Judicator Leviathan

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Judicator, Leviathan

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...it feels derivative of it's inspirations and needs something to help it stand on its own merits...

In the far future, Humanity has reached the stars but is now imperilled by a multitude of threats. There are many arms to the Imperial Government and the most secretive of these are the Judicators. Judicator Heranar is leading a mission to a world that has shown unusual readings along with specialists from other branches of the government. Walker, a skilled military veteran, Morpheus, a Technomancer and Slez a super mutant who provides muscle and armament for them. On arrival at the supposedly uninhabited planet, they are surprised to find a primitive tribe who live amongst a giant alien ivory construct. The tribe live in the upper parts of it, with the lower depths forbidden to them. Unsure of what it is, and noting the signals come from within it, the group make their way into the leviathan. In it they find themselves fighting off various slithering horrors that infest the darkness. Unable to destroy them all, they plant several neutron bombs which will wipe out everything in the area. But while they are deciding whether to detonate the bombs and destroy it or to call in more people and try and preserve this finding and the knowledge it might give, word gets through to them that the planet will be under attack and that to prevent the enemy from taking it, the planet is going to be sterilised by a wave of toxin bombs giving them only a few scant hours to make their decisions.

A short sci-fi story that seems to draw very heavily on Warhammer 40k as an inspiration. The story starts with an amount of exposition, laying out what kind of universe it is, before it gets down to the main plot. The plot is fairly simple: go to the planet, find the anomaly and fight some monsters along the way. However, it does have some good twists and turns and a feeling that there is more going on in the universe than the reader is being allowed to see. This helps maintain some mystery as to how it all hangs together, but there are still gaps that should be filled in to give a little more understanding. It’s as well that the characters are well thought out and neatly show the differences between the varied areas of the Government in how they interact. While they may seem derivative on WH40K stereotypes, they hold up on their own terms and give differing viewpoints through the story. The writing is solid in building up the characters, giving life to the planet and the action scenes play out realistically. Even if the names being mentioned felt unfamiliar, the story still pulls you through quickly from scene to scene with varying pace, giving a chance to catch your breath before it is taken away again. The formatting is odd as the text is boxed in making it awkward to read, but I didn’t notice any major spelling mistakes or grammatical errors through the text.

The biggest issue I have is that the story just feels like it needs more to stand on its own merits instead of feeling too familiar. There is also plenty of unexplained backstory that appears to have an impact on what happens, which could have been made much clearer. Even in a short story, more show than tell helps to give a better understanding of what is going on as the new terms and names came out quickly and it can be a bit of a struggle to place where each one comes from. This is the first in a series, so hopefully this will be expanded on in future books, but it feels a bit disappointing. Ideally, this would be the second book in the series, but we can always hope for a prequel.

Overall, this could be solid starter in a series, but it feels derivative of it’s inspirations and needs something to differentiate it and help it stand on its own merits. If you do enjoy the story, or Imperium type stories in general, then there are several more in the series following Judicator Heranar in her missions across the universe.

Also, what is a “biskelion”? I’m guessing it’s meant to be a double spiral similar to triskelion?

Rating: 3
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Discussion

sliara (20 August 2021)
Seems like it's a book that doesn't make any sense. The story isn't engaging at all.

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