Title ~ Phase Shift
Authors ~ Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
Series ~ Chaos Station #5
Publisher ~ Carina Press
Published ~ 2nd May 2016
Genre ~ Science Fiction M/M Romance
Book five of Chaos Station
Zander and Felix’s relationship has always pushed boundaries—personal and professional alike—but their love and commitment is stronger than ever. So strong that Zander’s ready to ask commitment-shy Felix the question of a lifetime when he’s interrupted. The Chaos is being hacked, and crucial, top secret information about the project that created Zander—and his fellow super soldiers—has been leaked.
Neither man could have expected the enormity of what’s discovered at the end of the data trail: an entire colony of super soldiers run by the very doctor who changed Zander’s life forever. And now she needs them both—Zander to train her new crop of soldiers, and Felix’s new crystalline arm to stabilize their body chemistry.
With help from the unlikeliest of allies, Zander, Felix and the Chaos crew must destroy the project and all its ill-gotten information. But when the team is split up and Felix is MIA after a dangerous run, galactic disaster is a very real possibility…and Zander may have missed his chance to ask for forever.
Firstly, I will give you an extremely brief outline of the other four books.
Book 1 – Chaos Station
Chaos Station is the first of the series. It describes the world these characters live in, and the book is aptly named on more than one level. Zed has become an engineered super soldier who believes the love of his life, Felix, is dead. We discover that Felix hasn’t been KIA, and the boys are eventually reunited. There is more action than man loving, which fit this story well. In my opinion sex scenes should be a natural progression and enhancement of the story not the making of one.
We also get our introductions to the Chaos crew.
Book 2 – Lonely Shore
Felix and Zed have been reunited, and there is an air of optimism. Felix though is worried about Zed as the man has a poison running through is system which they can’t fight. In a leap of faith or maybe last resort, Zed puts his life in the hands of aliens. All this and dealing with a cartel seeking revenge by trying to kidnap the Chaos crew. Will Felix get his boyfriend back or will he lose him forever? You’ll have to read and find out.
What I will say is that Lonely Shore is emotional. Seeing anyone’s emotional decline is painful, and the author does an excellent job of conveying that. I defy anyone not to be moved by this episode in the series.
Book 3 – Skip Trace
Zed survives the poison and the experience, understandably has left him a changed man. Upon his return to the living, he has many bridges to build. One of which is with his family. At least he isn’t alone; he has Felix and the crew of the Chaos at his side. Again, chaos is an apt word for what Zed returns to. The media even get into space. As the only survivor of the super-soldier program, he has pressures on him from family, media and the military.
In the interim, even though he has the crew at his side, they too have their demons to battle. Felix struggles with the death and resurrection of Zed, along with fitting into Zed’s family world of money and high class. Treason also rears its ugly head here. Will war happen? Will their differing backgrounds, personal changes, and experiences split them up or bring them together?
Book 4 – Inversion Point
With everything Zed and Felix have been through their relationship has seen good and bad times, physically and emotionally. The Guardians have also appointed Zed as their emissary. It’s a role that has its strains and tests when a Stin probe is destroyed by a new species. A race that only Zed can communicate with, using his Guardian technology. Once again the love between Zed and Felix is tested only this time while preventing chaos in the universe.
Inversion Point is an interesting story with fast moving action, danger, drama, another heap of emotion and some steamy sex.
Book 5 – Phase Shift, and my review
I had a quick read of the other four books to get myself up to speed with the series as a whole, and I have to say I ended up being totally immersed into the world created by these two authors. I can see influences of all my favorite science fiction movies and some wonderful originality too. The crew of the Chaos station are an excellent supporting cast, but the Oscars go to Zed and Felix.
Their ship has been hacked, and a heap of sensitive information downloaded. What makes the crew sit up and take serious notice is the perpetrator phase shifted, something only Zed, as the last of his kind, was supposed to be able to do. The crew split up to follow two trails. As a result, Zed and Felix end up crash landing on a planet that has a stormy atmosphere and they are trapped. The world is also supposed to be uninhabited – a fact they soon discover is wrong. A doctor from the super soldier project is working there, perfecting what she started.
Stopping a medical maniac is one thing, but there is another problem. Zed asks Felix to marry him, and Felix isn’t the marrying kind – a fact he makes clear. The boys have been through so much, and Zed wants his happy ending. Will he get it?????
I like the contrasting personalities of Zed and Felix. Zed is essentially a gentle character, capable of untold destruction. Felix is an on the ball firecracker. They are what the other needs to make them whole - a beautiful combination. In this story, the boys still have some issues to sort, but as they understand each other, there are no grand gestures of hurt. Instead, they talk while working as a team to get out of a dire situation. Their love for each other is absolute.
There are a couple of things I found grating, and they span the series, not just Book 5. Firstly, the crew have nicknames along with their actual ones. One extra I’m fine with, but Felix alone had, Felix, Flicks, Fix and there may have been another one. The constant use of several names for the same person was irritating. It was akin to adding extra unnecessary characters. Maybe the author used the names as a way of identifying the person talking, used them to stop repetition or something completely different. Either way, I fear it didn’t work. In my mind, it only served the gods of confusion and chaos. Secondly, it was occasionally difficult to decipher who was talking to whom.
All that being said; this story and the series as a whole speaks to every ounce of sci-fi lover in me. Phase shift is good on its own, but I’d recommend reading the previous four books. It gives more depth to the whole scenario. Terminology and scene setting put me right there in the cockpit, or anywhere else the author wanted me to be. The story is gripping and the action awesome. And OMG the ending will have your heart in your mouth.
If you choose to read book five first, you’ll want to go back and read the other four.
Connect with the Authors
Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.
The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.