Obtained: The author gifted me a copy after I had read his first book and enjoyed the experience.
The Plot: Immediately following the events of The Trilisk Ruins, Telisa, Magnus and Shiny are working to sell the artifacts they scavenged during their harrowing experience in the vast and confusing Trilisk ruins. However, due to the nature of their activity they fear reprisal from the government if their location and/or identities are ever discovered.
In comes Shiny with a new idea, one that will require the trio to travel back to his homeworld and scavenge an ancient artifact hidden deep underground in his old home. The only problem? The Bel Klaven, the species at war with Shiny’s species. The Bel Klaven have automated defense systems set up on Shiny’s homeworld that will detect his special kind of technology, so he must help Telisa and Magnus using technology limited by the knowledge of humanity.
Soon enough Telisa and Magnus are making their way through Shiny’s old home, trying to stay alive and trying to find the artifact he needs to rebuild his species. What they don’t know is that they are being tracked by Telisa’s father who has a team of his own and he wants to find her and discover exactly what she’s been up to with the smuggling ring she’s helping.
The Commentary: The Trilisk AI does itself a really big favor by jumping into the action right after the events of The Trilisk Ruins. So many times I read a trilogy or series where the author jumps forward in time between the books, and sometimes it works great, but with these books, McCloskey did the right thing by just continuing from where he left off in the first one. Because these books are not exceptionally long it helps the story to feel more cohesive even after having taken a sizable break between reading The Trilisk Ruins and then The Trilisk AI. I didn’t feel lost even for a moment when I picked this book up, instead I fell right back into the story I remembered from before.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Michael McCloskey is not breaking any unexpected barriers with these books, but that’s the best thing about them, he doesn’t need to be breaking molds or presenting something overtly unique. He’s got a wonderfully unique perspective in Shiny and the characters of Telisa and Magnus are well-written, even if they are somewhat stereotypical of the genre on the whole. The thing with these books is that McCloskey is succeeding rather well in telling an engaging story that is paced so well even if you are in a stretch of the book that isn’t as interesting to you personally you don’t want to put it down.
I like to think of The Trilisk AI as a “pick it up and finish it” book. It’s one where you know what you are going to get, a fun tale with no fuss, and you want to read it from start to finish all in one sitting, so you save it for a time when you can do just that. The author also gifted me with copies of a few other of his books from other series and I’m keeping them in my back pocket for just such occasions in the future. A relaxed afternoon where I want to pass the time, or a long road trip where I need a distraction from the scenery sliding past.
The relationship triangle of Shiny, Telisa, and Magnus takes a few interesting turns in The Trilisk AI as the three of them are still feeling each other out a little bit, trying to know exactly what Shiny is up to and trying to determine if his intent is in line with that of Telisa and Magnus as well. I liked this hesitancy on the part of all three characters because it added a little more mystery to the events going on because I had to keep in the back of my mind that one of the three might change things up at the drop of a hat.
Telisa and her father, who shows up in some portions of the book, have a few moments that got me wondering a little more about her past. I want to know if there is something more interesting that’s going to come forward as I read through the next three books or not. Magnus on the other hand is my faithful standby with this book and the previous one. I feel like I know where he stands at all times and that helps keep the story grounded rather well.
Left Me Wanting… More of Shiny. I know that the main driving characters in the book are supposed to be Telisa and Magnus, but I’m fascinated by the few scenes I got to read that were from Shiny’s point of view. McCloskey has done a really good job making Shiny seem unique in his thought processes and actions, and as a result I really want more time inside of his head. Perhaps one of the following books will indulge me a little bit.
Worth It? Yes, I think so. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Trilisk Ruins, and saw little reason not to see where the author wanted to take the story next. I like these books because they aren’t the size of a brick and they are well-paced for reading over the course of an evening or a lazy Sunday afternoon. I have three more books to go in the series and I’ve already bought copies.