[This post was originally located on The Genre Underground. I read the book during my trip to London in August, 2014. Mr. Bruno has just re-released the book with a new publisher, and I wanted to make sure that people know about it!]
Full Disclosure : I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I do not know the author personally, except for our brief interactions by email.
The Circuit : Executor Rising is a fast-paced and enjoyable science fiction yarn that takes place in a most interesting setting. It’s our own solar system, either during a time before interstellar travel becomes possible, or perhaps in a universe where the laws of physics never become more than what we know now. Regardless, Mr. Bruno does a great job showing us how our own tiny, insignificant star system can feel like a vast and wondrous place.
The story follows several principal characters : Sage is a young, deadly assassin known as an Executor ; a hard-working miner named Talon ; and perhaps most intriguingly, a disaffected scientist and former member of the system’s ruling council, Cassius Vale. Vale, and by extension, his AI creation known as ADIM, are definitely the antagonists in this story… Villains, even. And yet they are, by far, the most fascinating and sympathetic characters in the book. It takes a lot of storytelling talent to make a monomaniacal mad scientist feel like a real person, justified in his horrific actions to the point where you root for him, instead of those trying to stop him.
By and large, the plot is not something which will surprise a veteran science fiction reader, but rather serves as a showcase for Mr. Bruno’s adept worldbuilding and strong characterization. He gives us things to be genuinely interested by and characters we can believe in within the space of a few hundred pages, making for a thoroughly enjoyable read.
With no major editorial issues to speak of and pages that kept me coming back for more, The Circuit : Executor Rising earns 4.5 out of 5 stars. As is my standard policy, I will round this up to 5 stars on the appropriate websites.