I did not mean to be this late with the review for 7 Scorpions: Rebellion, it’s been a weird one folks. I’m hoping to have the next review up on time and some more nerd rantery regarding the New 52 up in the next few weeks. Also, more books, more give aways, and less of my whining about life in general. But enough about that, on to the review.
On May seventh, the world was turned upside down when the power hungry dictator know only as Zodiac flash bombed every major city on earth simultaneously. What survivors there were are hunted by Zodiac’s foot soldiers, the Seekers. Paralyzed by fear the remaining out posts of humanity are destroyed or enslaved one by one. It’s up to former vigilante crime fighter turned government super soldier Vincent Black to save the remaining résistance and stop Zodiac once and for all.
Just based on the blurb for Mike Saxton’s 7 Scorpion: Rebellion I figured that it was going to be either a way deep sci-fi exploration of what it means to be human in the face of unrelenting horror or a somewhat cheesy sci-fi/horror romp on levels comparable to Aliens meets Sleepaway Camp 3. It actually fell somewhere between the two with a good dash of navel gazing and assuring the reader that the government is evil. I’m going to wind up doing a bit of a break down here because I enjoyed the story itself but had issues with the writing.
Vincent has this thing, he used to be something like BatPunisherMan but then the government stole him for scary secret experiments that had killed six other test subjects. He will-powered his way through a year of radiation cancer that should have killed him within hours of exposure. A year in which he decided to fight L.A.’s underground and won. Yet this guy doesn’t think he’s a leader of any sort and seems to have self esteem issues on par with the female lead in a romance novel. Lexi is the romantic female lead that no one seems to realize is the main romance interest. She, like Vincent, had cancer that should have killed her but also survived, minus her ability to feel fear. Her Dad also had some as yet unexplained connection to the project that made Vincent what he is today. The side characters are for the most part interchangeable until about two thirds of the way through. Josh is the computer guy. Talbot is that guy. Andromeda can’t seem to decide if she’s eight, twelve, or eighteen. John’s got serious doubts about his courage and a pregnant wife. Everyone gets crushing self doubt in one way or another and then they talk about it for a page or so.
There was a good deal of needless description here. Anyone who was going to be even vaguely important for the scene was given a full description of their clothing. Not just a general “worn blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a jacket” kind of description, no we’re talking down to what state’s logo was written on the shirt. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it happened way too much. Action sequences devolved into a good deal of “tell” regarding a character’s skills or emotional state without much “show” to back them up. Vincent does a lot of conserving ammunition by simply not missing the Seekers he’s shooting at and somehow hitting vital organs with every shot. Is this a conscious decision or is Vincent just that good? Likewise we’re told that it’s impressive that Vincent survived the way across the country while avoiding the Seekers, but there are several other characters who manage to do so without being written as particularly tough by human standards. Saxton also seems to have a habit of using far more words than he needs, making it easy to get bogged down in the writing rather than enjoying the story.
The dialogue gets repetitive rather quickly. Somehow the good guys manage to forget things that they had discussed not two chapters ago and have to go over the subject again. Many of the early bits with characters coming to conclusions regarding the Seekers or the nature of Zodiac felt like they hadn’t been changed from one character to the next, so there was a good deal of characters sounding the same early on. The villains all got a very over blown “Caps Lock is the rule for cool” style of dialogue that makes even Zodiac, the complete monster big bad, seem like a parody of the terrifying empire of doom. It’s a bit like Saxton wanted to show people who had been kicked so many times that they’d come unhinged and were taking out on the rest of the world, but wasn’t sure how they’d express themselves. So, they all got the ranting evil doer treatment. It gets old rather quickly though, even if it does make sense.
And that brings me to one of my more interesting things with 7 Scorpions: Rebellion. There’s enough plot bits mixed in and enough stuff included to make three separate series easily, but it boils down to two groups of social outcasts fighting over the survival of mankind. Zodiac and his commanders are clearly messed up and any time the reader is told about their life prior to May 7th they got the short end of every stick offered. Vincent and the rest of the heroes are almost as screwed up as Zodiac’s bunch; they just deal with it in a less genocidal manner.
Where does this leave me? As I said earlier, I enjoyed the story a good deal but the book could have been much more streamlined. If 7 Scorpions: Rebellion was online rather than published, I would probably suggest a beta reader to give another opinion and to catch what I’ve missed or neglected to go over. It earns a two and a half out of five, there’s a lot of promise here and a good story, but it’s too easy to get bogged down in the writing.