Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Steadfast

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: SteadfastThe Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Steadfast by Jack Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is military science fiction done well! Not too political, not just all space combat - Jack Campbell hits all the right notes with the Black Jack Geary series.

In my opinion, Campbell outdoes Weber at military science fiction. Whereas Weber's excellent Honor Harrington series gets deep into the political actions of ...well, absolutely everyone who ever took a breath, Campbell's Lost Fleet series keeps the long-winded political machinations to a minimum. Oh, you'll still get interstellar politics and conspiracies, but it's always shown from the main characters' points of view.

You also get great space battles, interesting aliens, some exploration (though not in this particular book), and an galaxy in-flux as the war has ended and star systems are trying to figure out where they stand and with whom they stand.

To round out what makes the Lost Fleet series, and Steadfast in-particular, great reading is the characters. Everyone has a story and gets a little bit of the narrative without taking focus from the story.

One of the things I like about this series is each novel is named after a ship in the fleet. We find out what's special about Steadfast towards the end of this book.

While Steadfast, the novel, takes place deep within the series, it does a good job of briefly mentioning what's come before. If this is the first book you pick up, you won't be completely lost as to what's going on and why. I've read a few of the novels in the series before Steadfast, and enjoyed them all.

Fans of the Honor Harrington series, Star Wars or Star Trek, or any other military science fiction series will enjoy the Lost Fleet series.

Steadfast is due to be published on May 6, 2014.  Thanks to the publisher for providing my copy for review!


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: Baltic Gambit (Vampire Earth)

Baltic Gambit: A Novel of the Vampire EarthBaltic Gambit: A Novel of the Vampire Earth by E.E. Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought a Vampire Earth book without David Valentine as the main character wouldn't be as good. I was wrong.

Valentine plays second fiddle to Alessa Duvalier this go-round. The book takes her out of her element of scouting and quick combat, and puts in the role of escorting a delegation to a rare conference of the Freeholds in Europe.

We get deep into her thoughts and psyche, and see what makes her tick and how she deals with the things she's done in the fight against the Kurians and what it drives her to do.

Very good book!

I skipped the book about Anh Kah - I'm thinking I should go back and read that too, now!



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Monday, April 7, 2014

Kickstarter for an SF book by Tom Wright

Tacoma-based author Tom D. Wright is running a kickstarter for his new SF/F novel series about a fictional MMO company called TerraMythos. He expects at least 4 books in the series: The Princess of Panchala is the first novel and is already finished. It's based on Hindu mythology, with each subsequent book based on different mythologies.

In the first novel, the main character becomes trapped in an online Hindu MMORPG while searching for her sister as the game-world collapses around her. The game-developers outside the game are actively try to stop her. This novel is finished and the kickstarter is to get it and future novels published, along with the usual kickstarter rewards for backers.

You can find out more about this novel and the kickstarter for it at TerraMythos.com.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Space Battles! Book Review: Starfire

StarfireStarfire by Dale Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I remember reading some of Dale Brown's earlier Patrick McClanahan stories, and thinking they were a tighter, leaner version of Tom Clancy-esque stories. I only read a few of those earlier novels, but only because I got behind and didn't want to try to catch up.

Starfire continues the Patrick McClanahan world though, and gives it over to the next generation of heroes, including Bradley McClanahan. He's the son of the famed General from the other stories. The narrative does a good job of catching the reader up on major events that lead the world and characters to where they are currently. That was good for me, since it had been some years since I had ready anything in this series.

I remember this series being very real-world military fiction. Cutting edge technology featured heavily in the stories I remember. Starfire goes beyond the cutting edge technology firmly into the near-future science fiction. A near-death character is kept alive inside of a robotic suit of power armor. College students develop an orbit-to-ground power-transmitting device and test it from a military space station, only to realize it makes a really good space-based weapon. And in this story, a new cold war has started over space-based weapons and vehicles.

On the whole, this was a good, fun book. Fans of previous installments will enjoy where the story goes. Fans of Tom Clancy or similar political/military fiction will enjoy this, though it's not as heavy on the political as a Clancy tome.

To nitpick, the narrative is very heavy on detailing the technology and sometimes spends way too much time describing in excruciating detail what is happening. In fact, the opening scene with a character going into space on-board a spaceplane, and docking and boarding a spacestation is one of those too-much-detail scenes. I almost didn't make it through that opening passage. But once I did, the action and actual story-telling picked up. Later sections that went into detail weren't nearly as in-depth as that opening passage and were easily skimmed over. I don't really need to know all the specific manufacturing and deployment history of certain missiles, jets, or whatever, just give me a nice quick overview if what is absolutely relevant to the narrative.

Overall, a good action/military story with a strong space element to the story.



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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Apocalypse

ApocalypseApocalypse by Dean Crawford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very interesting premise: the ability to see forward in time using a man-made black hole, and two detectives on retainer with the DIA must find out why a man suspected of murdering his own family knows things before they happen.

The story is believably executed in a great action/adventure style reminiscent of Clive Cussler or James Rollins at their best.

Good stuff!


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Received March 2014

Thanks to the publisher for supplying the latest Jack Campbell Lost Fleet book for review!


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