Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The boys desperately need a vacation. With the not-quite-ill-gotten gains from the Frog incident, Shax takes the Brimstone’s crew to the exclusive resort planet, Opal, for some much needed rest and relaxation. The resort has everything a demon prince and his crew could want, but an incident on the Trauma Ball court sends Ness stalking off in anger and sends events swiftly spiraling out of control.
Shax will need every bit of his cunning and his legendary luck to save his Ness as he’s drawn into a web of criminal experiments and…pink hedgehogs?
I’ve been following the unusual crew of the Brimstone since the first story, Potato Surprise, and have seen each tale bring more layers to each character, more additions to the Brimstone crew, and each novel becoming increasingly complex and potentially heartbreaking. Shax’s War really is the pinnacle of the series to date. Martinez takes a moment of downtime for the crew and escalates it into a flight of sheer terror and heartbreak as well as a ship of horrors for one.
When I read it in 2014 when it was first released (this series and author are must reads for me) this story put me through the wringer. Angel Martinez can create characters like Shax, his fallen angel lover Ness, Verin, cowboy Corny, the ship’s IA Ivana Cockatoo, and among the new additions Leopold. Every single one able to grab at your heart, letting you connect deeply to their lives and situations. And what situations and adventures they manage to get themselves into. But nothing like what occurs here within Shax’s War.
Some of the scenes are not for the squeamish. Beings treated as organ donors while alive will do that.
Luckily a rescue will put an end to that horror. But it’s there, so be warned. This is a white knuckle ride all the way, fear and love for these characters will be driving you through listening to the audiobook in one clip, much as I did the story. Vance Bastian again does an outstanding job with this variety of characters from the gruff Verin to the improbable pink hedgehog Leopold and everyone inbetween. He brings Shax to life with the fear and desperation ringing in his lines as he searches for his love, the horror of the ship and the pain as the demon begins to crack up under it all. Such an amazing story and Vance Bastian brought out new elements I hadn’t noticed before when I read it, highlighting new aspects of the story by his narration making me appreciate it all over again.
If you’re new to this series, start at the beginning and see how the Brimstone got it crew. You can get it all in a collection. Then you can look forward to new stories as they arrive. I hope the author is not done with the crew yet and there are more galactic adventures to come. I can hardly wait for both the books and the audio versions! I highly recommend them both.
Cover art is a little jarring. I really don’t think that’s Leopold.
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Audible.com Release Date: June 29, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Ready