on September 4, 2012
Alarm of War weaves classic military strategy considerations into a fast-paced sci-fi narrative. The result is an wholly believable and completely absorbing story, which transports the reader into the future, and into the minds and motivations of the protagonists. Alarm of War is intelligent, stimulating, and well-written---it left me hungry for sequels. I thoroughly recommend it.
on October 5, 2012
After reading through this book, one could be forgiven for forgetting that it is the author's debute title. Mr Hudner demonstrais an innate sense of timing as he switches between the various viewpoints of the story. The plot is spilt not just between the four main characters but also their adversaries and allies. It serves to heighten the reader's interest in the characters and plot early on and maintains a sense of tension and suspense once the war itself gets going. The technology of this future is less fanciful and more hard science (more BattleStar Galacitica than Star Treck). While inter-stellar travel is possible, human colonization still greatly relied bassed upon the convenient discovery of wormholes, which also play a key roll in the plot of this story.
One thing that becomes clear early on in this story is that this book was most definitely NOT written by a military man. However this turns out to be more of an asset to the writing in that Hudner makes his characters more human. Where as someone with military experience would be willing to write off mistakes as "an inevitable part of war" or pass the blame further up the faceless chain of command, Hudner is more than willing to point fingers. He is not afraid to show military officers are more than just their uniforms and still just as human as the rest of us. Arrogance, vindictiveness, distrust, self-doubt, cowardice, power struggles, blind optimism are all revealed during the course of the story and each one comes with a price. One Aspect of the military this author is quite fluent in is military history. There are several references to actual historical events and trends which guide the characters' actions. Hudner also shows an appreciation for how much personality and different preconceptions can drive history.
If there is any real fault to found with the book is in the imagery. Certainly there is some leeway to be given to the book only being released on Kindle or the lack of visual accompaniments but by and large the appearance of this world Hudner has created is largely left up to the imagination of the reader. It is also difficult at times to maintain a sense of scale when space battles taking place over areas larger than the size of a planet. Many times battles will be concluded before the opposing forces have come closer than the Moon is to the Earth. One hopes that this will be rectified when this ongoing series gets the wider publication it most definitely deserves.
on May 13, 2015
I read this book awhile back but failed to post a review. So, after re-reading the book, I’m going to correct that mistake.
This is a good science-fiction book. It’s got a lot of good story content. Initially, I was not sure which side I was supposed to be cheering for since the book starts out with a sinister plotting that will lead to war.
You get introduced to the Dominion of Unified Citizenry (D.U.C.s) and the Tilleke Empire. They and a few minor planetary systems are not pleased with the Victorians (Victoria).
Victoria is the dominating civilization residing in a system that just happens to lead to six others. Obviously, all trade has to go through Victoria and then through one of her six wormholes other wise the shipping lanes are extremely long. Victoria hasn’t really taken advantage of this situation. They haven’t levied any kind of passage tax on any shipping going either way through any of the wormholes, but the trips between systems does require stops for fueling and minor repairs. Also, most goods are transported to Victoria’s home planet and then placed in warehouses so the customer can then come pick them up. Warehouse storage fees are becoming a problem or so the Dominion and Tilleke Empire believes. Additionally, the Tilleke Empire needs a certain mineral which is mined in a system they do not control. Transportation of that mineral to Victoria does have to go through the Tilleke Empire and they do take a portion as transit taxes but they believe they are not getting enough. Unfortunately, the Victorian Fleet is quite large and they protect the shipping lanes.
So, with all this politicking going on, it’s a wonder a war doesn’t start. That’s the overall big picture. The book then switches to a small group of people, four to be exact, who are just now embarking on military careers with the Victorian Fleet. Their stories start with how they got to the point of joining the Victoria military and why. Then we read about their time in basic training. There is quite a lot of action during this part of the story.
From here we follow our main characters to the Victoria Fleet; the mightiest fleet in any system. Well, that’s what they thought. Unknown to the Victorian’s, the D.U.C.s and Tilleke’s were secretly building more ships and developing new technology. They come up with a pretty smart plan and spring it on the Victorian’s rapidly. Soon, Victoria’s mighty fleet is shredded and fleeing for it’s life to Refuge.
Our main characters come to fight. Although very junior officers, they get thrown into some very interesting situations. Lots of combat actions both Navy and Marine. I really liked all the space and Marines battles. The author did a nice job in describing the actions.
There is a lot more to this story so you’ll have to read it to see what I left out here. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. One thing in my favor is that although I read this sometime awhile ago, it allowed for the next book to be published. I can’t wait to read it.
on December 4, 2015
Space Opera / Coming-of-Age Story
This was Victoria's weakness: ' "Without a doubt." Mello smiled coldly. Sometimes you defeat your enemy through their arrogance, sometimes through their fear. And sometimes, simply through their predictability.
It didn't really matter, as long as you won and they died. ' (loc 5367) Although uttered by an enemy, it sets the tone for this tragedy of squabbling empires. Smoothly, the story introduces recruits to military schooling, then fleet duty at the opening of a war.
Pro: battles don’t depend on one weapon, like lasers, but include mines, nukes, point-defense, missiles and decoys.
Ships cannot be completely ‘stealthed’, nor escape at FTL, thus remain in range of enemy retaliation. Frigate Captains should know they will not survive a broadside. Cruisers always suffer damage to external fittings (like turrets).
As other stories, this depends on computer whizzes to crack codes and decipher enemy objectives.
Con: Coincidentally, all officers on Emily’s ship are wounded or disabled, leaving her in charge. Then she must develop tactics to maximize her ship strengths and strike the enemy’s weaknesses. Focused on bridge action, the book ignores other departments like dispensary, environmental, CIC or damage control.
Sections where characters go to bed with each other seem gratuitous. After bloody battles, after adrenaline rush, why do they feel like sex? Why not cuddle until the shakes pass? And warriors giving each other blood tears?? (Minus one star)
Otherwise, the character backgrounds are smoothly introduced, such as Captain Grey’s growing up around Sir Henry, Queen’s Advisor: ‘…he used to bounce her on his knee and tell her stories of the faraway lands he had visited. Grey’s father had died before she was a year old. Sir Henry had become a “special friend” of her mother’s, and though they never married and after a time no longer shared a romantic relationship, he had remained a family friend and was as close to a father figure as Grey ever had…. ‘
That said, I do want to know how Emily, Hiram, Cookie and Grant do in Book 2.
on September 7, 2014
I bought this not too long after it came out. I have read it 3 times since then, always getting something new out of it each time. A very enjoyable book, entertaining and kept my interest. A book that left me wanting more! I recommend it to everyone that likes sci-fi.
on December 24, 2014
I just finished rereading this book; having first read it in 2012. I did not provide a review after the first readng and what a disservice it was to the author! For that matter, my 5 star rating on this book calls into question a number of 5 stars I've given to other books/authors.
This book was great! It's simply got it all! From the depths of depravity to the heights of humanity. From the cruelties of war to moments of shared love. What a roller coaster ride! A super cast of characters with depth; each of them carrying their part of the story. At times you wonder who the main protagonist is. Maybe that's not fair. Emily is at the core but Cookie, Grant and Hiram and many others have their parts in this story.
I reread this story because the sequel is out. I'm ready to keep reading.
on April 25, 2015
Not to long ago, I started reading novels and series within the science fiction genre. I quickly found that I liked the fleet/marine/military type books, so that is what I am always on the look out for now. I picked this book up on the hopes that it would be up my alley. Boy, did this gem deliver. It had everything I was looking for in an action packed military space drama. Like I said, I'm fairly new to the genre, but I do have about 120 , give or take, books under my belt now and I would rate this as up there with some of the better books I've read. The action starts building early on and just keeps on building as the story progresses. Lots of space battles with a number of infantry battles to keep it interesting and even some political behind the scenes tossed in the mix. This is not what I would call "hard science fiction". So, if those types of reads that get into the hard-core science aspect of things are more up your alley, this might not do it for you. But, if you are looking for an action packed science fiction story, I recommend you try it out.
I don't review books often, but when I do, I like to rate each book I read on its own merits and try not to compare to other novels I've read. This book gets a solid 5-stars for being a action packed, hard to put down space brawl that brings everything I like about military science fiction to the table. Only negative? Well, I guess it would be that now I'm hooked on yet another series of books! I'll be downloading book two in the series after writing this review....my wallet weeps, hehe.
on December 6, 2014
Oh my gosh - this book is mindblowingly brilliant. Yes it needs some better editing but, hey, so what? A few editing errors didn't detract from what is an exciting, tautly written book with wonderfully drawn characters that you hope like crazy are going to survive in the face of overwhelming odds (ok, Mr Hudner, please, please don't kill off Emily, Hiriam, Grant and Cookie - love these characters). Totally, totally recommend this book and I am about to start Book 2.
on August 21, 2013
There were aspects of this book that I really liked. The characters were good, with decently developed backgrounds. I particularly liked the main character and enjoyed her interactions with others in the first half of the book.
The author obviously worked hard to create the history and sociological background leading up to the war. This was well done and added considerable credibility (and enjoyability) to the book.
My only negatives come from the space battles. The author did make an effort to make these realistic too but there was a disconnect here. There seemed to be no set guidelines on sensor or weapon ranges. Nor did the warships maneuver consistently. For example, in one battle the enemy ships were on the verge of firing on the good guys just any second (for pages on end), only to turn around and instantly disappear from sensor range. That sort of thing.
Still, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any David Weber or Jack Campbell fan. The sequel is on my reading list and I hope it is as good.
on February 17, 2015
This story really needs a good edit; even a high-schooler paid $20 to proofread would be a BIG improvement! That being established, this was a fun story with lots of action, good pacing and fun characters. Yes, all the main characters where super-human, but still mostly human... It may have been a little too convenient at times, but didn't get in the way of a good tale.