Sunday, June 25, 2017

Marc's Conflict by Sofia Grey

Marc has been accepted as a ghardian, one of the elite soldiers who protect the timelines of the future. He's eager to prove himself and experience combat on his first training op to Ancient Europe: joining the conflict and fighting alongside the Gauls against the Roman invaders.

A true ghardian puts his emotions aside, and functions purely on logic, but that lesson is easy to forget in the heat of battle, especially when Marc's closest friend is in danger.

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This novella serves as a prequel to the rest of the series. It tells the story of how Marc became a ghardian, shows us his first major test in the line of duty, and establishes the beginnings of his relationship with Lila to help set the stage for the next book. In the process he comes to see that, unlike what he's always been taught, emotions aren't always a bad thing and that sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

The plot here isn't very complicated as it is a relatively straightforward tale of the first real training mission Marc and his partner go on in the past. They see their first real fighting, and of course things go wrong because things rarely go to plan when you're talking about rough and bloody ancient battles. Though the outcome of the mission is important in certain ways, it's not really the main point of the book. What's really the main point, I think, is Marc's personal journey from straight-laced, by the rules, model ghardian-in-training to one who is still fairly straight-laced, still prefers to play by the rules since the rules are there for important reasons, but one who has also learned through harsh experience that sometimes circumstances call for rules to be bent and compassion, empathy, and love can still have a place in their Vulcan-like society.

This is a relatively quick and enjoyable read, and it gives us some interesting insights into Marc's character and provides insight into how and why he becomes the person we see in the later books. Still, though the other books can stand on their own well enough without this background tale, I'm not entirely certain the reverse is completely true. On the one hand, yes, this is a self-contained tale that can be understood in its entirety without reading the rest of the series. But on the other, well...its just not all that exciting on its own really. It's well written, the characters are relatable and interesting, but there's not a lot here other than a tale of newly-minted soldiers getting their first taste of real battle with a bit of a romance story worked in to add poignancy. It's an enjoyable story but not one that's likely to stick with you long on its own. Instead I really think its main interest and value is in how it helps set the stage a bit for the books that follow it in the series, and for that it is worth reading.

This series is one that I have found quite fascinating. While two of the books have been published previously, they are being revised and will soon be re-released along with this introductory story and another new book that will follow the other two in the overarching story. I hope to have reviews up for them either as they're released or shortly thereafter, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I can definitely recommend that you check out Marc's story here to get a taste of the world that will hopefully whet your appetite for more to come.

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