NOTE: Myke is a friend of mine, and I was provided an ARC from NetGalley allowing me to read the book before release.
Gemini Cell is a fast paced, high octane novel set in the author’s Shadow Ops universe, but at the beginning of “the Great Awakening” long before the events of his first three books. It wasn’t originally going to be in the same universe, but then Publishing happened, and now it is. The seams are (barely) evident if you know what you’re looking for, but it in no way detracts from the book written.
I was a little leery when Myke mentioned that this was his “zombie” book, as I don’t really enjoy zombie novels/story lines (Maberry’s Joe Ledger stuff/Clines Ex series are notable exceptions), but mindless shambling brain craving monsters aren’t what is on tap here. I’d characterize the main character as more of a Lich (a nerdy distinction, to be sure), while the zombies that do show up are hardly the archetype.
GEMINI CELL stars a Navy SEAL who dies and is reanimated by magic, but more than that it’s about how the relationships that define us carry on even through extreme tragedy. As previously stated, this book hits the ground hard, and keeps going. The author is able to pack a fair amount of characterization into the story, even sometimes while the bullets are flying. Death happens, especially in the circles that the protagonist rolls in, but Myke uses “death” to explore much larger concepts of honor, duty, and love. I cared about his characters, and their story arcs. I’m very eager to see where they go in the next book. .
This book is definitely set up for a sequel, though I’d argue it’s more of A New Hope type situation than a Empire Strikes Back one. Regardless, it’s evident that Myke’s craft continues to improve, with a effort to write outside of his comfort zone, and try new things, while maintaining the hallmarks of his previous work. The author’s familiarity with military lingo, and Close Quarters Battle (CQB) is very evident throughout the book, and really adds to the atmosphere.
All in all, a highly enjoyable read that I would recommend to fans of Ender’s Game, Seal Team 666, Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, and any and all fans of Mil SF/Fantasy.