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gyrfalcon

Earth's last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn't need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father-and with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his woEarth's last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn't need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father-and with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn't expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget....

Title : Gyrfalcon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 33266523
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 334 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gyrfalcon Reviews

  • Richard Derus
    2019-06-07 05:12

    Rating: closer to 4.5, I'd say.#ReadingIsResistance to historical homophobia in SF going unchallenged now or in future.GYRFALCON puts a gay man at the center of a non-romantic story of military service, honor, and duty. It does all of these things justice, as I say in my blog review , which explains why I gave 4.5 stars to this first TAKING SHIELD novel. Plus it's FREE on Kindle just in time for 2017's #Booksgiving subversion of the classic consumerist holiday.A classic space opera with a father-and-son reunion that heals both men, a crappy demanding spouse whose selfish demands are his undoing, and two worthy mates find each other.This is how you can tell it's fiction.The space opera part takes up ⅔ of the book. It's really a lot of fun, and any SF fan who loved/s Battlestar Galactica (the 2004 iteration) and The Expanse owes it to themselves to try the first one out. You'll make it if you squint through the sex scene. That's right: One (1) mild sex scene and a good deal of falling in love.My issues with the book are few, really, having to do with the improbability of feet, miles, a.m. and other specific-to-earth measurements surviving more than 10,000 years when meters, kilometers, light-years, and military time-keeping are so much better suited for the Universe as we know it. Also, I'd like to like poor Joss at least a little bit. As it stands he's a maelstrom of selfishness, shrieking at Bennet as soon as Bennet dares to be one little bit his authentic self. What would it cost to add a little appealing lovingkindness to appear?These are quibbles when matched against the manifold pleasures of the Taking Shield universe's character developments, background developments, and involving overall arc of story. I am delighted that these second editions have addressed the earliest reviewers' concerns about some repetitive language etc etc. I found no evidence of such failings in this tale.But the satisfaction of reading about Bennet's struggles and problems, so personal, so universal, as a gay son of an unhappy parent, a loving spouse to a demanding partner, a starved lover with unmet needs who is surprised by the joy he never thought was missing...these are the hooks that could, if you'll allow them around your defenses against thoughts that aren't easy for you to relate to, bind you to the series arc for a really satisfying read.

  • Тамрико
    2019-06-17 03:06

    What the hell, Goodreads! I didn't read this book twice!And I can't remove second dates because they don't exist! #*@&ersSO annoyed right now! :( I have 1800+ books I have to go through and weed this crap out :/**************************************************************Sorry, back to my review.Warning: open relationship that some readers might see as cheating.Before you begin reading, please, keep in mind that this books is, first and foremost, a military sci-fi, not a romance.There is an established couple that struggles with the situation where one of the partners (the MC) is home only 2 weeks out of 10 (hence open relationship, both men are OK with it).There is a father-son relationship where the father does not approve of his son's (MC's) partner and his choice of profession.There is a war going on and the MC is separated from his Shield (spec.ops) unit, forced to work with and rely on a different brunch of military. More conflict/interaction with his father ensues as they are forced to work together to collect intel on the alien enemies.Finally, at 70% another MC (I know, I know, late, right? but it's a sci-fi, not a romance, remember?) and another POV emerges, and if you are looking for a passionate turbulent relationship, this is the part that rules :D

  • Sarah Madison
    2019-05-24 01:16

    This is a difficult book to classify. It's NOT M/M romance, but there is a love story between two male protagonists. It's so much more than that, however. It's a sweeping space opera, that will take place over a six book series. It's hard core military sci-fi in the tradition of David Weber's Honor Harrington series. The world-building, especially when it comes to the organization known as Shield, is phenomenal. The characters stay with you long after you finish reading. This is the kind of story you re-read over and over again.Most of all, I think twenty years from now, people will point to this story as being a game-changing story for mainstream gay literature. They'll say, "You know, that was the first story I ever read where the main characters just happened to be gay, but the whole story wasn't about that."Anna Butler is in my critique group, and I've had the privilege of reading the next two books in the series already. You won't be disappointed. :-)

  • Kaje Harper
    2019-06-11 23:00

    I have enjoyed Anna Butler's writing before, but waited to begin this series knowing this first book has an indeterminate ending. It was worth waiting for, although I did immediately download the next one (and considered opening it, at 1:30 in the morning.) This is an appealing military/special forces-style SciFi and I really liked the main characters. It opens with Shield Captain Bennet, in action with the crew of his ship against robot drones, built by an alien enemy which humanity has never met in person. Bennet is brilliant and capable, and young for his rank. He's also dedicated to his service - a fact which his partner Joss back home on Albion resents. Bennet bounces between the worlds of sharp and lethal action against a foe that seems to be slowly winning, and shore leave back home, where his lover tries to persuade him to resign and go into academia. There is no way Bennet is going to abandon his command, his friends and crew, or the fate of humanity, even for a long-time lover. They have carved out a compromise where their relationship is open, and they are free to have other sex partners when apart. Bennet hasn't taken half as much advantage of that as Joss, apart from the occasional night with a woman. But on a desperate mission that requires him to change ships for transport, he meets pilot Flynn. And what they have, amid the risks of battle, isn't as trivial, or as easy to move on from, as anyone before him. The opening of the book is a bit slow despite the physical action, as we're introduced to many of Bennet's crew who don't actually play a big role in this book (although probably will in the series later.) It really gets going once Bennet separates from his ship, on a mission only he can accomplish. Flynn is a great character, and meeting him gives the story a big lift. The character interactions, including Bennet's difficult relationship with his father, are a highlight. The action scenes are very well done. The world-building has perhaps a bit of a lean toward mimicking today's cultural mores, but it works smoothly enough. There are some emotional moments with resonance here, and I was deeply engaged by the end of the story. Looking forward to the next one (although I did wait till breakfast the next morning to start it.)

  • AliciaJ
    2019-05-24 05:14

    I am a huge sci-fi fan so this story really worked for me. I loved the adventure and the characters, but most of the all I loved the development of the relationships between Bennet and various other characters. I don't want to give away too much in case someone else wants to read it too, but suffice to say, this book was one of the most well written sci-fi stories I've ever read in the m/m genre. It had the feel of a mainstream sci-fi story (reminded me somewhat of Starship Troopers), but with a light touch of romance that gave it just enough of an extra twist to satisfy the romantic in me. I know there's a sequel, so I'm definitely excited that I get to read what happens next.

  • Eugenia
    2019-06-08 04:23

    ***4.5 Stars***What a great beginning to a series; and what an incredible way to leave me panting for more. Yes, it’s true. This one ends with no resolution for our erstwhile lovers Bennet and Flynn.(Please note that Bennet is in an open relationship with Joss, a man 20 years his senior. For those who dislike cheating or open relationships, this is a warning).Earth is ancient history, mythological even. One of its last colonies, Albion, started expanding its territory and began a war with the mysterious Maess. Generations later, the war wages on. Shield Captain Bennet is an expert at going into enemy bases, collecting information, and getting out. He’s a badass, pretty much. I kinda had the hots for him. Ok, I DID have the hots for him.A super important mission lands him on his father’s ship. Not so good. But on the ship is the resident heartbreaker pilot, Flynn. He’s a gorgeous smartass and a hell of a pilot. So this is where I started dreaming of a Bennet, Me, and Flynn sandwich. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen—they totally left me out of the picture while they got it on. Oh well, at least I can pretend, right? They’re both bi, I’d fit right in.Sooo, back to the story. Loved it. There were TONS of names at the beginning. This always drives me crazy. But hey, I let it go and focused on my man Bennet and it was all good. Those others were soon out of the picture. Same thing when he gets on the Gyrfalcon—lots of names, but just focus on the ones that get repeated a lot. Like Flynn. And Bennet.So, there’s a battle and people get hurt, some die. But Bennet has a job to do, and so does Flynn. So, whatever happens next is in the additional books to the series, because there’s not even an HFN here.Still.....I loved it!

  • Xing
    2019-06-15 04:18

    This book felt a bit longer than necessary. It had an interesting plot appealing to fans of the space opera genre, with well written action and such. However, the story lacked character development as each of the main players felt very static from beginning to end. The only thing that changed was the story/mission and Bennet's relationship with his father. I also did not enjoy the whole "tragic past" being thrown in our faces towards the end of the book for one of the characters - an example of telling rather than showing, and almost like a cheap way of trying to make a character more interesting. Romance wise, it was okay, or lukewarm at best. Perhaps there will be more development in the sequel, but the romance didn't really convince me.Overall, Gyrfalcon is a good space opera book. But character development and romance felt kind of stale.

  • multitaskingmomma
    2019-06-08 01:29

    Original Blog Post: Review Request: Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1) by Anna ButlerReviewed by: RayMy Rating: 3 StarsI have always been a huge fan of science fiction, and grew up reading sci-fi greats, such as Heinlein, Clarke, van Vogt, Pohl, and too many others to mention. When I was a teenager, the covers of the sci-fi paperbacks displayed in bookstores often featured bulging muscles, along with bulges in other places. I was drawn to those covers, although I didn’t understand why at the time. Eventually, I moved on to fantasy, but I still have a look at a new sci-fi novel, once in a while. Which is why I jumped at the chance to review this book.John Gardner wrote in The Art of Writing Fiction, that when a reader, or at least an experienced reader, reads a book he lets himself be drawn into the story, so much so that he enters a sort of fictional dream, where he begins to, at some level, experience the story. It is the writer’s job to nurture that fictional dream as the story continues. Unfortunately, when the writer commits a gaffe, or breaks the rules of syntax and/or grammar, the reader is knocked out of that fictional dream, and has to struggle to return to it. This author does several things that nearly always knock the reader out of that fictional dream, and that is never a good thing. The inherent danger in this is the fact that the reader might give up the struggle and decide that the story wasn’t worth it.The most important aspect of any sci-fi novel is the world-building. If the world created by the author isn’t detailed enough, the story is doomed to failure. This author has created the bones of an interesting world. Albion is a planet on which the people of Earth landed thousands of years ago after they fled their home planet (why they did so is not stated). The bones of Albion are described in this book, but they are poorly fleshed out, particularly in the area of space travel.That is unfortunate, because most of the story takes place in space. Either on distant planets, or in spaceships of one kind or another. There are three classes of military in Albion, Fleet, Infantry, and Shield, all of whom are engaged in a life or death struggle with an alien race. Bennet, the central character, is a Shield Warrior. Think Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Delta Force combined into one elite and highly secretive group. He goes on missions to infiltrate enemy planets, gathering intelligence data, and blowing up bases.Where the world-building fails is in the rather casual mention of space travel. The author’s description of Bennet and/or his crew traveling from planetary system to planetary system sounds more like a Sunday afternoon drive through neighboring towns. There is little or no mention of the vast distances involved, or how that travel is accomplished. This world needs an equivalent of Star Trek’s warp drive, and it needs to be discussed. There is one mention of distance—when Bennet’s leave is over and he travels from Albion to Demeter, which is a huge space station in a planetary system six parsecs from home. A parsec is 3.2 light-years; which means that he traveled some 19 light-years to reach his ship, which was docked at the space station. The journey is described in hours, and the methods aren’t mentioned.Speaking of hours, and we arrive at another huge anomaly in the story. Times on the huge spaceship Bennet ultimately arrives on are stated in terms of a.m. and p.m., i.e., 4 a.m. That really knocked me out of the story. Military organizations everywhere use military time, and speak in terms of 0600 hours. The concepts of a.m. and p.m. are meaningless in interstellar space. There are references to dawn and midnight. For that matter, we don’t even know if Albion rotates in a twenty-four hour cycle, or some other number. The devil is in the details, and details are lacking. I’m a huge fan of well-written military fiction, and there are certain conventions that should be followed when discussing concepts of time in military terms.In one scene, Bennet “glanced across the tarmac” to where his ship sat. WHOA! He’s on one of the hangar decks of a huge spaceship. There’s no “tarmac” there. In fact, it is referred to as “decking” a few paragraphs later.An anomaly takes the reader out of the story in chapter six. Bennet is flying his one-man Mosquito class craft, approaching the Gyrfalcon, a dreadnought ship (think behemoth on steroids). “The Gyrfalcon filled the entire sky. Her colossal, delta-winged bulk blotted out entire star systems.” Whoa! Ships that size do not take off from or land upon planets. They are constructed in space and remain in space for their entire life spans, and would have no use for wings, delta shaped or otherwise.Despite the shortcomings of the world-building, the story was good, and the characters were interesting. The readers learn just enough about some of the characters to want to know more. Unfortunately, that fact, and that fact alone, is the book's only saving grace.The writing style leaves much to be desired. The author can’t seem to decide whether she wants to write in a modern style, where the dialogue verb follows the noun or pronoun (he said, she said, they said); or in a late Victorian style where the dialogue style is just the opposite (said he, said she, said they). Since she can’t decide which style to use, she jumps back and forth, often in successive paragraphs. And when she does that, she knocks experienced readers right out of the story, which is never a good thing. To that, one can only say to the author: make up your mind, and write one way or the other.Then there is the wretchedly excessive use of non-standard and occasionally totally invalid dialogue tags. And by excessive, I mean more than fifty of them, by actual count. Here are two examples that caught my attention: “demurred Bennet” and “mourned Caedan.” In writing, one cannot “demur” a sentence, neither can you use “mourn”as a substitute for having the characters “say” things to each other. It just doesn’t work, unless, of course, you are mourning the absence of proper sentence structure. This author has a number of bad habits, all of which I feel she needs to un-learn. One of these is repetitive use of the same words, either in the same sentence, or in successive paragraphs. For example, a few paragraphs into the book, the author uses the word “disturbingly” two times in successive sentences. Things like this can also knock the reader out of the story. Consulting a Thesaurus and finding a different word to use in the second sentence would have worked better. The fixes for such problems are simple, but they require some thought and a little effort.The sex scenes between two of the characters are okay—neither too long, nor too short. Well, except for the scene in which one character (currently on the “receiving end” of anal sex) rolls onto his “flat stomach” and proceeds to move his body in a way that would defeat a contortionist. Perhaps more importantly, both of the men react to sex like men which isn’t always the case, these days.Even though the book was published by a regular publisher, it clearly wasn’t thoroughly edited, if in fact it was edited at all. A good editor would have spotted the many problems. A good editor would have spotted, and corrected, the many instances when words were hyphenated when they shouldn’t have been, or when two words were used when one was correct. For example, according to Merriam-Webster, 'takeoff' is one word, and so is 'backup.' There are even places where different forms of the same word are used. An editor would have caught this. On the other hand, the author is British, and there are British spellings throughout the book. The publisher could, conceivably, be using British conventions along with the British spelling. This reviewer has to wonder, however, how important those Britishisms are, given that the book was published in the US and Australia. I’m not familiar with this publisher, but I certainly wasn’t impressed with the way they formatted their eBooks. They did not even take the time and effort to format scene breaks, and left the author’s four asterisks in place. In addition, their formatting of ellipses is inconsistent, and not always correct.I gave this book a quick read initially; then, because the story was so good, I read it carefully a second time; and a third time; and a fourth time; making careful notes along the way. After one quick read and three very careful reads, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I am intimately acquainted with the book.Why then, after saying so many bad things about the book, did I spend the better part of my spare time for a week going through it over and over again? You may well ask. In sum, this book tells a good story. I will even go so far as to say it is a compelling story. But it suffers terribly from poor writing and nonexistent editing. The story deserves so much more than that. This book is book one of a planned series of five or six. To that, I can only say to the author: Find some decent beta readers. Preferably people you don’t know, and especially, people who aren’t afraid to voice an honest opinion. Find a personal editor. Especially one who knows how dialogue should be written, and is not afraid to call the author on mistakes. Yes, I know, I’m using the same words over and over again for emphasis. On the other hand, I’m writing a review, not a novel.This reader is looking forward to a sequel, but only if it is better written. To that end, I hereby volunteer to beta read a sequel or sequels. I do quite a bit of beta reading, and there isn’t a politically correct bone in my body, so you can be sure my comments aren’t tempered by a fear of offending anyone. Even as a child and young man, I always said precisely what was on my mind, and age hasn’t changed that. Not at all.

  • Kathleen
    2019-05-31 22:59

    Sci-fi action romance at its best. Beautifully written, great world building, characters with depth, fantastic storyline. Highly recommended!Anna Butler needs a better editor, or at least a someone post-edit who can do a final pass to catch missing/extra words, grammar, punctuation, etc. Those types of things can take the reader out of a story, repeatedly. Other than that, a glorious read!

  • Lila
    2019-05-17 22:05

    3,5 starsI didn't really plan to do that, but I read three scifi mm in row: Chaos Station, Gyrfalcon and Song of the Navigator.Of all three, Gyrfalcon in stands out simply because 1) it's all about the world building and 2)it doesn't follow the romance formula so faithfully.1) I'll put this first out there: this book is written with sequels in mind. It's military scifi story with romance potential and that means that Gyrfalcon is heavy on setting and author paid A LOT of attention to details. It's kind of a weird for me to say just how much because it's definitely developed more than average mm romance demands, but, again, if you read scifi regularly you see that author didn't stray too far from ordinary, already-seen quirks and tricks. You have drones, photon-pistol,plasma bolts and laser rifle on first page. You will have technology, military operation and structure and mission objective explained to you in details so if this is not your jam, you have been warned. Premise: Humanity is in war with alien race. Technically, we are following Bennet, who is part of infiltrating, covert unit. They are called Shield and they act mainly as spies, gathering information on enemy planets. They don't work so well with other branches of military because they are very secretive and they don't get attached since they risk their lives all the time. As it happens, Bennet has to work with Fleet unit for his next mission. He boards on dreadnaught Gyrfalcon where he meets ambitious pilot Flynn, who may be just what he needs. Majority of novel is happening on Gyrfalcon as Bennet and rest of pilot squadron prepare for his task that may be decisive for war. On one side, stories that are confined to space ship are not offering the large scope you would expect for scifi genre and various new planets, alien race and such. On the other hand, I love military scifi on ships because they are good for getting to know all characters, not just MCs. They give the strong sense of brotherhood-people interact more and they rely on each other all the time, so when the big fight comes- and it always does- you can see it's a not an individual effort, but a team work.2) Romance part is tricky one. I'll start with something that may be deal-breaker for some readers. Bennet is in long relationship with Joss who is older than him and what's more important, who is not military. He is a college professor who basically sits home and waits for Bennet to come from his secret missions and their relationship suffers from it since Joss wants more and shows his resentment where Bennet just wants to rest and relax when he gets home. They have an arrangement to see/sleep with other men when Bennet is away and won't come home soon. This is the situation with them when Bennet comes to dreadnaught and if this is issue for you- you have been warned. There is instant attraction to Flynn and a lot of UST, but they don't act on it right away. Bennet's first concern is his mission and he NEVER forgets that and certainly won't risk anything jumping in bed with one of the pilots. Personally, I liked that-Bennet is a professional and damn good at what he does, so it's not a statement only told to reader, but you can conclude it yourself. Attraction between Flynn and Bennet is genuine and it doesn't affect development of their friendship- they like each other before they are friends, but they are friends before they become more. I really don't like insta-love/insta-sex so it worked for me, but it was mostly due to Bennet's character. Romance is not as much in the background as dependable on circumstances- they work for different military branches, they may never meet again and they are in war- they don't really have a lot of time to dwell on this. Again, I repeat that this book is written with sequels in mind, so don't expect hea nor resolution of any kind when it comes to their relationship.This type of books is like catnip for me, so being heavy on military scifi elements and (not)romance didn't bother me at all, but the reason for my rating is structure of this series. At certain points I have feeling I am reading fanfic- and I don't mean it because it badly written or anything, but because you will get every minute of every day Bennet spends on Gyrfalcon described. It's like, main plot is his mission, but it's easy to forget that because you are reading what's his day like on dreadnaught. It moves slow as molasses. It's not boring, but it's not necessary for moving the plot. Another thing (and I am aware this may be issue only for me) is the same thing I hated when it comes to Spy vs. Spook series by Tinnean*. I really, really don't like when authors describe same event from point of view of both main characters in two separate chapters. I read what happened already, I don't need to read it from other pov especially when it's not moving the plot forward at all. This book is already long and detailed and with sequels in mind- it doesn't need to be dragged down more.All in all, it has potential but it needs tweaking with whole structure. There is a story that seems interesting, but I am not really liking the way it is told right now. Setting is important part of novel but it can't BE the novel. Pace and plot progression are what I hope to see done better in future novel(s).*Originally online fiction under "Man of My Dreams" name.

  • Elin
    2019-06-14 00:24

    "...genuine old school military science fiction, every bit as good as the Vorkosigan Saga, and promising to be as long and as enthralling."Read the rest of the review here

  • PaperMoon
    2019-05-19 03:23

    What a superb read - engaged me from page one and grabbed my attention until the last page. It's got action, sci-fi technology, snarky fighting banter, sexy pilots, scary aliens, slow burn romance leading up to an explosive payoff. I cannot wait to start on book 2 of the series. Bravo Ms Butler!

  • Paul
    2019-06-16 23:02

    good solid sci-fi

  • Idamus
    2019-06-16 06:07

    Apparently I'm the only one, but while the sci-fi part is intriguing, there are also too many present day simili to make it believable.I mostly like Bennet, but I really don't like the rest of the top people, and the romance in here is the type I loathe in my books, open relationships and May/December are both on my yuck list, this has both. So, no thanks, not for me.

  • George
    2019-06-14 05:09

    Nice space gay romance going on. Hope this series keeps going

  • Love Bytes Reviews
    2019-05-30 05:29

    4.5 Heart Review by DanI’m always happy to see a sci-fi book hit our review list, and grab them as quick as I can before someone else gets them! In the case of this book, knowing I took not only this one, but its sequel as well, the pressure was on to like it.Honestly the first few pages of the book had me thinking I might have made a mistake, due to trying to figure who and where everyone was, the strange dates, the very complex world building, and the very complex character building. From the first page we are dropped directly into a battle, and we don’t get the background immediately. Before I knew it though, I was past that and realized I hadn’t moved in hours, except to flip to the next page on my Kindle! I was enthralled.The book is centered around the colony of Albion. There is a little background on Albion being settled by Earth in the far distant past, and some folks questioning of whether or not Earth actually ever existed. It is the far distant future, and humankind is embroiled in a space war with a species known as the Maess. No one from Albion has actually every seen a Maess, instead only seeing and fighting mindless metal drones and fighter ships, that it seems the Maess have in endless supply.Shield Captain Bennett is an up and coming officer in one section of Albion’s military. Shield is a very select, very secret military group that operates behind military lines, spying out and destroying enemy automated spy bases. He is involved with a man much older than him Joss, who to me sounds like a totally whiney pain in the ass. There is a history of seven years though, and Bennett broke off relations with his family to be with Joss. Personal note…I strongly disliked Joss, and I’m seriously hoping some sort of “accident” takes him out in book two!Back to the story! When a project that Bennett has been working on becomes feasible and he has orders to take his ship, the Hyperion, far behind the enemy lines to pursue the project, all seems well. However, a last minute change of plans has him having to turn his ship over to his second in command and go aboard the Gyrfalcon, one of the Fleet’s largest and best ships.I really liked this book and would have to say it really feels like an old-time science fiction novel. We have all the components. Evil aliens, space battles, spaceships, alien planets, and a fair amount of tech. What we also have is an underlying m/m romance between Bennett and a hot fighter pilot named Flynn that he runs into on the Gyrfalcon! Joss who? (I can only hope.)I very highly recommend “Gyrfalcon”. Having grown up reading Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I’m always thrilled to read a new book that seems like it would fit right in on any sci-fi shelf in any library anywhere, right next to the works by the great sci-fi authors of the past. Stay tuned tomorrow for my review of the second book in the series “Heart Scarab”. It has a lot to live up to match this one!This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.

  • ItsAboutTheBook
    2019-05-20 03:29

    Review can be read at It's About The Book4.5 starsOkay. How to start…hmm. The early part of this book is dense with technical facts about things that don’t exist yet. Being a total techtard with just enough ability to run an iPhone, I was a little baffled. Also, there are a lot of characters introduced early. There were military ranks and divisions and Fleet and Shield terminology that didn’t make sense. I was sure I wouldn’t like this book. I was right. I didn’t like it…I LOVED IT! Ms. Butler smooths out all of that information seamlessly, making sense of it all. By about a fourth of the way into the book I…was…enchanted. It’s a lovely story of family misunderstandings made better, of love going wrong and new possibilities all wrapped in a future world that is still recognizably human, with all of our frailty, our failings…and war.Always war. And always the competition between the various military groups. Bennett defied his father, foregoing the military academy, and choosing to go into military service with Shield. For many generations, Bennet’s family have served in Fleet, where his father is now a commander. Having defied his father on two major career choices, Bennet wasn’t prepared to reveal one more thing to his father…that he was gay. Unfortunately, his father found him embracing a man…a much older man, Joss. The rift between father and son might never be healed. Their relationship is strained, to say the least, but life has a way of forcing issues. When Bennet’s Shield ship, Hyperion, was diverted by the High Command to another mission against the Maess forces, Bennet is sent to a Fleet ship to run his mission…the Gryfalcon, the ship his father commands.I don’t want to say too much more about the story. This is a complex book with complex characters and complex situations. There are situations in this book that normally hit my triggers and make it hard for me to like characters; I don’t like cheating. Bennet has been living with Joss as a couple for several years, and because Bennet is gone for long periods of time, they have an “open” relationship. I don’t like that, but it worked well in this story. Really well. They were so comfortable with the arrangement that I was too.Bennet needed some very special pilots for his dangerous mission behind enemy lines. In the process of checking the qualifications of many pilots, he meets Flynn…the best pilot on the Gryfalcon and possibly the most gorgeous man Bennet has ever met. The sexual tension between these two was electric.This book is so good…a true page turner. Action packed. Many secondary characters that are excellent and add so much to the story. The one problem that I had was that there was no resolution of the relationships. It was a small problem. This story will continue, soon I hope, in book two of the Shield series, Heart Scarab. I want that book so much. I want to continue to follow Bennet, his father, his crew and his possibilities with Flynn. If you like high action science fiction that is truly believable, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

  • Alison
    2019-06-04 02:13

    This is a spectacularly good queer sci-fi series, and this is the first book. I absolutely loved it. This series has captured me like few do. It's the story of Bennet, a special forces military officer, and his adventures, professional and personal, over the years. This book is completely engaging and so full of depth and life and emotion, and of course, being badass in space. The writing is sharp and clean and lovely. The world-building and level of detail here is spectacular and never overbearing. This book and the others in the series are riveting and so well done. This is not a romance series and the love story is definitely not the focus, saving the world is, but the slowly-building romance is key to the characters and plays a big part in the background. Humanity in the future is having a lengthy war with an alien race and Bennet is one of those soldiers who goes behind the enemy lines (in space) and does very dangerous and heroic things and tries not to get killed--he's very good at his job and he mostly succeeds. He is a fascinating and complex character--he's very reserved, extremely bright, very pragmatic, a lauded scholar of history, and he feels everything very deeply while acting like he doesn't. He's also arrogant and privileged and beautifully flawed and he makes a few truly boneheaded choices along the way. He's absolutely delightful and becoming immersed in his life is a wonderful experience. He's the heart of this series and he's so full of heart and it's absolutely riveting to follow along as journeys through new love and old love and his relationship with his father and the strain of his job and really, just figuring out who he is and what he wants, all while dealing with the endless alien war. Flynn, the other main character, is the hotshot fighter pilot and he's charming and awesome and such a bright spark. There's an amazing emotional depth here in between battling aliens and being badass in space. This series has a large and diverse cast of characters, and they're all full of depth and nuance and are all very distinct. Both main characters are bisexual, which is great, and it's not a big deal, which is also great. These characters are so relatable and I found myself caring so deeply. This is a series about queer folk saving the world and being heroes and I wish there were more books like that. It's an excellent mainstream-style space opera and I wish it got a bit more attention. This is a book that lingers and stays with you and I look forward to re-reading it. It's completely enthralling. And there's so much more to come!

  • Susan Laine
    2019-06-18 00:05

    4.5 stars. First and foremost, this is less a gay romance or even a ménage a trois than this is an epic science fiction story. In fact, if I were to classify this into one genre, I’d choose sci fi epic where the main characters just happen to be gay. Also of important note is that this ends in a cliffhanger, as this is only the first in a series.There’s plenty of action and intrigue in the storyline. The plot twists revolve around Bennet’s mission. The first part of the story is a kind of an info-dump; there’s a lot of tech-babble and information about the Fleet and the Shield, plus quite a few people are introduced early on. But once Bennet gets onboard the Gyrfalcon, the plot pace quickens and the side characters come into play. They’re all their own personalities, and they all serve the plot by aiding Bennet in completing his mission. In fact, the majority of the story revolves around planning for the mission and figuring out who to trust to take along to the mission.Read the full review at Joyfully Jay.

  • Byron
    2019-06-12 05:16

    I've just finished the first 4 books in this series and I'm rather eager for the release of the 5th (last?) title later this year. I haven't read a sci-fi in ages, I've started some but they just didn't grip me. Honestly, the first chapter or two didn't grab me, if you'll pardon my phrasing, by the balls... but thank god for plunging on. The essential gist of my reviews is are there any holes in the plot, are the characters well written and is the world realised in a way that is viewable in my mind?Well there were a couple of very minor moments through out that had me thinking hang on second that wasn't what happened, but when they never detracted enough for me to bother going back to check, nor did it ruin the flow of the story...Characters a freaking amazing.. Characters to love, characters to like less and a couple in there to hate... and they are all fleshed out enough when they are supporting roles to not feel I want to know more... or need more... as for the lead(s).. well I'm pretty heavily invested in at least two of them and a couple of the bigger supporting characters. World building... 101 - set the scene.. I think a part of my trying to get into the story was that I just had no context for the first few pages/chapters. I got that it was set in the future but I didn't have a great grasp of who or why we launched into the story... SO that's the bad bit... again once I got through that it all was explained, explained and described in a reasonable detail that I was able to start picturing. I am left being incredibly intrigued by the back story, this is NOT to the detriment of the story though, just that I wouldn't mind finding out the history. We are not treated to just one planet, there is some great descriptive sections that enable the reader to create the whole galaxy this story is set in.. A great point is that we aren't drowned in descriptions and that's a fine line to tread which I think Anna Butler has walked it very well. I heartily recommend this to people who are looking for a good rollicking story that doesn't just rely on standard plot devices. Has a heart and soul story line and best of all is quite realistic in the use of time, lives and story. This isn't a love story per se and I'm really hesitant to use the words 'space opera' (although both are able to be used to describe the story) I feel that if you are looking for a traditional space opera or love story you will be a little disappointed, but you will find this story to still grip you. Anna if you read this, please please hurry with book 5, my heart is aching..

  • Lada
    2019-06-09 04:59

    Because the whole story (four or more books, I think) was long, the pace of the story was rather slow, but never boring. The writing was stellar, the world building was solid without being overwhelming or confusing, and I enjoyed reading about the mission and the development between Bennet and his estranged father. The romance existed, but it's a subplot, and it's also an open relationship type of romance. Recommended if you like space opera/military sci-fi.

  • Erica
    2019-06-04 22:06

    2017 Re-read:I love this book so much. I "had" to do a re-read now that I've purchased books 3 and 4, and it was certainly no hardship. It's a beautifully written sci-fi novel with a touch of heartbreaking romance, with amazing world-building, character development, and action sequences. It's just perfect.

  • Jennifer Lavoie
    2019-05-31 23:18

    Reviewed for The Novel Approach.How do you review a book that kept you up all night, left you gasping for air as the characters struggled to breathe, and then left you a sobbing puddle with broken tear ducts at the end? I guess you just jump into it.Gyrfalcon is the start of the proposed six book Taking Shield series. And what a start it is. The novel starts with a bang and throws readers right into the heart of the action with Bennet and his crew of the Hyperion. They are deep in enemy space, infiltrating a base to look for information on the Maess, the enemy of humanity. A war is raging, and they’re desperate for something to give them an edge in combat. The story goes from there, and the author weaves in little tidbits about the universe as the story unravels.In this series, humans left Earth thousands of years ago. So long ago that many people don’t even think Earth existed at all. The planet, Albion, is their home, and seems to resemble Greece in some ways, Egypt in others. They have a pantheon of gods they believe in rather than one, though not everyone believes in the religions.This book is not a light read. It’s heavy. There is a lot of military and scientific jargon because of the setting, but honestly, don’t let that throw you off. For me, it just sucked me into the story even more. I was thoroughly engrossed in the lives of the characters and enjoyed reading about the military operations as they unfolded. I loved reading about the various ships, from the tiny Mosquito to the massive dreadnought, and all their inner workings.The characters, too, are richly detailed, from their home colonies to their importance on the ships. The two heroes, Bennet and Flynn, are spectacular. Both are expertly characterized and have their little differences and quirks that make them unique, from Bennet’s almost forgotten stutter–except when he gets too emotional–to Flynn’s unapologetic love of sex.Bennet is the Shield Captain who finds himself aboard the Gyrfalcon rather than his own Hyperion for his mission. He is tough and dedicated to his job, but torn between it, his father, and his lover, Joss. His father is upset with his sexuality (that’s putting it lightly), and annoyed that he chose Shield over other positions he could have had. Joss loves Bennet but is angry every time he leaves for a mission, and the anger is putting a strain on their relationship.Then there’s Flynn. He’s an excellent pilot, the best the Gyrfalcon has, but he gambles and leaves broken hearts in his wake, and has a service record as a result. Like Powell, Bennet, and myriad others, no reader will be impervious to his charms. I fell for him and he broke my heart. But in a good way. Mostly.Reading about Bennet and Flynn actually put me in mind of one particular Star Trek: Voyager character, Tom Paris. The two men combined are so much like him I wondered if the author had been influenced by his character in some way. Tom has a high ranking father in Starfleet, and Bennet has the same trouble. Both men fail to please their father, and act out as a result. Tom is also a bit of a ladies man, trying to win over any beautiful woman he sees. Same for Flynn but with men. Both Flynn and Tom are charismatic and have their disastrous service records. They’re passionate men and expert pilots with unparalleled skills. So, if you’re a fan of Tom Paris, you absolutely must read this book.Moving on.Both men won their way into my heart, and the last two chapters of the book had me sobbing. This book is not a romance. It is not even pretending to be one. However, there are two wonderful male leads who meet and happen to tumble into bed together. If you’re looking for sex right off the bat, you’re not going to find it in this book. If you’re looking for head-over-heels romance, you’re not going to find that either. What you will find is two characters hopelessly and helplessly drawn to each other, even when they don’t really stand a chance to be together.I don’t want to ruin the ending, but I will say that, while not a HEA, it is HFN, or as much as it can be for this universe. That still didn’t stop me from sobbing buckets of tears. And making ugly faces at my cat.I look forward to the next book in this series. Anna Butler has found a new fan in me, and I’ll be rooting for Bennet and Flynn all the way. But until I can get that next book, I will happily purchase the paperback because this book belongs on my permanent bookshelf.Gif reactions basically: Regarding Flynn and Bennet, together:

  • karlakolumna
    2019-06-06 01:13

    3.5 stars rounded up.Maybe not good enough to achieve an even 4 stars, but certainly intriguing enough to make me wanna buy & read the sequel! Can't wait to find out how Bennet and Flynn's story will continue..

  • Saphirablue
    2019-05-30 06:22

    I love it. I love it. I love it.I love that this is a great military/spy sci-fi/space opera story with very likable characters which happens to have two bisexual male main characters that happens to be attracted to each other and that the focus is on the sci-fi plot and not the lovestory plot for the most part of the book. I really, really, really love that.I love the plot of the sci-fi story - humans have colonized space long ago (aren't even sure if there ever has been an Earth) and are since over 120 years in war with an alien race that fights with droids and therefore they don't even know how they look like. And now, Shield Captain Bennet has a mission to gather intelligence behind the lines. I love the action packed beginning. I love that we get to know Bennet and the other characters (Flynn, Caeden, Cruz, Simonitz and so on) a lot and a bit before the next action part - Bennet being dropped behind the lines - starts. I love how the story just flows. No matter if they wait on ship to get to their destination or in briefings or when Bennet is on the planet - it doesn't get boring/dragged down. Everything is interesting and adds to get to know and understand these characters and the world they live in. I love how some things that could haven been so cliche-y and drag down-y didn't end up that way. Yes, there is tension (and deep wounds) between Bennet and his father but they sit down and talk and try to make it better for both. Yes, the wounds need timne for healing. Yes, his father has been pretty asshole-y to Bennet. But, the will on both sides is there to work on and with each other and give each other a second chance. The same with the religion thing. The same with the possible love triangle (which isn't one when you really think about it and Bennet will hopefully realize it soon too).I love that there is basically no insta-love and only very little insta-lust. The characters have a chance to get to know each other a bit and work with each other before they realize that there is something like attraction between them (but then it happens fast). I very approve of this. Also, the lovestory only really starts developing in the last third of the book (Yeah! I love plotty books.). There is one very steamy sex scene, one other that is pretty great too and one I'm not sure that if it goes into the dub-con territory or not (I mean, the character never says "Stop" or indicates that he doesn't want to have sex, but he admits to being surprised by everything.). Other than that, sex is mostly only mentioned/hinted at/fade to black for most of the book (Yeah! No unnecessary sex scenes every two pages.). I really want more books like this.I love Bennet. He just captured my heart and ran away with it. He is just one of these characters that I love without being able to point to a specific thing. Hook. Line. Sinker.Flynn, I love too. His 'devil my care' attitude that works as a shield for his more softer and vulnerable self (as we discover at the end of the book). Yeah, I love you.Huge bonus point - Bennet and Flynn are bisexual. They might have a preference for men but they are bi which is something you don't often see in books.All the other characters - awesome too. There are female characters in basically every position - doctors, ground crew, Shield personel, pilots, Generals/Supreme Commanders, squadron leaders, right hand of the Commander. Awesome. Same with the non-white characters. Wonderful. And they are all likable too. Even the ones that are set up to be unlikable in a way (Well, except for Joss. I do not like him at the moment.).So, yeah, this is the second book in two weeks that makes me curse my book buying ban because I desperately want the next part. *meep*

  • C.E. Case
    2019-06-01 06:19

    I was given this in return for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads.Three starsGyrfalcon is a somewhat good military space opera book with a somewhat poor romance tacked on. The protagonist, Bennet, is likeably brave and smart. A good hero to follow to Hell. His love interest is the charming Flynn, a hotshot pilot who has as much swagger as talent.Bennet, however, has two issues I didn't care about as a reader. First, his daddy issues, which come to a head as he's assigned to his father's ship after a long, estranged period. His father doesn't approve of his homosexuality, which seems a very grafted-on 20th century problem that wouldn't exist in the distant future without some world-built explanation. (I know science fiction is a metaphor for our lives, but the keyword is metaphor). Second, Bennet has a lover back home, Joss, who he doesn't seem to like or get along with. This does cause a reasonable amount of angst eventually, but it remains tedious in concept. Bennet's struggles with his identity are real enough, but his life choices aren't helping him. Except for his career, which is, admittedly, awesome. The world-building is excellent, as are the sci-fi elements, which all perhaps deserved a better plot to inhabit them. The sex, too, is worth waiting for, neither too much or not enough. Everything fits together nicely. Gyrfalcon isn't my cup of tea, but judging by other reviews, many find the flavors enchanting.

  • Garrett Shepard
    2019-06-13 02:11

    I was just getting into gay themed science fiction novels and found Butler's work. This is a space opera series in the making. As I said in one of my reviews, if you have a book where you just can't put down, this is one of those stories. Very good science fiction elements and I would recommend it to any sci-fi fans. Almost "Star Trek" like with the characters and setting, but a little grittier. I really hope this is like a five part series, that's how much I enjoyed it.

  • Arshad
    2019-05-23 02:00

    Excellent start to a military scifi story, with elements of gay romance, though this is not necessarily the primary focus of the story. The world building lays the foundations for an epic struggle for survival between Human and Other, mirrored in its impact on the lives of the characters caught up in the conflict.

  • Carnell
    2019-05-31 22:21

    Kept me up until 5am... I just couldn't put it down. Thank you PaperMoon for the rec!!

  • Raevyn
    2019-06-16 22:15

    I am not a reader of Science Fiction, but I loved this story. Can't wait for the next one.