Shrouded Loyalties

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Military science fiction is one of my favourite genres to lose myself within. It's often tough to write because not only do you need to have plausible world building, but you need to have scenes that are action packed and engaging. It's not always easy to pull off, but Shrouded Loyalties has managed to do so within a well written and totally unique package. 

I couldn't get enough of everything to do with "shrouding," especially the mysterious Lovecraftian monsters within the realm that shrouding took our soldiers through. I wish we could have spent more of the book shrouding, but what we did get was amazing. 

One interesting aspect of this story is that we have characters from both sides of the war. We get to see inside the minds and points of views of soldiers on either side of the battle lines, making it hard for the reader to know who is actually "the bad guy." These grey areas were fascinating and even though the reader starts out thinking we're meant to be rooting for one team, after awhile you start to wonder if maybe you should be rooting for the other team. 

As for the characters, Blackwood was a tough one to like because she was quite reactionary and petulant, but Holland was a truly compelling character who I ended up really feeling sympathy for. Even though we read from the points of views of several characters, I loved that the two main ones were women. Because let's face it, women should be leading more military science fiction novels. Women are badass, too!

Full review to be put up on my blog on the publication date.
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Prose fiction can explore the inner life and mental contradictions of characters in a way that other formats can’t touch. Reese Hogan’s SHROUDED LOYALTIES is a perfect example of this kind of deep dive into character and inner turmoil. 

On its surface, this is a novel about a military conflict and the secretive process of “shrouding” or passing between worlds. But beneath that, it’s a thoughtful study of the layers of deceit and delusion that each of the main characters have wrapped around their loyalties to nation, family, and even themselves. And that level of examination lets the characters shine.

These are characters who struggle with rage and fear and self-loathing, who justify the crimes of their own nations and loved ones while vilifying those of outsiders. These characters hide their true feelings so deep that they can become obscured even to themselves. These are characters, in other words, who are just as complex and contradictory as ourselves. 

Hogan dives deep into her character’s motivations, fears, and blind spots. She forces the reader to ask hard questions about each character, and as a result their triumphs and failures are all the more powerful. 
This is an excellent novel, delivered by a talented writer. Pick it up and you won’t be disappointed!
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Shrouded Loyalties is an intriguing military science fiction journey that’s equal parts extreme action and family drama. Connections between characters quickly become complicated, creating an underlying sense of panic as you try to figure out the motives of each player in this high stakes game. The writing is spot on, pairing expertly written action scenes with intense relationship drama between siblings, coworkers, and lovers.

The book goes far beyond the typical battle heavy feel of military science fiction, creating a character piece centered on a war that effects each of the protagonists deeply. The strained relationship between Blackwell and her brother creates much of the drama, tempting betrayals and surprising revelations left and right. They share a history of trauma along with an overwhelming curiosity about the work of their deceased parents. As this plot gets revealed, the tension builds to a breaking point. That tension fuels the overarching feeling of the book as you wait to see the fate of these characters and their world.

On the other hand, we get to see the inner thoughts and motivations of Holland, a spy embedded within the enemy’s military. Holland’s connections to the other two protagonists creates unexpected drama as she skirts around her allegiances and the secrets she’s constantly protecting. She’s a fascinating character study, battling between allegiance to her country and allegiance to her lost family. She’s constantly evolving, proving she’s much more than a stock military character.

There’s definitely a large share of military conflict, spy thriller intensity, and mindblowing revelations that are hard to fathom. You’ll have to experience the thrills for yourself to get deeper into the plot. Overall, Shrouded Loyalties stands out above the rest thanks to the writer’s dedication to creating multifaceted characters whose lives go beyond the central conflict of the book. This aspect shows that war isn’t just about the fighting, but the people who must ultimately pick up the pieces and come to term with their actions.

Review to be published on 8/14:
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This was an interesting combination of old gods blended with new-age technology in a fantasy world. Great shifting of people's motives and loyalties. Stayed up late to finish reading it.
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
I really wanted to like this book because I loved the premise but I couldn’t. Most of the time I felt like I missed a prequel in which the basics of the world are explained. 
But what bothered me more than that was that I just couldn’t relate to any of the charcters.
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I'd rate this book somewhere between 3 and 4, but I decided to round it up, because it has some very interesting themes. I think a little more exploration of worldbuilding and a little more complex characterization would make it a real masterpiece. Anyway, I liked the conflict between two cultures and though at first I couldn't connet to any of the protagonist, they grew on to me at the end. I think it is good work, worth a read in some spare time.
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Military sci fi is often my go to book when I want a read and this book is a great example of that sub genre, my only criticism would be that sometimes keeping it simple is better for the reader, there was almost an expectation that the reader would know what words created for this world meant and it left me w bit baffled at times (might be because I’m getting senile though) other than that an enjoyable read that I would recommend
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A novel featuring a battle between two warring civilizations, an inter dimensional pathway called shrouding through a realm inhabited by strange creatures, secret powers tattooed on survivors, military secrets, sibling rivalry, and family secrets.  The best parts were the submarine action scenes especially the shrouding.  Despite that, much of the novel failed to cross The believability threshold and fell flat.  

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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My favorite Lovecraft story is called "From Beyond", and features a scientist who invents a mechanism that detects an alternate dimension full of strange, monstrous beings that is overlaid with our own. The problem is, once you can see the monsters, they can see you...

Shrouded Loyalties features just such a fantastical Lovecraftian realm, which has been tapped for human convenience in true sci-fi style. By "shrouding" into another dimension, military submarines can traverse the planet in seconds, but with a few unfortunate side effects of the elder god variety. 

Mira Blackwood is a kickass lady officer on just such a "shrouding" submarine, who gains a mysterious skill after a terrifying encounter within the other dimension. But the story has a very human component too, with claustrophobic human drama, double (triple?) agents who aren't what they seem, and a fabulous sibling dynamic that feels unnervingly true. The environment has a fittingly dieselpunk overlay, with familiar 1930's trappings evoking an off-kilter and uncanny alternate retro-future. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who's ever wished Das Boot had encountered Cthulu.

*note* I received an advance reader copy of this book.
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