Top positive review
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climax of the series to date, classic space opera battles
on April 22, 2013
As a single book this book leaves you feeling unfinished. It does not end at a natural point, leaving more open issues than completed. So I am going to take an unusual step for me and review the first six books in mass, because they lead to a satisfactory climax. Although, the series is obviously poised to continue into new territory. The series reads like a series of comic books, each a struggle and battle between the hero and evil villains. But the true climactic battle with of one of the arch villains does not occur until book six. Prior to this the heroes fight his henchman in battles limited to a non conclusive scope.
The book is somewhat formulaic in it's creation of a crisis where the senior officers are killed and a junior officer fresh out of military academy must step into the captains role. But this formula is used often because it works. It is exciting and allows the reader to empathize with young men and woman thrust into the maelstrom.
Since I found the series late, I simply bought all six of the first books and read them straight through. This was only acceptable because the kindle price is fairly reasonable. Had I bought these as paperbacks I would have given up on the first novel as too short, inconclusive, and not worth the price. The publisher should consider issuing a compilation of the novels. Like the Lord of the Rings, reading just one of the books in the series is nonsensical, you must read them all or none (although, I do not mean to imply this series quality approaches the Lord of the Rings series).
I love military science fiction. I would suggest reading David Weber, Eric Flint, Tolkien, Raymond Feist, Christopher Nuttall, Mike Sheffield, David Sherman, Thoman Deprima, B.V. Larson, Ilona Andrews, Marcus Twyman, Kennedy Hunter, etc....But as I have devoured all their publications I continue to search for the next prolific author. Ryk Brown is not yet to their quality, yet, but he has potential.
These books are fast paced, escapism. Do not attempt to read into the novels; they are what they are, simple entertainment. Like the comic books of your childhood you can empathize with the sizzle and boom, while not questioning the underlying assumptions too hard.
The newly created captain must fight an evil empire. In this case the added complexity is to fight one in the isolated fringe of the galaxy, then the requirement to return and single handed save the Earth from another. Only his ship and his crew has the miraculous jump drive which gives him the maneuverability to overcome frightful odds. Like Star Trek it is also a good thing all the aliens are humanoid and their language can be readily translated into english.
So don't look for a deep philosophical novel and don't expect to find reading the first novel in a vacuum to be at all satisfying. If however you can gulp down all six of the first novels (and they are not very thick) you will feel more satisfied. These books are not a gourmet literary repast, instead approaching a McDonald burger, very adequate and filling, but not immensely memorable.