that their missiles are organic and their vessels capable of self-repair.

Dash and the Realm seek Dark Metal once again, as it somehow proves crucial to the Deepers, although he ponders stepping down as the Messenger and having someone replace him. However, he reconsiders once the Deeper threat makes itself better-known. A taskforce called the Black Watch Dash establishes so that they can keep an eye on the Deepers, who have capabilities such as the ability to stuff themselves into missiles, even well more than one at a time, so that they can infiltrate adversarial vessels that they strike. The book concludes with the formulation of a virus to use against the Deepers, along with the research of a bug-like entity among them.

Generally, book eleven of Chaney and Maggert’s The Messenger series proves enjoyable, with plenty of science-fiction action that includes well-described battles and occasionally, alien races, and a satisfactory continuation of the books after the conclusion of the previous plot arc involving the conflict with the Golden. Granted, it does have a few issues such as the resemblance to other sci-fi works such as many videogame series involving giant martial mechs, and some stylistic issues abound such as the usage of “(character/pronoun) said” several sentences into quoted dialogue, but otherwise, these are negligible matters in an otherwise solid read.

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