Michael Joy asked me to read his novel "Seventh Moon". It's a dystopian science fiction thing staring a group of super soldiers that rebel against their corrupt creators by becoming super heroic clergy. I will examine Plot, Characters and Polish before assigning a grade.
The story starts off exciting with Seventh Moon sending a group of super soldiers to a supposed base of terrorists that stole Seventh Moon's technology. There's a description of the soldiers showcasing Mr.Joy's love of tropes, followed by what we call on Tvtropes a Curb Stomp Battle. What I like about this sort of beginning is that it is set up to be a "Lawful Super Team fighting Chaotic criminals" thing and then does a pirouette into a "Defector From Decadence rebellion" thing. All the soldiers are set up as equals and then two of them break away as heroes, which colors the rest as villains.
What follows is a seamless genre shift from science fiction government black ops to fantasy martial arts philosophy. Why is it seamless? Because the Mentor Archetype for the fantasy was the combat instructor for the science fiction. He was hired by Seventh Moon but has since retired. He remarks that Seventh Moon has no taste for the spiritual component of his martial arts style and so he's basically completing their training. This becomes a key difference as the trio of heroes fight their counterparts as well as a long running plot thread. Over all, there is a impressive mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy tropes all the way to the end of the story. Esper or full contact mage? It doesn't matter. Either way, it's cool.
I like the flow of the plot. It follows a sound progression of events as the heroes try to unravel Seventh Moon's control. It's not just beating the bad guys but addressing the underlying problems caused by them. For instance, freeing a hydroelectric dam from their control in order to restore power to the country housing it.
There are two problems with the plot. Add some Alternate Character Interpretation, and there's only one. It is the three year gap between the first scene and the Evil Counterparts attacking the Shinryuu shrine. Given that Seventh Moon knows about this place and it's close by the village they destroyed and there's nothing keeping them away, I don't understand why the attack didn't come for three years. I don't know the reason for it, and because this time of peace allows the heroes to develop their esper powers, it is significant.
The ending is good. It has a climatic battle and a resolution of the book's conflict. There are a few threads dangling but there are more of a "connecting thread" to a possible sequel rather than loose ends from laziness or a Goading Cliffhanger.
There are a lot of characters on both the heroic and villainous side and all of them receive sufficient development. The main characters get the most, of course, but even the sub-bosses (so to speak) have traits that make them stand out.
Kichiku the Gentle Giant and who takes on Big Brother responsibilities for Douji.
Hidariude has the blades and minor Leroy Jenkins/Hotblooded traits.
Kiesi is remarkable for being a sex slave instead of a super soldier, and also has more a Never Be A Victim Again mentality instead of The Atoner.
On the villainous side, there's this guy named Kodama. He's a minor bad guy who only has one scene and doesn't live beyond a couple chapters. Yet he's my personal favorite of the trio's enemies New Wave Elite's soldiers. It may be his Smug Super attitude, his favoring the No Sell tactic, his Forest Hive Mind powers, or perhaps the caliber of the fight itself, but whatever it is, I enjoyed his fight the most.
This is the area where the story loses the most points.
Spelling is good but grammar has flaws. It's minor because some 80 percent of them are the same thing; using a comma where a semi colon would be appropriate.
Also, some of the language is immature. What I mean by this is that it doesn't flow as well as it could. Again, this a minor thing because most of the story is not like this.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Seventh Moon" a B+
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