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Book Review: Return of the Griffin

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“Humanity faces extinction. Ten-kiloton monsters are rising from the depths of the Pacific, levelling entire cities in frenzies of destruction. Earth’s heroes have been decimated. The survivors put their hope in one last, desperate plan: find Hyperion, Earth’s most powerful hero, and ask him to return from exile to save them.

What they don’t know is that Hyperion is dead.

The Griffin spent ten years fighting wars across the sector as a weapon of mass destruction for the il’Drach Empire. His victories made his name a curse on a dozen worlds and a nightmare on scores more. He retired to the peaceful station Wistful and discovered that leaving his name behind didn’t clear his sins, his debts, or his conscience.

Earth’s peril may give him a chance for redemption, if he can only find a way to stop the monsters without turning into one. Without becoming The Griffin again.”

Title: Return of the Griffin

Series: Hybrid Helix #2

Author: JCM Berne

Page Count: 463

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: October 22nd, 2022

I had recently been introduced to the Hybrid Helix series not too long ago when seeing the hype around book one and had the opportunity to read and enjoy it. I figured I’d hop right on into book two and continue this wild adventure!

JCM Berne has a rather unique way to begin his stories. Rohan always seems to be in some kind of trouble right out of the gate, then we travel back into time a few weeks and then fill in the gap on how he ended up in that situation in the first place before continuing where we started from to finish his books. It’s different enough for me but isn’t really confusing or jarring. In fact, I often find myself forgetting about that opening scene at times and just enjoying the moment within the story. Then I’m either reminded or we catch back up to that timeline and things fall into place and make more sense.

These stories are just so wildly entertaining to me. We have humanoids with powers, kaiju, ships and stations with personalities all their own and in book two we even throw in the mix of a couple of gods to get to know! The action is still high level in book two. However, I felt like we did have a bit more of a light shining on Rohan as he continues to try and grow or mature (only in his emotions and retrospect of his actions in the past, his jokes are still immature and right up my alley). Book two definitely touched on some deeper subjects than book one did but I feel it only added to the depth of our characters and the story.

The character development was on par and perhaps even a bit better in book two. We learn quite a bit more about Rohan as he even learns more about his younger self at the same time. We also meet and learn about several new characters to the story and touch base and see a few connections with existing characters from book one. I always wish we had more Wei Li though and missed Ursula in book two.

The pacing was just as adrenaline filled as book one. As fast pace as these reads are they are very quick and easy reads as well. There isn’t a lot of areas in the author’s writing style that would trip up readers. They flow very well in my opinion.

The world building continues to be great as well. Last time we got to learn about the space station, the planet it is orbiting and some of the universe around it including a far stretching (via wormhole) culture from another part of the universe. In this one it includes several of those but also starts to fill in more of our own planet Earth and the state of things there currently. We also start to understand a bit more of the Il’Drach empire in book two as well.

All in all these have been great books for simple enjoyment of the story. I know the third book is being released very soon and I hope to get to it next month or December at the latest.

I’d recommend this book and series to anyone interested in a break from epic science fiction or fantasy reads. Or someone who enjoys super hero stories in general. I kind of think of the series as a not so vulgar version of the Boys show which isn’t a bad thing. And I absolutely love the humor and banter through the Hybrid Helix series so far!

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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