Humanity is tired of losing. Enter the mech.
After the mysterious discovery of an alien mech inside a comet, Darkstream Security has finally completed its own design. They assign Chief Gabriel Roach with the task of whittling down hundreds of bright young recruits to form a team of elite mech pilots, which he will command.
Their mission: protect human colonies from the almighty Quatro.
A single Quatro can take down an entire squad of traditional soldiers. Bigger than a draft horse, more muscular than a grizzly, with jaws that splinter bone. And zero fear. They almost defeated humanity before, and now they're back - in numbers we didn't know they had.
But Roach is the perfect one for the job. Almost too perfect. The Quatro took from him the only woman he ever loved, and now, he's determined to make one thing clear: It's them or him.
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What will I do with myself until the next book comes out?!
- David L. Johnston
Mech’s, Monster’s and an Exceptional Storyline
Mech's and Monsters
Powered is in the same Universe as The Ixan Prophecies, but is not a direct sequel to it as such. It follows the Darkstream Tech Users who fled the galaxy after being defeated by Captain Keyes, and what happened to them.
They have settled a system that they have named the Steele System with a couple of planets. One of them is almost Earth like, and is very pleasant. The other is not and requires that you are in an environment suit, or that you live in one of the Habitats.
Unfortunately on the nicer planet, there are large creatures called Quatro that appear to be sentient, but are also very aggressive at times, attacking villages and slaughtering everyone.
There are 2 main storylines in this book, one following those on Eresos, the nicer planet, and the other following those on Alex, the one needing life support. On Eresos, the main Characters include Gabe Roach a man with a rather interesting morale background and history, now driven by utter rage and vengeance by a particular event in his life, and Jake Price, a younger guy who has joined the team from an asteroid converting family, when they find an ancient Mech and sell it to try and help his gravely ill sister.
On Alex, the main characters are Lisa, Tessa and Andy. Tessa is an ex-soldier with a past who is now tied to the seedier side of the habitats. Lisa is Security for Darkstream at the Habitat, but is totally idealistic, and Andy is a bit creepy and a bit stupid.
The interesting thing is the Quatro, an alien race that are not what they seem. But then again, most things aren’t in a Scott Bartlett novel, and that is what makes them so good. The Quatro are incredibly powerful, bear like, and the one thing Darkstream needs to control them is a Mech, which they have been working on. However, in a stroke of luck, Jake’s family find one in an asteroid (which is how he gets involved with the team), and this leads to the creation of the Mechs of Eresos.
And this is where things get really interesting. Bartlett has created this fascinating concept of ‘lucid’, in which you can enter a REM state of sleep, and instead of just sleeping, you can actually (with the correct input) plug yourself in and either train, or in the case with the Mech, control them. The entire concept of Lucid is brilliant and really adds an amazing element to this story.
Powered is an intriguing story, looking at not just the two main planets and their characters, but the interplay between the humans and aliens. Powered refers to the power of the Mechs as well as to the Political and Strategic power that is evident in the story.
This is a totally standalone series, and although it is related to the Ixan Prophecies, you do not need to read these to enjoy this series. However, you will get a bit more out of the book if you read them first of course.
As with his other books, Bartlett’s Characters are wonderfully written, with a lot of depth, some great back stories and details. The planets are also beautifully detailed, giving the characters a wonderful background in which to tell their stories. As mentioned, the Quatro are also outstanding creatures, with an incredible design that is both exquisite and terrifying.
This is a fantastic first part to what is going to be a captivating and compelling trilogy.
I have listened to many of Mark Boyett's performances, he is a brilliant Narrator, with a very clear and concise Narration, using a great selection of both Male and Female voices, all with a fantastic emotional range to really bring the story alive.
I will happily buy any story that Mark Boyett has narrated.
- Jas P