I've been waiting so long . . .

Well actually only two months, but with the rapid fire release of the first four book in J S Morin's Mercy for Hire series, it does seem like quite a while for the next installment, but it is well worth the wait.

He continues to use puns on classic rock songs as the titles for these, which I find amusing (but then, I'm easily amused).  Sunshine of your Cult follows the further adventures of Esper, a wizard without magic and here not-dog (actually Megalodog) sidekick Kubu (who now can control his size, and finds that sometimes bigger isn't better.  They are joined by Tiffany, who they rescued in their first adventure and is now an apprentice wizard without a mentor (but she can do one spell, even if it is better for party tricks than getting out of sticky situations) and Wesley Wesley, an holovid action hero who thinks he is actually the hero he portrays.

It is nice to bring back in a character from a previous book, as it is always fun to see what happens after the story.  I really enjoy the cinematic feel of all the Black Ocean books - and this one feels like the beginning of a second season of a favorite show.  While the first Mission Pack (all four of the first books are now available together) seemed to be the introduction (or re-introduction, as it were, since it continues the story of characters first introduced in the original Black Ocean series) of the characters, this now assumes you know who they are and just moves forward instead of trying to explain where they came from.  And much like a second season, it already seems to be better than the first.

Not only are the characters here important, but the locations play significant roles as well.  Not just throwaway set pieces, the two major settings for the story cause problems for our heroes just by them being there.  Not directly hostile, they are still both uncomfortable (in completely different ways).  Esper misses her magic as it would have kept her from noticing (and I fully expect that this 'season' is going to end with her getting it back (is that too much of a trope that I expect it?)) the environment, as well as now forcing her to find new and creative ways to deal with problems that she is used to handling by simply telling the universe to sit down, shut up, and do what she wants.

Wesley Wesley (I can't see that name without the ST:TNG meme "Shut up Wesley" going off in my head) is a fun new addition to the cast, being a great counterpoint to the others.  Big, brawny and with a brain that is closer to the cheese used for bait than the classical steel trap, he helps to skewer some of the traditional action tropes while giving us a nod to them at the same time.   Being a star (with the money that comes with it) who believes he is living the in the action holovids that he stars in, he comes in handy when something needs punched, or for that hidden skill set (because just like in a movie, of course he can fly a hovercar) that is just what is needed.

The Cult of Ra ( Almighty Ra looks down not from one sun but from all. ) is set up as a long term antagonist here - and though our heroes may have dealt with one sect in this book, it is clear that they will be back, and much more than the vaguely existential threat that the Convocation was in the first mission pack. 

With this release, Morin seems to have hit his comfortable stride with this series, so he can now tell some good stories.  I really look forward to more adventures of this crew, and am definitely along for the ride.


Full disclosure - I received a free Advanced Readers Copy of the kindle version of this book (by agreeing to review it).  I'm also putting this up on my blog on Monday evening before the book is actually released Tuesday morning - well because I needed something to post after all (and I haven't had a chance to take more pictures of yet more miniatures).

Because it is all fun and games . . .