Posted in Blog, Book Review, Reviews, TV Review

StARe 4 – Halcyon

I’m back!

These next three reviews are going to be interesting because they follow back to back episodes. Season 2, Episode 3 through 5 is where we’ve landed now so let me fill you in yas?

Season 1 ended with Daedalus arriving and saving Sheppard from certain death (he decided to fly a jumper with a nuclear warhead into a Wraith Hive). They fooled the Wraith into thinking they destroyed Atlantis and since then have been laying low, as much as they can, and lying to people when they have to if they’re recognized as being Atlantean.

With the arrival of Daedalus comes regular contact with Earth which means they won’t have to find an alternative to toilet paper anytime soon (this is a hilarious thought that someone has and I like that the author felt like adding it because it shows a concern that’s very real, but not something you’d think about when watching the show).

Directly before this book is the episode ‘Runner’, Season 2 Episode 3, where we meet one Specialist Ronon Dex who takes the place of Lt. Ford.

Don’t worry, Ford isn’t dead, but during the battle with Atlantis a Wraith began to feed on him and they ended up in the freezing ocean for hours. The enzyme that the Wraith use to keep their food from dying of shock is changing him. Far from the upbeat, optimistic young man we’ve grown to love, Ford is now paranoid and power hungry. The only way to sate his hunger is with more enzyme.

And if Atlantis won’t give it to him, then he’ll just have to harvest it straight from the source.

This is where Ford leaves SGA 1 and Ronon takes his place.

Ronon is from Sateeda and after being captured by the Wraith, was implanted with a tracking device and hunted for sport. He fought back and has managed to stay alive up to meeting Sheppard. With Dr. Beckett having removed the tracker, he’s now a free man.

One without a home.

In a display of ugly waste, the Wraith destroyed his home world and killed every human there.

Stargate Atlantis: Halcyon
SGA #4
ISBN: 9781905586011

Halcyon begins with a prologue where a Wraith female is being hunted and then is killed. Chapter 1 begins with our team and another team Gating to a planet and almost immediately being attacked by Wraith. It’s insinuated that this second wave of Wraith are there to find out what happened to the others.

A mysterious group comes to the Atlantean’s aid and ‘invites’ them to join them at their home. It isn’t really a question and being intrigued by a people that can take out Wraith, and hoping for allies, they go.

Halcyon is the planet’s name and is ruled by their rescuer, Lady Erony’s, father. The people of Halcyon are a brutal and warlike race.

They hunt the Wraith, not the other way around, and strength, honor and logical thinking is everything.

Another example of those with power abusing it, the nobles have no intention of letting their positions be questioned. Magnate Daus rules with a narrow vision that makes his life easier while the people below suffer from a disease they call bone-rot. Keeping his position of power is easy, since he has the most Hounds to fight for him when he commands it.

Our team have a very bad feeling about Halcyon, but other than thinking themselves superior to the non-nobles, there really isn’t anything they can point at to explain the feeling.

Except for the fact that Lady Erony’s group took live Wraith with them when they returned to Halcyon.

Refusing to answer their questions about the Wraith makes things even more tense, but Weir has ordered them to proceed and try to make friends while also hammering out trade deals and such. Sheppard is not happy with being the delegate in this situation but does as he’s told.

At first.

When the team is brought out to see how disputes are settled between nobles, when other methods don’t work, they are horrified to discover that the nobles pit live armies against each other in a bloody game of capture the flag, to decide whose honor will be avenged.

Ronon Dex has had enough of war and decides that the only way to stop the people below from being slaughtered for some worthless nobles ‘honor’, is to capture the flags himself. Sheppard is forced, via a not so subtle threat, to join Ronon on the ground and bring him back under control. Capturing the flags is easy enough when Ronon’s cleared the path already and has them in his hands.

But the rules are not so simple and Magnate Daus takes a legal bribe that allows one side to unleash its Hounds onto the battlefield to decide once and for all the victor.

Ronon, Sheppard and the Magnate’s right-hand man are forced to fight the Hounds if they want to live. Succeeding is the only option, but there’s something eerily familiar about how the Hounds fight. Both Ronon and Sheppard find out why when all the Hounds are dead and they remove a helmet to reveal a Wraith.

Thinking their control collars and an Alteran dolman, that interferes with the Wraith’s natural mental abilities, are keeping the Wraith subservient, the Halcyon people have been hunting, capturing and using the Wraith for hundreds of years and think they are superior because of this.

The Atlanteans are not so stupid.

When Rodney is taken hostage after exploring the dolman, that has a ZPM inside, Magnate Daus makes Sheppard an offer.

Kill a Wraith inside an enclosure, that has thus far eluded everyone who went in after him, and Rodney would be returned. With no other choice Sheppard agrees.

The Wraith, known as Scar, is not so easily taken down.

Capturing Teyla and killing another soldier, Scar uses a control collar on Teyla and forces Sheppard to leave Ronon behind and take him, and a few of his pack, wherever he wants to go.

Which turns out to be the dolman that’s been slowly losing power and influence over the years. Destroying it will free the Wraith’ minds and allow them to retake their place at the top of the food chain.

Rodney is in his own bit of trouble as Magnate Daus has been waking Wraith from a downed Hive for years to use as his Hounds. Problem is, with the Wraith all waking now, they can’t stop the automatic sequence from releasing all the Wraith. Though Rodney would certainly like to try, with the destruction of the dolman, the Wraith are able to take back control of the Hive and it begins to lift off.

He can either stop the Wraith from waking or stop the Hive.

Choosing the latter, he and a Halcyon scientist try to destroy the ship, but Magnate Daus kills the scientist, leaving Rodney alone to finish the job.

The Daedalus comes to the rescue once again. Transporting Sheppard and his team aboard before Scar hits the last command to destroy the Hive. The Halcyon people, now lead by Lady Erony as her father was killed by Scar, are happy to call the Atlanteans friends and follow Lady Erony as she dismantles the hierarchy and institutes a more democratic system.

Why was this book so good?

Because of Scar!

One of the things that would have been fantastic about the show is if we had been given more of an insight into the Wraith. This book gives me just what I was looking for in that regard.

Scar is devious, having lived for so long without going mad because of the dolman is a testament to his standing aboard the Hive before it was forced down into sleep so long ago. His pack are nothing more than mindless animals, but they still do as they’re told which is all he needs until the machine is gone and they can regain their senses.

The Magnate and his family being able to keep the Hive secret for so long just made the intrigue so much better because they were literally poking the hornet’s nest for years and thought they were safe. And I adored being given a look into the mind of a Wraith and can’t wait for later books cause, ya know, Todd.

That the book began with a Wraith female and there was another one on the Hive makes it seem like there aren’t as few of them as the show leads you to believe. Outside of Queens, there must be more females that don’t gain the mental prowess a Queen needs to control a Hive.

All in all, SO DANG GOOD!!

Meet ya later when we discuss Entanglement.

Till then!

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