Review: Solstice Shadows

  • Title:
    • Solstice Shadows: A VanOps Thriller
  • Author:
    • Avanti Centrae
  • Release:
    • August 20, 2020
  • Format:
    • Audiobook
  • Narrator:
    • Tim Campbell
  • Series:
    • VanOps #2

I’m noticing a trend with extremely detailed books, such as this. Everything is described in excruciating detail, which slows the plot down to a crawl. It’s a good, long, while before the plot ever goes anywhere. I’m fine with a slow burn, but if you’re not, then this isn’t the book for you.

In some instances, I find the attention to detail a breath of fresh air. Such as noting how firearm suppressors aren’t silencers and that firearms still make a noise when they’re suppressed. I’ve ranted many a time about thriller authors who don’t seem to know this most basic of details. I don’t even like guns and I know this.

In other instances though, the detail is lacking, or the research was. At one point, the words “ATM Machine” were used. The M in ATM stands for “Machine.” It’s “Automated teller machine”, though I’m sure the Department of Redundancy Department would approve of that wording. Other instances that annoy the hell out of me personally are referring to the 1960s and 1970s simply as “the 60s or 70s. That was 40 – 50+ years ago in the last century. It’s time people update their vernacular and stop speaking of the last century as if it were last week. The second example I find insufferably annoying is the misuse of the word “so”. The line “This woman was so private.” So private that what!? So is not a descriptive word and in an incredibly detailed novel, it stands out. I don’t care if it was a character saying or thinking it either. I find people who talk like that to be equally as insufferable to listen to.

Annoyed ranting at poor word choices aside, I enjoyed this story quite a lot, as I did the first novel. It’s exciting, intense, and fraught with danger and worry. I’ve been told the series can be read as stand-alone, but I think that would be an awful idea. There would be too many unanswered questions if you skipped out on the context provided by the first novel. Speaking of context, I appreciate the author’s note at the end. It’s always nice when authors give you insight into what’s real, what’s fiction, and where they added some spice to reality to fit their novel.

I don’t usually read summaries. After skimming the summary for this novel, I’d say it’s entirely accurate as to what you’ll get. If you’re a fan of espionage thrillers, this is going to be right up your alley. I will suggest if you’re an audiobook enthusiast like I am, grab a pen and paper to make note of what the time/date is at the start of each chapter. I just gave up on trying to follow those, as I was listening at 2x speed and they blew past me. I’d long since forgotten what the last header was and wasn’t going to go back to check. I’ve yet to read book number 3, but based on the last 2, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. At the very least, I highly recommend books 1 and 2 in this series.

Overall, I thought the narration was excellent. With all of the chapters having time/date as part of the scene-setting, I got extremely sick of him saying “O” instead of 0. O isn’t a number and I’m never going to stop bitching about that. You can narrate a 9-and-a-half-hour story, but saying “zero” is too much work!? While I’m at it, I can’t stand how he pronounces vase as “vos”. Nobody pronounces “case” as “cos” or “base” as “bos”. If you’re going to mispronounce basic words, at least be consistent about it.

NOTE: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a digital review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.

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