Ossus Library Index
Science Fiction Index


A novel by Griffin Barber and Kacey Ezell

(2020, Blackstone Publishing)
Last Stop Station, book 1

When a singer goes missing from a nightclub, and her artificial intelligence transfers to a bouncer there, they grow to rely on each other as they use a criminal organization to search for her, and encounter a conspiracy in the larger galactic community.


-- First reading (ebook)
January 27th to February 11th, 2021


Wow that was fun. I really liked the two main characters, one a human, the other an AI, and the way their relationship grew. Muck was desperate and addicted to his new angel, but that turned into something more as the story went along. They bantered like old friends, and I kept worrying about when they would find Angel’s old host, when she would have to return. The settings were evocative, the action continuously interesting, and the cultural and societal aspects of life-without-Earth very poignant. My favorite scenes were the intimate ones, even if they were not physically real. But I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the AI could boost a body’s performance, in all ways. I wonder, though, how Angel can synthesize all the necessary components for her enhancements -how can she pour coolness through his veins without a refrigerated source, or other drugs that are not physically present in the body originally, or take complicated processes to synthesize. I liked the way Muck had to eat a lot to make up for the extra energy output, though. I will definitely revisit this universe, and hope the authors can create another book in this setting that remains this interesting.

Spoiler review:

This book had both interesting characters and an interesting setting. I much preferred the time on the space station compared to when they went off-world to that strange planet and met up with some strange experiments. But both were enjoyable in the end.

Muck has a lot of backstory, and I really enjoyed learning about it as we went through the novel. He knows that some of his memories were blocked in a previous mission, when he was part of an elite paramilitary group. He spends his time obsessing over a singer for whom he’s a bouncer at a club, and going back to his small bed/apartment to take calming drugs. He struggles when Angel imports herself into his brain, but gets used to it, especially as she augments his natural fighting skills. When they go off-planet to find Siren, they are attacked by his old paramilitary group, who know him really well, and who altered his memory after he went against their policy. He escapes with their ship, which gives him additional power and a nice trade when he tries to get back onto the space station.

For everything is corrupt, here, and a payment of a military spaceship goes a long way, even against those who are trying to kill Muck -even towards the corrupt police officers.

Ncaco seems to be involved in everything, but there are plans he knows nothing about. As the situation changes through the book, it’s interesting to see how Ncaco goes from trying to kill Muck to hiring him, and back again.

The other powerful AIs, from SARA, in charge of the entire station, LEO, who goes searching for the rogue AI (Angel), and NAIA, the military ship’s AI all had their own personalities. It was funny to see SARA corrupted, even as she took precautions to isolate herself, as a virus started to take over her systems, and she became more sultry.

The investigation into Siren’s kidnapping was just an excuse to show off the different AIs, and the various aliens and locales on this space station. The longer it took, the more I was surprised at how they were not more desperate, as the chances of finding Siren alive or unharmed reduced significantly. In the end, even as Siren and Angel are reunited, Angel realizes that she can’t go back, because Siren has changed, her own memories resurfaced, and she’s no longer the type of person Angel wants to associate with.

I really enjoyed the intimacy between Angel and Muck. He’s missing something, and she soothes him. She’s also missing something, but starts to realize that her old host wasn’t as forthcoming and “good” as she’d thought. Muck is much better suited toward her evolving AI personality. Both of them grow a lot throughout the book. The highlights of their relationship were when they both found themselves aroused by being together inside his brain. She knew him inside out by the end, even having cracked his secured and locked memories of his trauma with the Brotherhood group. He couldn’t hide his feelings toward Angel, and her true feelings came out often enough that Muck realized it was mutual.

The action and the characterizations made this book a lot of fun to read. It’s not a book I couldn’t put down, because sometimes parts of it were a little too much to process, or not truly to my taste (the gangster lifestyle, for example). The off-station scenes where they infiltrated the Brotherhood were a little long for me, but still kept my interest, fortunately. I’m definitely looking forward to another book with Muck and Angel.


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