The First Bird: Episode 3 by Greig Beck

Read the reviews of Episode 1 and Episode 2. Trust me when I tell you, this is one series you don’t want to miss.
Following the events of Episode 2, the team is now back in LA, where all hell has broken loose, with the infection now being air-borne. On their way to safety, they have some close calls with the mob of people driven mad by the disease, and learn, the hard way, that there’s nothing they can do to help them. Will they find a cure, one they can use not just throughout the country, but worldwide?
The author is no amateur when it comes to shocking the readers. Episode 3 takes the combination of science fiction and horror to a whole new level. Bear in mind, this is not a book for the squeamish, faint-at-the-sight-of-blood type of people. It’s horrifying, vividly gory, ruthless. That means, of course, that the book is full of action and is rather amazing. This book focuses less on the characters, whom we know quite well by now and more on the plot, the final fight against the infection that has turned almost the whole population into savages. The author has taken a stereotype of the genre and turned it into a spectacularly original tale. The research involved is impressive and is ensures that the book stands out among the numerous science fiction stories written today.

Episode 3 is available here. The Omnibus edition is also out. Buy the books, they’re worth it.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

The First Bird: Episode 2 by Greig Beck

So, here’s my review of Episode 1. Do check it out. The series just keeps getting better and you’d want to have read the first two, when the third episode comes out in August.

The First Bird is like a modern version of The Lost World, while still being entirely original and unique. Here’s what happens in Episode 1: Somewhere in the deep jungles of Brazil, a social anthropologist discovers something extraordinary. The fame-hungry scientist brings back to LA a live specimen of an Archaeopteryx (the eponymous first bird) and with it, a deadly infection that flays its victims alive. So, while the disease spreads, a team of experts sets out to Gran Chaco to find a cure; a team which includes Professor Matt Kearns, an expert in archaeology, old languages and adventure.

“The red-twilight jungle had lulled them with its paradisal beauty. They knew there had to be predators. Stupid, Matt thought. They should have known better. There were things down here that were waking nightmares – scientifically fascinating, but terrifying and deadly.”

In Episode 2, the adventure continues, in the heart of the jungle. The team has found its way into an ancient ecosystem, which has managed not only to survive over countless years, but to evolve into something sinister and entirely unfamiliar to us. Not only do they find what they’re looking for, they also come across some things they never expected to exist. People die and with all the vivid gory details, it’s certainly not pretty. The journey gets more harrowing and scary, especially after the group splits up. The first episode did the work of introducing the characters and displaying the tension between them. Most problems, though, are resolved in this book, more out of necessity than anything else and the focus is on the absurdities of the jungle. Their first encounter with a primeval predator is amazing, no one can describe action scenes quite so well. The images are lifelike and the blend of fact and fiction is very fascinating.

Episode 2 ends with another annoying cliffhanger, only this time I am more anxious to read the third episode than anything else. The story, the part of the journey, that started in this book does get resolved by the end. I can’t wait to read about the aftermath of the expedition now and about what was happening in the outer world all this time. I can only imagine what a perfect ending it would be, to such a great story.

You can get Episode 1 here on Amazon, and 2 right here.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

The First Bird: Episode 1 by Greig Beck

One word: Awesome. For a sort of modern version of The Lost World, this book is pretty creative. 

Somewhere in the deep jungles of Brazil, a social anthropologist discovers something extraordinary. The fame-hungry scientist brings back to LA a live specimen of an Archaeopteryx (the eponymous first bird) and with it, a deadly infection that flays its victims alive. So, while the disease spreads, a team of experts sets out to Gran Chaco to find a cure; a team which includes Professor Matt Kearns, an expert in archaeology, old languages and more out of necessity than choice, adventure. While the plot is kind of formulaic, the world created is entirely original.

As with Black Mountain, the thing that really makes this book work is the pace. The plot speeds on and before you even realize it, you’re completely hooked. And for someone who manages to keep things moving so quickly, the authors gives a lot of attention to details. Very few authors can describe an intense action packed scene in such a way that you can picture every single move, as if in slow motion. The vivid descriptions make the scenes come to life, making all the bad things ten times more horrific. There are few information dumps, but since this is a thin book (and only the first part in a series), I had to wish there were. Episode 1 is almost just a teaser and ends with that pesky cliffhanger. I can’t wait to read the second part.

The team is made up of quite a variety of characters, with rather obvious good and bads, so you’re bound to find someone to relate to. There’s swift, funny dialogue and very cool inputs from the entomologist and the linguist. The native legends, and customs, described mostly by Moema, the local guide of sorts make the whole book very interesting and very real. It also gives you the vaguest idea of what’s about to come and how deep the author’s capable of digging into a topic. Which is the thing I loved the most: while it’s just a novella, it’s massive in scope.

There is still time to read Episode 1 of The First Bird before Episode 2 comes out in July, followed by the final episode in August. If you like action, adventure, history, fantasy and thrillers, this is an author you don’t want to miss.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

Black Mountain by Greig Beck

He looked up at the black hole. He didn’t see it as a cave mouth anymore; instead, he thought of it as a doorway. And something had come out of that doorway that should have been extinct. A ripple of nausea ran through his gut as he remembered another cave from his past. It wasn’t true that deep caves were always dead and sterile places. Some caves were very much alive, and held secrets that were horrifying and deadly.

Summary: Alex Hunter, code
named Arcadian, wakes up with no knowledge of who he is, in the care of a
woman he doesn’t recognise, in a country not his own. But there is a calling
deep within him, to return home to Black Mountain.
Formed a billion
years ago, the Appalachian’s Black Mountain hosts a terrible legend.
Only one elder remains to guard its long-forgotten, deadly secret and
there is a fear that there is evil lurking again. Some hikers have gone
missing, and the rescue team sent to search for them has not returned.
Meanwhile, in nearby Ashville, Professor Matt Kearns is drawn into the
mystery of an ancient artefact recovered from the mountainside, and an image
too grotesque to be real.
A survivor is then
found half-alive, covered in blood – blood revealed to be not quite human.
Alex must confront
an age-old enemy of man and discover the truth about his past,
and confront the horror that stalks the frozen mountain, and also the one
haunting his very soul.

My thoughts: This book is awesome, fantastic, mind-blowing and many other superlatives. The author has taken one of the most popular legends – that of Bigfoot – and given it a brilliant twist, turning what could have been a very typical story into something endlessly interesting. My first thought when I started reading was: It’s story about Sasquatch being real – what’s not to like? I soon began to realize that it was a lot more than just that. It is at times hard to follow a book when there are too many sub-plots, too many things going on all at once. But in Black Mountain, the author manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. Every little strand of story is just as engaging and the build-up is amazing. I could anticipate a big finish and it did arrive with a bang!

I have always been a fan of multiple points of view, and the author has pulled them off perfectly. I loved the fact that the book also offers little bits from the creature’s point of view. The dialogue had a good flow to it and as the book progressed, I really started to care about the characters, which enhanced my reading experience even further. Not to mention, all the action. Saying that the book is action-packed would be an understatement. The author gives a move for move, blow for blow description of every fight, every interaction. I could visualize the scenes in the book perfectly and it was exciting to read. I am sure this book would make a great movie.

The book is fast paced, but not too fast either; just fast enough. This isn’t just another run-of-the-miller thriller. Black Mountain, and I believe the entire series, has a lot to offer. There are touching, bittersweet moments when Alex struggles after his past, there are times which are funny, quirky and romantic and then there are moments of bone chilling terror.

There are many characters in the book, so for someone who hasn’t read the entire series, it may be slightly confusing. Having read Arcadian Genesis, I was acquainted with the main characters and their story-lines, but there are things that I would probably understand better after reading the other books in the series. While it’s not a perfect standalone, I would still recommend the book to people who haven’t read rest of the series; better yet, I recommend you to read the whole series – trust me, it’s worth it. Grab your copies right here!

Arcadian Genesis by Greig Beck

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

Summary: An aeon ago it crashed into the frozen earth. Millennia
later it was removed from the icy soil, still functioning. They opened it… they shouldn’t have.

Alex Hunter – in the mission that turned him from a normal man into the weapon
known as the Arcadian – and the elite team of soldiers known as the Hotzone
All-Forces Warfare Commandos must enter a hostile country to rescue a defected
Chechen researcher from the center of a country at war.

But the HAWCs are not the only ones looking for the rogue scientist and the
mysterious package he carries with him. A brutal and relentless killer and his
death squad are on the trail too – and they bring a savagery with them that
Hunter and his team have never witnessed before in modern warfare.

The HAWC team must race the clock to rescue the scientist,
prevent the package from falling into the wrong hands … and save the world from
a horror that should never have been woken.
My thoughts: I had not read any of the author’s books before reading this one, so I was kind of worried about plunging into this new world that I didn’t know anything about. But that shouldn’t be a problem, because this book is a prequel to the rest of his books and so it explains pretty much everything anyway, and serves as a great introduction to the author. It was a novella and though not perfect, it was quite good. 
There were a lot of things I liked about the book: The pace of the book is fast and I was involved in it entirely right from the first page. It is a short book and a lot happens very quickly, which is what makes it the kind of book that should be read in one sitting and with minimum distractions, like I did. The story is a great combination of mystery and action. I am normally not the biggest fan of thrillers, but this one is gory and chilling to the core. The character development is pretty great for a book this size and the world created is one of a kind.

The thing I didn’t like the most was that the book is very short, and for people who aren’t already acquainted with the author, it isn’t quite enough. For the author’s fans, a prequel must be a unique treat! But for me, it was more of an introduction or a prologue than a complete story in itself. As a standalone, the book is a considerably okay read, the kind that I would read while travelling, or in waiting rooms, to while away time. And still, I loved the author’s writing style, the theme, the idea of such a world and such a lead character. I guess the reason I enjoyed the book so much is that it seems like a promising series and I would certainly love to read the other books.

I can’t say for sure if everyone would like this book, but I would definitely recommend thriller, mystery and action genre lovers to try this author! If you like the sound of this book, go ahead and grab your copy from right here.