Carry on my Wayward Saint

And now for something completely different.  I don't read a whole lot any more, though I have tried to do more this past year.  I just find it very difficult to make the time to sit down with a good book, especially where I can dedicate some quality time without interruption.  There are a few exceptions however.

I joined the Black Ocean Galaxy Outlaws Facebook group because I really liked J. S. Morin's Black Ocean Series.  I then volunteered and was chosen to review his newest book, Wayward Saint.  This is the start of a sequel series called Black Ocean: Mercy for Hire.

Knowing that I don't have much reading time, when I got my review copy last week, I buckled down to get it read so I could do the review on time, and finished it in a couple of days.  It then discovered I couldn't do the review until the book actually, you know, was published.  Which was today (Sept 18).  I posted the review I wrote on Amazon, and they rejected it.

Of course they didn't say exactly why, just that I did not meet their guidelines.

Your review could not be posted. 
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We encourage you to revise your review and submit it again. A few common issues to keep in mind: 

  • Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at
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I wasn't sure what they didn't like, but I tried taking out all the mentions of OTHER books/movies (in case they thought it was promotional material).  I can't see anything else that could possibly violate their guidelines.  Of course on their guidelines page, it has the little bullet point:

  • If your review is removed or rejected because it does not comply with our guidelines concerning promotional content, you may not resubmit a review on the same product, even if the resubmitted review includes different content.
I have not heard back since I resubmitted the review, but I'm afraid they have blocked it.  I sent a copy to the author, but thought I would go ahead and put it up here as well - because I not only liked the review but I liked the book!

So here is my 4-star review (I did put it up over on Good Reads as well).

Ever since I was in high school, I have enjoyed the idea of combining science fiction and fantasy. (You've got mystical powers in my spaceship! Well you've got lasers shooting at my wizards! (wait a minute - is that a description of Star Wars?)) So when I first saw J. S. Morin's Black Ocean series I was intrigued. However once I started reading it, I was hooked.

Now he begins a new series, set in the same universe, a sequel to the first. Taking two of the most intriguing characters and giving them their own shot at adventure. So, like any first, this is a great jumping on spot. Or a spot to continue if you have read all the Black Ocean series.

Not quite a good place to jump in if you have only read part of Black Ocean, which unfortunately is where I am (currently "paused" (real life seems to get in the way some times) between books 11 and 12 (and just discovered that there are four more as well)). As such I know these characters, but not quite how they ended up where they are.

Esper is a wizard "innnnnn space" (ok, my muppets "pigs in space" sound effect was much better in my head than written out). In the Black Ocean universe, wizards have the ability to tell reality to what to do, sometimes nicely, other times a bit more forcefully. This tends to get in the way of science based tech however, as when you tell one law of science to sit down and shut up, the other laws around it tend to listen a bit too much as well. A very interesting take on magic, and one I quite enjoy as an alternative to spells or magical items. Esper's back story is hinted at enough to interest the new reader, but not so much as to recap what old readers already know.

Kubu is NOT a dog, in much the same way that a Lion or Tiger is NOT a cat. He was one of my favorite characters in the Black Ocean series, and watching him grow (both figuratively and literally) has been a lot of fun. Not only is he getting bigger, but smarter as well (he is still quite young you know), and coming into his own as a full, rich character. I really look forward to seeing where he goes not as Esper's pet or even companion, but as her partner. (I can even see the idea of him taking center stage for a story).

While this isn't the strongest story, it is much like the first episode of a well written television show. My wife didn't care much for the first episode of "Breaking Bad", but by the third she was hooked. I like this analogy, because Morin's writing is extremely cinematic. While reading his books, it often feels more like I am watching a great space opera (kind of Firefly with magic). While many authors have engrossed me in their worlds, rarely have I had one paint such a vivid verbal portrait that I can practically watch it in my mind as I read. And much like a great show, I want to get to the next episode and don't want them to end. And while it isn't (yet) possible to binge-read the Mercy for Hire series (since there is only the one book out so far), I enjoyed it enough to already pre-order the next three books, as well as complete my collection (if you can call it that on a Kindle) of the original series as well as the first spin-off series (Astral Prime, co written with M. A. Larkin (which appears, for Star Trek fans, to be the Deep Space Nine to Black Oceans Next Generation).

I am looking forward to more adventures of Esper and Kubu, and whether you are a long time fan or someone who is dipping their toe into the Black Ocean for the first time, Wayward Saint is a great place to jump in.

Because it is all fun and games . . .