Liberator by Nick Bailey and Darren Bullock

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
8,342
Location
Scottish Highlands
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for writing a review.

Liberator is a very good debut offering from authors Nick Bailey and Darren Bullock. It is hard core military science fiction and contains significant violence – quite gory in places – throughout. For me there was just a little too much testosterone flying around (even from the female protagonists) but for many that is going to be just what you are looking for! I was very pleased to find relatively few editing errors; a failing that so many debut novels, especially indie ones, suffer from. Not perfect but hugely better than many I’ve read recently. The writing is a little uneven (not unusual in a debut), being bit awkward and clumsy at the start before the authors really found their pace. After that if flowed much better and the dialogue in particular improved.

The story is quite straightforward though with some questions that will, I suspect, only be answered in sequels that I feel sure will be following along. A team of disbanded mercenaries regroup to save one of their own who has been abducted. Many challenges are encountered and overcome, usually with much violent fighting.

The pacing is generally excellent; this is military adventure SF that is far more about the ride than any deep meanings and for that a good pace is essential. And Liberator succeeds in providing a fast paced exciting ride from cover to cover, that only slips occasionally when the authors introduce flash backs in what I consider to be some rather inappropriate places and so losing that pace. This is something I come across time and time again with new authors; there is often a need to, for example, explain the relationship between two protagonists by recalling some previous event or meeting, and that is fine… in the right place and, generally, the middle of an action scene is not the right place. Although not done often in Liberator it does happen and when it does that excellent pacing is interrupted.

The characters are likeable where they need to be and there are enough of those likeable characters to keep the reader engaged however they are a little clichéd; hard bitten but lovable commander getting the squad back together, incredibly gifted but socially handicapped geek, silent ninja type etc. Also too many of them are just so good that the book is sometimes nudging into superhero territory; for example the aforementioned geek seems to be better than the rest of the entire universe put together and the ratio of dead baddies to goodies is simply enormous. Now that’s possibly a slightly unfair criticism as this sort of SF adventure is very commonly (and very popularly) played out by exactly these sort of characters and in this manner and in many ways that very accessibility just adds to the fun. And this book does provide a lot of adrenalin fuelled fun!

All in all a great piece of military SF, if a little too testosterone charged for my personal tastes. This is a great debut that deserves to have a large readership.
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
Thanks for the honest review Vertigo, a 4* review like that is brilliant and I hope encourages some new readers!
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
8,342
Location
Scottish Highlands
Yes I should have mentioned my star rating; I always forget to put in on here in the Chrons. But yes 4 star is the rating I've given it on Goodreads.
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
Had a really good review today -

'More rockets for Madam?'

Truth be told, I love this book.I had originally borrowed it on KU but decided to invest in my own 'forever' copy once I read it. This is real old school sci-fi military space opera - worth ever moment of time invested in the reading of it! This is Hammers Slammers meet the A-Team only better.

Orlanda Nixon and Skye Pennington are good friends - both are daughters of incredibly wealthy families with huge corporations. Both are also super well-trained soldiers and Orlanda has a set of alien body armour that turns her into a psychopathic killer with no control. We meet Orlanda at the start of the book in a scene with lots and lots of gore, breaking into her own company and killing one of the people in charge there.

Then Skye is kidnapped by a hostile corporation and Orlanda (despite having her own military resources to call on) is unable to free her so she calls in The Liberators, her and Skye's old unit. The Liberators are a military unit of uber-geared and augmented super-soldiers who were forcibly disbanded eight years ago. Colonel Joshua James Tristan and his engineer have kept the flame burning with a skeleton crew, but the rest of the team have spread back over all known space and back.

To save Skye the Liberators must be reconvened and the rest is - well you have to read the book to find out...

"They are the bad guys, right? I am, like playing for the right team here, aren't I?"

This book has so much to recommend it. The most important thing with any book for is that it be well written so I don't keep tripping over inappropriate adjectives dug out of a thesaurus or grammar structures that confuse. Liberators has none of that. It is very well written. The prose flows smoothly and the choice of language is totally appropriate for the genre. Pacing is, for the most part, very good. It is set - and usually maintained - at a speed takes the reader on a rollercoaster of action which seldom lets up.

The personalities of the characters are well explored. Almost all walk fully fleshed and hold your attention. Some of them are like real people you come to care about - JJ who can't help but smile at the simple delight of having his team back even when the reason for it happening is terrible, Shan who loves too much and too well and Steph who sometimes feels her own vulnerabilities too deeply.

The world building is one of the books greatest strengths - so solid you could be there. The details of it might be delivered in cookie-bites of information or panoramic descriptions, but always clear and feeling real. The other outstanding strength is the in the numerous action scenes. These are fabulous. They rocket you along with gripping intensity, creating a visceral and visual impression of being there.

'Alone, unarmed, not even properly clothed and with no idea where she was, there was no hope of escape or help coming.'

So why only four stars? A few reasons none of which on their own would maybe of a nature to merit the removal of said star, but cumulatively they kind of compel it. To begin, IMO the book would have been actively improved had the authors chosen not to include the italicised back story sections of the various characters - or perhaps banished them to an appendix section for those who wanted to read them.

Orlanda is a major inconsistency that I hope gets sorted in future books. If the Liberators were as 'good guy' as we are repeatedly told they are: JJ with his 'kill no civilians' mantra and Shan truly wanting to save all innocent lives, they would have found a way to cure or keep Orlanda permanently restrained - or maybe even kill her if they had to - anything to stop her psycho murder sprees. And they don't. They let her rampage around the galaxy unchecked, unless she happens to flip out right in front of them. She is also an undisciplined blood-rage hazard in battle, something the rest of the team surely would not tolerate for long from a purely military perspective.

And my top personal peeve is the guy who talks like a cross between Yoda and 7 of 9 - which is the kind of thing you can get away with spoken, but grates when written and blasted my immersion apart each time he did it.

But I forgive this book all of that very happily. Because, overall it is a rambunctious, fist-in-the-face, adrenalin power-dive of a story, with so many of those human touches that make you care. You want to be on the Arianne, you want to hang in The Bar, you want to play mushi-tan with Billy - and more than anything you want to have JJ tell you how proud he is of you.

Read it if you love military sci-fi, read it if you love space opera, read it if you love futuristic superhero fiction, read it if you love a thundering good action-packed sci-fi storyline.
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
Another reviewer currently reading it and says he loves it, says -

"The Arianne has just taken off in what has to be the most chaotic, thrilling and entertaining launch sequence anywhere. Looking forward to writing the review."

I'm looking forward to reading his review.

I like critical reviews, such as the long one in my previous post, overall positive but with things they didn't like. She was the first to dislike Drey and the way he speaks, and thats fine, others pick out other bits they didn't like. All criticism is welcome, I learn from it. The next book will have much less flashbacks unless they are important, some people like flashbacks to build story, everyone is different.

I will add, that Orlanda's inconsistency is part of the story though. Her fragile, but managed, mental health went into serious decline after the Liberators split up... But there is a great deal of story to be told there...
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
Another 5* review today, from book reviewer/blogger Phil Leader. Reviews don't get much better than this :LOL:


ByPhil Leaderon November 15, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Fast. Loud. Violent. Fun. All good adjectives to use in relation to this book. This is the summer blockbuster of science fiction novels.

It is the far future. Corporate business rules and takeovers and mergers are often done facing down the barrel of a gun - or the threat of destruction from orbit from a massive spaceship.

When Skye Pennington is kidnapped by a rival company in order to gain business advantage, her friend Orlanda Nixon tries to rescue her. After her initial attempt is thwarted, she turns to the only place she can, the old mercenary unit she and Skye were both part of. The Liberators.

However, the former large and fearsome force is now a tattered remnant after one battle too far, kept alive only by their leader, JJ Tristan and a few final loyal members who have nowhere else to go. Tristan must gather as much of the team as he can muster at short notice and get his mighty - and badly damaged - ship back in action. It's a tall order for a disparate group who don't always get on with each other.

In the end the plot is not of any particular consequence. It is a very handy hook to hang the story off of, the initial stirring battles introducing Orlanda and Skye, the introduction and gathering of the Liberators after Orlanda's plea and the adrenaline fuelled fight sequences as they attempt to recapture Skye. There is also some sneaking around by the team's deadly assassin and flashbacks to show the glory days of the team, and some of the history between the characters.

The result is a terrific ensemble piece, the Liberators may be battered and dog-eared, old and tired but they have an instinct for survival and fighting that is only matched by their ability to cause destruction and mayhem. The pace runs fast through most of the book - it does slow in the middle as the characters are introduced but is never dull and certainly never predictable.

Every character is well thought out and at first glance some appear to be simplistic ciphers - the cyborg, the tech specialist with the weird sense of humour, the grizzled commander - but once they start interacting and (most importantly) fighting each comes entirely into their own.

This book doesn't take itself too seriously - it exists for the excellent set pieces rather than for any detailed introspection on future society - and the scenes of the good guys running around in big armour with even bigger guns will bring a smile to your face. In particular the sequence when their ship takes off is a total tour de force and one of the best action scenes I have seen in print.

This is a terrific introduction to what will hopefully be a series of novels. Certainly what happens next to the Liberators will be of interest. Any Hollywood producers looking for the next great summer blockbuster could do worse as well.

Rating: Lots of violence. Then some more. And some bad language
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
And another great review. (I'm only posting full, book reviewer reviews and blog posts, there are many one liners, but they dont tell you much to base your reading on).


Liberator (The Liberators Book 1) by Nick Bailey and Darren Bullock is a fast-paced, high-action, thrilling Science Fiction novel. The premise of the book is that corporations have control of everything and they war among themselves to keep that control. Skye Pennington co-owns Pennington & Shaw, a small corporation linked with Orlanda Nixon’s NCT, Nixon Combined Technologies. They’ve been friends for a long time, back to their days as fighters in the now-defunct Liberators, an advanced technology military group. When Skye gets kidnapped by the Danar Corporation, the Liberators reform to save her. The hook for the sequel is encouraging too.

The battle scenes in this novel are some of the best I’ve ever read. Bailey and Bullock really put you in the middle of the scenes with their descriptive prose.You become one with the fighters. The scenes are hard-core action, generally resulting in bloody massacres. Orlanda Nixon is the most impressive fighter with her sentient armor and katana. She cuts right through the enemy in record time, leaving dead bodies in her wake. You will not be disappointed by these scenes.

This duo writing team also gives you a well-written plot. There are no plot holes, no vagueness, nor unexplored areas. They stick to the plot of the story throughout. Their descriptive settings allow you to envision exactly where you are at any given time in the story. I’ve read world creations in other science fiction novels that left me flat and confused because I couldn’t imagine the settings. That is not the case with this novel. And finally, their characters are well-rounded. You get to know each of the main characters well through the descriptive scenes and characterizations. Even minor characters are described well. You get the sense that this novel was planned out from beginning to end and nothing was left to chance.

My only issues with this novel are the over-use of adverbs and adjectives, and the occasional awkward sentences. Nearly all of the adverbs used in this novel could be eliminated. This is an editing issue. Bailey and Bullock overuse words like ‘excellent’, ‘elegant’ and ‘splendid’ to describe Orlanda’s movements and actions. The reader already understands that Orlanda is a mighty force because of her sentient armor and abilities with the katana. The use of those adjectives over-sensationalized her. Here are a couple of awkward sentences which could have been re-worded through a decent editing process:

From Chapter Five – Only the almost imperceptibly tiny vibrations of the blade gave away the fact that the weapon was imbued with a power field that delivered a cutting edge unattainable by mere honing alone.

From Chapter Six – Killion pulled Skye back from the corner with a shushing motion, his sense of duty to protect his charge overriding the fact he knew she was a competent soldier in her own right.

After a while, I stopped looking for obscure errors and just enjoyed the story. Here is one description though that delighted me: his nerves jangled like stones in a can.

Overall, this is an exciting novel. The authors did a wonderful job with the plot, battle scenes, settings and characterization. If you enjoy hard-core, fast-paced, military-style science fiction, then you will enjoy this novel.

Rating: 4 stars (for literary issues)

Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller



(first time anyone has mentioned overuse of adverbs and adjectives regarding Orlanda, so thats something we will be watching for from now on)
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
New 5* review by book reviewer/blogger


5.0 out of 5 starsAll aboard the Arianne
ByAriel Mathison December 31, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
The Author(s) approached me for a read4review and I accepted. Here is my review.*

Yea, I loved it. It starts off with action. It really pulled me in. Then as I kept reading, I was like, "Yea, we've got something, now." What did we have? We have a well-plotted storyline, with characters whom you meet that each has a past, present, and future, separately yet, with each other. You get peeks and glimpses into each character, their roles, and their emotions. They're definitely a colorful bunch. The Synopsis basically tells you what you're in for. The team is getting back together to save one of their own. A very memorable part for me was when two of the team were in a very special, origin-unknown, ship. It was trippy. I also loved when the Arianne lifted off, amidst a little skirmish. My favorite character would have to be Orlanda. She's loyal and fierce, and such a bad___. What's not to admire? I just might have a girl-crush. Know what really solidified my love for this story? The term Parsec was used. Then, all the enhancements, armor, medical 'stuff' reminded me of this old Xbox game I used to play...Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic. I'm not going to get into that right now, but it was definitely an imagination enhancer.(No way is this book/storyline Star Wars-like. No Force or Jedi here.) To wrap this up, if you're a #SciFi lover, looking for an escape, escape on the Arianne with The Liberators, you're in for one hell of a ride.
 

Nick B

author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,847
Location
UK
5*review on GR from Robert Campbell, author of the Trajectory series (which are great)

Robert
Feb 06, 2017
Robert rated it 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
Fast-paced, intergalactic scifi with a military bend. Strong first novel from Bailey and Bullock. Over-the-top action and corporate intrigue. Interesting characters in a cut-throat universe. Recommended.
 

Similar threads


Top