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21 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was amazed!
Being a Rocketship, Robots and Raygun sort of guy, I fully expected to dwell in the details of the First Admiral in space, yet I found that while it was very interesting, and sometimes moved me deeply with some of what he was seeing (more on that in a moment), I found the more interesting parts was the 'new' Billy on Earth, being a son and a schoolboy.

First...
Published on June 6, 2012 by J.Z. Watkins

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in Sophistication, Flawed, but Strangely Good
My 9 year old grand son writes books. His last involved a hero who kept leaping through worm holes to arrive on different planets where he would find a "special" sword and do battle with a serpent, a robot and a robot serpent.

"The First Admiral" reminded me of my grandson's style, it's the kind of book he might be writing when he's 15.

Totally...
Published on May 18, 2012 by Richard Jackson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was amazed!, June 6, 2012
By 
J.Z. Watkins (Reston, VA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Being a Rocketship, Robots and Raygun sort of guy, I fully expected to dwell in the details of the First Admiral in space, yet I found that while it was very interesting, and sometimes moved me deeply with some of what he was seeing (more on that in a moment), I found the more interesting parts was the 'new' Billy on Earth, being a son and a schoolboy.

First Admiral has some very epic space battles, does a few things I rarely see in space opera, like firing solutions that work. Reasons why a fighter really is just a convention of space opera and not a good idea at times. Although in fairness to those who love space fighters, the author does use them well on both sides of the space battles.

I know I found a book I would return to again when I saw our hero not just winning battles but making the universe a better place. Its more than just about survival and that last message is one the author paints back on Earth as well as out in space.

Billy's life before was just survival as I hope you'll read. I skipped it at first, thinking 'oh another average school life while I wait to get back to the -real- story'. I was quite wrong. What was happening out in space was building a better Billy at home. At school, against bullies, even saving a life, and helping his parents be happier, its a Billy who doesn't just use superior abilities newly gained in and of themselves, he uses them wisely.

There were some wonderful moments that I found myself bookmarking (hey its a kindle!), and surprised that most of them weren't how well a battle was fought. The author can be so surprisingly warm and meaningful. Billy seeing the cost of war was expected, Billy seeing how he could make a difference in some refugee's life, still chokes me up a bit.

I found as I neared the end of the book saying 'no, no, no' meaning I didn't want it to end. It was a good place to end, whether the author does more with this or not (which I hope he does).

Enjoy the First Admiral, its not what it might seem like on the surface and I think you'll enjoy it more because of that.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in Sophistication, Flawed, but Strangely Good, May 18, 2012
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My 9 year old grand son writes books. His last involved a hero who kept leaping through worm holes to arrive on different planets where he would find a "special" sword and do battle with a serpent, a robot and a robot serpent.

"The First Admiral" reminded me of my grandson's style, it's the kind of book he might be writing when he's 15.

Totally lacking any pretense of sophistication, and contemptuous of internal consistency and the laws of physics, it nevertheless succeeds by shear dint of pace of narrative. Having started it I was reluctant to put it down.

The story takes place on two (unlikely) fronts. Young Billy, an English schoolboy, flits between his role as First Admiral of an alien alliance and battling bullies at his school. Does this sound strange? Well, yes it is, unbelievably so. But there is always something happening and the story just drives along.

Mr. Benning, please learn some elementary physics -- when a space ship runs out of fuel it does not stop dead. And a stricken craft does not "fall". But by all means write some more of these stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic space opera, with a twist, September 24, 2012
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I was pleasantly surprised with First Admiral. The author did a nice job of mixing in teenage angst with classic space opera battle. I think the first in a new series books are tough to write because you have to develop brand new characters while simultaneously keeping the pace quick enough to keep the reader interested. First Admiral does an nice job. I am looking forward to the next in the series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great page turner, June 15, 2012
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The book wa questionable at the start (typical space opera start) but the twist was great. I will buy the sequel!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice space opera, April 23, 2012
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SAW (Centreville, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A new author off to a good start. Interesting story premise. The author and editor need to be consistent with using units of measures -- the inconsistent usage of miles vs kilometers is distracting.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You know... I see a trend., April 12, 2012
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
When an author shares the credit with the editor you know this book that will be above the rest.
I was not disappointed. The way this story opened was fantastic and well executed.
The character and plot development was very enjoyable, even if trifle unbelievable at times.
The space battles remind me Jack Campbell of the Lost Fleet series. They are detailed and for me, easily to create a mental picture of the battlespace.

Definitely 5 stars and can't wait for the next installment.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Author needs assistance, May 19, 2012
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I rated this "2 stars" as the story-line, though an often used theme, has potential. In addition, the "early years" portions, possibly drawn from the author's experience & observation, came across well...

As noted in several reviews, the "science" was atrocious, in physics & biology at minimum. "Aliens", defined only by skin & hair color, was a unbelievable until a possible explanation was presented far too late in the story.
Mentioning only a few difficulties:
A refugee fleet, averaging only 400+ Km/hour (moderate for a WWII prop plane), then stating a search area in square Km (vs. cubic) was ridiculous. Carrier space defense weaponry, spaced every 50 yards for a Km (confusing measurement types) was incorrectly calculated.
With battles within only a few Km, much sounded like a land/sea battle hastily converted to "space".
There was also far too much detail & redundant explanation -- colorful phrases followed by drab explanations of the phrases, and repeated detailed (and erroneous) explanations of physics.

As also noted in other reviews, the lead-in segment was far too long & detailed, losing the audience in the "final battle" where it should have led them into the primary story.
Losing colorful redundancy, inaccurate physics, and far too detailed explanations, this book should have been half its size, while concentrating on its theme rather than the superfluous.

I really dislike being this negative. The story-line does have potential, as long as the author concentrates more on (his) experience, and accepts assistance from outside sources in developing consistency & accuracy in the sciences...
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5.0 out of 5 stars 1st Admiral, July 14, 2013
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A good read!
Fun but a little predictable.
Need a diversion from reality? A good escape. Fun!
Definitely too short.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, March 13, 2013
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Badly written slock, terrible characters, horrible writing, not worth the price or the time involved in reading it. Avoid at all costs.
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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting concept, January 7, 2013
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This review is from: First Admiral (The First Admiral Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
First Admiral by William J. Benning

Rating 3***

This saga is split between a space battle and a life of a boy named Billy here on earth. First of all let me explain as I am not a fan of science fiction, but the concept here is interesting. While I enjoyed Billy's instance here on Earth, the space scenes simply seemed to draw out and not progress. With what little I know about space travel several scenes seemed very far fetched even for fiction. In my opinion, I would love to see the story of Billy and his adventures here be the focus and maybe snippets of the spaceship adventures. This book will appeal to teen boys and men, so it does have an audience.
Michelle McQueen
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