The Crimson Deathbringer is the first novel from Sean Robins—and a great debut it is. It’s chockablock full of action. You have dramatic alien-versus-human-versus alien encounters, exciting space battles, an insane race to save the world, some warm-hearted romance, and a lot of waggish humor (reminiscent of Douglas Adams). If you can get this granite face to break a smile, you’ve accomplished something major and Sean has done just that—by infusing campy fun at the right times, in the right places.
I was a Trekkie—and once a Trekkie, always a Trekkie, because I could still [effortlessly, happily] watch episode after episode after episode. That said, though, I’m not a fan of science fiction. I’d agreed to review the book, but not checked the genre, so when it arrived, it was a woe-is-me, “Tyler, what’d you get yourself into?” Then, I read the first chapter and the characters and storyline yanked me in!
Not only do you have protagonist Major Jim Harrison, an Air Force fighter pilot, relaying action through his eyes, you view it through others. It’s not simple to balance—juggle—different POVs, or stories within stories, but Sean makes it work exceptionally well.
His characters are carefully crafted and his descriptions of future Earth and alternative planets and life forms are well detailed. It’s easy to visualize all that is transpiring—from perilous shootouts and intense combat, to silly pranks and friendly banter. There is an emotional level, too—sadness when someone dies, dismay when all seems futile, and encouragement when something heartening happens.
Without giving too much away, the storyline is this: Jim Harrison and his lovely partner, Liz Lopez, are part of a troupe that intend to save United Earth from the dastardly clutches of the egocentric, win-at-all-costs General Maada. Hailing from a far-off galaxy, his goal is to make the Xortaags’ kingdom the most powerful, most feared entity in the universe. Fortunately for Jim et al, they have Tarq, who also hails from a distant star system. His objective is to save his entire species, the Akakies, via Operation KGAFUP (which we’ll leave as an acronym for the sake of a “wholesome” review). Throw in a corrupt world leader, determined Resistance members and tough Russian mafia sorts, and Bob’s your uncle (always wanted to say that). The Crimson Deathbringer will take you on an enthralling ride as it swoops through Sean Robins’ cosmos.
And just who is our budding author? A big fan of Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Trek and Star Wars . . . and author Jim Butcher. He’s also an English teacher who has resided in various countries, including Canada; hence those Canadian references, eh.
This novel would be a five out of five, but the editor in me has to give it a 4.5 for those items that need, hmm, a wee bit of editing. Still, a stellar story. Looking [most] forward to the sequel.
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