The Choice of Weapons is now a SFINCS Semi-Finalist!
When rivalry becomes an obsession greater than the fate of mankind…
Ren is an officer on the rise, going from planetary conquest to conquest, until he crosses path with a senior female officer from his native Japan. His meeting with Izuna ends in a bloody duel — the first of many. As the war against other species progresses, Ren’s obsession for Izuna grows and his discontentment for army life along with it. When Izuna gets isolated on an icy hell, Ren volunteers to rescue her for what may be his ultimate mission.
“Samurai Space Western. Or Astro-Roninpunk, if you prefer. If this premise alone doesn’t give you tingles then you’ll be pleased to read that the story more than delivers on its strong premise.” Tom Bookbeard, reviewer at FanFiAddict.
“Wonderful world-crafting. Adventure, intrigue, conflict, and action. A very enjoyable, quick read.” Robert Foland, reviewer.
“The world building is great, well written characters and an excellent plot.” Intrigua WH, reviewer.
I received this novella to judge for the SFINCS semi-finals. Opinion is my own, and does not represent that made by the team. I did also happen to purchase this in paperback, as I prefer to read physical, and I liked the cover. Again, I am part of team JamReads, and I am just posting my review here to boost the author!
This is a scifi/fantasy novel that features a war between humans, an alien race, and AI-led humanoids. Within that, two of our main characters, Ren and Izuna, come to blows over questioned honor drawn from their Japanese heritage. They meet throughout the Far West in space and come to continuous blows in katana led-combat. Through the years, each see various wins and setbacks, which does nothing but spur on their rivalry. Ren even has an true obsession with her and their ability to continue fighting.
Outside this rivalry, the world is interesting and unique. The characters feel real. Even though Ren misses out on other parts of life, his obsession with their rivalry brings something to life within him that he so often lacks: choice. They choose to fight, to risk harm. They choose to be this way. So when Izuna is in danger, Ren immediately volunteers to help…he can’t risk losing their fights, their chances to feel alive.
There is a setting with carriages that does feel very fantasy western, but with the samurai references, and katana fights, I feel like mentally I leaned more into that aspect.
I will say, there was definitely an explicit scene that I would label as sexual assault. I can’t really think of why this would have added to, or aided, the story, so it was very jarring to the experience, outside of which was quite enjoyable. Personally a 3/5*