Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review of Jak Phoenix 2 The Markazian Deception

I've made no secret of how much I enjoyed the first Jak Phoenix space opera novel by Matt D. Williams, and I eagerly bought the sequel. Jak Phoenix 2 opens with the notoriously independent Jak and his first mate Baxter on their way to accept legitimate jobs as a favor to their friend Dodge who's in charge of protecting shipping routes between the planets Markazia and Miralto. I'm sure many readers can relate to how the allure of some easy work and a steady check lead to tragedy, and it's no different for Jak.

He quickly uncovers that the people in charge of Miralto are gutting the resources of Markazia, enslaving its inhabitants, and lying to the Miralto public about all of it. Guerrilla rebels are constantly attacking the system, and Jak soon falls for their gutsy and attractive female leader Karina. Although some people might dislike how unbelievably stupid Jak is with the rebel leader, this was actually one of my favorite aspects of the novel. Stupid is Jak's specialty, and he quickly performs several dangerous favors for the rebellion and alienates his best friend Baxter. My husband also read Jak Phoenix 2 and he summed up Jak's motivation as "anything to get in the panties." I found Jak's behavior very endearing because it was so genuine. People do blockheaded things because of pesky physical attractions all the time. Someone is doing it right now.

Overall, Jak Phoenix 2 is an emotionally driven action-packed adventure. Jak is tested hard by his falling out with Baxter, and he suffers some very bad consequences for his spring break attitude with the rebel leader.

The novel was tightly plotted and the characters were vivid and believable. Compared to the first novel, I am forced to say that it was not as laugh out loud funny. It still was humorous but the story was anchored more by its serious aspects than a desire to be funny.

Jak Phoenix 2 is an exciting read that diverted me from the cares of my life. There is always something going on: explosions, fist fights, crashes, and high speed chases. Jak sorely regrets his foray into gainful employment, and I suspect that he will be gratefully pursuing freelance salvage work in his next adventure. 

Enter the Jak Phoenix Universe if you want to fly through space with Jak.

Related post: Space Opera author reflects on his hero Jak Phoenix