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5th Book I read this year: Derelict: Trident – Paul E. Cooley

I’ve know Paul E. Cooley for….gosh, I don’t even know how long I’ve known him. I’m a horrible, horrible person.

At any rate, normally when I pick up a Cooley book, I devour the book instantly. Like, in the first day or two of picking it up. Then I’m anxiously waiting for the next book to arrive. I did that with the entire Black series, and with all the first 3 books in the Derelict series. Same with The Street, but you’re not going to find that book officially for sale any where and I’ve got my signed copy hidden away.

I even support Paul on Pateron where he publishes audio versions of his works and releases short fiction.

He’s quite prolific and you should follow him.

Oh, he’s also one of the longest running hosts on the Dead Robots Society. You should check him out over there as well.

All that said, book 4 of the Derelict Saga, Trident.

Lord, where to start.

I began reading this book the day I bought it. The put it down because life. I restarted it around Christmas with the intention of finishing it before the end of the year. Year, best time of the year to try and read a new book, right?

Finally, this week, I decided this was the book I was going to finish. It’s a doorstop of a book weighing in at nearly 600 pages. Like the Lord of the Rings, you think it’s ending….no, it’s still going. You get a tease of an ending…no, really, it’s still going. You want it to end, but you don’t want it to end.

As I stated early on, I’ve read all of Paul’s work before this one (and I’ve got another to read soon). I enjoy his work immensely.

This book was different. Paul can be very dark at times. Usually overtly so. Reading the end of this book and what Paul dealt with trying to get this book done, you’d never know. But Paul was in a dark place. Perhaps I should have noticed sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t.

Paul put into this book, what I feel, is some of his most intense, personal feelings into each characters and the hopelessness and despair they feel. Each character deals with it a little differently. Some get angry, others accept their fate, others try to hide from what’s coming.

Was the book intended to be a look into the mind of Cooley? I don’t think so. I don’t want to be the type to say “Paul made the curtains blue because he was depressed.” The curtains were effing blue, alright. But it’s difficult to look at the oncoming threat in this book and what Paul wrote at the end, and not make the connection. Intended or not, the oncoming darkness and powerful feelings each character went through was hard to read at times. It was unlike anything Paul had written before, but in the best possible way. Yes, this is definitely his voice and his words, but presented in a way he’d not done in previous works.

As I said at the start, every writer grows with each book they write. Every writer has ups and downs in their career. I’m glad Paul chose to add an afterward. I wish he didn’t go through what he went through. He did. He still wrote and finished this work. I poked him on twitter and he’s working on the next installment. As soon as it drops, I’ll be buying a copy. I will devour it instantly.

Why did I wait so long on getting into this book? It’s the 4th in a series. It’s a dark series. Many events take place to get to this point. At the start of the book, both times I began reading, it felt like a middle or transitional book in a series. Perhaps I felt I’d be left wanting in the worst possible way. Perhaps I’d feel like I was reading just to get to the next book with no hope of things ever wrapping up.

I was wrong.

All the links are at the beginning of this post. I can’t recommend Paul’s work strongly enough. He’s been a great author over the years. This book exceeded my expectations on what he’s capable of producing. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

When I got to the end, the void wept, and so did I.