6 Things About Ten Sigma

 Dying of cancer and with nothing but crippling debt to leave her family, Mary joins the Ten Sigma program, a secret government project to develop the ultimate soldier. With her last breath her consciousness is uploaded into a computer system and the war begins.

In scenario after bloody, brutal scenario she hones her killer instincts while watching her memories and her humanity slowly fade away. With each battle she finds herself becoming more and more like her sociopathic team member, Sid. And when she discovers his dark secret, her race to complete the program becomes less about her freedom and more about the survival of the world she left behind.

1. A Devil For The New World

There's echos of Dante's Inferno in this cyberpunk thriller.  At the end of her life, Mary encounters a series of agents that seem to come and go with supernatural ability. One could probably explain this away given Mary's state of mind toward the end, never mind the interference of some good pain medication.

But, for me, it set up a strange modern 'deal with the devil' moment that really does a lot to kick off this strange, brutal tale. The Devil works for the government now and is here, not so much to steal your soul as repurpose it for synergistic alignment strategy.


2. A Real Infinity War:

And what is Hell? Hell is endless war. It's being maimed and dismembered over and over again while watching friends die only to reload fully healed to do it over again. It's killing and being killed across all of human history with no real motivation other than the slim, almost microscopic hope that you'll be the lucky few who survive.

This story is a bit intense. Not the most graphic thing I've ever read but there is definitely some disturbing imagery. It all helps cultivate this hellish, hopeless horror that is integral to the mood of the book. But it's there.


3. With Leprechauns and Witches and Cute Anime Girls:

Those are in there too as a weird juxtaposition. I won't explain it, just strap in. 


4. Trench Warfare:

I find the WWI interesting as a whole. But on of the struggles when it comes to reading about it is that it is easy to get bogged down on the repetitive, monotonous horror of it all. It is a strange combination but it's real and its effective. Horror just becomes another part of the world.

This book had that feel both in positive and negative ways. Positive because tit really captures a feeling of exhaustion and helplessness that becomes an effective backdrop emotion for this book. And at the same time it gives Mary (named Bea after she starts forgetting her past) a kind of brutal perseverance. 

Negative because, especially in the middle the story gets bogged down. The author does well trying to keep character development and promising a hell of an ending (which he does deliver on by the way) but I got to admit it was a tough slog in the center there.

5. Barry? Is this internal monologue getting a little tedious. Yes it is, Other Barry. Yes it is:

One of the ways the author grows his character is by talking to herself. Or rather personifying a kind of internal monologue. The voice begins as her husband and functions as an anchor to her past. By the end, it becomes a rather snarky reflection of herself. 

I see what the author was trying to do, but it's snarky goofy tone usually pulled me out of the story.  Your mileage may vary. 

 5. To Ten Sigma And Beyond:

But once past the muddy middle, the story has the momentum of an avalanche. It's one of the few books I've read where I have to really wonder what's going to come out the other side. 

And the end drops the reader off perfectly into the next book which, as of January 2021 is still not released. But, I gotta say, I'll grab a copy when it comes out because I really want to know where this goes.

The Verdict: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I dug this quite a lot and look forward to the next. Gritty and intense but a lot of fun. The kind of book that sucks you in for a while before dumping you out where you find yourself grateful to be back in the real world.


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