Review: Expatriate (Forager #3) by Peter R Stone


Title:  Expatriate
Author: Peter R Stone
Publisher/Year: Peter R Stone 10/21/14
Length: 236 pages
Series: Forager #3


The Thrilling Conclusion to the Forager Trilogy

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones, Nanako, and the other foragers have fled Newhome after being accused of being terrorists.

However, with Captain Smithson’s parting words of “Don’t forget us,” ringing in their minds, they realise the only way to save Newhome from the Hamamachi Rangers and their Skel allies is to document and expose the Rangers’ villainy.

Yet what sounds like a workable plan is nothing of the sort, for they have to journey into the very heart of Skel territory to obtain the information they need.

Leigh’s warning that “nothing ever goes as you want or plan it to,” turns out to be prophetic. An assassin, a botched raid, and the Skel and Rangers stopping at nothing to prevent them from revealing the Rangers’ activities all complicate matters.

To add to their woes, a word whispered in Ethan’s ear by a new addition to their party brings his world crashing down about his ears. Moreover, should he share this information with Nanako, all her hopes and dreams for the future will be destroyed as well. The question is – how long can he keep such a secret from her?

My Thoughts

Well…..i wish that i like this final installment as much as i liked bits of the others, but as you guys can see (and if you keep tabs on my via goodreads) – i’ve been trying to finish this book for quite some time.  FINALLY – on a flight home today i finished it.  THANK GOODNESS.  There were good bits, don’t get me wrong, but i think that there was too much going on.

As you’ll remember (or maybe you need the refresher), Ethan’s memory has begun to come back, working to solidify his relationship with Nanako.  Of course, it also means that he’s left with weird holes in what went on over the past years, but that’s ok.  He’s learning about himself and who Nanako is and that’s what matters now since at least he finds that his feelings for her are consistent.

That aside, there’s still all the stuff going on with being kicked out of Newhome – and being hunted by the Militia, Rangers, Custodians, Skel – just about everyone and anything is after him and wants him dead.  So this is where we find ourselves in this finale.  Ethan, Nanako, the other foragers and a new custodian that they’ve picked up along the way who’s also an echolocator set out on a mission to prove that the Rangers from Himamachi are behind the Skel attacks and recruitment of slaves in the hopes that it’ll create peace and give them all a place to live in the future.

Of course nothing’s ever that easy since they are constantly being tested.  Their friendships, their trust in each other, relationships (romantic and otherwise) and really the questions pile up and up.  Who was behind Ethan’s ‘accident’ and who wants them dead.  Of those that seem like they are supporting the cause – are they really or do they have their own motives?

We see a LOT of battle in this last book – a lot of sneak attacks, scheming, plotting and people going rogue.  I think that’s where i’m lost.  We find out a bit more of who the Skel are and what makes them as they are – but i still don’t think that we quite ever find the answer on their evolution and why they have slaves.  Why they developed their armor and why they are so barbaric.

Anyhow, i still feel like it’s an incomplete story even though we get the ‘epilogue’ of sorts.  We see where civilization is going and who’s still alive to make it flourish.  But…we don’t see what happens really to a lot of the folks that we met along the way.  I think that the one thing that we do learn is who was behind a lot of the atrocity – and it’s completely expected. I knew that it was going to be someone that was woven throughout the story – and i think that it was rather anti-climactic on what happened to them.

On that note – clearly i’m not getting too deep on this review and that’s because i feel like there’s nothing too deep to get into.  It was average for a finale and that’s a shame since i think that Forager was a great launching pad – but that could just be my own thing.  I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts if you guys have read this though – maybe i missed something since it’s taken me so long to read this one.

Review: Infiltrator (Forager #2) by Peter R Stone


Title:  Infiltrator
Author: Peter R Stone
Publisher/Year: CreateSpace Publishing 5/12/14
Length: 272 pages
Series: Forager #2


For eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones, Nanako, and the surviving members of his foraging team, the trip back to Newhome is a nightmarish journey fraught with danger.

When they do get back to Newhome, Nanako’s dreams of a normal life are shattered when Ethan’s jilted ex-fiancé makes it her personal goal to turn Nanako’s life into a living hell. And as if that isn’t enough, she and Ethan fall afoul of a senior officer of the town’s draconian Custodian police force.

To complicate matters, more memory fragments from Ethan’s missing year surface, bewildering him with their horrific implications – what exactly did he get up to with the Hamamachi Rangers two years ago? Did they – did he – really commit such heinous crimes?

Furthermore, a Hamamachi Ranger who used to have the hots for Ethan stumps him when she asks if Nanako has told him the dreadful things that happened to her after she was dumped back in Hamamachi two years ago. What are these disturbing secrets from her past that Nanako is hiding from him?

Against this backdrop of personal anguish, the Hamamachi Rangers and ferocious Skel, dead set upon revenge, unleash their diabolical plan against Newhome. But how far will they go in their quest for vengeance? Can the Custodians stop them, or should Ethan risk his life again by stepping up to help save the town, going against Nanako and her insistence that he stay away from combat because she can’t bear the thought of losing him

My Thoughts

There’s something to be said about what needs to happen in a bridge book or book 2 in a series.  your’e building off the high that was in the first book and need to have enough to carry you through to the finale.  In this case though i have to say that the first half of this 2nd installment was a bit of a drag and it took me some time to get through it.  I feel like i had to pause a few times while reading and pick up something else just to re-center myself.  In any event – i think that the action and hints at what happened 2 years ago and what can happen with the right direction set us up to be in a great place for the next book.

So we are picking up in this story where we find that life is continuing to be rough for them in Newhouse.  Ethan and Nanako continue to try to make their relationship work, while figuring out what it was that they had all those years before the accident.  At the same time, the ‘military’ is trying to find a way to put the attacks at bay and to get some added security in the town – while also plotting against Himmamachi.  That’s never going to go over well.

Throughout this 2nd story – we get to see the friendships between the foragers evolve and not in a good way.  Ethan’s skills become a bit more evident, and it’s a question now as to who he can trust with this new information and what that will cost him.  He’s also arrested several times for espionage and various other count as do his wife and friends.  Their lives are turned upside down – literally and i think that it’s going to show us whether or not they had something real.

The underlying bit of this story though isn’t necessarily their relationship anymore, but understanding what happened to Ethan 2 years ago and who was behind it.  I still have my thoughts on the matter and i think that they are going to be proven correct – especially at what was hinted at towards the end of the story.  Now why he was recruited – that’s going to be something that we’ll have to get to, and what that means now that Ethan and crew aren’t in Newhouse anymore also makes us wonder.  All in a good way.

So there are so many questions to be answered – least of all who was behind the genetic mutations and why.  I think that i’m still really curious since we’ve never gotten to the bottom of that – and i think that there’s going to be something bigger happening with all that.  The other thing is that i’m curious as to what Nanako’s real role is – i don’t doubt that their relationship is one that’s based on love, but i find all the timing to be convenient and i think that there’s more to it.  Anyhow – that’s just me being a skeptic.  So i’m off to read Expatriate – the final installment and see what comes of everything.  Will the towns survive?  will the boys survive? and will Ethan and Nanako live happily ever after?

Review: Forager (The Forager #1) by Peter R Stone


Title:  Forager
Author: Peter R Stone
Publisher/Year: CreateSpace Publishing 11/22/13
Length: 211 pages
Series: Forager #1


Forager’s Twists & Turns Will Keep You Guessing Until the Very End

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones has a secret that even his parents and foraging companions don’t know. And if that secret is discovered, he’ll be dragged away by the town’s draconian paramilitary Custodians to be dissected like a frog.

The only time he feels safe, the only time he feels free, is when he’s out in the ruins of 2122 AD Melbourne, foraging for scrap metals. The dull, drudgery of his life, however, is shattered when he rescues a mysterious Japanese girl from the degenerate, savage Skel. A girl who then breaks the town’s rigid conventions in her attempts to get to know him, a girl who also carries the pain of a broken heart.

Meanwhile, the nomadic Skel savages are ramping up their attacks on Newhome’s foraging teams and infesting Melbourne’s ruins in ever greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town’s doom?

My Thoughts

This introduction to the series gives us a lot to think about, and only a little bit of back story.  good and bad i guess.  We join the story focusing on Ethan who’s 18, a Forager (by his own choice) and he’s got a complex story.  His father is very controlling, he’s got an ill sister, he’s in a community that needs to keep tabs on everyone and put limits on everything to keep peace, and Ethan’s not really in agreement to all that.  He’s also got these special abilities that are secret and he has to work hard to keep hidden – and it’s working out for the most part until one day his team is working and get attacked by Skel – these wild folks that live outside the city gates, and he has to choose to keep his secret hidden, and let his friends and a convoy die, or to figure out a way to save as many people as he can.  It’s the girl within the Convoy that draws his attention – and yet, he’s not sure why.

So the journey that we go on with them is one of Ethan’s fight for survival, growing into his own, and learning about love.  Nananko – the girl tries her best to teach him about kindness, all from her own motives which takes a bit of time for us to learn.

It’s really not until the latter third of the story that things get good.  The attacks on the town are increasing and they are becoming more orchestrated.  that’s worrisome.  We are also left to question what Ethan’s been told about his life post accident since there are bits that just don’t line up.  When we begin to uncover the truths – the picture gets even more blurry and i think that’s something that’s really interesting – anxiety is introduced with the idea that someone close to Ethan tried to kill him yet he doesn’t know who.  There’s also a lot of disquiet among towns and no one knows why.

While the romance bit of the story falls of towards the end – there’s been enough resolution that it’s not a focal point, we are left to wonder who’s going to survive, and what they will find when they fight for their lives.  It’s rather well written – given that there’s quite a bit out there in the genre that has cities that are regimented to protect themselves from a wild evolved species – but there’s something more here that makes me intrigued.  I don’t know if it’s the sense that the towns are working against one another possibly, or that there’s more to some of the characters’ stories that we haven’t uncovered – but i do know that i’m intrigued and i’ll continue on with this series to see what’s next.  Enjoy!