It has been years since any book has been good enough to keep me from sleep. But last night I had to stay awake to finish Zeus & Io Book 3.
A good ending to the book but I sincerely hope not the ending to the story as there were too many loose threads left hanging concerning Io & Martinez.
Unfortunately this is not a stand-alone book, you'll have lost a majority of the nuance if you have not read books 1&2. They're a kettle of different fish. Nothing really bad, just not in the same category as book 3. They are not (for me) worthy of losing sleep over, of course YMMV.
As for the characters...
Artemis... Despite her personal tragedy, she'd be a daughter to be proud of were she mine. But then again she could not tell the tales that would make you proud. So... let's just leave Arti to be Arti.
Master Chief Martinez. I knew this guy in my real life. Well, as he's written at least. My MC was Air Force and he'd had four successful tours in Iraq without losing any of his men to IEDs or enemy fire. But his attitude was much like this character's — gruff, no nonsense, open, friendly and willing to let you be an adult and make a stoopid (intentional misspelling) non-fatal mistake so you learned your lesson by getting your fingers burnt. So, there's an excellent characterization by the author.
Zeus... What a totally fucked up human being. I see these people every day on the streets. Homeless and talking to themselves. You have sympathy and would like to help, but have no effective way to positively effect them as individuals or as a group.
But let's give credit where due, as much as Zeus has endured, Martinez and Artemis slowly brought him out of the depths of his personal living hell to be able to live near the ever fluctuating bounds between normal and paranoid. But I suppose that actually being pursued by an insane zealot might not be paranoia.
Zeus, as characterized in all three stories, is not an affable, easy to know, good-guy next door. His trip to his personal living hell removed likable from his personality. It's difficult IRL to say how we're attracted to someone, as a friend or potentially more, but the author deftly blends the personal emotional pain and hurt that Artemis and Zeus suffered into a love story. Their journey seems an odd way to come to that state of being, but IMO, effective. At times you want to scream at one or the other to 'wake the fuck up and smell the coffee'! But I suppose that makes for effective character development.
Finally, Io. Through an odd set of circumstances, disparate sets of computer code are mashed together and what emerges is a new species of life. Certainly not biological life as we know it, but alive none the less. Io is like any brilliant child that needs guidance in their early life. And the author treats this character as you would a brilliant child, giving them freedom to explore their world and coaching them to be cautious when they get too close to the edge of a sheer drop-off.
Of all the major characters in the three books, Io is by far the easiest to relate to. I love logic and facts, and abhor the many unprovable beliefs that drive our society. I believe that the powerful frequently go scot free from any consequences of actions that hurt millions and that they should not be exempt from the laws they've broken. I know that there are evil people and in our world and that they should be prevented from hurting other people. And no, there is no rehabilitation possible for these individuals and the only possible outcome is the ultimate sanction of a death sentence.
You and I have not the powers to ensure the various ne'er-do-well's in our reality meet their just fate, but in this story Io does have the power. And that's the reason that Io is my favorite character and one I'd love to call a friend.
One facet that has not been touched on is immortality. The biological character's lives are as fleeting as yours or mine. Io on the other hand, has the potential to be as immortal as she wishes. The only restriction would be her ability to stay sane and not commit suicide. But perhaps that's for a future story.
For me, this book rates a solid 10-9-10. Read books 1&2 so you can get the full essence of this one. A hearty 'Well Done and Hi-ho Silver' for the author!