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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2012
The story follows a raw recruit, straight out of training, to his first combat deployment. And it certainly is one heck of a deployment. Over the course of the story, he grows from a terrified young man who just wants to go home, to a hardened veteran, who has seen too much in too short a time. The underlying tension is ultimately, "why?". Why do we go to war?

The dialogue is a bit on the rough side, which is fitting with the rough nature of the characters, most of whom come from underprivileged situations. The prose, however, is also a bit rough, and as such, could really use a bit more polish; there are a number of typos and incorrect use of possessive vs. plural.

Overlook those things, and you will find yourself engrossed in the story, experiencing sympathy for the main character as he goes thru various situations. The ending was relatively decisive, in terms of the local conflict, yet still open enough to make you wonder "what next...?"
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
This story is told from the first person perspective of a fresh-faced recruit to the drop ship infantry, the future equivalent of the airborne infantry. The author is a veteran of the British infantry and it shows. Every page drips with authenticity (quite an accomplishment for a sci-fi novel).

Richards' prose isn't polished as other works, but it shouldn't be. The present form preserves the grit, gristle, and overall hardship of war. Refinement would probably take away from its gruff believability. The equipment, technology, and tactics are well thought out and explained without interrupting the narrative. Small details like the main character wondering why drop pods can deliver troops to a planet's surface from orbiting spacecraft but can't keep its passengers cool will be familiar to anyone who's ever been in an armored vehicle in the summer. And in the future, the chow still sucks. Some things never change. An account written by one of Alexander's men would likely have similar observations. This book captures the timeless elements of soldiering.

A great read.
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51 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
I wish to explain why I only gave your book two stars.

First, let me say that I was entertained. I easily give up on books I don't like, and I often don't like books with a glaring need for editing, as yours has. But, you managed to give this story some heart. You clearly cared about your story and characters, and managed to make me care too. It moved along briskly. No wasted time.

You also have some talent at putting the reader into the terrors and chaos and filth and funk and degradation of war, as seen through the eyes of a very young man. I wanted to see if your protagonist survived what you threw at him. Kudos.

That said, this book desperately needed an editor! More so than any other "Indie" book I've yet to read. It's full of spelling errors; grammar errors (such as incorrect use of "it's" versus "its"); inconsistent capitalization (such as sometimes starting quoted sentences with a capitalized word, sometimes not); funky punctuation (such as using an apparently random number of periods for an ellipsis, like "'Could be worse, mate.....' Sam answered."); use of slang idioms like "I'd of" rather than "I would've" in the narration rather than in your dialogue; etc etc etc. All this leads to an overall impression of sloppiness.

This may sound like pointless nit-picking to you? Clearly, you've gotten some four- and five-star reviews from people who weren't bothered by such problems. But many people WILL be bothered by them, and won't buy your book for that reason.

The fortunate part is, these are all simple mechanical problems that an editor could have caught and corrected for you. If you want to raise your game and find a wider audience, please please find someone to edit your next novel! I think you can move to that next level with some help in that area.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
this is a plausible future of the military and how it effects the people involved. a great story with great characters that you can watch grow and change through out the book
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2012
As much as can be the case, the author immerses the reader into the realities of warfare, whether now or in the distant future. The story line and characters are compelling. This was a great book!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2013
Okay it is not that extreme in either direction. The upside is that the author is so knowledgeable about (British) military life that he captures it very well. it is easy to immerse yourself in his version of military life in the future. He is able to keep the swearing to minimum (a big plus in my book) even in a military novel.

The downside is that he needs some work on his writing skills. He tends to use long run-on sentences that are real "snoozers". Any sentence over 25 words should be suspect. When in action scenes the sentences should be short reflecting the staccato pace of high action scenes.

So great knowledge vs poor structure, what is the bottom line?

I will probably buy more of his work when I want a "hard-core" military experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
I borrowed C.R.O.W. through the Kindle Lending Library. I am in a cheap phase right now, mostly reading eBooks through my local libraries and the KLL rather than buying them. I’ll grab few free books now and then. You know how it is with eBooks, some authors are just beginners getting started, some are pretty good or you can tell they will be one day, and some are good to go right now.

Phillip Richards is in the last category. I’ve read a lot of military science fiction in the last several years, and Richards is up there with the best MSF writers. No lie.

How much did I like C.R.O.W.? As soon as I finished it, I logged on to Amazon and bought Lancejack. No disappointment there. How lucky for readers that he decided to make this a series rather than leave C.R.O.W. as a one-off.

I finished Lancejack today. What did I do next? I logged on to Amazon and bought Eden. And then I bought C.R.O.W. just because I wanted to support the author.

The storylines are interesting, the characters are believable, and the action scenes—well, all the details of someone in the service—ring true to me. One particular thing in the books fascinates me. In this future universe, the contending nations are the European Union, China, and Russia. Wait a minute! What about the USA? It’s never mentioned, never even hinted at. Maybe other European authors do the same thing, but I’ve never run into it. It’s kind of cool, really.

I guess some reviewers had problems with the author’s British grammar. I kind of expected it. And if it ever seems unpolished, well, the lack of education of the troopers is mentioned more than once and it would be unsurprising for that that to bleed over into the presentation of the characters’ thoughts and dialogue. I noticed few outright typos, many fewer than in most eBooks, even those by some prominent authors.

I hope Phillip Richards continues to write and develop his craft. I look forward to reading more books from him in the future.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2012
Man, talk about a good book! I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of starship troopers, though it went beyond that. As an army front lines veterans I saw many thoughts, ideas, feelings and situations written in this book. It's sad, triumphant, and very honest. A damn good book, strongly reccomended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
This is what I love about amazon. I love military syfi and you do not get that many through regular publishing. Thii is a good fun read and I would buy more from this auther.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2012
Enjoyed the read. Yes, some typo's but it was great airplane reading. I especially enjoyed the UK point of view.
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