A Shadow in the Flames takes place in Northgate in 2051 Our protagonist Michael Flynn has just arrived looking for work He finds his old friend, Diomedes, a freelancer , a type of detective for hire to do practically anything for the right price Flynn takes on a freelancer name himself, Romulus to keep his real identity secret Romulus moves in with Diomedes and soon after their apartment catches on fire This very suspicious event joins not only Diomedes and Romulus, but a verbacious bounty hunter named Felix and a ginger haired reporter Brian, to find out who set fire to their apartment, possibly the actions of an entity named Wraith.
This book is subtitled Book One in the New Aeneid Cycle , so I looked up Aeneid to see if there were any possible correlations The Aeneid, an epic poem authored by Virgil, tells of the story of the fall of Troy It s where the story about the Trojan Horse is told I ve never read The Aeneid, but just the description of the fall of Troy seems like what is happening in A Shadow in the Flames The city in the book, Northgate, is crumbling, not just physically, but the population of the city is also decaying Other than that, I wasn t able to see how close Shadow follows the Aeneid Those fans of ancient Roman poems, might have luck.
The character Felix is by far the most entertaining character in Shadow He talks a big game and sometimes backs it up His relationship with journalist Brian, is really fun and strengthens through the book Not only does the book take place in Northgate, but also in space following the mining crew of Saratoga who have found something mysterious on the Earth s moon This storyline continues in Book Two, A Memory in the Black.
The only problem I had with the book, is that there are so many characters, the author switches between Michael Flynn or Flynn to Romulus fairly regularly so it s hard to keep track of who he s talking about Once Michael Flynn is doing freelancer stuff, in my opinion, he should only be called Romulus.
Whether you re familiar with the Aeneid poem or not, this is a great cyberpunk y space thriller that is sure to continue on as great as it started You can get A Memory in the Black now, the ebook is around 4.
99, and don t forget to sign up on Munz s website to get updates on The New Aeneid Cycle books releases.
What to say about this one Not knowing about the series and treating this book as a story it is a bit of a snoozer You have a cast of characters, that aside from Felix, are pretty dull The resident BA, the kid trying to find his way, the intellect, and a reporter trying to get out from daddy s shadow So far, okay But the amount of dialogue far outweighs any action Loads of walking, talking and flying around with little substance Readers get a decent glimpse of the dystopian world, but then we have cutaways to the moon They were sporadic and only very, very loosely tied to the action that was going on down below Earth Perhaps it is a foundation piece to a good series IDK and won t find out This book could have been a short prequel to the set.
Northgate Is In Turmoil Decaying, Violent, And Corrupt, It Is A Common Enough City In , Yet Soon, Discoveries Beneath The Moon S Surface Will Mark The City With Their First Distant EchoesNew Arrival Michael Flynn Is Jobless And Down To His Last Few Dollars, But He Still Dreams Of Making A Positive Difference Of His Own He Has No Family, No Friends Save For The Freelancer Known Only As Diomedes And Tonight The Apartment They Share Will Burn To The GroundWhen Diomedes Becomes His Mentor In A Search For The Arsonist Responsible, Michael Will Get The Chance To Realize His Dreams Joining Them Is Felix, A Wise Cracking Information Bounty Hunter Who Claims That Neither The Arsonist Nor The Man Michael Idolizes Are Quite What They AppearWill Michael Find The Courage To Pass Through The Flames Unscathed, Or Will The Violence That Surrounds Him Incinerate All That He Is Those Who Search The Moon Will Be Watching Booktrope Edition, Released December original Publication Date November Review originally posted at Rating PG Coarse language and violence What would you do if in a single moment, the whole world you knew went up in flames No, I am not talking about the proverbial flames of societal relational loss, but actual flames You know, the orange tipped red tongues that lick at the night sky, dwarfing the stars with their wonder, fire exploding in arson s wake, and there is only one obvious answer find the bastard that destroyed your life Enter the world of A Shadow in the Flames, a futuristic thriller with moon exploration, vampires, explosions, airships, and cybernetics Sounds too good to be true Well it is.
The Good This is a real struggle for me Normally I try to find what the author does well before getting into the bad, but I find myself scratching my head a lot while trying to come up with something to say under this heading Why rate it 2 stars instead of 1 Short answer I managed to finish the book Long answer there is a bit of humour in the dialogue Okay, so that answer wasn t much longer Looking at the book with a broad perspective, it is not that the book fails to hit every mark, and indeed it tries for many of them, but it is just rather bland.
The Bad The biggest issue that A Shadow in the Flames had was consistency Have you ever eaten a piece of meat that is full of tiny bones and you have to chew carefully, then inevitably stop eating to pull them from your mouth Reading this book felt a bit like that The POV jumped all over the place adding much confusion to things Not only than, there is a completely separate POV plot line where almost nothing happens and it remains 90% unrelated until the very end A poorly written Epilogue tries to tie the two together, but mostly it just prolongs the ending I wish that the moon exploration plot pieces were completely taken out of the book I understand, based on the ending, that such plot lines will be the focus of the sequel, but if so, all of that plot should have been kept under wraps until that book was ready to be released.
Not only does the plot jump around, and the POV changes cause confusion, but one character has three different names throughout the book This can work, if certain people call them by one name, and others call them by something else, but the names seem to be virtually interchangeable There is some kind of mystery woven in about the character s true identity being a secret to some people, but then everyone ends up using that true name at one point or another, so that left me confused It especially becomes strange when that character is the POV focus for a scene They call themselves by all three names throughout the scene, which made me wonder if the character was actually multiple people at times, but then I remembered that they just had three names for no reason.
Also, there are far too many elements involved No, not in the plot, but in the general world that the story takes place This wouldn t necessarily have been a problem if the book was longer and the author spent time addressing each cultural world nuance, rounding things out Instead, they are poorly explained, or just thrown in because someone thought it was cool The book reads mostly as a police procedural without the procedure, even though it is marketed as a science fiction novel Yes, it has flying machines, people with enhanced vision or hearing, and vampires for some random reason , but they add nothing to the story and often get in the way of the plot.
The writing style feels a bit juvenile There is an over use of passive voice throughout he, thought, he imagined, he wondered, he believed, he was scared, it was black, the job was simple, etc Every POV change is littered with long drawn out paragraphs filled with passivity in an effort to explain how someone is feeling, differentiating them from the other characters, but instead of rounding things out, it just make the writing quite bland.
Unfortunately, because this is exclusively how the author chose to develop the characters, once these paragraphs are over, all of the characters sound and act pretty much the same There are slight nuances at particular points one character being overly humorous but for the most part, if the dialogue tags were taken out, the reader would not know who was talking when and it wouldn t really effect the progression anyway This makes the characters feel flat.
Conclusion I wish there was good things to say about this book, but too much poor writing gets in the way of the potential and it was hard for me to identify A Shadow in the Flames is a light thriller with specks of uninteresting mystery and pockets of humour It suffers from POV issues, pacing problems, and lack of characterization as well as a poorly stitched together plot It will not leave a sour taste in your mouth, just not much taste to begin with I suppose its ability to remain bland is at least consistent.
Only 2 of the characters have any attempt at character development, the rest are just generic tropes that don t even need names.
Not a bad read I really enjoy the cyberpunk genre As others have commented, it is heavy on dialogue and short on other things We see the main characters, and the main is definitely in a state of discovery young and raw so character development is featured.
The tech is described well Given that pretty much all the characters have cyber enhancements of some kind, one wonders whether the whole population has them It doesn t seem so, but there is no real exploration of this.
A little profanity than I care for too Unnecessary, really.
For the Kindle version, there was no gap in the text when scenes changed within a chapter So, one is reading about something on earth then the next paragraph shifts to a scene on the moon with no indication that a change in scenario occurs This was very distracting.
If you like cyberpunk, this is a pretty good read Enjoy Enjoyed this The story and characterisation are, at times, a little simple but the writing itself is great and the plot keeps moving nicely.
He Checked into his Room, Only to Find Gideon s BibleIn a violent, futuristic city in which people sport cybernetic enhancements like electronic eyes, computers installed in artificial arms, and ard overcoats, Michael s life couldn t sink much lower His Uncle Frank, Michael s only family, had lost his farm to the bank and his life to a heart attack Michael had spent most of his money on bodyguard training but was unable to find a job His apartment in the slums, also known as the The Dirge, had exploded, leaving him and his roommate Diomedes, a freelance bodyguard, on the street and homeless.
After their apartment is destroyed by fire, Michael and Diomedes are offered an assignment by a mysterious stranger He wants to hire the duo to find the serial arsonist ravaging the city The stranger states the arsonist matches the vague description of the Wraith, a vigilante who fights crime on the streets.
A Shadow in the Flames, by Michael Munz, is an action packed science fiction story of the na ve young Michael and his prickly partnership with the grim Diomedes Years before, Diomedes had worked for Michael s uncle s as a farmhand Now, Diomedes is the quintessential hard ass bodyguard with a new name and farm work a thing of the murky past As Michael takes on the role of assistant mercenary, he gets the cool new name of Romulus Michael and Diomedes are also helped, for a price, by Felix, an eccentric being with an unappreciated sense of the absurd and broad knowledge of pop culture Simultaneously, the investigators are dogged by Brian, the red haired, wet behind the ears reporter also on the trail of the elusive Wraith and eager to make a name for himself The investigation of the fanged Nosferatu cult, who may or may not be vampires, could be a dead end At the same time, events are unfolding on The Moon Years before, the European Space Agency ESA had constructed the Alpha Station, the first major lunar base Since then, ESA had staked its claim to the land surrounding the station and sold mining contracts to other companies As an employee of Saratoga Mining, Parker is based on the lunar station When one of his employees finds an eerie metal object, foggy gray yet solid, Parker reports the find to his superiors Diomedes reveals his low value on human life through his particularly bloodthirsty actions, straining the bond of friendship as well as his prot g mentor relationship with Michael Romulus As an adult and not a boy mesmerized by the older man s tales, Romulus must decide between humanity or a spiral into darkness and madness.
This is an excellent science fiction work Mr Munz exploration of the relationship between Michael and Diomedes reflects best seller level creativity and writing The dialogue is excellent, with the descriptions and action scenes wonderfully sketched in both bold and delicate strokes The pacing was perfect, and the action kept me turning the pages.
Well, this was a pleasant surprise I picked this up as a free ebook, and found it to be a pretty decent cyberpunk novel Yes it s the first book of a series so it ends with a number of unresolved questions, but hey, it s the style right now.
Likes There s a mystery object on the moon that we learn about in bits and pieces That part of the book provides a nice backdrop, a larger and consequential reality, against which the events in the lives of the characters play out Unlike a few other reviewers, I found the pace to be reasonably brisk Mr Munz spends very little time introducing characters, before immersing us in the story arc In the Epilog, we are treated to a reveal of just what The New Aeneid Cycle refers to, giving us a tantalizing glimpse of where this series is going.
Dislikes For most of the book, the lead protagonist is about as dumb as a box of rocks No one that dense could survive for any length of time in the dystopian future presented Although the possible perils of cybernetic implants was treated quite well, I felt Mr Munz missed the boat in his description of communications and surveillance technology In many ways the technology of today has already surpassed the technology described in the book.
All in all, this book is a great choice for anyone who enjoys the cyberpunk genre.
I was not disappointed Michael Munz did a great job of creating and developing a great cast of characters The story essentially focuses around Michael Flynn or is he Romulus , as he struggles to find himself in the futuristic world gone mad The characters who really make this book work so well are Felix and Diomedes Felix brings that necessary touch of humour that every book needs, as well as being the good angel sitting on Michael s shoulder And Diomedes is all action, he wants to help Michael but he is so jaded that he will only drag Michael down i.
e the bad angel sitting on Michael s other should.
Certain parts of the story seemed a bit disconnected from the story itself, but I can tell that Munz has a bigger plan and I am certain that it will all come together in the end.
I will be reading A Memory in the Black I want to know where this story goes.