I feel the need to warn readers of the Redemption trilogy. Toward the end of Final Battle there is a violent scene that could trigger those of you who have experienced abuse (sexual). It is relevant to the story. Now you are warned. In spite of my warning, my personal belief is that the story of Reza Gard and his way toward his destiny can be read by older young adults and, of course, ancients like myself.
Reza’s near-death-experience and meeting with the First Empress put him in a coma and there he remained for the next half-year. Final Battlefelt as much about Jodi Mackenzie as about Reza. She has some rough times ahead of her but does her very best to be a person who remains true to what she considers honorable.
Honor is not something one would equate with Thorella (Reza’s arch-enemy) or the new president, Borge. These two are men who are so caught up in their own vision of reality that they have lost all grip on the real world. Sadly, they are both highly intelligent and extremely wealthy and therefore able to adjust the world to fit their psychosis. That is, up to a certain point. Hicks writes insanity and greed well.
Now that I think about it, I have met people like Thorella and Borge although these people have been without Thorella and Borge’s means. It is not an experience I would recommend. I prefer people who live with gentler versions of reality.
It turns out Reza has a son, the first male child born to Kreelans in 100000 years who is able to function in society. The Kreelan history is a tragic one. Even if they brought it upon themselves through the choices of their ancestors, the tragedy is still a fact. Now there is finally hope. Yet something is amiss with the Kreelans. They seem to have lost all interest in fighting. One might even say that they are experiencing a mass-depression.
Reza is essential to the Kreelan race. All that he has gone through has honed him into a key that is capable of unlocking their next step in evolution.
I am going to end this review by saying: When I started reviewing Empire I discovered I had forgotten a couple of things. I opened up my e-book and that was it. Michael R. Hicks forced me to read the trilogy again. That is a pretty mean trick when it comes to me. After all it had not been long since I read it the first time. I imagine Hicks is going to pull the same stunt the next time I open up Empire. This trilogy is a definite keep.
Has your loss ever been so strong you thought you would die from the pain? I imagine a lot of people of my venerable age of 48 could say yes. How do you deal with something like that? Well, you either learn to live with the pain or you kill yourself I imagine.
Reza Gard has experienced this kind of loss. The kind that rips you apart and leaves you feeling like a raw wound. Life sometimes does that to you.
I think this is part of what makes Michael R. Hicks’ writing flow for me. He leaves me with a sense of someone who understands the feelings he writes about. I highly doubt he has fallen in love with an alien and had to leave her Empire cutting off all contact with the race, but loss is loss.
Just as his disappearance from the Empire was sudden, so too was his appearence in the Confedration. Like an angel from heaven Reza seems to come as the answer to Father Hernandez’ prayers for redemption from the Kreelans. The Marines who are left after meeting the Kreelan warriors are happy about the result of Reza’s return.
For me the Redemption trilogy has partly been about prejudice. What Reza meets upon his return to the Conferation are mixed feelings. Some see him as a threat to humanity while others (those who come to know him) understand that his sense of honor goes beyond what most of us expect. Fraternising with the enemy/the others, becoming like them and then returning to one’s roots is bound to antagonise some people. Being an “Other” myself I have experienced how difficult it is for some to accept my “Otherness” as just as good as their way. Reza’s story has in a very small way been my story.
I saw the old cover on one of the reviews below and prefer this one.
Flow! To me it is all about the flow. It is that magical quality that some authors are born with and some authors can work their way into. Maintaining the flow through a whole text, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, is something most authors struggle with. Some authors never hit it while others fall in and out of it. Then we have the others.
Michael R. Hicks has the ability of remaining in the flow. He did it so well, I had to get the other two novels in the Redemption trilogy and read them right away.
Maybe part of that has to do with the harshness of Empire. Michael did not try to sugar-coat the conditions of the orphanage. I imagine there are people out there who cannot believe that such things exist, but they do. Muldoon is nothing unique in the world of orphanages.
The other thing that really hit me was Reza’s ability to adjust. Some people are like that. They just bend with the blows that life hits them with. Me, I’d break having to live through the death of my parents, abuse at the hands of caretakers and finally having to live with the enemy. Whenever I meet a bender, I am impressed all over again. So, I was impressed with Reza.
As Reza learns so too does Esah-Zhurah. She goes from thinking of him as beneath her to gaining a grudging respect of Reza’s possible value. Inevitable I guess. Tearing down the walls of propaganda takes time – even for superior aliens.
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Empire is available free as an e-book at most online retailers. If you can’t find it free at your favorite e-bookstore, you can always get it free from in multiple e-book formats.