This review of Opposable: The Halteres Chronicles Book One by Author Kirk E. Hammond has been adapted from two previous posts. First is the spoiler free review followed by the spoiler full review and summary.
Thank you so much to author Kirk E. Hammond for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for this honest review.
If you are also a self published author and want to know how to get your book reviewed check out my guide for indie authors.
Spoiler Free Review
Opposable is the first book in The Halteres Chronicles, a very promising new science fiction series that would be perfect for fans of John Dies at the End.
The plot is a little complicated to explain without also giving spoilers. Our group of protagonists consists of some unusual characters that I really enjoyed spending time with. (In the book, probably not in real life.) There’s Pops, the kind of square (at least by these standards) inventor and writer who has a sort of muse like connection to space and the secrets of the universe.
There’s Xeno, his best friend and mohawk sporting drug connoisseur. Ashleigh, the hard drinking, rage filled, super badass who is going to be driving them to their destiny. Patton, a giant psychic cyborg cat who can communicate with Pops via mind power and control anyone with his ability to manipulate brain chemicals. And Sho, a Native American looking alien warrior goddess who also has mind control chemicals but ALSO can shoot fire from her fingers.
This team is on a road trip to save the world and there is absolutely no shortage of partying along the way. The author does an amazing job of introducing hard drug culture into this book without it being cringe-worthy or obnoxious. It’s fun and exciting but still extremely dangerous and not for everyone, just like most drugs really are.
On a personal note, I would absolutely die for a cat who could cause me to sleep or pep the eff up on command. I need some good chemical enhancers for real, and in the form of a scary cat with opposable metal thumbs is a win win.
Opposable is fast paced and action packed. There are alien invasions and various battles throughout the entire book. Somehow there is also strong character development and really great dialogue as well. Most sci fi books give you one or the other, but Opposable has you covered.
My only complaint, because I feel like I have to give one if a book is less than 5 stars, is that it gets just a little confusing. A lot happens in this book and a lot of stuff twists and turns and isn’t what you thought it was at first. It plops you down in the middle of the action and needs you to fill in some blanks along the way. Luckily, those blanks were fun to figure out so whenever I felt lost I just trusted the pages would find their way back on track.
I’m excited to read the rest of the series when it comes out. I think now that some of this universe is built the rest of the series will be smoother to read and understand. Also, this book is unpredictable and I’m very curious as to where the sequels will take the reader since the first book ended in the way that it did.
I love reading anything that is new and exciting. I compared Opposable to John Dies at the End but it is definitely not a copy. The two share some themes and in order to get people to read something they’ve never heard of it helps for them to associate it with something popular. I do think the books are in the same vein but Opposable is its own beast.
Any fans of outrageous action and science fiction that actually has a little science with the fiction will be happy to read Opposable, I recommend it.
4/5 cats in space 🐱🚀🐱🚀🐱🚀🐱🚀
Opposable: The Halteres Chronicles Summary
Opposable is a complex sci fi action novel. It is very fast paced, very bizarre, and very violent. A lot happens in this book and I’m hoping I don’t bungle this synopsis too badly.
Pops is our leading man and we open the novel with him and his gigantic cat with metal robot thumbs being attacked by an unknown threat. The cat’s name is Patton and he’s just accidentally slit Pops’ throat.
Pops has an imagination. So much of an imagination that he believes it causes things to appear in reality. He writes under the pen name Dr. Vanderbilt and has very little acclaim. But he has managed to create Patton and two other advanced cats so that truly is something.
They are currently under attack by a kind of space monster. Picture a oozing orb of energy that can take over physical forms. They need help so Pops’ friend Xeno is called in for backup.
Patton has also seemed to have found a girl named Ashleigh to act has unwilling blood donor for Pops. They rig up a rudimentary IV and get to keeping Pops alive. They do all of this through a psychic connection they have with each other. Pops and Patton can communicate directly thorugh their minds but Patton cannot speak out loud.
Patton realizes that he also has a psychic connection to the energy orbs that he is now calling COPPS, cerebral otherworldly psychic parasites. This book has many clever acronyms to help keep all of this sci fi craziness straight.
More COPPS attack, in the form of human cops. They manage to trap on alive within the decapitated head of one of the police officers. This COPP will be with them for the rest of the journey.
After the mayhem gets under control it’s revealed that Ashleigh is actually there voluntarily and she’s come prepared. She has a dope getaway car full of guns and cash. She knows about Dr. Vanderbilt and she knows where they need to go next.
The book turns into a most unusual road trip story. Xeno has the hookup for any and every drug you could ever imagine and Patton can control brain chemicals as well. Between the two of them they can make the whole group go up or down or psychedelic sideways to whatever fits the situation.
Patton reveals to Pops that his imagination was never making these creatures and events real. Actually, a planet called Halteres actually does exist and a powerful fungus called the Arca Trochia has latched onto his mind to communicate it all to him. He thought it was his thoughts but it was actually an intergalactic biological email.
I mentioned there were two other cats in play. Phreyja is the evil one but she doesn’t play a huge part in this book, it seems she’ll likely have a larger role in a sequel. Herbert is the smart and not evil one who is on a mission to be reconnected with Pops. He hitches a ride in Pops’ brother’s truck to go find him.
We meet our final protagonist when an alien dream girl named Sho arrives on the scene. Pops thought she was just a fantasy but here she is, telling him he has three days to save the planet.
The group sets off to save the world but they make a pit stop to clean up and get very drunk. This hotel scene has some of the best drunk dialogue I think I’ve ever seen in a book. Good dialogue is hard to write but this book nails it both sober and very innebriated.
The get to the next stop of their journey when they visit an old friend Gauge. He’s an absolutely wild character who you really just have to read about in the book. A summary really doesn’t do this book justice because there is so much in the details.
Aliens attack, they escape. A lot of the book can be summed up with those four words but as I said there is a lot in the details. The action is exciting and manages to not be repetitive.
Sho and Pops begin to get romantic. It at first seems that that’s just because these stories always have to do that but by the end the motives are made more clear.
Ashleigh then has her first double cross. It’s revealed she’s not actually there to rescue them but to kidnap them. She says she has to bring them to her step father, Clayton, who is holding her sisters hostage.
Sho also reveals that she needs Pops to save her own species but this will end with him dead. Pops is a vessel for the Arca Trochia and everyone wants to use him up.
Herbert manages to get in psychic tune with Pops and Patton right before aliens kidnap Patton for leverage against Pops.
Herbert and Pagan, Pops’ brother, arrive with Gauge. Pagan wants to take Pops home, Gauge wants revenge for Pops never thanking him for helping with the cat technology. Gauge also claims that he is the engineer behind the whole Arca Trochia thing happening right now and wants credit. Gauge is going bonkers crazy so Herbert kills him and eliminates the threat.
Sho also has some mind controlling brain chemical powers and she sends Pagan home in a stupor.
They arrive at Clayton’s with the intention of destroying his Spire of communication between Earth and Halteres. Clayton needs Patton’s and Pops’ brain power to help open the portal.
Ashleigh double double crosses and reveals she’s actually working for Clayton willingly. She shoots Sho but hesitates to shoot Xeno since they’ve been making angry love this whole trip. A guard shoots her during her hesitation.
Lots of various aliens and monsters are spilling out at this point and the room is utter chaos. Ashleigh doesn’t take well to being shot so she just starts killing indiscriminately. Pho is resurrected like a phoenix into Brims. Her true form as gigantic alien goddess. She vaporizes Ashleigh. Just nothing left.
Meanwhile, the Spire is draining Pops and Patton. Brims (formerly Sho) locks Pops inside in a selfish move to save herself and return to her home planet at the cost of his life. Herbert is able to save Patton and Xeno but not Pops. He decides he might as well play gallant martyr and takes the Spire down with himself.
I really like the unwilling martyr. It’s not something one sees often. If given the choice he would’ve likely saved himself but he goes with hero status as the default.
There is so much that makes this book appealing that can’t be contained in a simple synopsis. The writing is engaging and the gross out factor is delightful. I’m excited to see where the sequel takes us, especially since the hero is dead.
It makes a statement about Pops not being THE chosen one, just A chosen one. I know I’m sick of stories about the one man who can save the world as if it couldn’t possibly be a team effort so this is refreshing.
I do hope that the sequel comes soon, I’m excited to keep going with the series. I recommend it to any sci fi fans, especially those who like over the top adventures and hard partying.
For another great indie sci fi book check out Off World Hotel & Resort
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