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Beyond the Wall, Books One and Two

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Earth is gone. Centuries have passed since life ended on the blue planet. Humanity's survivors are now dispersed among distant colonies, thousands of light years from the barren, frozen rock that was once their home. At a time when power means everything, the ultimate power, the imperium, rests with the Consulate Magistratus. In return for its protection, citizens must con Earth is gone. Centuries have passed since life ended on the blue planet. Humanity's survivors are now dispersed among distant colonies, thousands of light years from the barren, frozen rock that was once their home. At a time when power means everything, the ultimate power, the imperium, rests with the Consulate Magistratus. In return for its protection, citizens must concede their rights absolutely. The Magistratus controls interstellar travel, access to technology, even procreation. Every citizen is implanted with a device to monitor their location, health and emotions. Freedom, religion and self-determination are anachronisms. Humanity's true history survives only in whispers of a secret archive. Yet there are those who preach a new religion and who want to be free. A revolution is coming… The Heretic In the cold of a winter's night, a small village is the subject of a brutal attack. A fourteen-year-old boy, Jordi, sees armed men approaching and manages to wake his family. He and a handful of survivors flee into the frozen, snow-covered forest to wait for the preacher who told them their way of life was based on lies. Shepherd, a freighter-tramp and smuggler, is commissioned to deliver illicit medical supplies to a hostile border planet near the Wall. He is dragged into a fight he does not believe in and a desperate struggle to protect his ship, his way of life and the lives of the persecuted few who seek only freedom. Defiance The murder of a man in the lowest caste is seen as inconsequential, but Weaver, one of the few Caesteri lawmen who still believes in justice, refuses to ignore it. Fighting his own indoctrination, and the voice inside his mind that forces him to ignore his conscience, he follows the trail of evidence all the while struggling to hang on to the thin thread of his humanity. The killer he hunts is violent and unstable, and haunted by her own callous ghosts. A woman who sells her body to fuel her drug addiction. She possesses an almost supernatural ability navigate the wormholes which connect humanity's distant colonies - an ability the Magistratus fears and must eradicate. Weaver will follow her to a planet the Magistratus has abandoned, where the only law is that of criminals. And then to the furthest reaches of space, where the truth that awaits them leads to the corrupt heart of the Republic - a truth the Magistratus will do anything to conceal. The Heretic and Defiance are the bestselling first two books in a longer tale spanning four volumes. The award-winning Beyond the Wall series is gripping, epic space opera, written as hard science-fiction. It is the story of humanity's future and the discovery of the truth of its past.

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Earth is gone. Centuries have passed since life ended on the blue planet. Humanity's survivors are now dispersed among distant colonies, thousands of light years from the barren, frozen rock that was once their home. At a time when power means everything, the ultimate power, the imperium, rests with the Consulate Magistratus. In return for its protection, citizens must con Earth is gone. Centuries have passed since life ended on the blue planet. Humanity's survivors are now dispersed among distant colonies, thousands of light years from the barren, frozen rock that was once their home. At a time when power means everything, the ultimate power, the imperium, rests with the Consulate Magistratus. In return for its protection, citizens must concede their rights absolutely. The Magistratus controls interstellar travel, access to technology, even procreation. Every citizen is implanted with a device to monitor their location, health and emotions. Freedom, religion and self-determination are anachronisms. Humanity's true history survives only in whispers of a secret archive. Yet there are those who preach a new religion and who want to be free. A revolution is coming… The Heretic In the cold of a winter's night, a small village is the subject of a brutal attack. A fourteen-year-old boy, Jordi, sees armed men approaching and manages to wake his family. He and a handful of survivors flee into the frozen, snow-covered forest to wait for the preacher who told them their way of life was based on lies. Shepherd, a freighter-tramp and smuggler, is commissioned to deliver illicit medical supplies to a hostile border planet near the Wall. He is dragged into a fight he does not believe in and a desperate struggle to protect his ship, his way of life and the lives of the persecuted few who seek only freedom. Defiance The murder of a man in the lowest caste is seen as inconsequential, but Weaver, one of the few Caesteri lawmen who still believes in justice, refuses to ignore it. Fighting his own indoctrination, and the voice inside his mind that forces him to ignore his conscience, he follows the trail of evidence all the while struggling to hang on to the thin thread of his humanity. The killer he hunts is violent and unstable, and haunted by her own callous ghosts. A woman who sells her body to fuel her drug addiction. She possesses an almost supernatural ability navigate the wormholes which connect humanity's distant colonies - an ability the Magistratus fears and must eradicate. Weaver will follow her to a planet the Magistratus has abandoned, where the only law is that of criminals. And then to the furthest reaches of space, where the truth that awaits them leads to the corrupt heart of the Republic - a truth the Magistratus will do anything to conceal. The Heretic and Defiance are the bestselling first two books in a longer tale spanning four volumes. The award-winning Beyond the Wall series is gripping, epic space opera, written as hard science-fiction. It is the story of humanity's future and the discovery of the truth of its past.

30 review for Beyond the Wall, Books One and Two

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Collected here are the first two novels in Lucas Bale's supremely excellent Beyond The Wall series, released individually as The Heretic and Defiance. I reviewed both titles when previously released, and have taken the liberty of pasting both below. This will make for a long review, so here's the short of it - Bale has written an engaging and thoughtful space opera with a hearty dash of dytopian elements and some nasty government overreach. And perhaps the best part of all is that each successiv Collected here are the first two novels in Lucas Bale's supremely excellent Beyond The Wall series, released individually as The Heretic and Defiance. I reviewed both titles when previously released, and have taken the liberty of pasting both below. This will make for a long review, so here's the short of it - Bale has written an engaging and thoughtful space opera with a hearty dash of dytopian elements and some nasty government overreach. And perhaps the best part of all is that each successive book just keeps getting better and better as Bale slowly reveals the expansive nature of his series, showcasing twists aplenty. By the time you've finished with the second book, Defiance, you'll be salivating for A Shroud of Night and Tears, I guarantee it! So, here then are the previous reviews. THE HERETIC Although The Heretic is a far-flung future dytopia, it carries with it the strong, heady flavor of the American Old West. As a fan of Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns, I’m certainly not complaining, and Lucas Bale nicely balances the genre mash-up in his sci-fi debut. With the Magistratus in control of this interstellar Republic, and in charge of space travel, technology, and reproductive rights, the greatest heresy is the wish for freedom. The first in his ambitious Beyond The Wall series finds a frontier town on the frozen planet of Herse quarantined and much of its population murdered by Peacemakers following the arrival of a heretical preacher. Tainted by his teachings and the preacher’s call of freedom, the town’s few survivors are cast into the freezing wilderness and hunted by gunmen. On the port-side of this world is an armed trader, Shepherd, making an illegal delivery of medicine and who soon winds up ensnared in the conflict after crossing paths with another survivor seeking aid. Shepherd is a smuggler, equal parts Han Solo and Hang ‘Em High’s Jed Cooper or Pale Rider, and the sort of archetype that will be immediately recognizable to many genre fans. Although there’s a few central characters, Shepherd is the main filter of information concerning life outside the Core of the Republic, and it’s primarily through him that we learn about the politics and world building, along with a few conversations between the preacher and one of the children in his flock. The world building is one of Bale’s strengths, and it’s quite clear he put a lot of thought and effort into crafting his future realms, and that his series has a lot of intriguing possibilities for expansion. The struggles and fears of Herse’s townsfolk, as well as the technological apparatuses the plot requires, come across quite realistically. I’m very interested in seeing how this series expands in subsequent volumes. Clearly, Bale’s series has a long-term, epic focus, and in some ways, perhaps obliquely, manages to capture a hint of sprawling fantasy in its thousand-plus years of hidden future-history. With the overarching series title, Beyond The Wall, and references of the punishments awaiting those cast beyond that point, along with the iron fist of the elite ruling class, I’m immediately drawn to the parallels of George R.R. Martin’s work and can’t help but think of Jon Snow and the men of the Nightwatch whenever references to The Wall are made. While there might not be much room for comparison between a sword-and-sorcery marathon to a westernized space opera, I still found The Heretic to be of a similar taste, overall, and I can’t help but draw a few similarities in terms of craft-work, world building, and the enormous scope that is on display. In fact, it’s the easy familiarity to several other genre favorites and references ranging from Martin to Farscape and Star Wars, and the banditry/do-good-(but maybe only secondarily) vibe of Firefly, that makes The Heretic an enjoyable and compelling read. The opening volume of a clearly expansive series, such as this, tend to be a bit tricky to encapsulate.Not all of the author’s cards are on the table yet, and The Heretic is so clearly a series-focused endeavor that it feels less like a complete read and more of a minor segment, a small opening salvo, if you will, in a grander tale. It works as a skillful bit of bricklaying and a teaser to a grander story that’s yet to unfold. I don’t mean for this to be a knock on the work, or blatantly negative as I did quite enjoy the story, but the book ends just as things get really f**king interesting, which immediately made me want more. It’s not really until the last half of the book that things kick into high-gear, the characters have all been maneuvered into place, and the action starts to kick mondo ass. And the last chapter is filled with such vital information and back-story, and a much-needed glimpse into the preacher’s past, that the abrupt cliff-hanger ending made me wish I could launch straight into book two (or, at the very least, demand spoilers from Bale!). The fact that I wanted more should definitely be construed as a good thing though! I just need to quell my impatience a bit and hope that my next fix comes along soon. The Heretic is not a work that can stand on its own indefinitely, and cannot be cleanly detached from what must follow because it is so very clearly serialized. Thankfully, the author succeeds in creating a strong enough work to draw readers in for the next installment. What he’s done was done very well, indeed. Ultimately, Bale’s debut is a terrific distillation of many prior SFF works that I’ve enjoyed, if not flat-out loved entirely, and both his story and writing skills are strong enough to have hooked me along for future works in this series. I genuinely cannot wait to see where this story goes next and will be looking forward to Defiance, the next book, with eager anticipation. DEFIANCE I greatly enjoyed Lucas Bale’s The Heretic when it released earlier this year, finding it to be the beginning of an ambitious science-fiction series with a heck of a lot of promise. Book Two in his Beyond The Wall series, Defiance, struck me as even better in nearly every way. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the narrative that propels the book’s central characters into action. Starting off with a murder and the hunt for a fugitive, the story expands on the mythology introduced in The Heretic and the scope of the Imperium’s domain and the power of the Magistratus. We’ve got murder, a fugitive on the run, political chicanery, a lost spaceship, and more. While not a direct continuation of The Heretic, although there are references made to the events that occurred in that book, Defiance is a bit more like a necessary side-journey. Bale’s series is what he calls ‘series episodic.’ There’s a large, overarching story connecting the two works, although the characters are different and separated by the vast reaches of space. They inhabit the same universe and live under the same threatening weight of the Imperium’s fist. With new characters comes a new locale, as well, and the world of Jieshou feels vastly different than The Heretic’s Herse. The central characters of Weaver, a sort-of policeman, and the fugitive, Natasha, whom he spends the book hunting, are new faces to the expanding cast and take center stage this time around. Through their eyes, we get to familiarize ourselves with the criminal underworld of Jieshou’s Bazaar, and find Weaver up against some significant odds. I felt that the characterizations were stronger, and the threats they faced to be more immediate and more prevalent. Weaver has a terrific bit of inner conflict, often arguing with himself over the merits of obeying orders versus following a more morally correct path. Natasha, too, is an intriguing sort and seems to possess a rare quality that allows her to navigate through the wormholes connecting the empire, and to pass through the farther reaches of the Imperium’s domain and beyond The Wall, a section of uncharted and uninhabited space. Or is it? Hmmm… As Bale produces these novels to be part of a larger whole, we’re left with one heck of a cliffhanger. Most of the mysteries introduced along the way are resolved, but plenty more gets teased in order to set up Book Three. The Beyond The Wall series is shaping up to be a terrific showcase for Bale’s talents with plenty of future-past mythology and an expanding scope that is starting to feel as large as the universe itself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    E.J. Fisch

    When this 2-in-1 book was first released, I thought it was a little odd to only include the first two books when there were already 3 in the series. But at the time, I'd only read Book 1, and now I totally understand. Books 1 and 2 feature two totally different groups of characters doing totally different things, but the further you read, the more you realize the different stories are eventually going to come together and become one, and I certainly can't wait to find out what happens when that When this 2-in-1 book was first released, I thought it was a little odd to only include the first two books when there were already 3 in the series. But at the time, I'd only read Book 1, and now I totally understand. Books 1 and 2 feature two totally different groups of characters doing totally different things, but the further you read, the more you realize the different stories are eventually going to come together and become one, and I certainly can't wait to find out what happens when that time comes! Overall rating is 4.5 stars but I'm rounding up because the rest this series is bound to be awesome. MY REVIEW OF THE HERETIC (4 STARS) --------------------------------------- First off, wonderful cover art. It totally encapsulates the story! I've seen this book/series floating around for awhile and finally decided to give it a try. I found it to be very well-written and really enjoyed the descriptions of the environments the characters were living in. All the various environments are one of my favorite things about reading sci fi - almost every author has some sort of unique idea for the settings in their stories. This wasn't your typical far-future sci fi where everyone lives in these sparkling, intricate cities with cutting-edge technology. The technology is still there to an extent, but if anything, this seemed like a more realistic representation of what life could potentially be like if humanity was ever able to expand into other planetary systems. People struggle to get by out on the edges of space, all while living in almost constant fear of the governing entity that rose to power by questionable means. In that sense, the story reminded me a lot of Firefly (and I laughed when I saw the show mentioned in the acknowledgements at the end). But there were other elements that reminded me of other sci fi I've come to love over the years. Shepherd was essentially Han-Solo-meets-Mal-Reynolds (and let it be known that I've fan-cast a slightly-taller Sam Worthington to play him). I'm excited to find out a little more background information about both his ship and the preacher! And can I just say that the diagrams of Soteria at the end of the book were super awesome? MY REVIEW OF DEFIANCE (5 STARS) --------------------------------------- I've had the entire Beyond the Wall series gathering dust on my Kindle for a while now. I finally got around to reading Book 1, The Heretic, back over the summer and was impressed enough that I knew I'd eventually want to continue the series. Many readers have likened it to Firefly (may it rest in peace) and I couldn't agree more. I was inspired to pick the series back up and start Defiance after reading Bale's installment in the recent speculative fiction anthology, Crime and Punishment. I was pleased to find that the book started out with a recap of everything that had happened in The Heretic, since it had been long enough since I'd read it that I was afraid I'd forgotten some of the important details. Then my eyes narrowed a little when I read the disclaimer that this book would be featuring an entirely new cast of characters and would not be a direct continuation of Book 1. No, I thought, I wanted to find out what happens. But I shrugged and pressed on anyway. And I'm glad I did. Those of you who know me and my writing could probably guess that I have a soft spot for bounty hunter/assassin-type characters and characters with red eyes, so when Defiance introduced us to two new characters with these traits, I got really excited. I was still a little disappointed that I wouldn't get to find out what was happening with Shepherd, the preacher, and the other characters from the first book, but Weaver and Natasha both captured my attention right off the bat. I should also mention that I have a soft spot for stories where characters -- especially equally-skilled characters -- are hunting each other (yeah, I'm kind of a morbid freak), so I found that dynamic really interesting. Natasha is intelligent and resourceful. Weaver is jaded and calculating. Both are inherently human and are therefore captivating and likable. The story begins as sort of a classic cat-and-mouse detective story, with Weaver searching for Natasha after she committed a murder. He's always been very by-the-book, but the more he learns throughout his investigation, the more he begins to question everything he believes in. I found that interesting, having him be a member of the group that was (and still is) essentially the "bad guys" in the first book; you still find yourself rooting for him, but you're not necessarily hoping he fulfills his mission. You're hoping he learns the truth. Similarly, while evading her relentless pursuer(s), Natasha realizes she got more than she bargained for. Both characters end up attempting to uncover deadly secrets -- the same deadly secrets -- and their very lives depend on their ability to do so. (I also have a soft spot for deadly secrets) As with Book 1, Defiance leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger as these two characters' worlds finally collide (almost, anyway). Bits and pieces of information were revealed that hint at tie-ins with The Heretic and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the whole story ends up coming together. But being as there's a fourth book in the works, I'm not sure if that's going to happen in Book 3 or not. I guess I just need to go find out ;) This series was crafted very much like Hugh Howey's Silo trilogy, with the first two books introducing two seemingly separate stories that are finally connected in the final installment -- or in this case, installments. That definitely takes a lot of care and discipline on Bale's part. And now, since I have to work the word "spiffing" into this review just to annoy him.... Spiffing plot structure, sir!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Muncie

    I will always remember Heretic as the book I spent the last two hours of my 32nd birthday finishing. In the review I posted afterwards I complimented the pacing of the novel, with the second half of it reading with a pace of quite literally movie quality. It’s an action driven book, but with enough reflection and character development to satisfy a reader like me who likes sci-fi to have a more ‘literary’ element to it and not just to rely solely on action or futuristic setting to capture me. I f I will always remember Heretic as the book I spent the last two hours of my 32nd birthday finishing. In the review I posted afterwards I complimented the pacing of the novel, with the second half of it reading with a pace of quite literally movie quality. It’s an action driven book, but with enough reflection and character development to satisfy a reader like me who likes sci-fi to have a more ‘literary’ element to it and not just to rely solely on action or futuristic setting to capture me. I felt a connection with Lucas Bale’s characters right from the start of Heretic, which I previously described as one of the strongest openings I’ve seen from a sci-fi novel. I knew from the start of Heretic that I’d found a series that could become seriously good reading. Taking this opportunity to look at the first two books ‘under one roof,’ what stands out about them is how the second one, on the face of things, seems to have little to do with the first, and hooks the reader into a second story just when they thought things might follow a simple ‘chase’ premise after the end of Heretic. Being a series, it’s no spoiler to say that there are links between the stories, but they come a lot later than the average gratification junkie would probably wish for. The result is a fiendishly addictive second book, which at the same time puts ‘the dark side’ of Bale’s worlds under a fascinating spotlight. The best villains in fiction are always the ones with depth and nuance, and the best fiction often gives rise to the question of who the villains really are. Defiance does this so brilliantly that it earned a five star review after my first read (and I don’t give many.) Defiance also has Weaver - a character who has earned a place up there with my favourites. It’s hard to go into the details here without spoilers, so I’ll have to be vague but conclusive: Weaver is not the kind of character you fall in love with, but you will love reading about him, providing you’re the kind of reader who entertains a little sympathy for the devil, then wonders who or what the devil actually is. The descriptions in both books are first class - from planets to space craft to the horrors of murder and conflict, and there’s plenty of that - fans of the horror genre who either like sci-fi as well or are thinking of trying it would do well with these two books. Defiance in particular makes spectacular use of the ‘what’s behind the door’ and ‘what happened to the ship’ tropes, all done with the kind of finesse that keeps a well used crossover of ideas fresh. So fresh in fact that after putting the book down, you should be left with lingering images from it for quite some time! What really stands out about the style of these books is the economy of the prose. Lucas Bale is a very skilled writer, but perhaps an even better self-editor in the final draft stages, because everything feels polished and intricately crafted but never overly showy or overworked. In my first review of Heretic I likened the style to the Dick/Simack/Asimov end of the sci-fi spectrum, but with a bit of a supercharger added to the mix by the pace. I would recommend these books to fans of both hard and soft science fiction - they’re rightly categorised as the latter but has enough space-operatic quality to it to make them lean towards the boundaries of hard science in a pleasing way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Embry

    I read these last year, and forgot to copy my review over. Oops! Lucas Bale makes me want to crawl into his books and never leave. Bundled here, the Beyond the Wall series is one of my favorite reads in recent memory. I was baffled at first by the change of characters between the books. I had assumed this was a typical series, and I was looking forward to the continued adventures of the characters from book one. (That's praise, by the way--Bale made me want to spend more time with the characters I read these last year, and forgot to copy my review over. Oops! Lucas Bale makes me want to crawl into his books and never leave. Bundled here, the Beyond the Wall series is one of my favorite reads in recent memory. I was baffled at first by the change of characters between the books. I had assumed this was a typical series, and I was looking forward to the continued adventures of the characters from book one. (That's praise, by the way--Bale made me want to spend more time with the characters in book one. He made me care about them.) The character development in Defiance is every bit as good as The Heretic. There's an immediate connection, an immediate feeling of care that is established for the new voices we meet. The world of The Heretic and Defiance dazzles. A beautifully written sci-fi with an amazing premise and well-written characters, and an author voice that I could easily spend ten more books reading. Highly recommend this series for lovers of epic sci fi

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I agree with a previous review in the sense that these books (The Heretic and Defiance) progress at the pace of a good thriller movie. Don't allow yourself to infer that this means a compromise on quality, which is often the case. The world building and scene descriptions allow you to imagine you are in the story. The plot is original and I know people like to throw around the phrase 'you won't be able to put this book down' alot, but let me tell you, you won't be able to put this book down. I c I agree with a previous review in the sense that these books (The Heretic and Defiance) progress at the pace of a good thriller movie. Don't allow yourself to infer that this means a compromise on quality, which is often the case. The world building and scene descriptions allow you to imagine you are in the story. The plot is original and I know people like to throw around the phrase 'you won't be able to put this book down' alot, but let me tell you, you won't be able to put this book down. I certainly hope Lucas Bale continues writing as I personally really enjoy his style. I recommend for lovers of sci fi/fantasy or those who have an interest in futuristic/apocalyptic novels.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

    Beyond the Wall, Books One and Two, are now available together in an awe-inspiring collection by Lucas Bale. The Heretic introduces us to Bale’s Beyond the Wall world. I really enjoyed the perfect pacing and action throughout this speculative fiction novel. I relished getting to know the two central characters, Preacher and Shepherd. I was initially unwilling to pick this book up as it seemed to be another in the long line of post-apocalyptic reads. But the characters and story drew me in. Even Beyond the Wall, Books One and Two, are now available together in an awe-inspiring collection by Lucas Bale. The Heretic introduces us to Bale’s Beyond the Wall world. I really enjoyed the perfect pacing and action throughout this speculative fiction novel. I relished getting to know the two central characters, Preacher and Shepherd. I was initially unwilling to pick this book up as it seemed to be another in the long line of post-apocalyptic reads. But the characters and story drew me in. Even the plucky ship they rely on is almost human and has you rooting for her survival. Shepherd is similar to Han Solo-he is an unlikely hero that is not with the separatists led by Preacher. He resists helping them, but is drawn in so he can save his ship. The Preacher leads a small band of families that are the only ones to escape the massacre of their town by the villainous Magistratus. Thanks for a great read, Lucas! Defiance is the second entry in the Beyond the Wall series. Plot Summary: The Universe is controlled by the Magistratus. Those who plot against them are silenced. Elias serves a new leader of the Magistratus and he finds that his master may not be what he seems. Will Elias support his master if he moves against the all-powerful Magistratus? Weaver is a enforcer within the Magistratus. He is on the trail of Natasha, a talented yet troubled pilot who is working with those who oppose the Magistratus. The Magistratus moves against the opposition and a chase across the galaxy ensues. All roads lead to a mysterious unknown habitable planet and the seemingly deserted vessel that orbits it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lucas Bale is an excellent writer and draws us further into the series by introducing new bold and memorable characters in Defiance. I initially missed the characters from The Heretic, but the two books will be drawn together in a third and fourth (final) installment. The three characters I referenced above all grow and change in Defiance based on the thrilling obstacles they encounter. Defiance straddles the science fiction, suspense and even horror genres very adeptly. Highly recommended! Lucas Bale provided me with advance copies of his Beyond the Wall collection in exchange for a review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kath Middleton

    I read these books individually when they were first released and I can highly recommend this set. The first, a shorter book, although introductory to the characters and their worlds, is nevertheless full of action and conflict. In the second, everything ratchets up a notch and there are so many strands of story that I felt sorry whenever I was pulled away from one to re-enter another. Lucas Bale’s writing is rich and evocative. The grimness of ordinary people lives comes over so well and the fee I read these books individually when they were first released and I can highly recommend this set. The first, a shorter book, although introductory to the characters and their worlds, is nevertheless full of action and conflict. In the second, everything ratchets up a notch and there are so many strands of story that I felt sorry whenever I was pulled away from one to re-enter another. Lucas Bale’s writing is rich and evocative. The grimness of ordinary people lives comes over so well and the feeling of a number of underground movements taking huge personal risks is well realised. There are occasional intimations of what lies ‘beyond the wall’ which hint at a broadening landscape in future books. This is a series which begins very well and then gets better!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Very distinct stories The two stories contained here are related but very different. The cast is different, the plot is different, but the ones who seem to be the antagonists are the same. I enjoyed both stories but I still have no idea of what is going on. Worse, the second story ended in kind of a cliffhanger, something that does not appeal to me. I suspect the next book will bring things together but as of now I've got two-thirds (at a guess) of a story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Barrett

    Did not think I would like it at the beginning. Yeah that took about 2 pages and I was in deep with the story line, craving more. When I finished book 2 today, I was shocked it was over. Will have to find Book 3 ASAP! Great Story Line! 5 Star Book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    T.A.

    I had seen a couple of other people reading this series, and then shortly after, I saw that the first two books were on sale so I decided to pick them up. I'm so glad I did, because this has quickly become one of my favorite sci-fi series. I'm definitely going to need paperbacks of these. Let me start by saying that the series doesn't follow the typical pattern where you start out with one set of characters in book 1, and then follow them into book 2 and so on. Rather, The Heretic and Defiance f I had seen a couple of other people reading this series, and then shortly after, I saw that the first two books were on sale so I decided to pick them up. I'm so glad I did, because this has quickly become one of my favorite sci-fi series. I'm definitely going to need paperbacks of these. Let me start by saying that the series doesn't follow the typical pattern where you start out with one set of characters in book 1, and then follow them into book 2 and so on. Rather, The Heretic and Defiance follow two completely different sets of characters in the same universe. I was warned about this before I started reading, but based on other reviews I've seen, some readers were a little shocked by this when they started reading Defiance. Don't worry. I know it's a little scary to leave the original cast of characters behind, but Bale is a masterful storyteller, and the characters in Defiance are just as captivating as the ones in The Heretic. It's an unusual way to write a series, but I have no doubt that it will all make sense by the end. The Heretic I couldn't put this down. It has everything I love in a good sci-fi story: an intriguing premise, captivating characters, great pacing, and settings described so perfectly that they felt real. The writing is clean and articulate with descriptions that are vivid without becoming excessive. The characters jump off the page (or, you know, whatever electronic reading device you happen to be using). The story moves along at a brisk pace without any extraneous events or details. Bale doesn't give us a bunch of information right up front, so you have to pay attention to figure out what's going on, but it was fun to pull out pieces of background info as the story went along and piece it all together. One thing I really appreciated about this book was not being overwhelmed with an insane number of characters. I've seen that a lot in some of the science fiction I've read recently, which is fine, but this was a refreshing change. I would much rather have a small cast of important characters we get to know well throughout the course of the story, and that's exactly what I got here with Jordi, Shepherd, and the preacher. Another thing I appreciated: not having a bunch of science thrown in my face. I have always freely admitted that I don't like a ton of science in my sci-fi, probably because it's all way over my head and overwhelming. (I know - I'm a terrible science fiction fan. Sue me.) The science is explained well enough here that you get an idea of what's going on and how things work, but it's not analyzed in excruciating detail. By the time I finished this book, I couldn't wait to read the next one. Defiance It's hard for me to decide which of the two books I liked better, but after reading through the last few chapters of Defiance last night, I have to say this one is my favorite. First of all, I loved the characters. I wasn't a big fan of Weaver from the start as he seemed like kind of a stiff, overly-analytical, unemotional jerk. As the story progressed, however, the layers began to peel away and he became much more relatable. I've always loved characters with layers (ogres are like onions and all that), and Weaver was brilliantly written. So was Natasha, though I liked her a little better right from the get go. Elias was also an interesting character and, once again, I appreciated not being overwhelmed with a bunch of extra characters I didn't care about. The story told here is a little more bleak than in The Heretic, but I liked that. We learned a little more about the setting here and the way the society works here, too. I'm a social work student, so I'm kind of a nerd about learning how different societies (even fictional ones) work - their organization, problems, dysfunctions, and so on. I love that this series provides such a believably grim picture of humanity and then touches on so many different societal and personal issues that arise for the people as a result of living in such a world. The last probably 1/3 of the book - particularly the chapters from Natasha's point of view - had me cowering under my blankets, jumping at every little sound. Be ready to be terrified. Seriously, don't read the last parts of the book when you're home all alone in a dark apartment at midnight. The suspense was ridiculous. I can't wait to find out what happens next. I love Bale's writing style and the complex characters and setting he has created. I am honestly so thrilled to have discovered this series. I haven't been this excited about a story in a while and it feels wonderful.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Good premise but not as entertaining a read as could be - very choppy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dermot J OSullivan

    Awesome Read Finished the first two books in this series. Overall, an excellent read from start to finish, and I'm really looking forward to book three! The part with Natasha in the salvage ship raised the hair at the back of my neck :-). The only issue I had with the books is trying to keep track of the various characters. As the storyline tends to stick with each character so long that when he switches back you have forgotten who the previous ones were.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vic Falconer

    Unique & Gritty Life away from the Core is rough and dangerous. Thoughts not in line with the prescribed protocols mark you as unwanted and expendable. Government goon squads police the planets and special agents root out the trouble makers. Jump into this adventure and follow the main characters as they struggle to find truth and freedom in this intriguing and entertaining series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Foley

    2 books. Book 1 is good. An interesting story, fairly well written. I am wondering what is going to happen next, but it is done. Book 2 is a completely different story set in the same universe. However it is slow starting. In fact, I am on chapter 6, but I just can't bring myself to finish it. I don't care what happens to the characters.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mick Bird

    Strange reading I have read both books, and had a little bit of a problem. The first book is placed on one planet, with one set of characters. Then in the second book you are introduced to another set of characters. You are able to see that they are connected, but only in a lose form. I expect that they will connect together in later books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandie Acquistapace

    Complex and captivating I can hardly wait to dive into the remaining books. There aren't a lot of characters and details to absorb or at least file carefully for later. Clearly the story is heading to an epic climax. I can't wait to find out!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ray Carter

    A couple of winners Although both books held my interest, the first one was marginally more fun. However , I recommend both as good time spent with a gooD story

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    very well written. Nice pacing and solid world building. Book two explodes the book's universe and really opens the story up. Good solid story, old school sci-fi with some updated themes and visuals.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    Excellent story telling. Held my attention . Will buy books 3 @ 4. Excellent story telling. Held my attention my though out books 1 & 2. Will definitely buy book 3 & 4.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  23. 5 out of 5

    JD

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charlene L. Steele

  25. 5 out of 5

    gerald

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave Poll

  27. 5 out of 5

    April

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Austin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Penny

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

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