Review for Red Star Falling by Ian Hocking

red star falling


My Rating: 3.5/5
Author: Ian Hocking
Title: Red Star Falling
Genre: Novella/Science Fiction


Goodreads Summary:
In 2028, a mysterious group known as Meta begins sending agents back through time. Nobody knows who these time travellers are, or their purpose.

Exactly 120 years earlier, murdered agent Saskia Brandt opens her eyes in a Geneva mortuary locker. Medical technology from 2028 has given her a few more hours of life.

Completing her mission will take her to the north face of the Eiger—treacherous, unclimbed, enshadowed—and a reckoning with a Georgian outlaw, Soso: the man who killed her.

Red Star Falling is a thoughtful, character-based science fiction novella with a philosophical edge, written by the winner of the Red Adept Science Fiction Award.

This is a short, quick read on the remaining hours of Saskia’s life. After being mortally wounded in The Amber Rooms, Saskia wakes up to find herself in a morgue. Her memory is a little fuzzy, but she know that she only has a few more hours to live from the technology in her brain. The story follows Saskia as she tried to finish her mission with Soso before she dies (completely.)
It was a while since I last read The Amber Rooms, but there were some recaps in this novella. I suggest reading the books about Saskia Brandt before reading this novella. You would be lost if you jumped right into this book.

Free Download of Deja Vu

Deja Vu is currently free for download on

deja vu

This is a limited time offer, according to Ian Hocking. If you would like to download this, here’s a quick link to the book: Click


It is 2023. Scientist David Proctor is running for his life. On his trail is Saskia Brandt, a detective with the European FIB. She has questions. Questions about a bomb that exploded back in 2003. But someone is hunting her too. The clues are in the shattered memories of her previous life.

Déjà Vu takes the reader on a startling journey through a possible future, though digital minds, and through the consequences of the choices we make. It is the debut novel by Ian Hocking.

My review for this book can be found here

Review for The Amber Rooms by Ian Hocking

The Amber Rooms

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Ian Hocking
Title: The Amber Rooms (The Saskia Brandt Series Book Three)

Genre:  Techno-thriller

Background: “It is the night of September 5th, 1907, and the Moscow train is approaching St Petersburg. Traveling first class appears to be a young Russian princess and her fiancé. They are impostors. In the luggage carriage are the spoils of the Yerevan Square Expropriation, the greatest bank heist in history. The money is intended for Finland, and the hands of a man known to the Tsarist authorities as The Mountain Eagle — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.”


The Amber Rooms is the third book in the Saskia Brandt series. It continues with what happens to Saskia in Flashback (the second book). Although a person could get away with reading this book as a standalone, I would suggest reading the first and second book. It has references to both. [I have a review for each of these books – Deja Vu and Flashback.]

The main character of this third person narrative is Saskia who adopts many names along the course of the book. She still is a strong likeable character as she was in the other books. This time her adventures take her to Russia – picture Bolsheviks, Lenin, etc. She is yet again involved with crimes and ninja-type maneuvers. The other characters, like the other books in the series, where complex and drawn out. (And yes, Ego does make a guest appearance in this book as well. I’ll let you read how.)

In The Amber Rooms, Saskia is trying to gain access to the Amber Room at the Summer Palace where she believes at certain points of time she can go home to the future. However, this is not an easy task. She is running out of time and she is involved with some unsavory characters from a heist. The plot for me really took off just after the halfway point of the book. This is where things start coming together and the back story of what happened prior is explained. There are some surprises and the reader wonders how this might affect the future (that we know from the prior books.)

The Bottom Line:
Overall, it was a good read. I finished reading it in about two days. There is room for another book at the end after the reader is left wondering what will happen to Saskia.


Review for Flashback by Ian Hocking


My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Ian Hocking
Title: Flashback (The Saskia Brandt Series Book Two)

Genre:  Technothriller

Background: “In 1947 a Santiago-bound plane crashes into the Andes minutes after confirming its landing time.
In 2003 a passenger plane nosedives into the Bavarian National Forest during a routine flight.
Although separated by more than 50 years, these tragedies are linked by seven letters:
S, T, E, N, D, E, C.
On board Flight DFU323 in 2003 is Saskia Brandt – a woman who holds the answers to the many puzzles of the two flights and who knows she must survive in order to prevent a catastrophic chain of events stretching well into the future.
But Saskia is not the only one to know this. She is being followed and her life is in danger – inside and outside of the plane.
Filled with twists and turns as it trips skilfully through time, Flashback is a gripping technothriller that reaches more than fifty years into our past – and one hundred years into our future – to solve the enigmas of the doomed Star Dust and Flight DFU323.
But is it enough to solve the enigma that is Saskia Brandt?”


Flashback is the second book in the Saskia Brandt series. I have read the first book, Déjà Vu—which you can see my review here—so I’m not sure how Flashback would be for someone who has not read the prior book. [I believe the reader should be able to read this book without reading the first one.] Flashback focused on two mysterious plane crashes (one true to history and the other fictionalized for the book.) It’s a technothriller mystery as the reader tries to piece together what happened during the crashes.

Although Saskia is a focal point in much of the novel, her third person narrative is much less than the first book, mainly because she was on the plane that crashed. The third person narratives are mostly through Jem and Cory. Jem is a British girl who is trying to figure out Saskia and her successful gambling tactics. She is a complex character with a shady past and hardcore personality. Cory is another time traveler who is involved with both crashes. How? Well, I’ll let you read about that. He, too, has a complex personality and struggles with the burden of his mission.

The plot jumps between 2003 and flashbacks to 1947. I struggled at points trying to keep everything in order (time-wise), especially at the beginning of the novel. For example, the first few chapters on Saskia and Jem go backwards in time. I would have preferred a regular timeline with less details building up to more (a character recalling something that was left out before) if information needed to be withheld. By the end of the book, everything makes sense in what has happened. The reader pieces together how and why the plane crashes took place and who (if any) survived.

The Bottom Line:
A few small things that the reader might have trouble with when reading this book: there are a few conversations completely in a different language with minimal translations, a few instances where the character is talking and thinking simultaneously, and the timeline of the plot (see above). Other than that, if you like techno-thriller with a mystery and some action, you should like this book. I do recommend reading Déjà Vu first. Despite being busy, I was able to read this book over the weekend. I think I liked Déjà Vu better than this book, but I’m still interested to see what happens to Saskia in the third book – The Amber Rooms.


Review for Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking

deja vu

My Rating: 4/5

Author: Ian Hocking
Déjà Vu

Genre: Technothriller
Control of self and future/past

“It is 2023. Scientist David Proctor is running for his life. On his trail is Saskia Brandt, a detective with the European FIB. She has questions. Questions about a bomb that exploded back in 2003. But someone is hunting her too. The clues are in the shattered memories of her previous life.

Déjà Vu takes the reader on a startling journey through a possible future, though digital minds, and through the consequences of the choices we make. It is the debut novel by Ian Hocking.”

This is a fast-pace action book set in the near future of 2023 (with some flashbacks to 2003). It puts me in mind of something like the movie Salt – but without the assassination plotline.


Characters: The book is written in third person and mostly follows Saskia Brandt. Saskia is a strong character and one that I liked. Her life is basically turned upside as she is sent on an assignment to hunt down David. David Proctor, the other character the book follows, is on the run. Both characters have good dimensions in the story. The reader learns about the characters in more depth as the story progresses, including flaws and motives.

Plot: The plot is fast-paced with high-technology for the future. There are twists and turns, and it would be interesting to see what I missed upon rereading it. The story and ending is very detailed in linking everything together. The book ends nicely and leaves the reader wanting to find out what will happen. Without giving any spoilers away, I was shocked by the first chapter. I remember thinking in chapter two, “Okay, so it’s going to be that type of story” (meaning lots of action, mystery, suspense, and a few surprises.) Although the reader may guess the direction of where the story might go, he/she is not really sure of the details and reasons until he/she gets there.

The Bottom Line: Flaws for the novel? Well, considering 2023 is only ten years away, I think the technology was a little too advanced to be realistic, but hey, this is a science fiction novel, right? Also, sometimes the explanations with the technology could be confusing with all the letters/abbreviations/numbers involved. However, it was not very distracting, and I did not dwell too hard on it.

Overall, I liked this book. I saw this book on Amazon for free, and I then won Flashback (2nd book) and The Amber Rooms (3rd book). I’m glad I started it and can’t wait to see what happens in the next one!