I’m just not a fan of this Reaper guy. We met Halek Cain in the first book where he has to rescue a scientist and his daughter from a prison planet or actually a moon. Now Cain is a Reaper of a highly advanced human augmented with a cybernetic arm, an implanted Limited AI, and of course some very advanced and challenging military training. He appeared to be the only person capable of going to the prison moon and extracting the scientist and his daughter or if failing then he loss wouldn’t be that terrible. In other words, that mission was a suicide mission.
Cain wasn’t on active duty with the Union military although he had started out that way. No, he was serving a very long prison sentence since he went rouge and killed eighteen of the thugs who had killed his father while he was away on a mission. Obviously, those killing weren’t sanctioned by the Union and they couldn’t very well allow an enhanced fighting machine like Cain to just do what he wanted so he was in prison until he was not. The deal for the rescue mission at the prison moon came with a pardon for Cain, but of course, he had to live to enjoy that pardon. The Union had a plan that was meant to ensure that if the scientist and his daughter were rescued, it would be at the cost of Cain’s life. He wasn’t supposed to live through this mission.
But, he did, and he even escaped from his Union overseers with the scientist’s daughter. She was a highly intelligent, but belligerent teenager that didn’t want to stay with her father and certainly didn’t want to stay with Cain. So, he had dropped her off with a former army buddy on the planet Greendale in Zag City. He was supposed to look after her, ensure she got to school and work if that’s what she wanted. It’s been awhile since he left her there and now he feels the need to go an check on her wellbeing. Only this isn’t what he should really be doing.
Cain has a lot of specialized, advanced and intricate electronic and computerized parts in his body. Even one of his eyes have been replaced to provide him with very capable sight in any kind of conditions. Only some of his parts were damaged in the fighting on the prison moon. He really needs to get things and himself fixed. He’s always reminded of this by his internal AI, X-37. Cain and X-37 have conversations all the time about what he’s doing and why. Since no one knows that he an enhanced Reaper, it seems to others around him that he’s talking to himself. X-37 is supposed to be a “limited” AI which means there are definitely things he cannot or will not due because of his Union programming. So, there is constant dialogue between X-37 and Cain that is supposed to be humorous, I guess, or an essential part of the story, which I don’t believe it is. Most of the time, their conversations are pretty stupid.
X-37 has told Cain that he needs to go get himself fixed. He’s also advised by the AI that runs his ship, the Jelly, that it would be good for him to go to Roxo III and see a specialist there that could repair/fix his arm and his eyesight. He’s been experiencing glitches in both for some time now and it would definitely be best to have those taken care of before doing anything else.
So, of course, Cain ignores both entities and decides to go to Greendale. This is a major mistake. The Union has placed a huge price on Elsie’s young head (the scientist’s daughter). Cain isn’t going to claim the reward, but there are others who will be seeking this young lady out and they have no qualms about taking her with force. Of course this is where Cain should come in a fix things. But, he doesn’t because he’s broke, but he won’t admit it. So, this guy is about the dumbest Reaper every built. Luckily he’s the last Reaper or so he thinks. He might be wrong there too!
I think the story would be better if Cain actually took the time to make himself combat ready. He’s always trying to do things he knows he’s not capable of doing in his current state. There is not particular reason why he has to check on Elise right now. He could easily have gone and got fixed and then come back. But of course he didn’t so now we’ve got to read about him bumbling around almost getting everyone killed.
Don’t know if I’ll bother reading the next book. I would have expected better from J. N. Chaney, but this is not his best work. Either way, book 3, “Blade of the Reaper” is available on Amazon.