Cover Image: Reckoning

Reckoning

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Member Reviews

The nitty-gritty: Gear brings more deadly creatures, more political maneuvering and lots of action to the table in Reckoning, another fantastic entry in his Donovan series.

It’s always fun when a new W. Michael Gear Donovan book comes out, a series that could keep on going as far as I’m concerned. I’m convinced Gear isn’t done with his characters yet, despite the rather tidy ending of Reckoning. This sixth book is lighter on plot and action and heavier on character development, and I was OK with that. Gear still manages to get in lots of tense, scary scenes, and fans of the series will not be disappointed.

As the story opens, we learn that the Turalon, a ship caught in inverted symmetry for quite a while, is about to finally emerge within orbit of Capella III. Those on board include four representatives of powerful Solar System families, each one hoping to gain control of Donovan’s wealth of natural minerals. Also aboard is Inspector General Soukup, who is convinced that Board Supervisor Kalico Aguila, a resident of Donovan for many years, has broken her contract and needs to be removed from office. Finally, a team of thirty marines under the direction of Colonel Stanley Creamer plans to act as enforcers once they get to the planet’s surface.

But what none of these people know is that Donovan is a dangerous place for humans, more likely to kill them than provide shelter and resources. Those who live there have developed tough survival skills, working together to keep the many dangerous species out of Port Authority, the hub of the planet. The new arrivals are considered “soft meat” and have no idea what awaits them once they touch down. Yes, things are about to get interesting in Port Authority. 

This installment of the series is in many ways a recap of what’s happened so far. Gear includes references to previous books by integrating settings and plots from them into the story revolving around the Turalon passengers. We see Inspector General Soukup taking a tour of the Freelander, the haunted ship from Abandoned. Kylee and Falise spend time with the survivors of the Ashanti from Unreconciled. And the horrible fate of the Maritime Unit, which featured heavily in Adrift, is mentioned several times. For fans who have kept up with the series, Reckoning is such a treat. I had lots of fond memories as I was reading, although “fond” might not be the right word, since most of those memories involve cannibalism, murder and deadly sea creatures!

As I mentioned, we get lots of great character growth in this story. All the old familiar characters are still around. Kalico has had success with her mining operation, but she’s also worried about the impending arrival of the IG, who could dethrone her from her corporate position. Kylee, who is now sixteen, is living off the grid with her quetzal companion Flute and her friend Tip. But when Tip is seriously injured, Kylee is forced to bring him into Port Authority for medical attention, and as a human-quetzal hybrid, that’s way out of her comfort zone. Old favorites like Shig, Dek, Talina and Inga pop up in the story, although they aren’t the focus this time around. 

And then there are the new characters. Falise Taglioni represents the high powered Taglioni family and just happens to be Dek’s sister. She’s the family assassin and enforcer, and she’s not above killing to get what she wants. Unfortunately for Falise, she’s completely unprepared for Donovan’s deadly flora and fauna, and it was gratifying (at first) to see her brought down by the elements and the hardened Donovians who refuse to put up with her shit. But once she and Kylee end up stranded outside the walls of Port Authority and are forced to survive on their own, I loved seeing Falise change from an entitled rich woman to one who realizes she has to adjust her way of thinking if she wants to stay alive. I despised most of the new characters, including IG Soukup, who readers will love to hate. He truly was a vile man, and I’ll admit I was hoping Donovan would get him first.

The first half of the book is very slow with very little action. There’s a lot of “talking” among the characters so it feels as though nothing is happening, and considering the book is over five hundred pages, it makes for a slow start. Gear inserts unexpected bursts of action and sudden violence to shake things up, though. And once you hit the midway point, the stakes become much higher and the story more action-packed. All the set-up in the first half is worth it at that point, as Gear throws in plenty of “Holy shit” moments. I still think this series would make an excellent Netflix show, as each book feels like a complete season of television.

Let’s face it—this series has everything I love about science fiction: fantastic characters who show tremendous growth from book to book, an exciting planet with endless alien creatures to keep things interesting, and lots of tension and pulse-pounding action. I’ve no double Gear has more Donovan stories to write, and I’ll be the first in line to read them.

Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.
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The Donovan series is just such a win. In fact, I really want someone to make it into a show. Imagine the visuals, if you will: a whole planet with crap that can (and make no mistake, will) kill you. I know I have said this before, but this would be gold. If I keep proclaiming this enough, maybe it will come to fruition. (Feel free to add me to the Writer's Room, I have ideas.)

Erm, I digress. Obviously, I need to keep this pretty vague because by book six, all sorts of chaos has ensued on and around Donovan. I would say that Reckoning is easily the most character-driven book of the series, but I think it worked. Especially considering how dark and chaotic (in the good way, mind) book five was, I think it was a great choice to allow the characters a bit of respite- or rather, some milder chaos and danger, this is Donovan after all. I loved that we did get to see how the characters are processing all that they've been through, and we did get to meet some new characters who seemingly will figure in a lot as the series goes on.

Having them grapple with who they are now versus who they have been (and what they have done) in the past really brings not only a great spotlight on their respective growth, but gives the reader a lot to ponder. What would we do in their shoes? Who would we have become after all they've had to go through, and the choices they've had to make. Always here for not only the grayest of gray morality, but the aftermath of having to make the most dire of choices.

Bottom Line: A very character-driven installment, but still completely chock-full of your favorite Donovanian nightmares. Bring on Book 7!
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The Turalon makes it back from the solar system with much needed supplies , but also with four representatives of the most powerful families in the corporation and a Board Appointed Inspector General arriving things could get nasty. Donovan and Port Authority are a scrappy colony where individuals have learned to survive the hard way or die. Strange animal and plant life is constantly trying g to wipe you off the planet.
In this sixth book in the series, the Corporation thinks it is going to get better control of it's interests ( the billions of dollars worth of exotic minerals and gemstone; examples of which  were returned on the flights of the Turalon and the Ashanti to the Solar System). The atmosphere is tense since the colonist and the corporate mine employees are happy and surviving well as they are and are resistant to change. There develops intrigue, murder, betrayals, camaraderie, friendships, rivalries and a lot of action; not to mention the planet Donovan being the killer planet it is. 
This is a terrific read!!! I have read the complete series to date and hope for more!!!!
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Reckoning
By W. Michael Gear

Always a master with word, Michael has named this book as it should be. The hint itself is the title. The book is a reckoning for all the characters new and old in the book. The soft meat has made it to Donovan. After the successful return to Earth of Turalon and Ashanti, overflowing with cargo, and plundering rich despots, protected by family, there will be a reckoning. What the corporation does not understand is their methods do not work on Donovan. Their wormtongue-esque, corporate sponsored investigators are in the scare of a lifetime. People come to Donovan for three reasons, to leave, to find themselves and to die. This book stays true to the Donovan epitaph, as the families of the corporation learn the hard way, even the Taglioni family. It's better to have a lineage than a family. Great job, Michael, and you need a seventh book. Someone else back at Transluna needs a reckoning.
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My first Gear novel and now I understand the hype and devotion his fans have for his books.  Extraordinarily well written, terrific plotting, perfectly paced, and characters that draw the reader in and keep them there.  Will be actively seeking more works from Mr. Gear and his wife.
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Reckoning was another riveting entry from W. Michael Gear in a solid world-building series. Recommended reading for science fiction and adventure fans, and enjoyable as an unfolding saga.
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I love this series.  I can't wait to find out what Donovan is going to come up with next.   We meet Falise, Dek's sister and she couldn't be more different than him.  Political intrigue and shady dealings are her game.  Glad to see the Corporate bigwigs get their comeuppance in the end.   I wouldn't want to live on Donovan but I sure love reading about it.
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Sometimes a little hard to follow but an enjoyable Sci-Fi action filled book. The world building was great but took me a bit of time to adjust to and to get into. I typically don’t review Sci-Fi books but I did enjoy this one! I’d recommend it to people who like books with aliens/different worlds. I feel like the dangers and the confrontations were well thought out and interesting! The book did not really have much drag for me. I would give it 4 stars even out of my normal genre (which is romance/rom-com/supernatural).
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I always enjoy W. Michael Gear's writing, I know I'm going to have a good time with great scifi elements in it. This sixth book in the Donovan series was what I was hoping for, the plot was great and what I expected. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and what was going on with them. It was great to come back to this world and I'm glad I was able to read this.

“Yeah,” she agreed. “I hear you. Next you’re going to tell me about the way terrestrial life is born ‘empty,’ as you call it. And yes, we have to learn everything over from the beginning with each birth. So, don’t tell me it’s inefficient. We build starships. Quetzals don’t.”
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