3 out of 4 stars
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Flight of the Black Stork by Bill Broocke is an enthralling science fiction novel. It is seemingly a story about an alien invasion, but at its heart, the book is about so much more. It’s about the beauty of the human spirit, incredible heroism, and two soulmates finding each other amid all the uncertainty. The events of this book span decades, setting up a fifty-year reconnaissance and invasion plan by the aliens and introducing all the people that will come together to stop them. The extraterrestrials are not the focus of this novel. In fact, we don’t directly hear or see them at all. Instead, the book rightly focuses on the extraordinary people that will risk their lives to save humanity from extinction. To defeat the aliens, they will use the Black Stork, a Russian space shuttle that will be filled with nuclear and biochemical weapons.
Leanna Helms was an heiress who was used to getting her way, especially with men. She went through them so quickly that she was never able to make a real connection with any of them. She started and funded an asteroid detection project, and it’s partly because of the research done for that project that the alien threat was discovered. She also became one of the investors for the Black Stork mission. The preparation for the mission also brought real love in her life. In Matt Blalock, Leanna has finally found someone that she has been searching for all of her life. He was the first man that ever stood up to her and challenged her. As was shown through three different generations, Captain Matt Blalock was destined to command the Black Stork mission. He was the best pilot that was needed for this almost suicidal operation. The Black Stork was taken into space by Matt Blalock, Duane McCall, Russian Colonel Kolya Dimitri Yakov, and Lieutenant Grosovitch. Will the heroes succeed in this dangerous mission? Will they all survive? Will humanity survive? Or will the aliens win and take over Earth? Find out in this thrilling tale.
I found the plot in this story very engaging and engrossing. With each chapter, the tension built more and more until the breathtaking resolution. With so much to unpack, the author did an excellent job of weaving mostly everything in the story together. I especially enjoyed how the Americans and the Russians were forced to work together to defeat the common enemy. They didn’t trust each other at first, but they ended up bonding together and growing close on the mission. Another thing that was interesting was the inclusion of some real people as minor characters, such as former President Bill Clinton. The way he found out about the alien threat was well done.
I also liked the character development of some of the main characters. Leanna started as a cold-hearted and emotionless person who only cared about her business ventures, but Matt’s love changed her to the core. She began to truly care about others and became kinder and more compassionate. Matt changed as well. He was so overcome with grief after his divorce that he wasn’t emotionally ready for such a serious mission. However, his relationship with Leanna was a positive spark in his life that gave him the strength to command the Black Stork. There were some other important and interesting characters, such as J.B. McCall and Colonel Kolya Dimitri Yakov. They were also central to the plot and had their own backstories.
Unfortunately, I did take issue with the fact that there were too many characters throughout the book. In many of the chapters, a new character was introduced with their own different views. The author did use the third-person point of view for each character, but it still got too complex. I don’t think that all of those characters were necessary, and some of them slowed down the story and the plot. It would have been enough reading the book from the perspectives of about five important characters.
I’m rating this book 3 out of 4 stars. I really found the story fascinating and entertaining. The high stakes were welcome. It felt like all the choices that the main characters made had significance and were sometimes literally the difference between life and death. The book was also professionally edited. I’m taking a star away because there were just too many characters involved in the story. It would have been better if the book was more focused on a smaller number of characters. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy science fiction and alien invasion stories. People who like books written from many different perspectives will also like this book. I wouldn’t recommend the book to people who like more realistic novels. This isn’t a typical alien story, but dealing with the alien threat is a huge part of the plot.
Flight of The Black Stork
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