Hoskin's latest Outlanders begins with Brigid captured and stuck into a dream machine and Kane inserting himself to save her.
Now, this in itself was a cool opener, with Brigid dreaming of driving a sports car like a maniac while being pursued. Good and exciting stuff this. Kane's end of things introduces a new kind of drug, being created by sweating muties. Kinda weird, but OK, I went with it.
But by the end of the first 1/3 of the book, the reader never finds out just how smart and tough Brigid Baptiste even managed to get captured by a mere handful of half-assed thugs. With the leader in drag, no less! And Kane manages to get captured too. They can take on immortal gods and all kinds of mutie creatures, but can get captured and nearly killed by a mere 4 or 5 low-life thugs?
The overall premise of the story has been done over and over, but not quite like this. Hoskins does give a new rendition of yet another tale of heroes battling bad super soldiers. The 1800s British background, along with their unique and seemingly ever-growing abilities was pretty fresh and cool, not your standard. OK, I went along with it.
But it was the first encounter with the Cerberus group, Grant and Shizuka, that I didn't buy. It felt rushed and the battle was not as intense and well written as it should have been. These psychopath and murderous immortals are going around killing lots of people, but when they encounter their first and most deadly human adversaries, they leave them alive? I don't think so. The writer needed to pen in a better fight scene bewixt Shizuka and her immortal, because she has been pained for years now as being a superb swordswoman. But she gets taken down here way too easily. Superman or not, Shizuka is supposed to be better than this. And Hoskin needed to think of a more clever reason for why these mad immortals didn't make sure these two were dead, or had to leave in a rush.
Rik Hoskin is a good writer with a solid imagination. But he needs a great editor. One that calls bullshit and points out details that need either rewritten or revised a bit. Like important scenes where Grant doesn't seem to tell his comrades on just how fast and strong these 5 new enemies are. And that simple guns like a sin eater don't do shit. It took another encounter with the main Cerberus group against a much more smarter and deadly foe to learn this. And really, they all would have been killed. Again and again I see the same these in this series: The Cerberus group placing themselves into dangerous situations needlessly, without utilizing their vast arsenal of weapons.
There was the main last big battle scene that was pretty cool, but was written like Kane and Grant were the ones enhanced with super strength, instead of the four they were fighting. Especially Grant. I had to shake my head in disbelief when Grant threw Shizuka's sword upwards through the air while dangling from a flying dirigible, and had the strength, (which was written to be waning), but managed to not only hit his intended target, an immortal with a big burn blaster who couldn't hit shit, but manages to get a samurai sword flying UPWARDS through the air, impale all the way through his chest - and impale him off his feet in the roof of the flying machine. REALLY!? When did Grant learn to do this superhuman feat?
And then they of course crashland the giant balloon in redwoods and don't get killed, no bones broken, nada! Huh? Now they are indestructible?
I know it sounds like I hated the book, but I didn't. It was a fast read, chock-full of good ideas and some good action sequences, even though I think the writer must be on too much of a deadline, or just does not have a solid editor. Both, I think.
The Devil is in the details, Mr. Writers of Outlanders.