REVIEW: Ninth Life by Stark Holborn

Last Updated on June 24, 2024

Gabriella Ortiz has worn and shed many names. Tales of her exploits transcend time and space, defying reality. Depending on which name, she is a hero of both sides. A felon with a bounty on her head worth twenty million. Ortiz has officially been declared dead a handful of times and, in some realities, died almost twice that amount. Her next death will be her last. Her last alias will be remembered by all. Ninth Life by Stark Holborn is a compilation of myths, the unofficial story of a legend.

Ninth LifeThe Factus Sequence trilogy spans a hundred years of history regarding the moon of Factus and its war with the Accord. It begins with an Ex-convict medic dubbed Ten Low discovering a crashed spaceship and rescuing Gabriella Ortiz. Ten Low soon realizes Ortiz is not an innocent child, but a genetically enhanced super soldier. Once the Accord’s greatest achievement and pride, it seems these soldiers were betrayed. They are being hunted for elimination. What originated as a mission to save Ortiz starts the threads of destiny. The transpiring events and their actions will define the fate of Factus. Stark Holborn concludes this epic space adventure in Ninth Life.

Stark Holborn shakes up the narrative in the final novel of The Factus Sequence trilogy. While Ten Low and Hel’s Eight are primarily told from Ten’s point of view, Ninth Life celebrates Garbriella Ortiz. This is a surprising and necessary turn in perspective. The character readers know as Ten Low would not exist without Ortiz. Their lives intwine. They are pivotal players in the rebellion against the Accord. Together, they shape the future of Factus.

Ninth Life is told from a dossier by military Proctor Idrisi Blake. As a professional, Blake is tasked with compiling all information regarding Gabriella Ortiz, her aliases, and every life she has lived. A task made impossible by all the conspiracies and cover ups surrounding this legend. Blake’s dossier mainly consists of recordings left by a new character Havemercy Grey and is supported by other testimonies and interviews.

Stark Holborn takes a risk with changing the primary point of view in Ninth Life and succeeds. While Ninth Life is a secondary account of Gabriella Ortiz’s life, the characters involved are bursting with personality. They develop like any other well written main characters. Due to the nature of Stark Holborn’s world, telling Ortiz’s life through different accounts is the truest approach. This dossier is compiled of unverifiable information and tall tales. The half truths offered by alternate realities blending together.

Even well-read science fiction fans will find much to be excited about in The Factus Sequence trilogy. The compelling characters are rivaled by an equally fascinating world. The moon of Factus is a savage wasteland ruled by possibility. While its inhabitants hold no respect for the Accord, all know to fear the chaotic power present there. Little is understood about this divine force or reality splitting phenomenon.  Stark Holborn expands the worldbuilding in Ninth Life, revealing more about the mysterious power on Factus and the other worlds in this universe.

Stark Holborn writes an extraordinary conclusion to The Factus Sequence trilogy. Ninth Life is an explosion of action and imagination. This epic finale takes risks and, in doing so, honors its amazing characters and world.

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Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie resides in Colorado with her other half and their puppy, Irwin. She is always searching for dark SFF and horror stories to bury herself in.

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