The Rhysu Alternative

The Erstallius Chronicles, Volume Two

Fiction - Science Fiction
443 Pages
Reviewed on 03/12/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Rhysu Alternative is a work of fiction in the science fiction, action and adventure, and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author P. D. Blackwell. The work is intended for the general reading audience and follows on from Chaos Rising to form the second adventure in The Erstallius Chronicle. We return to the adventures of Arlud and Bev, who met when Bev was under the threat of a sinister force inside her own mind. As their story continues, the war-torn world around them is shaken by a new threat beyond the human universe. As our heroes are separated by the tasks ahead of them, they must rely on their mental connection to one another to see them through the dark times ahead.

Author P. D. Blackwell presents a worthy sequel after the excellent worldbuilding and complex emotional dynamics of their first foray into this incredible universe. After what Bev went through in the opening novel, I thought it would be hard to top, but her journey of empowerment in her new situation was really inspiring, and it changed the dynamic of how she approached danger and confinement once again. I felt like I got to know even more about the formation of the Coalition and the wider politics of the world in this work, which made the stakes and tension even more heightened as the drama unfolded. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Rhysu Alternative to readers of the existing series, and the series in general to science fiction fans and military-space action fans everywhere.

Romuald Dzemo

One of the things I always look for in good science fiction is a unique adventure and P.D. Blackwell has provided just that in this second volume in The Erstallius Chronicles. The Rhysu Alternative features a universe besieged by warring factions. The Clan Erstallius heads the coalition of the clans in the outer district. While they can easily deal with the enemy clans, the Shoku, an alien race, is ensnaring humans — and they have already destroyed the Alpha Cephei Four and a dozen Alliance ships. But the Rhysu, aliens from another dimension and an old enemy of the Shoku, might be the only hope of protecting the humans. Bev Colli’s mind has been flooded by the Rhysu. When the war breaks out, can the Rhysu technology stop the onslaught of violence from the Shoku?

This is a novel that is highly imaginative and that presents phenomenal interplanetary and multidimensional warfare. The characters are sophisticated and Bev Colli and Arlud Reynaldo Erstallius stand out among the humans. The two characters share a mental connection that is so powerful, communicating with each other across long distances. Bev’s ability to connect with anyone and to put her ideas into their mind is a very useful tool in the war, a trait that completes her personality and adds a layer of complexity to it, making her a character that I wanted to follow till the end. P.D. Blackwell creates conflict at multiple levels without taking away from the story the balance it deserves. The elements of classic science fiction are deftly written, from the interplanetary setting to alien technology like the anti-compression weapon that stalls the Shoku attack on the clans. The Rhysu Alternative is well-plotted science fiction with memorable characters. The setting is vividly written and interplanetary warfare punctuates the entire narrative. The crisp prose is enriched by the engaging dialogues, but the strength of the narrative lies in the author’s expert handling of plot points and the conflict which escalates to an explosive climax.

Rabia Tanveer

The Rhysu Alternative is the second volume in The Erstallius Chronicles by P.D. Blackwell. It all started when Clan Erstallius attacked the Polinda Faction. Thanks to the constant tension, the war that had spread to the Old Worlds was a significant cause for concern. The façade of peace was broken, and civil unrest was taking over the worlds. However, all of this was the least of Bev’s worries. She wanted to get out and find her freedom. While Bev was captive, Arlud was desperate to find anything that would help him save the inhabited worlds. Neither of them was at an advantage. They had no other option but to fight!

I already had high expectations before starting The Rhysu Alternative. I was expecting the same level of intricate plot, smart characters, and impressive narrative. I was completely surprised when P.D. Blackwell exceeded all of my expectations and gave me a lot more. I truly enjoyed how Bev was portrayed in this novel. We got a more in-depth look into her mind and her personality. She was surer of herself and had more confidence. Arlud struggled in this story; he was more vulnerable than he expected and was almost floundering at times. However, he picked himself up and focused on working harder for everyone who was relying on him. I was amazed by the connection Arlud and Bev had. It became stronger, and their bond becomes a source of hope for the two as they battle against the civil unrest around them. I usually stray away from political and science fiction novels, so loving this story was a massive surprise for me. I hope the author comes out with the third volume soon.