- File Size: 822 KB
- Print Length: 212 pages
- Publisher: System Zero Productions Pty Ltd (May 16, 2016)
- Publication Date: May 16, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01FS73TXY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,334 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$12.99|
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A Subtle Agency: The Metaframe War: Book 1 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Chapter 1 begins with a cavalcade of names and characters listed and no way to keep track of them. We are told about Chloe, Marcus, Cornelius and his five generals, Anna, William, Anton, Arthur, James, Louise, Jean Philippe, along with mention of an Order and a Dominion and a Red Empire. Throughout, there are a lot of names thrown out, both characters and technical terms, and both pivotal and peripheral. I think that “A Subtle Agency” would have played better if it started with our hero, Anton, and we were to experience what’s happening through his innocent eyes.
If you can get through that, the techno-thriller that follows is cool. At about the one-third mark, the book really comes into its own. The pace is brisk and exciting as Anton learns of his heritage and gains allies.
“The Metaframe War” is a good spy vs. spy novel. It falls a bit short as a horror novel, despite the presence of vampires. These vampires are powerful and dangerous but not horrifying or mysterious or haunting. They kill, but so do car crashes.
Fortunately, these vampires don’t whine and bemoan their fate for 200 pages. Rodaughan’s vampires have goals and ambitions and they do whatever they need to achieve those goals. These vampires are nice and evil.
Their leader is Cornelius Crane, who overlooks the Vampire Dominion from atop the tallest building in New York City. Despite having existed for a thousand years, Crane battles organizations even older.
These enemies, the Order of Thoth and the Red Empire, also try to keep up with the times, despite being as old as civilization. But these two organizations hate one another and spend more time fighting each other than the Undead. That is totally believable.
Harder to relate to, however, is the vampires themselves. I hate when vampires come off as superheroes, smashing through the wall with their fists (as one does). I prefer when they maintain their supernatural mystery and not become something that’s analyzed under a microscope. But many writers and readers seem to prefer this, so I’m clearly in the minority.
The writing is fast-paced, though it could use more dialog and less brooding thoughts. Periodically, sentences run on and should be broken into two sentences, but overall, this is good writing.
The plot, with vampires manipulating human affairs and a handful of humans fighting an uphill battle against them, is very clever.
The action is very good, though a little complicated if you’re not familiar with all the weapons and technology presented. There’s an epic fight scene at the end with tons of swordplay, gunplay, and explosions.
The characters might be the weakest part of the story. Yes, the villains are evil but they are also rather stiff. Of the heroes, the Wu family are the best developed and likeable. Anton, at one and the same time, can come off as inept and then turn around and be just a little too perfect. I think I would have liked this plot better if we had been following an everyman. (The relationship between Anton and Li seems inspired by that in “Pacific Rim”.)
Quibble: I can’t imagine Anton, or anyone, asking “What’s at Riker’s Island?” as it’s one of the oldest and largest jails in America. But considering the author is Australian, it’s a small quibble.
Still, I enjoyed “Metaframe War, Part I” and I look forward to seeing the next book.
Similarly to Stargate and X Men Apocalypse this story begins as an origins tale in a fantastically advanced version of ancient Egypt.
Ahknaton's wife has just died and he's determined to bring her back using his super secret Pharaohs Eyes Only technology. His brother Hakron says this is a terrible idea. Ahknaton doesn't listen, thus the creation of vampires. Hakron vows to stop the vampires. Five thousand years and two secret societies of vampire slayers later and the vampires are still going strong. And thank goodness because my favorite character is a vampire!
General Chloe Armitage of the Vampire Dominion is smart, strong, and ruthless. A former vampire slayer, before turning over two hundred years ago, Chloe is a three dimensional thinker who knows all the players and is actively gaming to win. Yes, technically, she is the baddie but she's my hero and I think she'll be yours too!
Lin Wu - this teen is already an MIT grad and a master swordswoman. She's been training since the age of three to kill vampires and becomes the MC Anton's weapons master. Lin keeps a level head throughout the challenges in her life and wisely deflects all of Anton's come on's.
Louise Wesson is a Shadowstorm operative who has no idea she's working for vampires. Ex Black Ops/CIA she's done a lot of shady things for shady people but always for the right side. Now she's starting to realize the best play might be to frag the boss.
Now the MC is Anton Slayne, a teenage hockey player, who gets thrown into the deep end by the existence of vampires. He has daddy issues, anger management problems, and a generally rebellious streak. He's a teenage boy, what are you gonna do? He neither adds nor takes away from the story. I know that's a strange thing to say about an MC but I often end up liking the secondary characters better.
I think the least successful character was Cornelius Crane, leader of the Vampire Dominion. He's spent a thousand years getting back pieces of the Pharaoh Tech from the vampire slayers because he's afraid they'll use it end vampires. But they haven't... in five thousand years. Also Crane's single (stated) bestowed characteristic that allows him to lead the Vampire Dominion is his dramatic... height. Hmmm.
Still, not enough to detract from enjoyment. Best of genre - five stars!
It's not that the story couldn't achieve a deeper level of reader connection to the characters, but it could've been applied more broadly. I did cry when one of the main characters died and there were a few powerful moments of internal dialogue. Although the complex machinations of outside forces drives the plot, Anton Slayne's clear character motivations unify a story that could have easily lacked thematic power.
Despite a number of turns of plot that broke my suspension of disbelief and slow pacing in a couple of places, the high-octane action, original world, and complex plot will have you flipping the pages faster than a quantum computer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just finished reading “A Subtle Agency: The Metaframe War, Book One” by Graeme Rodaughan. Oh my, oh my and wow.Read more
I've always liked vampire stories, since I read Dracula, the first of a long series...Read more
Anton was just a bright student and hockey player when he met a beautiful woman...Read more
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