Rating:

4 Small Stars
The Ranks of the Blood Service

This book is still a little confusing. As in the first book, there’s a lot going on with a lot of different characters and not all of them are human. Aaron Havenes is the “guy in charge” now that the revolution has done it’s thing. In the first book, Aaron and people like him who have been convicted of a crime are labeled “Capitals”. They are not only sent to prison, but treated a slave labor used deep in the mines of Vanguard, their colony planet. Aaron and his friends were treated very badly and he didn’t like it one bit. They were also occasionally drafted to fight against the underground monsters who inhabit this strange planet. The mines were burrowing into these aliens creatures homes. The aliens, thought to be almost mindless gigantic spiders, fought back as expected, but they were out gunned and getting pretty much slaughtered along with thousands of indentured Capitals.

Aaron set out to change all this when he found out he had a certain hidden talent. He could converse with the Jergad Queen! Yes, apparently he was the only human on the entire planet with this ability. Of course it was frightening at first, mostly because the Queen was the largest of these terrible looking aliens, but she would try to appear as a human most of the time. It was through this cooperation of the minds that Aaron found out that these monsters were actually very much pacifist. They didn’t want to fight humans and would only do so when the humans invaded their homes. So, Aaron said he could stop that if she would use her “people” to help overthrow the current military commander, Major Riley. That’s done now and Aaron finds himself in charge and he doesn’t want to be.

Still, the Empire is a large entity and they aren’t going to stand for some criminals to take over a very profitable mining colony! So, they have dispatched a dangerous, but fairly small flotilla of starships to deal with this revolution. Aaron knows it’s coming. He doesn’t exactly know what to do, so he consults with the Queen. She agrees that most of the humans should flee from their only city on the planet and take up residence in their massive caves and tunnels her people have built. Aaron figures that might work for awhile since the Empire surely wouldn’t want to destroy the planet nor it’s only major city. He was partly right and partly wrong.

This is the story of how the rest of the revolution takes place. While the Empire has the advantage of sending large amounts of troops to the planet, the Capitals and their friendly aliens can definitely fight back to some extend. So, that’s what you be reading about. It’s kind of hard to keep track of all the different “friends” of Aaron. He got some that are very close and then some that are former enemies and then there’s the alien Jergad individually acted like puppy dogs when around some of the humans, so they get cute names to go with all the rest of the things you have to keep track of. There’s a lot of fighting in this one and the little guys (the Capitals) do pretty well against even the giant starship in orbit over Vanguard.

Some people (secondary characters) will get killed so I don’t know how this series will end. I don’t believe it ends with this book. I guess I won’t know until I see a third book which doesn’t appear to have been published just yet!