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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Author/Novel Spotlight: R.J Amezcua

I love discovering new novels, especially from debut authors. It is such a joy when you see that it is not just a story they have written but have included a detailed world building on different levels, back history, language, symbols, spirituality, cultural elements and more. Such is the case with debut author R. J. Amezcua. I could not resist but to spotlight him when I read some of the above elements on his website. 

This is one very interesting and complex novel from these elements. One thing that impressed me was the spiritual aspects and how biblically sound these are from what you see in his world building. I am looking forward to reading it and every other book in the series that is to follow. 

So sit back and grab a glimpse of the imagination that is expressed in the world building of R.J Amezcua. Firstly, let us discover a little about himself: 

R. J. Amezcua was born and raised in Silicon Valley and is happily married to Sheryl. R.J Amezcua has always enjoyed science fiction. As a young boy, one of his favorite TV shows was Lost in Space. As an entrepreneur and visionary by nature, he has begun his journey as an author. Using his love for science fiction, he created the epic saga “Mantis Force,” which encompasses a vast universe. He strongly believes that others have unique gifts and talents, and hopes that his vision and work will inspire and influence many to reach for their own dreams.

Now let's have a look at Fiero One, which was released on November 17, 2016, in e-book and printed editions:

Book Description:

In the year of our Lord 2068.

It’s the twilight of the second age in a group of five galaxies called the Quintástraya. The era of Guardian victories over the military forces of the Tisrad master races has come to an end. Now a dreadful prophecy unfolds, one that affects every living soul in the Quintástraya. And it begins in a region of lawless deep space called the dead zone. 

Embittered that he had to postpone his engagement to his beloved fiancée and with a strong sense of foreboding, Captain Asafa of the Guardianship Osparatta is sent on an unusual mission beyond Guardian borders to rescue a civilian exploration team of a transitional government. But instead of finding helpless scientists, he finds himself the vanguard against resurrected legions of conscripted soldiers once serving the Tisrad master races, killed millennia ago. With less than a full complement of crew, and the Osparatta’s losses mounting by the minute, Asafa is hard-pressed to carry out orders from Guardian High Command to hold his position until reinforcements arrive. But failure to hold back the rising tide of evil will determine not only the fate of himself and his crew but every single human and peaceful alien race in the Quintástraya.

I asked R.J why he wrote this novel:

First, a little about me. I am a Christian born and raised in the Silicon Valley, California. After what seemed like a millennium floundering in search of true love, I have achieved a blissful marriage with my lovely wife Sheryl. Oh, I can’t go without mentioning that I have great kids (all grown up now).

My love of science fiction began long ago, in a living room with a magical box atop wooden legs. I was enraptured by flying saucers, Robby the robot, ray guns and all things outer space. Out of the many programs that I watched, Lost in Space was one of my all-time favourites. As time passed, I added science fiction literature. Now that I think about it, I must have read over five hundred books. That’s a lot of Starbucks coffee mind you. Although there are various categories within the science fiction book genre, Christian-themed stories seemed greatly underrepresented in respect to the number of those who have faith in JESUS CHRIST, worldwide. I believe that number is over ONE BILLION! The problem at first glance is that no one wants to read a sermon in a fictional universe, and that includes me.

On April 4th, 2004, a solution was birthed. It was then that the inspiration was planted in my heart to meld my love for science fiction with my faith. Now, after carefully laying the foundations of my Christian allegorical universe, I have been able to craft an epic story that speaks of the hope of HIS return and the restoration of true peace to the world.

About Mantis Force: 

The Word “Mantis” is taken from the Greek language which means prophets or seer. This gives the epic saga its meaning; the force of the prophets or Mantis Force. Some of the names of worlds, galaxies, numbers, and core groups were created with combinations of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew words. I chose these languages because they were inscribed on the LORD's cross which translates to "King of the Jews." Spiritual beings whether good or bad are given fictional ranks, names and functions.

One ironic note about my journey is that I vividly recall when I was in high school, my English teacher told me that if I applied myself in her class I would excel. My response at the time was, “Why should I do that? It’s not as if I am going to be a writer!” Looking back at that moment, I know GOD must have a sense of humor.

Now that your appetite may be whetted, it might be beneficial to read an excerpt, just to get a hint of what to expect. RJ explains why he chose this except:

In the following pages, I highlighted a group of sixteen-year-old girls (Omicron rank) aboard a Guardianship the Osparatta on a military training mission in a region of lawless deep space in the dead zone called the Rakia Expanse. During the mission, the Guardians discover a hidden enemy base which forces them to defend a government outside of the influence of the Mantis Alliance. A fierce battle erupts between them and legions of darkness known as Necrogogs. But catastrophic inexplicable power drains threaten the ship’s survival and that of the entire crew. The loss of power coupled with the battle on the Fiero One moon drain the resources of the ship and the personnel in light of the fact that the ship is severely undermanned. This mandates the Captain to enlist his young charges into active service.

The pages that you will read are the result of one of the Omicrons, Aona who asserts that the widespread unexplainable power failures throughout the ship are caused by undetectable creatures. This farfetched theory is the source of much levity amongst them, yet is the beginning of a strong bond between the four teenagers.

I just love this particular part of the story. I believe that the young ladies in this excerpt exemplify that bravery is not exclusive to old age or those of larger physical stature. Far from the comfortable confines of their home base, these coming of age girls begin to understand that they can overcome any obstacle with the support of one another as well as their deeply rooted faith. Bonded as one, they rise to the occasion; become an integral part of the crew and step into new responsibilities. This proves to be a wise decision as they will need each other’s support and strength to save their lives and those of the crew.

---------------Start of Except:---------------

“Aona, you actually think some unknown creature is absorbing the ship’s power, causing all this random damage?” Nacia asked her eyebrows rising provocatively. Somae darted a disbelieving glance at Nacia, dismayed at her attempt to mock Aona. Before Aona could reply, Kimka broke in sarcastically

“Let’s see…” she drawled. “How could a creature,” she continued with a sing-song lilt to her voice, “absorb so much power from different points of the ship simultaneously? If, and I really mean if it is a creature, wouldn’t someone have seen it by now? I, along with everyone else, definitely believe it would have been detected by the ship’s internal sensors…right?” Aona glowered at her, rejecting her peer’s denigrating attitude.

“Is this the theory you came up with during your free time?” Kimka continued, chidingly pulling Nacia gently to her side by the forearm, disputing the validity of Aona’s theory openly. It was clear to Aona that the two had previously discussed it behind her back. She deliberately ignored the provocation, her voice slightly perturbed. “I am getting back to work.

Are you going to join me?” She silently shoved the hurt away and vowed to guard her heart. Somae’s lips pursed with disapproval at Kimka and Nacia’s lack of support. They paired up into their assigned teams and moved down the hallway to the next section of the ship’s hull. The panels were already removed to allow easy access to the damaged components. Bantu, still unseen, followed closely behind and stopped at the curve of the bulkhead as she heard Kimka’s raised voice.

“What’s this?” She asked loudly, her forearm braced on the corridor wall above the open panel. She darted a glance at the others on her left to make sure she had their attention. Leaning closer, she poked her head halfway into the opening as she silently inspected the interior for a few moments.

Abruptly, she reared back, wearing a look of disbelief and hint of panic on her face. “What?” She said, adding to the drama, all the while knowing that she had their attention. Kimka turned to face them and put her arm straight out toward them with a flat hand signal stopping them from coming closer.

Frowning, she stuck her head back into the opening to get a better look. Nacia moved closer with obvious concern and some curiosity and leaned over Kimka’s right shoulder. “What is what?” Nacia whispered softly but still loud enough for Aona and Somae to hear.

“Did you see that?” Kimka said, whispering incredulously with a dramatic overtone to her voice.

“What is that?” asked Nacia, unknowingly imitating her tones, trying without success to peer around Kimka’s body.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out…right now!” She stated firmly, lightly pushing Nacia back with her shoulder. She pressed her cheek against the bulkhead, facing Somae and Aona and leaned in as far as she could, her arm disappearing up to the shoulder. A shocked look of horror came over her face as she was jerked violently inward, her upper body lightly bouncing off the wall and then, though it seemed impossible, even harder with her face mashed into the metal. Bantu, holding her breath, fought the instinct to run to her assistance and the spirit within her would not let her. Bantu peered around the corner.

Nacia let out a small shriek. “Kimka, pull your arm out of there. Now!”

She yelled, involuntarily. A panicked grimace came over Kimka’s face and she gritted her teeth as she tried to free herself from whatever had her in its grip. She groaned deeply, as if in intense pain, and began to pant shallowly in fear. Aona and Somae dropped their tools and raced to her aid but then stood helplessly as Nacia tried to grab her arm and pull her out. Bantu moved toward the girls to intervene but became aware something odd was going on. She noticed that Kimka’s legs were braced in a position to push inward instead of outward, not trying to get away at all. The others had appeared not to notice. She closed her eyes and shook her head indulgently with a small smile on her face. Nacia grabbed Kimka about the waist and shoulder and tried to forcibly pull her out. Losing her hold, she staggered back slightly. Quickly righting herself, she renewed her efforts to help free Kimka. The lights overhead flickered once more reminding them of the danger to the ship.

“Help. It’s got me!” Kimka screamed.

“It’s got me! It’s got me!” Frantically she said in low tones, her chest heaving with panic as she stared with a glazed look directly into Aona’s eyes.

“What’s got you?” Aona shrieked, beginning to hop up and down in distress.

Kimka looked down and away from the would-be heroines and dramatically removed her arm from the access port in the wall.

“This!” She exclaimed loudly, waggling her head, her face lightly mocking.

The others had instinctively backed away but, noticing the smile, they looked at the small welder that had apparently been abandoned in the earlier repairs.

Somae laughed out loud and the others nervously joined in.

“Hah…got you good, didn’t I?” Kimka asked, laughing uproariously,

provokingly waving the welder in front of Aona’s face. “ You thought it was your energy creature, didn’t you?” She involuntarily hiccupped in her excitement over the gag. Soon, they were all laughing uncontrollably. They stopped, looked at each other then gave themselves over to another helpless round. The unbearable tension of the day seeped away with the relief of the unbridled laughter that echoed through the passageway.

Taking a pose with her hands on her hips and a little swagger in her attitude, Aona shook her finger in humorous reprove. “Alright, I have to admit, you got me good. But you just wait and see…I’ll get you back.” The girls let out another whoop of laughter.

“Well, Omicrons,” interrupted Officer Bantu in a stern voice. “I can see that you’re hard at work.” The four immediately snapped to attention.

“At ease.” She continued in a somewhat softer tone, looking at the girls with some amusement.

---------------End of Except:---------------

As I mentioned above, R.J has even developed an alphabet and language:
The languages and their corresponding alphabets were created to bring the core civilizations within the Mantis Force universe their unique identities. They have specific purposes such as activating gateways allowing travel throughout the five galaxies which make up the Quintástraya. The alphabets are also used for identifying specific Orders, Guilds, Military and other prominent entities.
This perspective is the back of Guardian Gragus; a field commander from House Skallakron. He arrives with his troops in support of the Guardians engaged in a fierce battle on the Fiero One moon.

The yellow energy signature on Gragus’ body armor is the corresponding light spectrum used for gate travel throughout the five galaxies of the Quintástraya for the House of Skallakron. Each of the twelve races that make up the Mantis has their own unique Guardian body armor and light spectrum color.

Each galaxy has its own color for gate travel. For instance, the Guardians of House Rhizonor and Skallakron are located in the Zhanifra galaxy whose corresponding color is purple. The other ten Houses are divided among the other four galaxies which have their own colors. The House of Skallakron battle crest is a scorpion as shown on his breastplate. Each house their own specific battle crest.

All those who serve in the Mantis military must take the Guardian Oath:
As a Mantis Guardian, I will faithfully serve and uphold the laws, the tenets, and the way of the Mantis. In combat, I shall conduct myself in accordance with the highest standards as a Guardian of Light. I shall guard my brother's life as my own. My faith and hope are in Abba El and HIS messiah alone. 

Below is the badge of the MARIUM KAHNET

The Marium Kahnet is an organization of holy women established during the Kelkemek wars of the first age. They hold positions in the Synod; the supreme authoritative government of the Mantis Alliance. These women often referred to as Mothers or Sisters have far-reaching influence that goes well beyond governments. 

The Marium Kahnet strictly adhere to teachings contained within the Kodashah (the holy book of the prophets). As service to Abba El (GOD the FATHER) and HIS Messiah, they exemplify the way of the Mantis with manifold ministries toward all societies. Each Marium Kahnet sister, with varying degrees of mastery can control their body’s living tissue to the cellular level. Additionally, they also possess various supernatural gifts some of which are healing, discerning of spirits, visions, dreams, prophetic knowledge, wisdom and on rare occasions the miracle of raising the dead to life.


Every member of the Marium Kahnet sisterhood must take the sacred oath and those who wish to live their lives accordingly are also encouraged to take the oath.


I pledge my life as a vessel of light as I step through the veil of divine purpose. I am cleansed in purity. My head is adorned with humility. The ways of the Marium Kahnet are my life, my heart and my soul belongs to Abba El and in HIS messiah is my salvation.

More world building is found below: 

This is a map of Fiero Prime’s major continent. Marked on the map are the regions and specific locations which are used as settings within the Mantis Force Fiero One novel and upcoming book releases, Mantis Force “Fiero Two” and Mantis Force “Fiero Prime”.

This is a map detailing the locations where major battles take place and is used throughout the Mantis Force Fiero book trilogy. Initially, in the Mantis Force “Fiero One” novel, the military forces of the Fierian government engage the awakening Necrogog forces in these areas. Near the end of the novel, Captain Asafa of the Guardian ship the Osparatta initiates a daring mission into the heart of the enemy’s super fortress in Mortus Maw.

If the above has further whetted your appetite for more of R.J's Mantis Force world, you can go to the following social media platforms: 

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader of Christian science-fiction/fantasy, supernatural, spiritual warfare, to consider reading Fiero One and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

If you want to read another excerpt of Mantis Force: Fiero One or even to buy it, this can be achieved through the image and link below: 

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