Blackwelder 2164 (Maya’s Review)

Title: Blackwelder 2164
Author: Christopher D.J.
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 1, 2018
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Military
Page Count: 147
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

When it comes to hitting his target, Spencer Blackwelder can’t miss. But when it comes to hitting the mark in other areas of his life, his aim is way off, which is definitely a problem when you’re a military sharp shooter preparing for war with an alien species.

As penance for past mistakes in friendship and in love, Blackwelder makes the bold choice to relocate to Fort Felix, a military base on Neptune’s moon, a decision that could end up costing him his life. Once there, he meets: Juan Miguel Arías, to whom he takes an immediate liking; Vernita Burton, a true friend; and the men and women of Brant Squad, a group of lovable losers that he eventually takes under his wing.

Blackwelder is surprised to discover he has something to live for again, but all of that is threatened when war finally arrives on Fort Felix’s doorstep. Can Blackwelder find the hero within in time to save his squad, his planet, and the man he loves?

I picked this one from the blurb and it sounded promising. It didn’t quite deliver: I was all ready to like Blackwelder, but the character doesn’t feel very convincing. The story contains large chunks of descriptions which slows down the narrative and it seems like characters got lost in there.

The beginning is promising: After disaster in his personal life, Blackwelder runs as far as possible. He is insecure and lost. That could have been better explored. There are glimmers of characterization (not just for Blackwelder) which would frankly have made great platform for different plotlines but there is no follow through.

It didn’t help that there were several scene shift which caught me by surprise: it might be the arc thing and it’s fixed in released ebook, but it impacted my impression of the book.
This is military science fiction and it is adventure filled read but the plot varies from engrossing to bland. Blackwelder doesn’t have expectations when he transfers so he is surprised to find friendship, love and fulfilling career in his new posting. The story builds on scenario of unappreciated soldier building a skilled military unit with added background of political machinations. The final battle scene is clearly well planned: there are several events reaching its peak simultaneously and I was reading with bated breath. I enjoyed military focused part of the book it was interesting and exciting. I rooted for Brant squad all the way through: everyone loves underdog.

The romance part not so much, mostly because I couldn’t get a feel for Juan Miguel. Again, it could have been great character but ended up undeveloped. I was also missing motivation for Retribution members. The book feels like it’s first in the series and their origin could be explained in sequel, but I like to know why villains are villains.

To recap: interesting story, but somewhat lackluster performance. I am curious about sequel, now that the stage has been set.

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Galley copy of Blackwelder 2164 provided by Publisher in exchange of an honest review.

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