- Action-packed story once the Crusade arrives
- Familiar characters from other spin-offs of the Ember War universe
- Overall plot of the Ember War universe continues to be developed
- Ely’s story and development feels a little sluggish
- Transitions between plots can be abrupt
Soul Invictus Review
Soul Invictus by Richard Fox finds Ely Hale and the Steel Sworn charged with saving the colonists on Roanoke from the soul-harvesting Geists. Embedded into the Roanoke colony are two undercover Terran Strike Marines tasked with a mission by the Lady Ibarra to scout the Geist and their supporters.
This book juggles three main plots: Ely Hale in the Crusade, Marc Ibarra on Earth, and Duke and Adams on Roanoke. The transitions between the three stories can be a little confusing and frustrating at times when the action for that particular story picks up only to abruptly switch to another story.
Ely’s story is a little amusing. Ely’s integration into his Lance and into the Crusade comes with some obstacles, but his interactions and the camaraderie make the story enjoyable. Pulaski’s interaction with his teammates and his misunderstandings add a level of fun to the otherwise slow parts of the story where the Armor are in-between missions.
But as the story progresses, Ely develops more confidence and becomes involved in more missions that allows his character to “toughen” up and complain less.
Whereas Ely’s character develops and progresses forward, Marc Ibarra’s situation is a bit stagnant. Marc is stuck on Earth as a prisoner of the Geist, and their failed attempts to get him to reveal the whereabouts of Malal become a little tiring, and there’s a sense of pause in the story here as the humans on Earth await the arrival of the Crusade.
The Geist’s attempt to get Marc to speak seem futile until they arrive at an interesting solution that appeals to Marc’s humanity. Marc’s reaction to this solution doesn’t seem quite believable considering his role in the Ember War and his knowledge of Stacey’s real situation. How Marc’s situation will resolve seems uncertain.
Finally, Duke and Adams’ role-playing as farmers on Roanoke reveals some of the more interesting actions taken by the Geist. Their need for soul energy results in some atrocities committed on both humans and Dotaris show just how evil they are and what a threat Malal poses to all sentient life if he is somehow discovered and returned.
Calling the war against the Geist a Crusade is apt considering the descriptions of crucifixes, the religious fervor displayed by both sides, and perhaps even Stacey’s baby, whose existence isn’t quite human considering its parents.
Readers are sure to enjoy how the overall universe in the Ember Wars series is being developed here. Humanity survives one near-extinction event only to be enslaved and harvested for its life energy by another evil alien species intent on subjugating all other sentient life for the sake of returning their god Malal.
Soul Invictus by Richard Fox has some exciting action scenes involving some familiar characters from another spin-off of the Ember Wars series. The story progresses toward an exciting conclusion hinted at by the title.
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