Lineage by B.J. Keeton (Book Two of the Technomage Archive), self-published in 2013, £1.99 in ebook formats, £9.01 in paperback, £14.69 in audiobook, http://www.bjkeeton.com/lineage
Reviewed by Alex S. Bradshaw
The events of Lineage build quickly on the events from the first book. Our hero, Ceril Bain, has woken from the coma he fell into following the climactic battle of Birthright but has no time to recover as Ennd’s Academy is under attack and he must flee to safety. We also get quite a few chapters from the perspective of Damien Vennar which gives us an excellent insight into his character.
The pace felt a quite a bit faster than the first book which was a welcome change and I think largely due to the comparative lack of exposition, although there was still some. The chapters from Damien Vennar’s perspective definitely helped to keep the pace quick; the author did very well in ensuring that those chapters were full of energy and full of tension.
For Ceril’s chapters they moved forward at a decent pace, although not with quite as much energy as the Vennar chapters. During the first half of the book most of the conversations between the team seemed to be saturated with witticisms. Although I’m not averse to a flippant comment here and there at times it felt a bit much as though the characters couldn’t joking around unless one of them had to explain something to the others.
Keeton nicely developed the themes from the first book and more thoroughly investigated the effects of what different people would do with power. The book took an interesting turn at the end and, upon reading the blurb for the final book, I’m very intrigued to see how it develops. But after I read the blurb for the final book I did wonder, given that it ends fairly abruptly, if Keeton could have given the reader more of a hint of what was to come to give the reader a hook without having to look at the next book.
As before, Keeton plays with the idea of technology so powerful that it stretches beyond the borders into the realms of magic. In this book he explores more deeply what the nanites can do which was fascinating and at times distracting. For the most part it was engaging reading about what the author did with nano-bots that can control things down to the molecular level but there were occasions that had me frowning when the characters managed to achieve things with the nanites with only a loose grip on how they could do it.
Keeton continues to build his books on strong ideas but this time the pace was much faster. The prose maintained the standard the author set in the first and was smooth throughout the book. Where the first book almost felt like a Stargate episode whereas Lineage felt more like Star Wars with a narrower focus on characters and an epic crescendo and fight scene at the end. Overall I felt it was a better read than the first one, so if you enjoyed the first and were wondering whether to pick this up: I say you should.