Beauty and the battlefield
Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Victoria Maria Teresa Inez Smythe-Peterwald, daughter of wealth and power, was raised to do little except be attractive and marry well. Then everything changed - her brother, her father's favorite and the heir apparent, was killed in battle by Lieutenant Kris Longknife, daughter of the Peterwald's longtime enemies. Vicky vowed revenge, but her skill set was more suitable for seduction than assassination, and she failed. Angry and disappointed, her father decided she needed military training and forced her to join the Navy.
Now Ensign Vicky Peterwald is part of a whole new world, where use of her ample charms will not lead to advancement. But her father is the Emperor, and what he wants he gets. What he wants is for Vicky to learn to be efficiently ruthless and deadly.
Though the lessons are hard learned, Vicky masters them - with help from an unexpected source: Kris Longknife.
©2014 Mike Moscoe (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"Longknife plus sex"
The problem with heroines is to keep them reasonable. Authors too often let their characters slide toward Superwoman. Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife is already dangerously close.
So... Vicky Peterwald is a reload. She's not all that competent. People die around her while she sails on through. (Well... struggles on through...) She's a bitch, to boot.
But she's working on it.
That makes her fun. It can't be easy, trying to measure up to Kris. Vicky gets frustrated. She relieves her frustration in a very classic way. Sex.
Vicky is a work in progress. Just beginning to change. Interesting.
Let's hope Mike Shepherd avoids Superwoman.
Vicky Peterwald is an offshoot of Kris Longknife.
No. But I never do. It moves right along.
This doesn't pretend to be great literature. It means to be fun. It is.
"One Of Three Ways..."
I started listening to the first book in the "Longknife" series early last year, and ended up listening to ALL of them, one after another, through the ENTIRE series! It's a Fantastic Series, which held my attention through 12 books AND several short stories! Listening to THAT many books in a series back to back AND having your attention held for that long, is hard for ANY Author to pull off, but the combination of Mike Shepherd's writing and Dina Pearlman's Narration, held me, and STILL left me wanting MORE!
I picked up THIS book when it became available, but put it in a holding orbit in my iPhone 4S's library while listening to some other GREAT books. Fast Forward 11+ Months and it was on my iPhone 6+, when I realized I STILL hadn't listened to it, mainly because I was thinking this book would go one of three ways:
1. "Vicky keeps being Vicky".
2. "Vicky is used as an 'intermission diversion story' while more ideas for Longknife were thought up",
3. "Vicky begins to reform and DO 'Something' on her own".
When the book started, I thought, "Ah... Option Number 3", and kept on listening... Then 'Vicky did what Vicky usually does', and I quickly changed to thinking, "OK, gonna be Option Number 1 instead!" But I kept on listening... I'm glad I did, because there was an "Option FOUR", AND an "Option FIVE"!
My employees get VERY tired of hearing me say, "Life is NOT 'Binary'! There is NEVER a 'One OR the other', NEVER a 'This OR That', NEVER a 'Black OR White'... Life is 'Analog', it's an entire spectrum of colors; there is ALWAYS a THIRD, FORTH, FIFTH, etc. Option! You just have to be smart enough to FIND the other options!"
Obviously Mr. Shepherd believes the same thing, because he found MANY different ways to craft Vicky's tale, and Thankfully, NONE of the options are "Option 2"! I just found (and grabbed) the Second Book in THIS series... It finished downloading and was ready to play when I hit the last four seconds of Book 1, and the familiar: "Audible Hopes You've Enjoyed This Program"... I tapped on Book 2, and it picks up exactly where Book 1 left off!
"Spare Batteries In My SleepPhone's BlueTooth Unit Fully Charged? Check!" ...Let's Go! ;)
"Could have been a great story"
This is a spin-off from the Kris Longknife series. It follows a similar theme as the protagonist is Her Imperial Grace the Grand Duchess Victoria Marie Teresa Inez Smythe-Peterwald, daughter of the Emperor. She is also a Lt. Commander in the Greenfeld Navy.
To add some additional spice to the story Shepherd has her new step mother Annah out to assassinate Vicky. Annah is also consolidating her own power and building her own Army for a secret bid to take over the Empire. Shepherd has Vicky as a spoiled and demanding young lady who after her encounters with Kris Longknife is becoming aware of the danger she is in and that there is a conspiracy to take over the Empire. Vicky may have been raised to use sex as a tool and her training in ethics questionable but that is starting to change. The Vicky character is starting to develop into a responsible adult and grow into her role of power.
I am disappointed with Mike Shepherd. He developed an interesting plot and characters but then chose to make the second half of the book into a trashy romance novel. The trip on the small space craft could have been made exciting by playing hide and seek with Vicky’s step mother’s thugs but instead Shepherd decided to make into one long sex scene. Ugh! I hope things improve in future books. Dena Pearlman narrated the story.
"The narrator works better with Vicky"
The Kris Longknife books have decent storylines, but the emotional and sexual side are quite staid. I find Dina's presentation of that series quite straightforward, and not particularly memorable.
In THIS book however Dina really get into the character(s), and somehow it suits her more. Her narration flows better than the Kris books, and somehow it suits both her style, and as a result my listening experience I'd like to see how she handles the next one in the series.
However the sex scenes, Mike, are pretty one dimensional, and Dina sounds embarrassed and halting getting through them.
I think reading some of the Kris books are a mandatory precursor.
Dina's dirty giggles and laughter were memorable.
"Disappointing, pulp fiction"
Even for the genre this particular spinoff series has shallow characters, really lazy world building, and tired, repetitive writing. In particular there are numerous cringeworthy double entendres said during the sex scenes that are fake-porn movie style quality (like when a TV sitcom spoofs a porn movie).
The lazy execution. The author keeps hinting at depth and origin story... but never bothers to actually explain the motivation of the principal characters beyond single sentence catch phrases like "needle point and kama sutra" (yes, that is a direct quote and it is repeated over and over again).
Yes, the narrator was mainly given pretty terrible dialogue to work with.
Disappointment, annoyance at the author for churning books as fast as he can to cache in on the series he has built up. I think he wrote 3 books this year... one in the main series and two more in to separate spinoff series... no one writing good full length novels at that rate.
The world building was exceptionally bad... (especially since this technically exists in the same universe as the main Longknife series of books) and at most really inconsistent... some people are said to be Machiavellian but then are completely manipulative and blinded to reality by attractive people and simpering sycophants.
"Too much gratuitous sex"
I loved the Kris Longknife series and had hoped this would be similar. I get that Vicky Peterwald is a bit of a slut. I'm no prude, but there was way too much sex in this book. It did very little to advance the plot, and in fact got in the way at times. Granted, Mike Shepherd writes very appetizing sex. I've read men's "adventure fiction" that had less sex in it. This will be my last book in this series.
I love Dina Pearlman's narration. Her ability to subtly change her voice to play a different character makes for a seamless listen.
"Slow Story. Nothing like the Kris Longknife"
I like the Kris Longknife books and the other spin offs. This on is boring, not enough action, a lot of the action is very contrived, and the book has too much sex.
The narrator did a good jobs as she usually does...
if you are a horny 13 year old, this book is for you. "vicky" thinks about having sex with just about everyone in the book. Moreover the sex scenes are not done well at all. "Throbbing pole" was one of many cringe worthy phases.
I like the Kris Longknife books. I will not get the second in this series, however.
"smuttier than the longknife series."
struggled to finish, not a terrible plot but to many words wasted on banal sex scenes.
"Not a bad start."
It's nice to see the character of Vicky Peterwald mature from her first appearance in Audacious. It was also fun to get to see the inner workings of the Greenfeld(sp?) Empire. Though from the way that the characters talk about it, it seems as though it's always been an empire, when we know that it was actually a response to Rey Longknife being named king of U.S. My biggest complaint about the book was the sex. I can't tell if it's Dena Pearlman's narration, or Mike Shepherd's writing, but it feels a lot like Ikea sex ("Insert rod A into slot B") I also find it weird that every man she meets wants to fall into bed with her. There are plenty of males who have self control enough not bang every hot girl they meet, and it's always a little disheartening when men are portrayed that way. On the other hand, her enjoying sex is a nice change of pace for a female lead. A woman who enjoys sex, has a lot of it, and is unashamed of herself is a rare thing indeed.
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