Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Calypsis Project" by Brittany M. Willows

I was privileged to read and review science fiction adventure Calypsis Project by Brittany M. Willows. This is the author's debut novel and I was lucky to see her at this stage--with her talent, I fully expect her to rise like a star!


Humanity has all but abandoned a dying Earth, ravaged by plague and pollution. Six decades following the colonization of the planet Anahk, a series of events triggers a devastating war between the United Nations Planetary Defense and an extraterrestrial organization known as the Drocain Royal Empire. NOVEMBER 2438 . . . Ten years have passed and still the battle rages on. With no signs of a conclusion in sight, the men and women of the UNPD have been forced into desperation as the human race moves ever closer to the brink of defeat. And now, the fate of the entire galaxy may rest on the shoulders of a single alien warrior: the shamed graduate, Kenon Valinquint—a young Drahkori who enrolls in the Drocain Royal Empire in the hopes of one day redeeming himself. Unbeknownst to the young warrior, his decision has set in motion a staggering chain of events that could very well change the direction of the war, and the known history of the universe, forever.


4.5-STARS - "Non-Stop Scifi Action" by Michelle O'Leary
If you like the Halo universe, you will love The Calypsis Project by Brittany M. Willows. I've seen enough Halo (some of my family members are frankly obsessed with the game series) to recognize many similar elements and terminologies between the game and this story, though this book is in no way a copy of that gaming universe! Unique in plot and development but with a familiar military feel, The Calypsis Project will give Halo and scifi fans a fresh, exciting adventure.

In The Calypsis Project the human and alien nations clash in a brutal war. But what seems like a straight-forward conflict becomes far more complex when the characters (both human and alien) discover clues that lead them to the mysterious Calypsis Project. An eclectic set of individuals slowly draws together into an uneasy alliance bent on finding the truth and revealing the fate of the entire galaxy.

This fragile alliance created wonderful tension and often humor throughout the story. I especially liked the humans' snarky sarcasm, like this quote from Lt. Lance Knoble:
“Sure, fine, ‘cause having two of the aliens I hate the most suddenly becoming my allies is wonderful. Just great,” he ranted, then pointed at Alana. “But don’t you get pissy with me if I accidentally shoot one of these bastards through the head!”

The writing was mostly smooth (just an occasional rough transition/interaction), the dialogue consistent and entertaining, and the world-building impeccable. In the first half of the book, I did feel some emotional distance from the characters but became deeply invested by the end of the story. Only my own personal preferences kept this book from receiving a 5-star (I'm not a huge fan of military scifi and I prefer a romantic element in my reads.)

For those who love scifi action and mystery, The Calypsis Project should be next on your reading list.

5-STARS - "The Definition of Good Scifi" by Jane Lavuire
I especially admired reading through The Calypsis Project because it wasn't hard for me to see in the story that Brittany M. Willows clearly has a true passion and definitely lots of talent when it comes to writing in the science fiction genre

I have always been a huge fan of most kinds of sci-fi, so naturally I found myself sucked in quite quickly because the book has a solid foundation made up of everything that has always made the genre so appealing for me. There's vivid battles, extremely dynamic characters, and a creative and different plot that tops it off to be easily one of the best books that I have read all year. There's a lot of elements that you would typically expect in a science fiction book, but with the author's own original and very creative twist and style that gives a fresh new spin on the archetypes that she has chosen to incorporate into the story.

Overall, it's different and not a typical read for the genre but I think this is what makes The Calypsis Project so satisfying for me; the author isn't afraid to do something different and she does a great job at it.

5-STARS - "An Entertaining Read!!" by Joannes Rhino
The Calypsis Project is an absolute read for readers with an insatiable passion for science fiction. It has a fast-paced narrative that would definitely keep you excited to the end. Imaginative and creative in equal measure, Brittany’s writing style really shines throughout this sci-fi piece. The growing cast of characters is also drawn exceptionally well and overall it just feels like such a nice read.

I also write a sci-fi book, but nothing like this. Mine is more about romantic – scifi kinda thing. But this one is a real futuristic entertainment. ‘The Calypsis Project’ is more about action than drama. It had me turning pages at warp speed and holding my breath wondering what was coming next. I sometimes paused a bit in the middle of the reading just to picture the scenes as if I was watching it in the big screen. Well, it would be perfect watching this in a movie theatre.
I consider myself lucky to be selected to read and review this book. I really am hoping there will be the sequel for this.

5-STARS - "Great Scifi Read for Teenage Boys" by A Wondering Dawn
I bought this book for my foster son who really enjoys military-oriented sci-fi novels. Basically anything that combines supernatural creatures and war. He's fascinated by those kinds of stories. In my house we have a mom/kid book club where I'll read books side by side my kids and we discuss them. I picked this one out for my 14 year old and I'm so happy I did.

The book focuses on two viewpoints- those of 'human soldiers' and 'alien warriors'. There isn't a difinite enemy in this book. There are both good and bad characters, but neither aliens nor humans are necessarily bad. In a way it kind of reminded me of the movie "Avatar"- except with a bit less romantic influence. The main character is an Alien named Kenon- who almost from the very beginning of the story will capture your admiration and keep it. He's a really unique character in the fact that he's NOT a human soldier in the war between aliens and humans- but rather an alien. So many sci-fi books that are written based on wars between two creatures tend to pick humans as the main characters and also the 'good guys'. This book didn't do that. It puts you in a place where you can empethize with both creatures. But both my son and I, right from the start, had a liking for Kenon.

Kenon is a character that brings forth a lot of the heroic aspects of what you expect from an action novel. He's strong-willed, courageous, brave, and independantly minded (which, lets face it, during war not many soldiers are thinking with their own ideas). The book creates a storyline where Kenon has to befriend the enemy (humans). I really love stories with this 'different species uniting' concept as a basis. Whenever I read books like that with my kids it opens up the discussion of racism and prejudices. As we read the story we get to discuss how different kinds of people interact, how we're all different in cultural aspects, but at the base of our being we're all quite similar. Many of my foster kids are a different race than me and I feel it's really important to be open to hearing about their culture and traditions and self-image opinions. Books like this help them open up. It's difficult to find books for boys with a message of unity, but this book definitely did that- and I loved it.

This book did have a few grown-up themes (obviously a bit of violence and such), but I felt it was age appropriate for kids 13 and up. It was very well-written. Easy to read yet very vivid in the descriptions of the characters and scenery. I'm not typically a reader of sci-fi novels, but my son is and he rated this two thumbs up. I enjoy it for what it was- a good storyline backed with likable characters and a unique set of obsticles they had to overcome.


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