What an incredible story, and not at all a short story. There are three complete books on SOL and there is a fourth on his web site and a fifth in the works. http://spartan.endlessknot.com/the-author
The hero is exactly that, a hero, brave, true, valiant, imperfect, bloodthirsty and of course a great lay for the many women that cleave to him. And the cast of characters is almost guaranteed to not get me interested and yet, it did. I love military science fiction and this has that aspect down perfectly. Elves, werewolves, vampires...not anything I have any interest in...yet interest me they all did.Like all sci-fi and fantasy this requires a suspension of disbelief, so what. His characters a well enough drawn, the plot is plenty convoluted yet never loses track of its purpose. I have exactly 30 more days until semester break and I will pick up book two when the semester is over or I am never going to get out of grad school,
Complaints: No one can proof their own writing. This story needs a proofreader. There are not many typos but there are a fair number of badly misspelled words and outright misuse of words. So instead of "wised up" we got "wizened up" which is not at all the same or even close; we got that one twice.
Book One promises Much Sex and delivers, lesbian, inter-species, straight, and group. The only thing really missing was a cast list; there are a lot of characters and they were not always easy to remember.
One more thing, this is a lot of reading, while there are only 39 chapters, many of those chapters have four pages and many more have three.
I think this is likely the longest single-part story that I've read on SOL, and writing a review for a work of this length is certainly a challenging endeavor. Nevertheless, writing challenging reviews is why I'm here, so I'll do my best.
ToEaE is an epic sci-fi/fantasy story. The cast of characters is very broad, and the scope of events is unexpectedly vast, to say the least. The author slow rolls the plot through a number of twists and turns, gradually widening the breadth of the story until it encompasses multiple planets and covers over three thousand years. I confess that I felt some of these expansions and twists were over the top and unnecessary: why, for instance, must any story that involves humanoid wolves always turn into a Twilight/Underworld variant? Regardless, the author does a fair job of tying all of the plot lines together without breaking continuity, and, considering the previously-mentioned scope of the story, that's an impressive feat to manage for nearly a million words.
My biggest complaint with regard to plotting would have to be that the ending came on very abruptly without sufficient resolution, but I guess that's a compliment to the author since it means that I'm awaiting the next installment.
The number of characters in this story is huge, and it helps to convey one of the central motifs of the story: the finding and realizing of love. From the beginning until nearly the end of the story, there is always at least one "new love" scenario playing out, where the perspective focuses on a smaller group of characters and their growing passions; you'll wonder whether they'll get together, how many times they'll do it, and eventually just how much page space it takes up. The author does manage to create a number of interesting characters with fleshed-out personalities who I found fun to read about and, in some cases, was sad to see die. One unique thing here is that the author gives many of the pivotal characters their own distinctive scents.
The low points of the character design in this story are twofold:
* Many characters, including one of the primary romantic interests of the main character, do not have "real" personalities, and felt fake to me for the duration of the story.
* The characters are CONSTANTLY fucking each other. I know, it's an odd thing to complain about given the venue here, but reading about the same characters having sex over and over and over can't be made interesting under any circumstance, I think, and when there's yet another a half-page orgy in the middle of some good plotting, I just couldn't be bothered to slog through it. Nothing against the author's writing skills in this area, however.
Technically, this story is a bit of a debacle. Punctuation use is wrong and nonexistent, homophones are confused in nearly every sentence, and, most infuriatingly, there's even a number of instances of name confusion. Furthermore, the author reuses certain phrases and descriptors every time when referring to certain things; if I have to read about one more Persian-haired, cerulean/emerald/cobalt-eyed, never-before-been-under-heavy-artillery-fire, half-breed soldier, I'm going to slap someone.
The sex in this story is extremely plentiful. Too plentiful, in my opinion, because it dilutes the "worthwhile" sex scenes. As I mentioned, there's almost always a case of "new love" going on, and those couplings are generally the most interesting. Unfortunately, I was so burned out by the never-ending descriptions of the main character's physical prowess that I had lost interest before many of these had even begun.
I will say, however, that the author has a good grasp of how to write effective sex scenes, and there are both some great romantic ones as well as some awful, torturous rape scenes.
Oh yeah, there's rape in case that's a turn off. Pretty much everyone gets raped in this, or almost-raped. The story is (I assume) ongoing, so there's still plenty of time for your favorite character to get some rape if they were left out in this part.
As a previous reviewer mentioned, one thing which would greatly benefit the author here is an editor--and not just for the grammatical issues. I don't want to end the review on that note, however, because I am hopeful that the author will see this as a constructive review and not hostile bashing.
This is clearly a well thought-out, complex story. Every twist and transition is clearly explained and builds effectively on the events before it, utilizing the massive number of characters to push forward an ambitious and far-reaching storyline. If you're a fan of sci-fi, try this story if you're okay with having a few fantasy elements and a lot (seriously, so many) of sex scenes.
This story/novel is tagged as science fiction, with fantasy, military and lots of sex. It could have also been tagged as a form of time travel because time stands still for a group while the world moves forward 500 years.
Mike has used world history and blended it with science fiction, some world myths and fantasy so well that it becomes believable. His central characters are solidly created, complex and can be identified with; sorrow is felt in the latter part of the story line when some of these characters die in the course of events and some tissues may be needed.
His creation and description of various weapons systems, both hand held and vehicle mounted, are such that you don’t want to know whether they use batteries or how they are built, you are glad to know that they do work, can be devastatingly used and help the plot along.
I was surprised how the plot developed from what was what I thought may have been simple “shoot-em up” style sci-fi which would be over quickly. I was very pleasantly surprised that the plot turned into a “can’t put it down type book”. The main plot theme continues right through, with some side deviations which help to strengthen the central story, but leaves you wanting to know what happens after it ends and infers a continuation.
The only thing that let the whole story down unfortunately was the inability to obtain any editors to help with grammar and spelling in a number of places. It is hoped that this story will be re-submitted with corrections in the not too distant future and make it an even better read. That being said, if this was in a printed book form I would gladly curl up in blanket, or in bed, to keep warm and settle in to read this magnificent story.