By Van Allen Plexico
White Rocket Books
Giant robots battling each other and horrific giant monsters. Ah, the stuff of Japanese movies and American comics. And now a wonderful, action-packed novel by veteran sci-fi and pulp writer, Van Allen Plexico. This one truly has it all and this reviewer was entertained from the very first page to the last. Having followed Plexico’s writing career over the years, we weren’t the slightest bit surprised at the theme of this new book. If nothing else, Plexico has shown he will not be pigeonholed in any one genre.
We’ve applauded his superhero series, and gone ballistic over his crime thrillers. So again, no surprise when he takes us back to 1978 and a top-secret base in the Pacific Ocean where giant robots manufactured by an alien race are discovered. A scientist named Garen pieces together an incredible history of two powerful intergalactic empires, the good Ahlwhen, and the power-mad Xovaren. Using super science to battle each other across the galaxies, the Ahlwhen built the giant robots while the more barbaric Xovaren created massive organic monsters. One of the hundreds of planets they fought across centuries earlier was Earth and upon their departure, they left behind remnants of both these incredibly powerful entities.
David Okada is a high school student in Hawaii living with his maiden aunt, while his older brother John is a navy pilot whom he hasn’t seen in several years. Both were orphaned when their parents passed away. Our tale begins one day when out of the sky, a giant robot lands near David’s school, and out of the control “head” room appears John desperately seeking help. Something has infected his unit’s other three robots leaving John the sole “free” agent to battle them. When David comes aboard the robot machine, called Validus-V, he somehow links with it empathically and when John is wounded in battle with his former allies, it is David who takes command of a three-hundred-foot-tall battling machine. Only he remains to save his brother somehow, defeat the other three giant robots, and solve the mystery behind their bizarre brainwashing.
This is Van Plexico at his best and the action is non-stop. Not cliché, but here is a fact. Combining all-out sci-fi thrills with likable characters, he puts forth elements that in the end come together to produce one of the finest books of the year. If you like top-notch writing, do not pass up “Validus-V.” As for this reviewer, we are so begging for a sequel Mr. Plexico. In the words of Jean Luc Picard, make it so.