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Without a Front - The Warrior's Challenge…
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Without a Front - The Warrior's Challenge (Chronicles of Alsea) (Volume 3)

by Fletcher Delancey

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I do not particularly like leaving review boxes empty, but I'm not really sure what to say for this book here.

My 8th book by DeLancey is a good solid continuation of the series/conclusion of the Without a Front book. As everyone I follow, I think, already knows, Without a Front was a single whole book once upon a time. Originally posted on a website, until the book got split in half and sold through a publisher. It's a reason, if a reason is needed, for why the book felt like a book split in half. Because that's exactly what it had been. I realize something like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy was a single novel that, for publishing reasons, got split into three books, but it read a lot more like three separate (though deeply connected) books, than the two Without a Front books.

Also, as everyone I follow, I think, already knows, Without a Front itself was a spin-off of a five book Star Trek Voyager book length fan-fiction series by the author. Alsea was touched on in that Voyager series. The ship, Voyager, stopped off for a moment or two on the planet. They needed some supplies, and because the place was pre-warp, went in disguise. While there they detected a Borg signature – investigated, found Lancer Andira Tal – Tal, Captain Janeway and Lyhn (Lyn? I forget now) connected – briefly. Ship leaves. And that was basically the entirety of Alsea’s appearance in Voyager.

The Borg became the Voloth (no, the Voloth are not Borg like, they just replaced them as the invaders; though their walking death machines (piloted by humans) certainly seemed Borg like). The Federation became the Protectorate. Captain Janeway became Captain Serrano. And the really tiny story from the Voyager book became The Caphenon (a damn good book by itself). I mention all of this because ‘The Caphenon’ was something of a ‘prequel’ book that got published long after Without a Front appeared. Which I mention because I can’t imagine reading the two book Without a Front without all that occurred within Caphenon.

The people and events from Caphenon had a drastic impact on the world of Alsea. Events that had a direct impact on the first part of Without a Front. Which continued in the second part, the book in which this review appears.

All of this *points up* is a long winded way of indicating that I have no idea how someone could read this third Chronicles of Alsea book without having read the second book – since it is one book split into two; nor, because of the deep impact the people and technology of the Protectorate still have on Alsea – seen through ‘events’ that occur within this book here, and the prior one – I can’t imagine someone skipping Caphenon and just reading the Without a Front two book .. .book.

Drat. What I meant to say was – This book here is not a stand-alone book. It relies too much on the previous book in the series to really work as a standalone book. Technically, I suppose, someone could read the two books titled Without a Front without reading the first book in the series (Caphenon), but they’d probably be really annoyed by the constant mention of Captain Serrano and the Protectorate.

So, um – if you are reading this review here and are thinking of reading this book and haven’t read the previous books – stop, go back, do not read this book at this time. Read the others first. No, just the ones listed as being part of the Chronicles of Alsea series. You’d learn something more about the characters of the Caphenon by reading the Voyager fan fiction, but there is by no means a need to read those books to understand these books. It might even just confuse everything. There are probably two methods to reading these related books – read Voyager series, then this series, or do it the way I did it – read Caphenon, then the Voyager books, and then read the two Without a Front books. The third method of reading Alsea series then Voyager is doable, but you learn more and have it ‘mean more’ going the other way. Since nothing ‘learned’ from reading the Alsea series really applies to the Voyager Fan fiction; while the opposite cannot be said – since the characters in the fan fiction are the basis for the characters in The Caphenon, which itself has a deep impact on Without a Front.

I’m really beating a dead horse, aren’t I? heh. Sorry. I didn’t mean to dig and continue digging on a specific idea until everyone, and everything falls over asleep from boredom.

Right, I’ll just leave with one last thought: there is at least one damn good sex scene in this here book. Around the 23% mark. As I noted in my reading progress status updates – ‘never before did I expect neck biting to be arousing’.

Right. I’m off.

March 4 2016
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  Lexxi | Jun 26, 2016 |
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