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4.1 out of 5 stars13
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 10 December 2012
Jason Halstead or his publisher have a problem with what is a book and what is an omnibus edition. In reality, their books are parts (not much more than chapters) and the omnibus is Book 1 of a series. There is no contents list or any easy way of navigating around the book, just a continuous flow of text (this is even more obvious in the Kobo edition, where in order to get around the problem of a maximum file size, the book has just been chopped into three parts at random points).

Part 1 (the free volume) has a detailed well-written plot, and was sufficient to tempt me into buying the "Omnibus", however the story that it narrates is only a way of getting the characters to the planet where the rest of Book 1 takes place and is not required for the main plot. Part 2 opens with a new set of characters, but fails to explain the relationships between them all, leaving the reader to guess. Part 3 has another new set of characters, but with a very similar plot to Part 2. Part 4, ditto. It is only once the reader arrives at the last part that the story really progresses, but even then it only reaches the point of setting the stage for the next book. At no point does the story ever indicate a positive outcome for humanity on the planet of Vitalis.

The book suffers with typos which should have been picked up by the publisher; for example: "The creature let loose a roar Jeremy suspected he'd be hearing in his right before he woke up in a cold sweat for the next several weeks." "He saw no sign of pursuit, but the waste high grasses would have hidden the passage of smaller predators." "Like most animals in the wild their young had to grow up fast or be culled from the heard." Rosh and Crystal each put in a single appearance when other, existing, characters would have been more appropriate.

For a £1-£2 book these faults could have been overlooked and I might have bought the second book in the hope of finding a positive outcome, or at least learning where the story was going. But at the price that is being charged I expect a professionally produced book, as the publisher's web site promises. Yes it is half the price of "Red Mars", but it is much less than half the story.
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on 20 December 2013
a great introduction to jason's vitalis series of books.
and at a great price.
you get the first seven books in the series all for the price of one
so if you are a fan of some of his other books then why not give this a go?
it's a great sci-fi read from one of the hardest working part time writers out there
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on 7 April 2013
As the book's description quotes, the Vitalis Omnibus edition covers the first seven Vitalis stories: New Beginnings (Book 1), The Colony (Book 2), Parasites (Book 3), Screamer (Book 4), Squatter's Rights (Book 5), Evolution (Book 6) and Matriarch (Book 7). As stand-alone stories, you may be left feeling rather frustrated, given they are quite short, end rather abruptly, and at $3.68 per edition, seem hardly worth the while, but the Omnibus edition, priced at a reasonable $6.14 for the lot (that's less than the price of two of its former parts) will leave you feeling satisfied for sure.

Personally, I'm not a fan of short stories and, given the seven Omnibus parts read more like chapters in one continuous story, this edition is a much better format than its predecessors. It allows you to immerse yourself in the plot, becoming one with the characters as they traverse the universe and learn to survive on the newly founded planet `Vitalis'.

Vitalis is outside the core worlds humans have settled and `terraformed'. It's outside the rim systems by light years. It's alive and teaming with life and, at first glance, bears similarities with how planet Earth may have looked in its heyday. However, Vitalis guards its own secrets, and once you're `in', there's no knowing whether there's an `out'.

Author Jason Halstead is particularly creative in his descriptions of fantastical creatures, places and problems, and he isn't afraid to spice things up with a little sex talk thrown in...after all, life as we know it may have moved on (in the year 2222), but mans' carnal needs still need to be satisfied!

Lose yourself in a world where nothing is as it seems! Highly recommended for adventure/fantasy fans or, indeed, anyone who likes to `lose themselves' temporarily in another world.
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on 1 November 2012
Another great book by Jason but as a single book instead of split into individual novellas.
I have read most of Jason's published work and I knew I would want books 2-3-4 so I plunged in and bought the Omnibus.
I wasn't disappointed.

This has got some excellent character development and as usual Jason doesn't shy away from topics like not everyone preferring the opposite sex. He does this in a non in your face way but it just occurs as part of the plot as a recognition that not everyone is heterosexual! If you find that offensive then don't buy the book, I'll refrain from saying more but don't buy it and then complain it contained some very mild homosexual plot.

The storyline and plot are all internally consistent; you are not left with any feelings of inconsistencies often the hallmark of self-published or on occasion 'authors' who seem to have made the top 10 best sellers without being able to write a proper plot or do any character development. (I'll say no more except their are Angels and Demons in all of us - the code for an author I'm referring to might be cracked! The point here is that Jason has self published several series that are becoming as good and in cases better than many top 10 list authors.

What I mean when I find a novel internally consistent is that if it was a film it would not be relying on special effects to cover the holes in the plot and things that are just plain silly. Whereas the odd film might get away with this due to action or special effects it can't and doesn't get excused in a novel. This is especially important in Sci-Fi and Fantasy where poor authors will invoke some magic or technology that just doesn't fit with the rest of the book leaving the reader thinking they were cheated.

Jason is also not scared to explore the darker side to human nature, indeed he has a separate series almost dedicated to how humans can be cruel and nasty and act like Lord of the Flies (Dark Earth Series) but equally how they can change. One of the common themes throughout Jason's books is the concept of no-one is absolutely evil. In Vitalis Jason humanises the monsters whilst at the same time exploring the personification and humanising of the monsters, a theme he has done in other series as well (even going to the extent of humanising a demon).

If you like clear distinctions and Paladin hero's on white chargers then Jason isn't for you.... he is not scared to show the bad side of his hero's nor shy of a heroine taking the lead role. All his characters have deliberate personality flaws, just like real people nor is there a single hero (or heroine) but every character is a hero or heroine to some extent and perhaps a demon to a different extent.

I will not go into the plot, if you want that then download the first part FREE (New Beginnings (Vitalis)).
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on 18 September 2015
A very good read, as though your going back to prehistoric earth and the struggles of mankind.
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on 15 May 2013
Stories about civilised people stranded in wild and barbaric lands are a distinctive genre, and Jason Halstead ably weaves such a tale in his Vitalis Omnibus.

Kira is the hottest thing that's ever set foot on The Rented Mule. Rudely dumped out of cold sleep by a mysterious encounter with alien hostiles, her spaceship and its crew are forced to crash land into the bedrock of the ocean on an uncharted planet. This turns out to be less hospitable than they imagined; the native dinosaur-chickens, or "Chickasaurs", are not exactly friendly. However, the crew soon realise that mere dinosaurs are the least of their problems. The book is great fun, and packs a surprisingly poignant punch at the end.
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on 8 September 2015
A good series of books which are still ongoing
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on 9 June 2016
Good book excellent story.
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on 14 May 2013
"Vitalis Omnibus" is pretty long--because it contains *seven* entries from the Vitalis series--and it slays.

The plot of these short-ish stories fuses ideas from "A Fire Upon The Deep" by Vernor Vinge, and the Blakes 7 episode "Trial": high-tech humanoids resort to underworld survival techniques on the fringes of civilisation, and are menaced by a mysterious, global lifeform. I would not hesitate to place "Vitalis Omnibus" in this lofty company. Actually, Halstead's limitless imagination makes his book even more fun than those two--albeit I suppose the tyrannosaurs would have been difficult for B7's modelling department to bring to life.

On this evidence, Halstead is definitely an author to check out.
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on 26 March 2013
Excellent swashbuckling stuff and the omnibus helps you get over the shotgun delivery. Couldn't stop reading and I'm English! That's about it being unashamedly American... have fun. iain
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