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July, 2013 Review on hold And don t think it isn t killing me September, 2013 Signed, sealed and delivered beyond expectations, The Plague Forge by Jason Hough brings his Dire Earth Cycle to a brilliant conclusion Intense, detailed and flying by at breakneck speed in a race against time and an unknown alien faction with an equally unknown purpose, The Plague Forge holds on to its final secrets until the very end Imagine a rollercoaster powering to the precipice, then plunging downward, le July, 2013 Review on hold And don t think it isn t killing me September, 2013 Signed, sealed and delivered beyond expectations, The Plague Forge by Jason Hough brings his Dire Earth Cycle to a brilliant conclusion Intense, detailed and flying by at breakneck speed in a race against time and an unknown alien faction with an equally unknown purpose, The Plague Forge holds on to its final secrets until the very end Imagine a rollercoaster powering to the precipice, then plunging downward, leaving you breathless, waiting for your stomach to catch up, and that amazing adrenaline rush that makes you grin silly as you pull into the final stop, completely satisfied and ready to do it again after a short breather The Plague Forge is that good Jason Hough is a master at his craft He makes each scene real, I did the mental look around, seeing it all With larger than life characters, surprising heroes, mindless SUBS, evil, manipulating power mongers, and the dark, looming unknown from beyond, I was living in the moment in each book Did I lose a few too many friends in the battle Yes Did I witness true bravery in action Yes Did I see tons of gore, guts and brutality Yes Did I find the hard fought resolution and hope for the future Yes Do I wantfrom the mind and pen of this great Sci fi author YES Am I keeping the gun I used in the fights No, silly, this was fiction, but I would like to return to see what is happening now I received an ARC edition from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group Del Rey Spectra in exchange for my honest review.Publication Date September 24, 2013Publisher Random House Publishing Group Del Rey SpectraISBN 9780345537164Series The Dire Earth Cycle, Book 3Number of Pages 448Genre Sci fiRecommended Audience NA on up My Rating 5 StarsAvailable fromBarnes Noble Forreviews check out Tome Tender s Book Blog or find us on Facebook. First of all, I feel bad for The Plague Forge because this particular book had the dubious honor of competing for my time and energy with Dark Souls II Ouch Even my beloved Packers would have a hard time competing with Dark Souls II, so Anyway I digress I often make fun of Baen book covers but who hasn t Secretly, however, any time I pass one in the bookstore, I linger on it because it just looks so damn interesting The amount of lasers, monsters, explosions, and scantily clad space her First of all, I feel bad for The Plague Forge because this particular book had the dubious honor of competing for my time and energy with Dark Souls II Ouch Even my beloved Packers would have a hard time competing with Dark Souls II, so Anyway I digress I often make fun of Baen book covers but who hasn t Secretly, however, any time I pass one in the bookstore, I linger on it because it just looks so damn interesting The amount of lasers, monsters, explosions, and scantily clad space heroines does its thing it gets my attention These goofy covers work so well that, inevitably, once a year I pick up a Baen book with the hope of being taken away on such ludicrous adventures And each year, about a hundred pages in, I put the book down, never to be picked up again The reason I bring up covers is because, well, just look at the cover of this book Guns, grit, explosions, pyramids, overly groomed action heroes and it s all tinted in red RED I tell you Just in case you thought this was going to be a book of peace and harmony, well, it s red And so, just as you d expect, this book take the action from the previous two novels and cranks it all the way up Fortunately, unlike the Baen books I ve attempted, the kitschy covers for the Dire Earth Cycle are gateways to highly entertaining, gun toting space romps around the world If these covers appeal to you admit it they do , then you should read these books The plot of The Plague Forge, explosion riddled as it is, follows a variety of character and teams from the previous novels on their global quest to find the remaining Builder Keys and return them to the Builder ship parked in orbit Naturally, things explode along the way Of all the plot threads, by far my favorite was that of Sam and Prumble busting into the Nightcliff complex Even though the SUBS are interesting, the chapters that pit the teams against other, normal people are developed much better and have a lotpunch If you ve read this far into the series, you should know what to expect, and this book does not disappoint A word about the ending I can see why some readers wantedHough leaves a lot of questions without answers, but I really like that the plot revolved around the people rather than around the world building does that make sense It makes sense to me I can t imagine how Hough could have revealed too muchabout the Builders without a major info dump, or without strangling the plot both of those options are bad, btw The story is about the characters and their many explosions , not about the Builders Besides, because the ending is so nebulous Hough has opened many doors for other books in the universe He could writeabout Skyler and what happens after he ships out, or he could introduce totally new characters who explore Builder related places, ships, events, etc These ideas would make for great books, and I would read them all.I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, and it continues to be very popular with my students Now the countdown begins to book number four Click Picture to Enter Giveaway Post Tome Tender GiveawayEnter to winThe Dire Earth Cycle Trilogy includes 1 Printed copy of The Darwin Elevator by Jason M Hough 1 Printed copy of The Exodus Towers by Jason M Hough 1 Printed copy of The Plague Forge by Jason M HoughOpen to USA and Canada Mailing Address OnlyContest runs September 24, 2013 October 8, 2013I am shocked, overwhelmed, reeling and feeling completely bereft that it is over Suspense, tension, violence, non stop action, plo Click Picture to Enter Giveaway Post Tome Tender GiveawayEnter to winThe Dire Earth Cycle Trilogy includes 1 Printed copy of The Darwin Elevator by Jason M Hough 1 Printed copy of The Exodus Towers by Jason M Hough 1 Printed copy of The Plague Forge by Jason M HoughOpen to USA and Canada Mailing Address OnlyContest runs September 24, 2013 October 8, 2013I am shocked, overwhelmed, reeling and feeling completely bereft that it is over Suspense, tension, violence, non stop action, plot twists and turns, Jason M Hough puts us through the ride of a life time in the final Dire Earth Cycle book.After discovering and removing a highly guarded key in the Builder ship, the power and players in this story quickly discover two things One, that they are tied to the space elevators and Two, they are connected to the new ship that has just arrived The race is on to obtain the keys and place them in the newest Builder ship The clock is counting down to the arrival of the final Builder event The Plague Forge is an epic science fiction story This is the kind of story you rethink in your mind, it flows into your dreams and the impact stays with you Each and every characters plight completely sucked me in The writing style made you feel like it was your world you were watching battle for survival Hough s even makes you feel sympathy for characters you would otherwise write off as evil Keeping me on the edge of my seat till the very last word, I was utterly glued to the pages Brilliant writing The Plague Forge is being added as a wonderful addition to my favorite books of all time shelf.I received this ARC copy of The Plague Forge from Random House Publishing Group Del Rey Spectra in exhcange for a honest review This book is set for publication September 27, 2013.Written by Jason M HoughSeries Dire Earth CycleSequence in Series 3Paperback 448 pagesPublisher Titan Books Ltd Publication Date September 27, 2013Language EnglishISBN 10 1781167672ISBN 13 978 1781167670Rating 5 Stars FAVORITEGenre Science FictionAge Recommendation AdultJason M Hough sWebsiteTwitterFacebookBlogFind this book onBarnes Noble Forreviews check out Tome Tender s Book Blog or find us on Facebook. The second book of the Dire Earth Cycle, The Exodus Towers, ended with a slow, tense burn that continues into The Plague Forge Skyler Luiken, the main character, now shares the spotlight with Tania Sharma and Samantha Rinn and all are on separate missions to retrieve the last three alien artifacts to complete the puzzle on the alien Builders Key Ship Tania and Skyler s teams deal with the ever present threat of subhumans and the SUBS disease, while Samantha, within Darwin, must steal the blu The second book of the Dire Earth Cycle, The Exodus Towers, ended with a slow, tense burn that continues into The Plague Forge Skyler Luiken, the main character, now shares the spotlight with Tania Sharma and Samantha Rinn and all are on separate missions to retrieve the last three alien artifacts to complete the puzzle on the alien Builders Key Ship Tania and Skyler s teams deal with the ever present threat of subhumans and the SUBS disease, while Samantha, within Darwin, must steal the blue artifact from the cold and deadly Grillo and his Jacobites Initially, I appreciated the way the Jacobites, a cult based on Jacob s Ladder, were unobtrusively incorporated into the story I m not fond of religious cults as authors often allow them to take up a lot of the plot with preaching and indoctrination In the previous book, they did play a prominent role, which continued here as the official Big BadTM, but Hough did not bog the story down with their zealotry The Jacobites and their leader, Grillo, existed as our heroes foil, and, while they did attempt to indoctrinate a few people here and there, it was not their prominent function within the plot Similarly, the characters of Pablo and Vanessa, Skyler s new crewmates, served their plot function as efficient soldiers in Skyler s new crew, but as actual characters, I would have liked to see them befleshed out I never gained a connection with them as I had with Skyler s original crew, no matter how often Skyler referenced them as his crew Otherwise, I really liked a lot of Hough s characters, including some that were not meant to be liked, such as the deplorable Russell Blackfield I ve really enjoyed the insight into his character When he was first introduced, he was the evil despot, but I loved that Hough allowed us to seeof him as the trilogy progressed without merely turning into a bad guy to be destroyed or redeemed I respect that all the characters were very much flawed and the heroes weren t necessary likable, while the evil despots weren t necessarily bad, considering the circumstances And I loved that Hough was not afraid to kill his babies No one died needlessly, but it certainly raised the stakes to realize that any of them could die at any time As this was the final book in the trilogy, it meant that we finally get the answer to the question that hung over the entire story What the hell do the Builders want Of course the heroes would obtain the three artifacts and of course they would put the puzzle together and meet the Builders, who were already on their way But when I finally got to the answer, I was shocked by it and by the pithy perfection of its delivery It offered the closure I needed, while opening an entirely exciting new door Don t walk into this expecting any sort of happy ending, considering the devastation the Builders have caused, but Hough left me with a bittersweet offer of hope and forgiveness that surprised me and left me in 2am tears With thanks to Netgalley and Del Rey Spectra for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book Seereviews at The BiblioSanctum Potboiler only sparingly dispensing bits of the sci in sci fi The conclusion seemed tacked on at the end It seems that the author feels confident in his skills for describing nonstop violent action over the course of three substantial volumes, leaving only 18 pages at the end for the meaning of the invasion The explanation provided in these 18 pages seems like a set up for the next volume When Alan Cheuse first reviewed The Darwin Elevator on NPR, he claimed that it was the first of a proj Potboiler only sparingly dispensing bits of the sci in sci fi The conclusion seemed tacked on at the end It seems that the author feels confident in his skills for describing nonstop violent action over the course of three substantial volumes, leaving only 18 pages at the end for the meaning of the invasion The explanation provided in these 18 pages seems like a set up for the next volume When Alan Cheuse first reviewed The Darwin Elevator on NPR, he claimed that it was the first of a projected nine volumes Plague Forge concludes, I guess, the first trilogy in his series The Dire Earth Cycle Having worked through these first three, I don t think I m up for anyof this I m trying to think of an analogy that encompasses all of the great things this book brings to the reader First and foremost, while it falls firmly within the sci fi genre, it draws liberally from many others There are strong mystery and adventure elements here that make the story almost ache with tension It is not a book that is easy to put down, nor will you find sections that are easy to skim over due to lulls in plot or action The story is layered, intelligent and if you are a bit of a n I m trying to think of an analogy that encompasses all of the great things this book brings to the reader First and foremost, while it falls firmly within the sci fi genre, it draws liberally from many others There are strong mystery and adventure elements here that make the story almost ache with tension It is not a book that is easy to put down, nor will you find sections that are easy to skim over due to lulls in plot or action The story is layered, intelligent and if you are a bit of a nerd, littered with pop culture references that kinda fill you with glee Butimportantly are the characters You will love the heroes They are the kind of heroes that we flock to the movies to see They are flawed, smart mouthed, get beat up, but still put every ounce of their blood sweat and tears into saving the every man And even better are the villains They do the most heinous things within the story but somehow the author sneaks up behind you and gives them plausible motivations that almost makes them likeable It is infuriating and makes for excellent storytelling The world building is superb but somehow manages to come across with a light touch The science is woven in plausibly, believably and at a level that I think is accessible to the average reader But beyond all of this is the readability You know that thing that sets the good authors apart from the great I m sure there are hundreds of book critics who have spent thousands of reviews trying to explain what that untangible is, but suffice it to say, its here Mr Hough has it and I could not stop reading his amazing words In all honesty I am now a life long fan and cannot wait to have the chance to read this story all over again from beginning I hope it will become one of the great sci fi epics that we ll be reading for decades to come Still hesitating about the rating Would have been a solid four for most of the book, but some of the parts before the end started to drag a little, and I m trying to decide whether the ending was fitting, a bit disappointing, or a bit of both.A bit of both, I think.In any case, The Plague Forge is a thrilling, action rich conclusion to the Dire Earth Cycle I think it s pretty safe to say that anyone who enjoyed the first two books will also enjoy this one with the addendum that they might or Still hesitating about the rating Would have been a solid four for most of the book, but some of the parts before the end started to drag a little, and I m trying to decide whether the ending was fitting, a bit disappointing, or a bit of both.A bit of both, I think.In any case, The Plague Forge is a thrilling, action rich conclusion to the Dire Earth Cycle I think it s pretty safe to say that anyone who enjoyed the first two books will also enjoy this one with the addendum that they might or might not care for the ending There s still just as much action and gore and deaths as in the first two books, but there s no doubt that this, unlike The Darwin Elevator, which started the trilogy and came across mostly as a zombie apocalypse book with some strong science fiction elements, is mucha science fiction novel, with the subs relegated to the role of a secondary threat and the focus of the action on the Key Ship we encountered in the second book.It s overall also probably the strongest of the three The multiple points of view felt balanced with Tania and Sam both getting a significant share of the narration as well as the action , the characters better developed Flat characters were my main complaint in the first book, but there s no doubt that they ended uprounded So yes There s really a lot to like about this book Unfortunately there were a couple of chapters, mostly view spoiler the ones with Skyler and Ana trapped in the plague forge building hide spoiler that well, I can t say bored me, because I had trouble putting the book down even then, but they did drag a bit for me, enough that I was tempted to skim at times I realise and understand the purpose of those parts and that a sense of urgency and impending doom was needed but still had to wonder if they couldn t perhaps have been trimmed down a bit.And then there s the ending.On the plus side, I really appreciate getting answers If there s one thing I hate, it s reading a lengthy tale with many unanswered questions and never finding out just what caused everything just what it was all about In this sense, I didn t have to be disappointed we do get answers, and the answers, in context, were acceptable to me.On the other hand I really don t know how I feel about the way these answers were presented view spoiler The epilogue just telling everything to us in a speech felt rather a let down after everything that had happened Almost as if the author had run out of time and needed to wrap things up really quickly A bit of a cop out, I suppose.Then again, it s really hard to wrap things up after three books of nonstop action, to come to an ending, without it feeling a bit of a let down, isn t it Coming down from an adrenaline high, all that hide spoiler I m not sure I really have any bright ideas about how it could have been done better, and in some ways, it did feel fitting Just, well, somehow not as satisfying as I d have liked it to be.In any case, I m really glad to have read this series It s not my usual fare, and writing wise, this isn t particularly high art not that everything needs to be, and I m damn happy about that , but it clicked for me I enjoyed it It pulled me in and didn t let go And really, if one is after a high octane post apocalyptic action series with lots of shooting and some decent enough science fiction aspects, one could do a lot worseARC of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review Thanks is still shaken from the events in The Exodus Towers and he s also still a little conflicted about his feelings for Tania, who risked her life to save his It turns out that the alien Builders have something else up their sleeves, but what Skyler and Tania do know that they must find the remaining keys, and they re hoping that the towers will lead them to the artifacts needed to complete the Builder puzzle They decide that two groups will go in se is still shaken from the events in The Exodus Towers and he s also still a little conflicted about his feelings for Tania, who risked her life to save his It turns out that the alien Builders have something else up their sleeves, but what Skyler and Tania do know that they must find the remaining keys, and they re hoping that the towers will lead them to the artifacts needed to complete the Builder puzzle They decide that two groups will go in search of the artifacts, with Tania leading one, and Skyler leading the other, but Tania isn t an immune, so she ll be limited in what she can do on the mission, since exposure to any area beyond the auras that surround the space elevators could result in her contracting Subs the dreaded disease that has wiped out so much of the world s population and driven the rest mad Luckily, the portable towers do provide protective auras, but the danger is still great Meanwhile, back in Nightcliff, Samantha is having her own struggles with Grillo s fanatic Jacobites and her own part of the mission, which is also to get one of the keys back to the Builder ship, and hopefully save her friend Kelly from his clutches in the process.The danger level is as high as ever, and it doesn t help that Tania must not only fight her way through hoardes of SUBS infected humans, alongside Vanessa and Pablo, but she s got to wear a protective suit to do it, and Skyler and Ana are toting Russell Blackfield along with them, ostensibly to help them with any and all info pertaining to Grillo and his operation.I kind of love this series, and if you re wondering, there s just as much action as the first two books, andtwists than you can shake a shock stick at We also get to know Prumble quite a bit better, as he s helping Sam out, and that was an added bonus He s a bonafide hero, guys Samantha is one of my favorite characters like, ever , and the scenes with her and Prumble are among my favorites Russell Blackfield was also a bit of a surprise this time around Hough gives himdepth and even though he s still a jerk, he finds himself in a unique position during this mission, and there may be a little hope of redemption, even for a scoundrel like him Turns out he is actually capable of a little introspection Who knew Of course, Hough loves to throw all kinds of obstacles at our heroes, so there s plenty to thwart their efforts in getting those keys to the Builder ships between the infected and Grillo s goons Since this is the last in the series, though, the narrative must move toward solving the why of the Builders, but it s not so straightforward as all that I was pleased and a little surprised at the ending in a good way , and admittedly,than a little sorry that the series ended The Dire Earth Cycle is the equivalent of a blockbuster action movie but with considerablydepth , and the books are certainly paced like one I had great fun with this series, and I can t wait to find out what Jason Hough has in store for us next Here s the thing about the entire series If you ve ever been a fan of sci fi movies or video games, the pacing and plot development will be very familiar to you In the hands of a writer like Neal Stephenson, this material would have been a million word saga And that s okay he does that really well Jason Hough writes the whole thing in damn near teleplay format he knows how to write visually, how to set up light and sound and does it all with text Pretty slick I found some of his charac Here s the thing about the entire series If you ve ever been a fan of sci fi movies or video games, the pacing and plot development will be very familiar to you In the hands of a writer like Neal Stephenson, this material would have been a million word saga And that s okay he does that really well Jason Hough writes the whole thing in damn near teleplay format he knows how to write visually, how to set up light and sound and does it all with text Pretty slick I found some of his characterization a bitstock Sometimes predictable But fun Kinda wish he and Whedon would get together and do it as a miniseries Alan Tudyk could play Blackfield and wellNo spoilers, I suppose Fun stuff Enjoyed reading all three EDIT Okay I m dropping a star I confess that everything in the above is true.but he shanked the ending I mean, really shanked it I m not griping because I didn t like the content of the ending I did, entirely What I don t like is that Hough clearly gave up There was definite call for a fourth book Instead, he wrapped everything up in an epilogue and asked the reader to take well pretty much every major plot point on faith It was.disappointing `Download ☚ The Plague Forge ☠ After discovering the first key in the wreckage of a crashed Builder ship, Skyler Luiken and his crew follow the migrating aura towers in search of the four remaining relics But time is running out the team learn that the next Builder event will be the last, and one of the objects has already fallen into dangerous handsWill the survivors finally reveal the Builders plan