Five Unicorn Flush by T.J.Berry

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Only one woman with a magical parasite can unite the galaxy, in the mind-blowing SF sequel to Space Unicorn Blues

The Bala, magical creatures, have hidden themselves from cruel and destructive humanity, leaving the galaxy in shambles. Without unicorn-powered faster-than-light travel, mankind is scattered, starving and isolated across the stars. Cowboy Jim has the sole surviving FTL drive, and he and his Reason soldiers are determined to track down and re-enslave the Bala. But on their new planet, the Bala are on the brink of civil war: should they accept Unicorn rule, or follow necromancer Bao Zhi and exact revenge on their human oppressors? Only Captain Jenny, with her new elfin parasite, can return peace to the galaxy.

My Review: (Contains spoilers)

Thank you to Gemma at Angry Robots, and Angry Robots for sending me what is one of the wackiest, Monty python style sci-fi novels I’ve read. It’s like if you mixed the Expanse, the Orville and Star Trek all together. It’s that wacky. And very enjoyable.
What can I say about this novel? It’s amazing in the sense it has epic spaceship fights. It’s amazing in the sense that it shows disabilities and I applaud this. Jenny is a lucky woman because staying in a wheelchair is not the best option, and her partner, Kalia is there for her. I have not read the first book, but now I will.

Gary Cobalt is the Jesus Christ of this Universe. He’s literally the epitome of all goodness. Many times I sympathized with this half-unicorn and the half-human creature. I wonder if the Bala do worship Gods?

Or is there a religion at all? He has a big problem trying to get the Bala (all creatures of magic that we’ve read in our mythology) to live in this world when its basically just a big prison and no one dares venture out.

Well Actually and Stagecoach Mary was two well done AI characters. I really wanted to see more of them in the novel. Their viewpoint of interpreting this whole mess is unique. I also feel that the Human Experiment failed badly.

You’ve got wars, killings, etc. All the stuff you’d get in a basic sci-fi show. In a sense, it’s very much like Doctor Who.

The dialogue, the writing, the prose is fantastic. I did feel many times for Jenny, but she’s done wrong and she’s willing to make up for it. You don’t often find people like that. Gary’s father, Findae is a representation of the old arrogant English aristocracy. He’s literally the best enjoyable character in the book.

It’s also funny that some of the Bala had a comfortable life with their human masters and want to go back. I do feel Spartacus must have sensed this when he lead the slave revolt against Rome as well. Sometimes the slave became the master. And well, it is an odd thing really.

Even so, this novel has its serious moments, and it has gore. But not too much that it would strike you instantly on the face, there’s a setup. What I love is how Berry always an explanation for what’s happening. So crazy Russian mafia go on a ship and riot ensures?

The result of that doesn’t need to be explained, you’ll figure that out quickly. So you are well accustomed to what comes next, but it is there.

Horm, I felt was more under-used in the novel. I would have liked to see her more of her viewpoint. I do feel Gary needs a partner to defend him. He tries to do good but nobody wants it. Could this make Gary turn into something else? Who is to say.

My rating is a solid 5/5. Can’t wait to read the first book, and then for the third 🙂

Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre

Until We Meet Again

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together

Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.

The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together – but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.

Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?

A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.

Purchase Links


Author Bio –

Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.

Her father’s family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England.

My Review:

Brilliantly done in the style of Ken Follet. Vivid emotional scenes, and the hopeless loss of lives in WW1. I feel this novel is one you need to pick up and read.
No one I believe in WW1 believed that the war was just for good vs evil, it was more than that. Men of other sides died in a war that ultimately showed the true devastation of war. However, the preclusion to WW1’s terrible nature goes back through two epic wars in history. The American Civil War was the setting stage for what would happen in WW1. Imagine if you’re a Confederate/Union soldier walking through the fields of battle as shrapnel, canister, and gunfire shoots at you. The muskets themselves had a powerful rate of fire and accuracy as compared to the Napoleonic Wars. Walking in lines and columns was tough. Though, during the latter end of the war, Sherman did the March across the sea, burning and devastating the South. Railways were used often, and this would later spell out the tactics used in WW1. I’m imagining Edmond, or any officer walking through cannon fire knowing that you march and march until you can get there. And then, you fight. It is a harrowing experience. It is no wonder that Edmond suffered PSTD, and this has been prevalent throughout history.
The mothers in WW1 lost brave sons fighting for this cause. It is a terrible experience. I also liked the depiction of the British Army and how basically they were in difficult conditions. There wasn’t much you could do. Moving on, I do feel Amy was quite a good character, though sometimes I did feel that she was following the events more, than being actively involved. For example, the rift between the Derwent Family and Amy. I did not get enough scene development to show the rift between them eventually calmed down. I would have liked to have seen the Derwent family coming to terms with the fact that WW1 was changing the shape of society. Mr. Dervant certainly showed this. Edmond’s sister and mother, not so much.
I would have liked to have seen Amy as a VAD nurse being more shocked and horrified at the camps of wounded men. Because then I think where Rosemary could have built another emotional sequence was showing Amy’s fragility. Sure, she signed up to be a nurse and be closer to her husband. But she would also have seen the countless men out that had a wife or a girlfriend. Edmond could have been any one of them. This is foreshadowed later in the novel when Edmond says to Amy to be prepared for the worst.
There was that Colonel who successfully put her in prison because of her involvement in the Suffragette movement. I do feel that his assault on her, which Amy survived, should have been more of a karma payback to that dastardly colonel. The Colonel may have been well connected in the army, but I would have liked to see how karma would essentially bite him.
There are many great characters, many great moments, and many emotional moments that would make you cry. I see WW1 as a conflict that need not be started. Everyone in WW1 was imagining a short war. How wrong they were.
My rating is a solid 4/5.