REVIEW: Phase Shift by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen (Chaos Station, book 5)
Zander and Felix’s relationship has always pushed boundaries—personal and professional alike—but their love and commitment is stronger than ever. So strong that Zander’s ready to ask commitment-shy Felix the question of a lifetime when he’s interrupted. The Chaos is being hacked, and crucial, top secret information about the project that created Zander—and his fellow super soldiers—has been leaked.
Neither man could have expected the enormity of what’s discovered at the end of the data trail: an entire colony of super soldiers run by the very doctor who changed Zander’s life forever. And now she needs them both—Zander to train her new crop of soldiers, and Felix’s new crystalline arm to stabilize their body chemistry.
With help from the unlikeliest of allies, Zander, Felix and the Chaos crew must destroy the project and all its ill-gotten information. But when the team is split up and Felix is MIA after a dangerous run, galactic disaster is a very real possibility…and Zander may have missed his chance to ask for forever.
Book Five of Chaos Station
This book is approximately 76,000 words
Dear Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen,
I reviewed the first book in this series here at DA, then Kaetrin and I jointly reviewed the books two through four, and now I am back with a brief solo review of the latest and last book.
The blurb gives an excellent summary of the set up. Actually, the blurb gives you an extremely spoilery summary, but I guess because it is the last book in the series and it cannot be read as a stand-alone, it makes sense to reveal more of the plot than usual.
First, the good part – the book was a page turner, I was once again racing to read to the ending. We see Zed setting the scene to propose to Felix, all the other team members giving them space, then the proposal and the strawberries, and then all of that is interrupted by a phone call from Marnie and Ryan. Marnie and Ryan are being hacked, and almost at the same time “Chaos” is being hacked too, and things start happening really fast. Felix, Zed and their team members are trying to chase the hackers while the hackers are still on land, but the hackers manage to get back to their own ship and take off. Felix and Zed decide to follow the hackers in space and while in pursuit Felix and Zed crash on the remote planet, where they discover that the Doctor who was in charge of project Dreamweaver is still alive and continuing the project.
The doctor and her new recruits coexist with the colonists who had come to the planet before them to organize an illegal settlement, and Zed and Felix are in the fight of their lives, again.
The adventure was entertaining, the love between Zed and Felix was as powerful as ever and other team members as always rocked.
However, I thought that attempt to make Zed and Felix at odds with each other was a little cringeworthy (no, they do not break up, don’t worry). I cannot stress this strongly enough. I do not require the characters in a romance to get married in order to be happy with the ending. All I need to know is that they are together and want to be together forever (of course forever is not guaranteed, I just need to know that they want it, are willing to work on it for the rest of their lives, etc). They do not need to get married, heck they do not even need to *live together* all the time – for example, if they have demanding jobs that require them to be apart for the prolonged periods of time, that’s OK.
But when Felix was trying to object to Zed’s marriage proposal at the beginning of the story, I truly thought that he was pulling the words out of his behind. I mean, in another story, where the characters were still trying to figure out where they stand, maybe. Or in a story where it is shown over and over again that the character does not want to get married for *any reason*, sure, why not – then I expect the guys to work out a compromise if they love each other and that’s it. Here? After everything they had been through? When their connection is pretty much telepathic now and they both know how much they love each other, Felix is seriously asking Zed why would he want that? Um, I am not buying, sorry. Even when, in the middle of the story, Felix was revealing more reasons for not wanting to do it, his arguments still rang hollow to me. I mean the words were right, I just did not feel that enough time was spent on it in the previous books to convince me. It felt as if the writers decided that they needed at least a little internal conflict (even in book five!) and came up with this.
The funny thing is that a wonderful bit of internal conflict, which was based on what was going on in terms of action, was shown near the end, and I found it way more convincing and organic than Felix’ supposed unwillingness to consider marriage in the beginning. I am guessing that his realization that he wants to get married is supposed to be his character growth for this book, but I thought he was at that stage already based on how he felt about Zed.
As I mentioned before, I liked the adventure – it made sense that what started Zed’s troubles had to be resolved before they could move on. However, if you remember my earlier reviews, I have been waiting to find out what the authors had in store for those mysterious Guardians; they had helped Zed before and had also asked him for help previously. I was *extremely* disappointed in that part of the adventure (their involvement was significant in terms of influence, but really not that significant in terms of page space, so I only lowered my grade for that a bit). The writers did not leave me hanging, everything was explained, but I was basically saying – “that’s it”? I am not saying that I guessed what was going to happen with the Guardians – not at all! However, it was all quite boringly in line with what I had already thought they were – “God like beings who could manipulate everything and everybody” for their goals, no matter how helpful those goals might be (or not) to the rest of humanity.
Grade: B- for this book/ B for the series as a whole.