Benn Birch


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Smashwords book reviews by Benn Birch

  • Passengers: Revelations on July 04, 2013

    I very much enjoyed the second book in this series "Passengers to Zeta Nine". It was a masterpiece of description and tech that didn't seem all that far-fetched for the sci-fi genre. "Revelations" however brought back Ben and Lori, Symch and Goster (I wasn't a big fan of the first book because of those characters) much to my dismay. What made the second book the best of the series so far was how there was always another discovery right around the corner. It spoke to the adventurer in me and I felt like I was on Zeta Nine with the main characters. "Revelations" fits in very little with the previous book and is more of a prison escape story with the Symch and Goster storyline. There were some interesting parts in there with the interactions of other characters but just not as good as all the discoveries from the previous book. The Ben and Lori parts are very typical to their characters; investigative, logical and tenacious. Without spoiling anything it's hard to describe the reasons I don't enjoy their storyline as much. I suppose if you were a fan of the first book with them, that you will enjoy this one more than I did. The book is peppered with just enough Raife and Nancy to keep me turning pages, hoping to get another new discovery on their new planet, but I felt let down by the lack of writing done on those two, who in my opinion are the real stars of this good series of books. So the long and the short of it, is it's a good book. It's well written in the style that I'm accustomed to with Peter Salisbury's work but it falls a bit short of expectations. It's definitely worth it for the price, so it's not to say that it's not good value for money. I just can't help but ache for more Nancy and Raife adventures... but then comes the 4th book "Pioneers" which is much more of what the Dr. ordered.
  • Passengers: Pioneers on July 04, 2013

    "Pioneers" is an amazing book. It focuses on Raife and Nancy on Zeta Nine. It feels like a true continuation from book 2 "Passengers to Zeta Nine" where it's back to back adventure and discovery. We learn so much about the Zetan Technology that we feel that we, as the reader, could use the artifacts ourselves. There is no real diversion from their storyline and the book is absolutely brilliant! That's because the author did something very smart with the TOC. He separated by either a Z9 (Zeta Nine) or Z2 (Zexx 2) designation in the chapter title. It's almost as if the Author knew that people were split on storylines. Some people craved the Zeta Nine story with the rebuilding of a colony long forgotten and wondering if we'll ever find out what these Zetans were really like. The other side of the coin are the people who enjoy the Vill/Sentience story with it's crime-drama feel. So essentially it's two books and you can choose to read one at a time by skipping one storyline or the other or you can read it in its entirety getting both storylines at the same time. Absolutely cool! This made for an interesting way to read this book. I could skip chapters that were marked "Z2" in the chapter name because I wasn't at all interested in that storyline. It was much appreciated because I found myself skimming over those character's chapters in the 3rd book. The Nancy and Raife parts of the book are again, really well written. There's a sense that they are changing from explorers and scientists more to leaders in the community. One of the 2 (I don't want to say for spoiler purposes which character it is) even shows signs that they are getting a bit too big for their britches. There are a few times where I can't believe the character has acted with such an air of superiority and privilege. It doesn't at all seem like the same person who took the lander from Explorer to the surface full of wonderment and a scientific mindset. It shows a character development that I didn't really notice with the other characters in the series. I hope in book 5, that continues as I can see that being a very interesting development on Zeta Nine. Another great book from Peter Salisbury. I look forward to the 5th book.