- Universe that appears to be dynamic and filled with aliens
- Interesting alien companion for protagonist
- Packed with action
- Interesting plot choices
- Alien companion seems like a deus ex machina
- Some plot choices seem unnecessary
Terminus by Kevin Hardman is an exciting military science fiction book that finds Master Sergeant Gant Maker re-enlisted into the military in order to find the Vacra, a technologically advanced alien species that threatens Earth and its systems.
Accompanying Maker is an alien creature named Erlen who likes to taste everything with its tongue and paws. Not much is known about Erlen, nor is much revealed about Erlen throughout the story except for its penchant for licking people and things.
The mystery surrounding Erlen deepens as the story progresses. Later in the story, Erlen is revealed to have some fascinating abilities that helps Maker out in some pretty tight spaces, making the alien a kind of deus ex machina—its alienness and mysteriousness makes it possible for it to pretty much do anything.
While Erlen seems to be just a harmless pet, its role in the story grows, and it becomes a focus later, deepening the mystery of not only its origins, but also its role in the galaxy.
Erlen isn’t the only alien in the story. The villains, the Vacra, an insectoid alien species, are out hunting Gant and his companion. Meanwhile, their destination, Terminus, is a fringe world claimed by a number of alien species. That’s all to say that the universe isn’t static.
The protagonist, Gant Maker, is a fairly likable character. He’s an honorable person with a strong sense of morality and ethics regardless of the situation readers find him in at the beginning of the story. As the sole survivor of a Vacra attack, Maker is shunned by both the military and society when the story begins.
The offer of a mission is an opportunity for Gant’s redemption, so in a sense, the story of one of redemption. As the mission, and the story, progresses, Gant shows that he doesn’t need to be redeemed. His sense of morality and ethics appear intact, and later, this strong sense of morality motivates him to take action that contradicts the scope of his mission.
The mission itself isn’t a stealthy one. In fact, it’s fraught with danger that finds Gant and his hand-picked team of misfits thrust into danger. Whether it’s fighting off thieves, Vacra, or brawling with deadly aliens, the story isn’t lacking for suspense and thrills.
The supporting cast of characters, or Gant’s hand-picked team, are differentiated enough to be likable and unique. Among them is a cyborg who lives by Asimov’s first law of robotics: a robot shall not harm a human, or by inaction allow a human to come to. harm.
Aptly named “Buddha,” he’s an interesting choice for military team. Other members include a sniper with no eyes and a trash-loving engineer. These people aren’t really the first people who come to mind for a mission, but their eccentricities allow for some interesting events.
One aspect of the story that seems a bit extraneous is the hatred a particular character harbors for Gant. His presence on the ship seems a bit pointless as it serves no real purpose so far into the story.
Terminus by Kevin Hardman is an action-packed science fiction story that illustrates the loyalty one man has for his alien friend and the lengths he would go through to protect such a friend.
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