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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Foundation for a Series
As a 'non podcast' person (where it evidently was started?), I was a little hesitant to start reading the series, except for my admiration of Mercedes Lackey and the others as authors. I was happily surprised! While the book uses a lot of ground, by necessity, to build background, it was a fun and gripping read. It was like reading about comic book heroes set it a more...
Published on March 22, 2011 by Ronald G Roob

versus
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I expected
If you can get past the first third of the book it gets better. The first few chapters are devoted to introducing all the characters(and there are A LOT). It gives the book a disjointed feeling as it hops all over trying to explain the existence of them all and the demise of some. I assume it is due to making the book resemble the online game so those that play the game...
Published on April 19, 2011 by Swede


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Foundation for a Series, March 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a 'non podcast' person (where it evidently was started?), I was a little hesitant to start reading the series, except for my admiration of Mercedes Lackey and the others as authors. I was happily surprised! While the book uses a lot of ground, by necessity, to build background, it was a fun and gripping read. It was like reading about comic book heroes set it a more realistic setting, with the strengths and weaknesses of characters being revealed.
And if you like super heroes as well as 'urban fiction', you will enjoy this. Because of the background that needed to be filled, there were some slower areas, hence the 4 star rating instead of 5 stars. But I am looking forward to reading more of this! When is the next scheduled publishing?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Like it Alot!, April 12, 2011
I recently started reading the book. So far, it's holding my attention. There are lots of characters and locations to keep up with, but hey, my brain is up for the workout. I recommend this book to those who did like Heroes. I've been looking for a book about humans who have extraordinary powers, either born with them or somehow were genetically modified. I look forward to finishing this book and reading the next. Horah for Invasion, Secret World Chronicle.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nazi Invaders, February 23, 2011
By 
Invasion (2011) is the first Fantasy novel in the Secret World Chronicles series. In an alternate timeline, metahumans began to appear during World War II. These people discovered various psion powers within themselves. They could fly, withstand bullets, read minds and had other attributes. Most were stronger than normals and healed faster.

Echo is an organization of metahumans fighting criminals and other villains among the transformed. Founded by a nephew of Nikolai Tesla, Echo was run by the metahumans Yankee Doodle and Dixie Belle. Echo is most powerful within America, but has branches throughout the world.

In this novel, Bella Dawn Parker is an EMT and touch healer. She works for the Las Vegas Fire Department. Belladonna Blue is the rookie at her firehouse.

Victoria Victrix Nagy is a romance writer and a techno-mage. Vic has panic attacks from a fire incident. Her cat familiar is Greymalkin.

Ramona Ferrari is a detective in Echo Support. She works within the Echo headquarters in Atlanta.

Natalya Shostakovich is the second Red Saviour after her father. Nat is a dedicated communist and a metahuman.

John Murdock is a drifter and a metahuman. He is running from the Program.

Red Djinni is a limited shapeshifter, able to reform his skin. He can take on any face with a few minutes of concentration. He is a petty criminal trying to avoid notice by the Echo organization.

Seraphym is an agent of the Infinite. Sera can see the hopes and fears within a person and all their possible futures.

In this story, Heinrich Eisenhauer surrenders himself at the metahuman detention center within the Echo headquarters in Atlanta. Eisenfaust claims to be a Nazi warrior, but appears to be in his twenties. Echo authorities lock him in a cell.

Echo schedules an interview with Eisenfaust by Ramona, but the visit is delayed. When Romana arrives, the invasion forces are already striking the detention center. Eisenfaust is killed during the battle.

Ramona is shot by the Nazis, but her armored vest limits the damage to broken or cracked ribs. She plays dead and watches the Nazi troopers. She sees Eisenfaust talk to another prisoner. When the Nazis blast Eisenfaust, she sees Slycke escape from his cell.

Vic is working her way to the store to restock on food and kibbles for Greymalkin. She has convinced herself to step out of the car when the invasion starts. Gigantic antigravity war machines fold their way out of trucks in the store parking lot and armored troopers appear. She is so terrified that she overcomes her fear and causes the ground to buckle under the troopers.

Belladonna Blue gets a call from her mother warning of the invasion. Then the station klaxons go off. The vehicle doors open automatically and Bella sees nine foot tall armored suits in the street shooting energy from cannons built into their arms.

A horde of people are crowding into Red Square to demonstrate against the Red Saviour. Natalya is being chastised by the directorate for her political insensitivity, but her attention is elsewhere. She is watching Delex trucks park within the Square. Then metal figures burst out of the trucks and point their weapons at the crowd. She runs outside to face the invaders.

Red Djinni is working on a heist. His team is trying infiltrate the Vault. But some dumb thugs are robbing a bank in the same building, setting off the alarms.

John Murdock is drinking in a bar when the invaders come to New York City. The frontage is blown in, killing several patrons. John herds the survivors out the back door. There he meets a youngster who has just gained the ability to make fire.

Seraphym and her siblings are fighting against the invasion. The All has decided that divine intervention will be the only possible way to save humanity. She stabs a flying war platform with her fiery sword and it goes down.

This tale develops a world of super powers and advanced technology in the midst of a society much like the postwar culture of the 1940s. The villains are Germanic thugs in armored suits and vicious attitudes. The heroes are very good looking and graceful. Reminds one of World War Two propaganda posters.

This novel is based on a pod-cast series: The Secret World Chronicles. It is firmly rooted in the comics and radio shows of the past century. From Superman to The Shadow, superheroes and supervillains have been passed down into the contemporary era. The proximate influence for these series was probably the Wild Cards books.

I have only a passing interest in comic books and old radio shows, but I was intensely interested in such things during my teen years. I have also read some of the Wild Cards books, but not many. So I was not really expecting to enjoy this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The metahumans drive off the main invasion, but small raids continue. The next installment in this series is The Hunt. It will probably be out in 2012.

Recommended for Lackey fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of superheroes, invasions, and deep secrets. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In which the world is attacked by Nazi supervillains ..., June 24, 2011
"Invasion" is the first in a series of collaborative novels set in the world of the "City of heroes" internet multiplayer Role-Playing game, in which the world is invaded in the early 21st century by Nazi supervillains.

(For anyone who is wondering what "MMORPG" means on the front cover, I believe this stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)

The world of "City of Heroes" diverges from ours in about 1935, when Hitler's propaganda rallies becan to show off people with superhuman powers - the nazis called them "Ubermenschen" (that figures) and the rest of the world called them metahumans or "metas" for short.

When World War II started only the bad guys had these super-soldiers, and at first the Nazi, Italian Fascist, and Japanese metas enabled the axis to ahve things even more their own way than in the first year of the real WWII. But then, starting during the Battle of Britain, every time the "ubermenschen" were running wild on the battlefield one of the British, American or Russian opponents would suddenly develop similar powers. So the axis supervillains and allied superheroes more or less cancelled out and the war had pretty much the same ending as in the real world.

After the war was over, an organisation called "Echo" was established in the USA to provide a role for Meta veterans and others who showed similar powers, mostly in security and law enforcement, which was needed because those metas who couldn't fit into such a role mostly became supervillains. Similar bodies were established in other countries: in Russia, which does not appear to have had analogues of Gorbachov or Yeltsin and is still very much a soviet state, the equivalent of Echo has an acronym whose Cryllic letters appear to Western eyes as CCCP and is lead by a Commissar called "Red Saviour"

Then in the early 21st century a German meta called Eisenfaust, who was believed to have died in the final battles of the war in 1945, shows up at Echo's Atlanta headquarters, asking to speak to the people in charge. He hardly appears to have aged in the intervening sixty years - we're told he says it hasn't been sixty years for him, so presumably he's either been in suspended animation or has spent much of that time travelling at close to the speed of light. Doubtless we will find out which in a future book. Eisenfaust is trying to warn the peoples of 21st century earth that they are about to be attacked by an organisation called the "Society of Thule" from which he is defecting.

Unfortunately, when he shows up, looking like a man in his twenties, and claiming to be someone born well over eighty years ago and thought to have died sixty years ago, the Echo leadership initially assume that he's a nutter and throw him in a cell.

Will they listen to him in time for his warning about the forthcoming invasion of earth by an army of what appear to be nazi metahumans to do any good? You'll have to read the book to find out.

The chapters are written by various combinations of the four co-authors, which results in some minor changes of style and emphasis from section to section of the book, but I didn't find this to be a problem.

The story style is pretty much a slightly more sophisticated and updated version of a marvel or X-men comic book: loads of action, hosts of heroes and villains most of whom are at least to some degree morally ambiguous but will fight for humanity when the chips are down.

Reasonably entertaining.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I expected, April 19, 2011
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If you can get past the first third of the book it gets better. The first few chapters are devoted to introducing all the characters(and there are A LOT). It gives the book a disjointed feeling as it hops all over trying to explain the existence of them all and the demise of some. I assume it is due to making the book resemble the online game so those that play the game don't rip the book apart for not having 'their' metahuman in it or devoting enough time to that particular one. There is far too much background to introduce smoothly. However, once the book begins to focus on a relatively few characters, it does hold up well and made me glad I didn't consign it to the recycle bin as was my first inclination. Will I buy the next in the series? Maybe, maybe not.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't finish this, October 10, 2011
By 
Mvargus (Spring Valley, CA) - See all my reviews
It's hard to put my thoughts about this book into words. I remember when the Wild Cards series first came out and the fun of stories about super-humans who were also often quite "human".

I knew since the back cover writeup on this story suggested that it was "inspired" by the online RPG City of Heroes that there was a danger that it would have issues with character creation and development. The fact that it was a multi-author effort also was something I was concerned about as the original Wild Cards would have wild variations in quality depending on which author wrote a particular chapter.

This book affirmed all my fears, unfortunately. Character development is sparce and by the time I got 150 pages in I realized that there wasn't a single character I cared about. Usually I can find one, even a villian to be interested in, but here, I just wanted to see the story move on.

The villians were effectively faceless goons in metal suits, which only added to the "I really can't care about anyone." attitude that built up.

Finally I set the book down, and I know I will never pick it up. Its just not worth the effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh., November 2, 2012
This review is from: Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle (Secret World Chronicles) (Mass Market Paperback)
I, too, got this book as part of the Humble Bundle. My feelings about putting only the first book of a series in there aside (doesn't it feel like a cheap marketing ploy?), this book was vaguely interesting but overall it's bland popcorn fare. Interchangeable, perfectly evil villains, about six different competing magic/power systems, and an alternate reality that's plausibly close but with so many glaringly odd details that suspension of belief gives up and it's hard to understand the characters' motivations, or the world they inhabit. Some comic books can pull that off, but even if this was a comic it just doesn't have quite enough style or kitsch to get away withthe wildly erratic plot and rampaging stereotypes.

There's a lot of interesting ideas here, but all those ideas got tossed into a blender and the results aren't great. Perhaps it was an effect of so many authors, but character development was non-existent; perhaps they could only agree on vignettes and combat scenes. The reviewer who compared it to a compilation of fanfic was dead-on. I felt like I was watching a pile of kittens play--the kittens are cute, but they're not terribly compelling. There are some sections that are good, and a few that are fantastic; if you see it at the library, it's not a horrible read, unless formulaic fiction is a total non-starter for you. But I certainly wouldn't buy a copy, and won't be pursuing the sequels.

Side note about the e-book version (assuming it's the same as the Bundle copy): Typos galore! Sometimes there's an autocorrect error that changes the meaning of a sentence, sometimes a word is missing entirely. Either way, it heightened the fanfic flavor of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scatterbrained, July 30, 2011
It makes a lot of sense when the other reviewers mention that this began as a podcast and then was finally condensed into a solid book. I'm a big fan of Lackey and I've enjoyed many of her collaborations with other authors, but for some reason, the style of this book is off putting. Maybe I'm just too used to a more typical linear style, but I found it difficult to keep up with the pacing of this book. There is no omnipresent narrative voice, so a lot of it is just piecing together what the current "speaker" at the time wants to tell you. And then about halfway through, the book breaks off into a more conventional format. But again, no recognition of time is noted and so it just ends up feeling disjointed. However, the characters and the world are extremely unique and I thoroughly enjoy reading about them... I just couldn't keep up with the strange pacing and style of the book. I personally recommend that one pretty much waits for the paperback, gets the less expensive eBook/Kindle, or check it out from your local library (or even skim through the first few chapters at a bookstore).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Adequate for fanfiction, January 7, 2012
This review is from: Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle (Secret World Chronicles) (Mass Market Paperback)
Were I to read this book online as the product of an amateur writer writing for their own and others amusement, I would encourage the author to keep practicing and to read some books on writing, particularly books on pacing and building believable characters that will engage readers. In short, it reads as fanfic written by someone who has potential, but needs polish and constructive criticism to move into writing as a career.

But this is not a fanfic someone banged out over the course of a summer in their spare time, it's a novel with the name of a writer I've been reading for my entire life on the cover, and as such it fails on almost every level. I can only assume that all the actual writing was done by the "co-authors" and that Lackey's contribution was limited to glancing at the manuscript, saying "Yup, those are words on a page." and collecting a paycheck. Deeply disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bloated and incoherent, January 22, 2013
This review is from: Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle (Secret World Chronicles) (Mass Market Paperback)
When several authors "cooperate" to create something which is sold not as a collection of short stories but as a single novel, somebody involved in the production process of said novel should at least once try to read the result in one pass from cover to cover. It seems to me that this step was omitted in the creation process of this book.

Some books (which I lilke a lot) tell their story from several different angles. Each of these multiple threads has its own point of view, reveals its own facet of the story and builds its own type of excitment. Cleverly used, this writing technique yields true pieces of art (e.g. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith).

This book is the reverse case. We do have several threads, but unlike the positive case each of them tells the exact same story without any new facets. It feels like a collection of essays written by some school kids - "OK children, here's half a page of an expose. Each of you now writes 10 - 20 pages of story based on this". Repeat this process a few times, bind the stories together, and publish without reading it again.

Beyond boring.
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Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle (Secret World Chronicles)
Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle (Secret World Chronicles) by Mercedes Lackey (Mass Market Paperback - December 27, 2011)
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