Book Review: The Circuit by Rhett C. Bruno

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The Circuit 1Goodreads Synopsis: Centuries after Earth was rendered an uninhabitable wasteland, humanity was forced from its homeworld and founded the Kepler Circuit, a string of colonies throughout the solar system. These settlements provide resources to the remnants of humankind, the most important resource being the newly discovered element—Gravitum—found only in the Earth’s unstable mantle.

But a powerful religious faction known as the New Earth Tribunal has risen to preside over most of the Circuit. Though there is barely a faction left to challenge them, a string of attacks on the Tribunal’s freighters causes them to suspect their mortal enemies, the Ceresians, of foul play.

Tasked with solving the problem is Sage Volus: Tribunal Executor. Spy.

Sage quickly infiltrates the ranks of a roguish, Ceresian mercenary named Talon Rayne, seeking to discover the truth behind the attacks, but the longer she works amidst Talon and his squad, the more she finds her faith in the Tribunal tested.

While her quest for answers only unearths more questions, a new threat is on the rise, and it plans to bring down the Tribune once and for all.

Author: Rhett C. Bruno

Title: The Circuit

Publisher: Diversion Books

Date: 2015

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It’s difficult writing a review for a book that left you feeling `meh` about it. We all know the type I’m talking about: it’s not bad, and you want to find out what happens. But at the same time, you’re reading it just to get to the end rather than for any true enjoyment.

This is exactly how I feel about The Circuit: Executor Rising.

The premise is interesting: man has fled to the stars because Earth has died and become inhabitable. But in true humanity form, they have broken into factions and are now warring amongst themselves. The characters come from three very different backgrounds, which gives an interesting mindset into the different regimes.

Cassius was initially an interesting character. He has broken away from the Tribune and is determined to make them pay for the loss of his son. But the death count rose too high for me to still be able to empathise with his character by the end – he had become too cold even if I understood his motivations.

There was a brief pause before Cassius answered: Humans are always afraid of what they do not understand. Those of the Tribune especially. It will take them time to see what a magnificent work of art you truly are.

Sage is an Executor – part of the Tribune but operates in secret to maintain the peace. She has a complicated history with Cassius, which definitely added depth to their interactions. But despite her amazing fighting skills, the majority of the book seemed to focus on men reaction to her – or her reacting to the men’s reactions! She should have been a powerful character in her own right – and to some degree, she was – but it felt she was objectified. As the only main female character in the book, this was frustrating!

Talon was by far my favourite. I could relate to his character. I understood what drove him and why he made the choices he did. He only wanted to protect his daughter and was determined to do whatever it took to do so. But unlike Cassius, he doesn’t become cold or detached from his situation.

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The characters’ relationships weren’t given sufficient time to develop. Sage and Talon had a budding friendship (if not romance) but it was killed before it could be explored. The entire book felt like the characters were isolated from each other and telling different stories even when they were together.

This lack of unity was reflected across the book. The switching narration between the three of them (and ADIM, Cassius’ android) gave the book a disjointed feel. It took me a long time to get a grip on the characters and the world they were living in. In fact, I think I was almost halfway through before the pieces started slotting together for me.

While this works for some books, it just felt disjointed and jarring in this one. It was a shame because the worlds being created were unique and a different take on man leaving for the stars that I have read before. But the characterisation didn’t work for me, and that unfortunately made the whole book fall flat.

I’m didn’t engage enough to want to read the second book.

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