In order to squeeze more reviews into my Saturdays, I’m combining three second in series today, although admittedly one is officially a first but with a prequel. Naturally they feature strongly in my Finishing the Series Reading Challenge! I read the firsts some time ago (2018-2020), but have been looking forward to their continuation.

Raven’s Children (Sequoyah series #2)

by Sabrina Chase

Moire Cameron, former NASA explorer and web pilot, now has a working ship, a loyal crew, an unexpected son, and a valuable Earthlike planet to protect from the clutches of Toren. Then Ennis, the only one to discover her secret, is captured by Toren–and Moire discovers crucial information that could help end the crab-human war. Moire must find a way to rescue Ennis and get the information to Fleet–without getting captured herself–or the war could destroy everything she holds dear. [goodreads]


I read The Long Way Home in the summer of 2020, and was totally engrossed in it. Raven’s Children is just as good, although it took me a while to sort out who was who and what was going on from the first book. Once you get into it, it’s fast-paced, full of intrigue, and with marvellous world-building.

I particularly highlight a wonderful bit of alien technology, and you know how much I like alien point of view (and alternative technology). There are also Moire’s emotions to sort out, which for a captain is hard work, since it involves an adult-looking seven-ten year-old child. All the strength, none of the social conditioning. And she’s also trying to protect all her clan from the big entities in the universe discovering her secret refuge – a planet with breathable air and a reasonable climate.

All in all this is a beautifully put together space opera, and I have no idea why it isn’t better known. I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

Code of Conduct (Jani Kilian Chronicles #1)

by Kristine Smith

Captain Jani Kilian’s life should have ended in front of a firing squad. Instead, she evaded battlefield justice by dying in a transport crash. End of story, according to official Commonwealth Service records. 

But doctors repaired her in secret, using the most advanced Service Medical technologies available, or so they assured her. In the last days of the idomeni civil war, she escaped their homeworld of Shèrá, and spent the next 18 years on the run.

But someone like Jani leaves a trail no matter how hard they try to hide it, and she soon learns the Service hunt for her never ended. When Interior Minister Evan van Reuter, her former lover, tracks her down and begs her help in finding his wife’s killer, she has no choice but to agree. 

The search takes her to the Commonwealth capital of Chicago, a hotbed of political intrigue as dangerous as any warzone. As the danger mounts, so do Jani’s struggles. Her rebuilt body is breaking down, and memories long suppressed are flooding back. Of one horrible night 18 years ago, and the gut-wrenching decision that changed her life forever.


I really enjoyed the prequel short story (Incident on a Small Colony), but it was 2020 that I read it. I was therefore unprepared for where we landed in Jani Kilian’s world. It is some thirteen years later; she is definitely a wanted person, and very high status, even though that has to remain hidden from others. However, the details are revealed slowly in this fast-paced story and even with my addled brain I managed to piece it together fast, and even better, keep track of who was who in this multi-species part-political scifi thriller with several parts of it in alien point of view! (Bonus!)

What I did find confusing was Jani working under an alias where she is referred to by some with the alias, and others as her ‘real’ name. Eventually I got the hang of it, but I was up to speed with most of the rest of it very quickly. This is odd as many of the reviews I saw when checking for this indicate confusion and even boredom. Maybe it’s just different strokes? Kristine Smith’s pacing and timing obviously works for me, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

Half Life (Russell’s Attic series #2)

by S L Huang

Cas Russell is back — and so is her deadly supermath.

Cas may be an antisocial mercenary who uses her instant calculating skills to mow down enemies, but she’s trying hard to build up a handful of morals. So when she’s hired by an anguished father to rescue his kid from an evil tech conglomerate, it seems like the perfect job to use for ethics practice.

Then she finds her client’s daughter . . . who is a robot.

The researchers who own the ’bot will stop at nothing to get it back, but the kid’s just real enough for Cas to want to protect her — even though she knows she’s risking everything for a collection of metal and wires. But when the case blows up in her face, it plunges Cas into the crossfire of a massive, decades-long corporate espionage war.

Cas knows logically that she isn’t saving a child. She’s stealing a piece of technology, one expensive and high-stakes enough that spiriting it away is going to get innocent people killed. But she has a distraught father on one hand and a robot programmed to act like a distraught daughter on the other, and she’s never been able to sit by when a kid is in trouble — even a fake one.

Screw morals and ethics. All Cas wants to do is save one little girl. [goodreads]


This seems so close to being scifi that it’s a shame I can’t include it in my Spacetime Reading Challenge. It’s a futuristic Californian world, and Cas’s supermath powers enable her to calculate the ballistics involved in rifle shot so well, that she can backtrack to the person who fired the bullet before he’s packed up. Very useful. And that’s not all she can calculate – the odds of getting into and out of a secure facility with a kidnapped child have to be at least feasible…

Apart from the corporate espionage bit of the blurb, this also involves a hefty bit of mafia-style gang warfare, in which Cas has to satisfy big momma. It’s an incredibly complex plot, but the pacing is excellent, and the characters well defined, so there were only two of the (very many) people that I got mixed up for a while!

Like the first in the series, I really enjoyed this book, which I find has a nice touch of humour, and Cas’s anxieties about her role in life. The series has been reissued in a slighty different order, but I’m continuing with the editions I have for now.

Three Series Reviews | Raven’s Children | Code of Conduct | Half Life
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