Have to share a most excellent review…

I don’t often post these (but when I do, I prefer Dos…ah, never mind). Had to share a really complimentary review of the Gabriel trilogy I just saw on Amazon. Yes, it’s a bit of crowing, but I’ll take the heat. I’m flattered and humbled, and gosh darn it, proud of my editing. (A little shout out to Jennifer Gracen for her editing goddess skills…) And a very nice closing compliment to the quality of self-published work out there, because contrary to popular opinion, there’s a bunch.

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This series had me hooked from start to finish. This is one of my favorite SciFi series indie published or not. I should note that I was so into the first book after only 20% or so that I immediately purchased the other two without regret. Also, this review was written for the omnibus addition Gabriel’s Journey. It applies whether you buy the books separately or together in one volume.

I am no reviewer and hate spoilers, so I will just list the qualities that had me so riveted to this story all the way through.

1. The author clearly knows his craft. The quality of writing and inventiveness of the plot never wavered. Descriptions were clear without rambling endlessly and the action scenes put me right in the thick of it. In other words, suspension of disbelief and ease of visualization were, for me at least, effortless. I also really liked the characters but was grateful that I did not have to sit through endless character introspection and angst. Life provides enough of that as it is. Unexpected twists were also done well.

2. I found the science to be very interesting and believable (albeit fictional). I enjoyed it’s role in the story throughout the series. No Star Trek “science” here. From maneuvering a ship in space to advanced weaponry, I was never jarred out of the story with nonsensical pseudo science.

3. This is military science fiction and while I am not a soldier (was in the sixties however), I was impressed with the tactical descriptions of special ops warfare. The main characters are very competent soldiers indeed without being super heroes who are immortal, invincible and invulnerable all at once (as in so many other books). They make mistakes and pay for them like the rest of us.

4. Finally, the editing. In my large format copy of Dune (an all time favorite novel by Frank Herbert), I found over 15 errors. In the Gabriel Trilogy I found less than five (two of those debatable). Great editing for no matter the publishing method. Kudos to Steve Umstead who has not only provided us with an excellent series, but cares enough about his readers to get it right. Thank You!

A bit of proselytizing before I close this:

In the last decade or more I’ve noticed that professional publishing has gone down hill quite a bit. Typos, grammatical errors and spelling have suffered as the publishing houses race to greater profits at less cost. I bring this up because Indie publishers have taken a big hit (deservedly so in many cases) for editing errors while the publishing houses have been allowed to skate. I am a very big fan of Indie publishing and have been noticing a marked improvement as time has gone on. Both in quality of writing and quality of editing. While there is plenty of bad stuff in both publishing worlds, I believe Indie publishing is coming into it’s own. With the outright price gouging that the big publishers are resorting to and the lack of quality and availability of their work (try to find a complete SciFi or fantasy trilogy at B&N) it is my hope that Indie authors and E-books will become the new normal. I think the big publishers are shooting themselves in the foot with their mercenary practices. Time will tell.

Much appreciated, J. Kirwan. Much appreciated.




  1. Desmond Shepherd (@DesShep) - November 27, 2013 11:19 am

    Congrats on the great review, Steve. It’s good to know we have readers on our side!

    • Steve Umstead - November 27, 2013 12:55 pm

      Yes, at least one!

  2. Eric Swett - November 27, 2013 11:26 am

    What a great review! Kudos, Steve!

    • Steve Umstead - November 27, 2013 12:56 pm

      Thanks, Eric, much appreciated!

  3. AJ Powers - November 27, 2013 12:59 pm

    Very nice review, man. And very much deserved! Great work! Can’t wait to see what you do next.

    • Steve Umstead - November 27, 2013 1:00 pm

      Me too! Wait…

  4. drshaywest - November 27, 2013 1:03 pm

    Nicely done, my friend 😀

    • Steve Umstead - November 28, 2013 9:55 am

      Thanks, sister from another mother!

  5. Robert "Sharky" Pruneda - November 27, 2013 2:15 pm

    Awesome review! Score one for indie publishing.

    • Steve Umstead - November 28, 2013 9:56 am

      Exactly – and thanks Rob, much appreciated.

  6. Sandra Wagner - November 28, 2013 7:41 am

    An excellent review! And it’s not crowing if it’s true!

    I’m currently working my way through the trilogy and I am halfway through “Gabriel’s Return”. And I have to agree with the poster.

    The writing is easily on par with one of my other favorite authors, Neal Asher and his Polity stories.

    The technology is not the focal point of the stories but is an integral part of the story telling.

    I am impressed with the little details of the stories such as how uneven the distribution of the tech is. This is brought into focus in the scene where Gabriel has to use a remote on the Lady Cydonia instead of his implants to command a display screen. That is such a real world type of detail.

    What draws me into the story is the rich background you have created for the story setting. The history and background you have created is quite believable and is, hopefully, context for many more stories set in the same universe.

    Keep writing, Steve!


    • Steve Umstead - November 28, 2013 9:56 am

      Thanks very much, love the comments! And who knows where that universe might lead…

  7. D. Ryan Leask - August 12, 2014 10:35 pm

    I am constantly telling people about how great your books are! I have also used you as an example of how to do science in science fiction, explain the big things (ie. Gravity issues) with simplicity and focus on the fiction more than the science.


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