Metal Reign
by Nathalie Gray, futuristic (2010)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-905-2


I shouldn't be laughing at Metal Reign because it's such a somber story, so unlike anything I've read before from Nathalie Gray, but here I am, laughing, because the author's got me so good.

This story is, simply put, about a desperate suicide mission embarked by our heroine Francine Beaumont. Humanity is on its last legs, as the Imber aliens have destroyed most of Earth and forced what is left of the humans to huddle pitifully in small colonies and wait for the Imbers to come end their existence. But Francine knows that if she can fly a ship full of explosives into the fuel supply of the Imbers, she can cause enough damage to cripple the Imbers. And John O'Shaughnessey realizes too late that he's in love with a woman who is determined to sacrifice her life if it means giving the Imbers one mean kick in their collective groins.

There is not much romantic shenanigans here, but oh, there are plenty of dramatic and tumultuous emotions about love, determination, desperation, heartbreak, and more. I confess that I actually shed a tear at one particularly heartbreaking scene in this story. If you read this story, you may know which scene I am talking about, heh.

The world building is very limited and a part of me wish that I have known a little bit more about the setting. Still, Metal Reign is an enjoyable mix of cheese - Steven Tyler screeching I Don't Want To Miss A Thing over a big screen TV in the background during the dramatic moments will be quite appropriate here, I think - and myriad genuine emotional moments. I never knew Ms Gray has it in her to deliver something as inspired and entertaining as this. And it's not just a wham-bang excitement-all-the-way kind of entertainment, this one actually has me getting swept up by the tidal wave of emotions emanating from the story. Metal Reign is like a science-fiction blockbuster by Jerry Bruckheimer minus the dreadful cheese and lousy acting. I'm in awe.

Rating: 87


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