Butler, Anna. “Heart Scarab”: “Taking Shield, Book 2”, Wilde City Press, 2015.
The Sequel to “Gyrfalcon”: ‘Taking Shield, Book 1”
I am at a bit of a disadvantage in that this is the second volume in a series of which I did not read the first book. Yet that is also a kind of test for me—we’ll see if the book can stand alone. Captain Bennet is on
Telnos, a planet that is inhabited by religious fanatics and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines. Bennet knows that the planet is about to be taken over by the Maess and it is his job is to get out as many civilians as he can. There is a problem— the enemy arrives before the evacuation is complete. Having been part of fire fight, Bennet is left behind and presumed dead. Naturally his family has a hard time with this especially Joss, his long-term partner. Joss is lost, unhappy and remorseful and he knows that First Lieutenant Flynn has no official rights or business here.
I understand that in book one, “Gyrfalcon”, we had the story of Captain Bennet of Shield, and Lieutenant Flynn of Fleet. It picks up here in a universe that has existed for thousands of years ago and this planet has become the last refuge of humanity. It was from here that people spread all over the galaxy. As is necessary, there are three divisions of military involved, Infantry, Fleet, and Shield (an elite force that does dirty work that the other divisions behind the scenes).
In the previous book Bennet and Flynn had a short affair and then each went on his own way. Now Bennet and his Shield group has the job of evacuating illegal settlers from a remote planet that is threatened by an alien enemy, referred to simply as the Maess. They come under attack and as I said, Bennett was presumed dead. Here is where I can tell you that it is not necessary to read book one since this book uses flashback and narration to tell us what happened. Now we see people reacting to the death of their hero. Finally Shield was sent to the planet to rescue any survivors that might be there and Bennet is found to be alive and leading a group. Wounded, he had to spent time hospitalized. As he began to regain his health, he and Joss end their long time relationship and on poor terms. This opened the door for Flynn’s return.
I have to admit I had a hard time with the vocabulary and I found the story difficult to follow. Add to that the fact that is not the kind of fiction I enjoy reading and that lets you know that I cannot really be unbiased. I do not know who edited or proof read the text but it is obvious that neither was done carefully. The book is sloppy and poorly thrown together and there are numerous misuses of words and misspellings. (Hey, we live in an age of computers and grammar and spell check). I found the sex scenes poorly written and gratuitous. I certainly hope that there is no third volume. Author Butler has embarrassed herself enough with this one.
I usually choose not to give poor reviews but maybe this one will push the author to change her ways and try being a serious writer. I really had to force myself to finish this.