Jak Phoenix would rather kick back with a cold drink than stick his neck out to save the galaxy. But, as we all know, life often gets in the way of these ‘big dreams.’ Jak and his longtime friend Baxter once again find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. A last minute salvage mission delivers more than they bargained for when Jak’s old enemy shows up and steals their haul out from under them. When it is revealed the cargo is more important than any of them realized, Jak decides, against his better judgment, that a retrieval is necessary.
His pursuit leads him right past his enemy and into the hands of the most feared pirate in the galaxy. In the spirit of space operas of old, comes an action packed novel following the exploits of the best low quality pirate in the galaxy, Jak Phoenix.
Reviews and Praise for Jak Phoenix
“An excellent high space adventure for young and old – This is a great fast paced space adventure reminiscent of Firefly. Poor Jak just wants to get by in the world, but ends up being forced to save the universe. Jak’s adventures are full of twists and turns, near death experiences, and one hot mechanic. Written for adults, but clean enough for kids too!”
- Anonymous reviewer, Barnes and Noble
“With unique, vivid characters and a compelling central plotline, Jak Phoenix is quite the entertaining read. In skillful fashion, author Matt Williams has crafted an enjoyable tale of interstellar adventure sure to please fans of well-told Sci-Fi/Fantasy yarns. While the essence of his narrative is hardly original, Williams does a commendable job of breathing fresh, creative new life into a rather familiar morality tale – particularly by featuring a protagonist who’s nothing if not the quintessential anti-hero. As such, readers are sure to find Jak Phoenix anything but dull, thanks in large part to Williams’ quite fertile imagination. A satisfying read.”
- Chelsea Perry, Apex Reviews
“Perfectly paced to keep science fiction fans absorbed and engaged.
If you thought that Han Solo was the real hero of Star Wars, then Jak Phoenix, a novel by Matt Williams, is for you. Jak and his partner, Baxter, are space pirates traveling the Azore’s Crown Galaxy in an outdated ship called The Tempest. The ship constantly needs repairs on the fly, partly because it is old and pieced together from several different ships, and partly because of the scrapes that are common to the life of a space pirate.
Williams’ characters are familiar archetypes of science fiction. Jak is irreverent and prefers to work no harder than is necessary to feed himself and to stock the bar on The Tempest. His treatment of women is obnoxious. Then along comes a woman strong enough to turn Jack around. Jak’s friends are mechanics and engineers who get by on their intelligence and the ability to collect and make use of what others see as junk. There is, as well, the typical assortment of villains– from weak and servile to evil-cyborg-scientist to megalomaniac.
Williams breathes new life into these archetypes, thoroughly developing each character, not with lengthy descriptions, but through the characters’ actions and conversations. Readers will have no trouble keeping the characters straight; Williams creates lasting images of their physical appearances while at the same time revealing their motivations. As readers get to know the characters, they will find themselves liking and identifying with Jak and his friends.
Above all, what makes Jak Phoenix a good book is the pacing. Williams brilliantly balances action with plot and character development throughout the book. There is never a dull moment, whether Jak and his friends are outmaneuvering attackers in space, boarding an enemy ship, fighting robotic soldiers, or outwitting captors.
Though the action never lets up, the plot of Jak Phoenix always continues to move forward at an engaging pace. The details that Williams includes in the middle of all this action will create vivid pictures in his readers’ minds. Readers will get hooked early and want to stay with the book to find out what happens.
The plot is fairly simple; Jak must rescue a race of aliens– perhaps the whole galaxy– from an evil mastermind who has quietly been building armies in a corner of the galaxy. It is a tried-and-true plot line, and it’s simplicity works in Williams’ favor. Readers of science fiction want an alternate universe, which is believable, characters with whom they can identify (even if they happen to be aliens), and a story that will keep them turning the pages. Williams easily achieves all three within the context of a plot which, like his characters, is original enough to be memorable but sticks to a basic formula that works.
Williams’ grammar is not always perfect, and his sentences are occasionally awkward. This does not interfere with the story, however. If Williams’ style is a little rough around the edges, it complements Jak, himself, who chooses practicality over appearances. The narrator’s voice reads the way an average science fiction fan might talk, which many will find appealing. Readers will find this well-crafted novel diverting, will want to recommend it to a friend, and will look forward to Jak Phoenix’s next adventure.”
- Eloise Michael, Feathered Quill Book Reviews
“This was actually a really fun read. It’s exactly what the author says. A fun old fashioned space adventure. Tons of action, and great characters with really good funny dialog. Looking forward to a sequel!”
- Bill, Smashwords
“Fantastic, fast moving read! Couldn’t put it down once I started. Written in a style reminiscent to the original Star Wars, this book never drags. The plot moves quickly and held my interest the entire time. Character development is exceptional, done with humor and depth. Can’t wait for the next installment!”
- GizmoDL, Barnes and Noble
“After reading the first page and getting introductory snickers, I thought,Hey this could be good. I was not disappointed. Did I like the characters? Sure. Did I like the style? Yup. Was it a great first novel? Indeed. However, what I found most interesting was none of that. Matt doesn’t describe the characters, species or places in any great detail. That was what stuck with me most. He writes as if you already know who everyone is and are part of their era. You obviously have been to these planets and met these species, so therefore why take up space elaborating? Leaves much to our sadly underworked imaginations. Well done. I have to say Jak’s reaction to Cyan is well-written also. Read it to find out more about such “space shenanigans”!”
- Renee, Amazon.com
“Space battles, beautiful women with blue hair, giant lizards, and a cheeky space captain with zero negotiation skills. What’s not to love! This was a good read, downloaded for free though I happily would have paid for it.”
- Penelope Fletcher, Author on Goodreads.com
“This was a great book, its fast paced and keeps you entertained chapter to chapter. I highly recommend this book.”
- Jeff, reader at Sony Reader Store
“This space opera chuckle-fest is just plain fun to read.”
- Tracy Falbe, Author of the Rys Chronicles Fantasy Series http://www.falbepublishing.com/
“If you haven’t had a chance to read Jak Phoenix and you enjoy old fashioned space operas, do yourself a favor and pick it up. The story is great! The characters are more memorable than the typical space opera character. The adventure is interesting and varied.”
- Jeff Thomason, Cartoonist Extraordinaire - A Touch of Jeff
“Space adventure like it should be written! – Harkening back to the days of characters like Han Solo, Lando Calrissian and SpaceHunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (in 3D!!!), Mr. Williams has brough a fresh breath of air to a stale genre. Full of wit, charm and high adventure, the story left me wanting more of the story of Jak. How he came to be and what he would become.”
- Brad, Ontario, reader at Sony Reader Store
“I’ll admit that the cheese factor is fairly high on this one, but this book is too much fun to pass up. Jak Phoenix is a down-at-the-heels would-be space pirate. No risk is too great, no hardship too onerous, if it will save him from the horrors of honest employment. With a dilapidated spaceship, an antiquated pistol, and an unshaven sidekick, he’s trekking across the galaxy in search of a dishonest buck. He is no Captain Kirk, but to his dismay Jak will find that the galaxy needs saving, and no one else is available.
Jak is the ultimate anti-hero, a blend of Han Solo and Spaceman Spiff with a bit of Three Stooges mixed in. It’s a light-hearted adventure that will make you laugh out loud. Don’t try to take it seriously. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. You won’t learn anything profound about the human condition, but you’ll have a lot of fun. Matt Williams has created an old-fashioned space opera that is preposterous, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable.”
- Brent Nichols, Fantastic Adventures Blog