Saturday 27 October 2012

Gabriel's Return (Evan Gabriel Book 2) - Steve Umstead

Title: Gabriel's Return (Evan Gabriel Book 2)
Author: Steve Umstead
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2011
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

"Gabriel's Revenge" is the sequel to the superb Science Fiction novel, "Gabriel's Redemption" which I previously reviewed here. As with all my reviews on sequels, there could be some elements contained here which may spoil the earlier novel so my advice as always would be to read that novel before continuing with this review.

The story picks up several month's after the events of the previous novel with Commander Evan Gabriel and the remainder of his team working to help the government on Mars. However, Gabriel and his team are asked to go on an off-world mission when the son of a high-ranking Mars politician is kidnapped by terrorists on the distant planet of Eden. This is already an incredibly difficult and dangerous mission due to Eden's rather deadly native wildlife and the terrorists themselves, but things are complicated even further by Gabriel's own memories of a failed mission 5 years previously.

Steve Umstead had a difficult job in trying to follow "Gabriel's Redemption" which was a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. However, he hasn't missed a beat here as "Gabriel's Return" has an entertaining storyline that fits in well with the world he has crafted. The story picks up at a high pace due to the reader already being familiar with the basis of the characters and Universe already which enables the action to get underway as quickly as possible.

One of the best elements of this novel in particular though had to be the world of Eden itself. Umstead's descriptions are vivid and detailed which made it easy to visualise what he was describing, and what I saw in my mind was a wonderfully original and varied world. Overall, Eden just came alive as a place which felt real to me and I think this is a sure sign of a well written and believable story.

The characters in the novel continued to impress me as they all came across as being basically human, with the faults and perks that this entails. Yes, the protagonists were noble, dedicated and brave, whilst the antagonists were cruel, dangerous and ruthless but you could still see that every one of them was being driven by their own emotions and fears.

The only minor niggle I would mention is that none of the twists surprised me to be honest and I could see the main one coming from miles away. It wasn't really an issue though because the actions and thrills are more than enough to keep the reader hooked from the beginning to the end.

Overall, I think that Steve Umstead continues to be a shining example of what a self-published author can do and this is a worthy sequel to "Gabriel's Redemption". I really can't help but continue to recommend this well written and entertaining trilogy highly enough. To be honest, if you have read the previous novel then I suspect you will be picking this one up anyway, but just make sure you do it sooner rather than later as you won't be disappointed.

Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Free Reads Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge


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