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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne style fun in a space opera
I've now re-read the series 3 times - and I almost never read a book twice within a decade. If you want a torchered soul wrestling with an abused childhood or an attempt to answer eternal questions of morality and spirituality - then go somewhere else. If you want fun and a clear cut good vs. bad story - read on! Are some of the characters 2 dimensional? Sure. Is the...
Published 5 months ago by Winston 1874

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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK Book But Could Be Better
I wish there was a way to give a 3 1/2 star rating to a book, because I really do believe that A Galaxy Unknown is better that a 3, but I can not in good conscience give the book 4-stars. I have loved space opera SciFi ever since I first read the Lensman Series by E, "Doc" Smith in the late 50s and early 60s. It's fast paced and doesn't bog the reader down with complex...
Published on March 15, 2011 by Mary Ellison


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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK Book But Could Be Better, March 15, 2011
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I wish there was a way to give a 3 1/2 star rating to a book, because I really do believe that A Galaxy Unknown is better that a 3, but I can not in good conscience give the book 4-stars. I have loved space opera SciFi ever since I first read the Lensman Series by E, "Doc" Smith in the late 50s and early 60s. It's fast paced and doesn't bog the reader down with complex attempts to reason how things work or why. They just do. It is "fiction" afterall. In the case of A Galaxy Unknown, the author holds to this truism. He makes no attempt to explain how faster than light travel is achieved. Nor should he. The concept is well established in space opera, and those who want a more rational approach to interstellar travel should look elsewhere for their next book. Perhaps they will find it in a local college physics class. The same sentiment can apply to the use of superheros. Space opera has been filled with them for as long as I can remember, so get over it.

The book makes extensive use of military operations, so there are spectacular rescue operations, tragedies, space battles of near epic proportions, and government stupidity enough to satisfy anyone. All of this is good fun and mostly easy reading, in that the book does not ask the reader to make any moral judgements or ponder any deep, philosophical thoughts.

So why only 3-stars? The answer is that the book gets off to a slow start, rather than reaching out and grabbing the reader right up front. If you try to make a judgement about this book based on a reading of the free-sample, the chances are that you will not buy the book. That would be a shame, because if you stick with it, the book will come around and get hold of you. When that happens, you will find it difficult to put it down. In my case, I just couldn't get into it until the start of Chapter 7.

Second, the author spends a good bit of time explaining how Raiders wanted to make sex slaves of the women it captures during its raids on Alliance shipping. And if that isn't bad enough, he also seems to drool over the details of their underwear, their outergarments, their boots, their makeup, and their body size and shape. He makes a big deal of extensive DNA modification to produce the ideal slave, irresistible and willing, who will do anything to please paying clients.

I'm an adult female, and a senior one at that, with an interest in SciFi, but I found myself wondering what I had gotten myself into with this book. If I wanted to read that smut, I'd buy some porn the regular way. Thankfully there wasn't too much of this in the story. As it was, I was uncomfortable enough that I finally just skipped over those parts of the book until I got back to the basics of what a good military space opera should be. It's a shame that it exists at all, because the main story line was good enough to stand on its own without turning the book into a steamy dime novel.
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172 of 221 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read but flawed, August 18, 2010
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I struggled a bit in finding the right rating for this book.

Positives:

1) For the most part, fun to read.

Negatives:

1) At times chock-full of unnecessary exposition. The long aside explaining FTL travel added nothing to this space opera
2) The main character is a God-Mode-Sue.

-SPOILERS-
1) She doesn't age.
2) She heals like Wolverine
3) She is a better tactician/strategist than Sun-Tzu
4) She fights like Bruce Lee
5) She shoots like Bullseye
6) She literally can do no wrong
7) Everyone except clear strawmen characters love and respect her.
8) She is genetically re-engineered to be a supermodel sex-kitten who is feels pain as pleasure

EDIT=======
In fairness to the author who posted a detailed defense of his book in the comments, the above contain some elements of hyperbole.

I will also include one other criticism that I should have included originally. Suppose you came up with an immortality serum, how would you use it? How high on your list of uses is "make immortal sex slaves"?
===========

In a lot of ways the writing is dreadful. The superhuman main character combined with the dull exposition should have been horrible. Yet nevertheless I enjoyed the book. I even bought the sequel. This author has a lot of potential, and if the flaws can be overcome, this could be great.
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255 of 342 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, enormous holes in plot and science, but a glimmer emerges, October 28, 2010
By 
Larry in Lafayette (Lafayette, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I ordered A Galaxy Unknown based on good reviews without trying a sample first. I had a sinking feeling in the first paragraph. Here it is, in full:

"A dizzying montage of abrasive red and white splashes from the overhead light slathered the room and savagely doused her sleeping form without effect. But when the red alert horn's undulating shrieks stabbed mercilessly at her body and knifed their way to the marrow of her bones, consciousness aggressively irrupted into Jenetta Carver's sleep-anesthetized brain."

Where does one start critiquing that? If they are having no effect, why are the lights "dizzying," "abrasive," and "savage"? Why would sound knife to the marrow, which is not found in bones anywhere near the ears? Why is consciousness, not sound, aggressive? Is consciousness so different from the brain that it can intrude upon the brain in an unevenly increasing manner? (Got thesaurus?)

Sentences like "... it greatly increased an already heightened state of agitation." and "The gymnastic movement evinced a legerity that contrasted markedly ..." Irrupted? Legerity? The author should tattoo Stephen King's words to the inside of his forehead: "Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule." Then the author wouldn't use words like "immurement," "pertinacious," and "sedulous." To be fair, the writing gets a little less overwrought as the story progresses. Still bad, but better.

OK, enough about the writing. What about the science, the immersion in a different time? In a word, dismal. During this time they have zero gravity, faster than light travel, and faster than light communication. But picture frames are "black anodized aluminum", mirrors and viewing ports are polycarbonate, explosive bolts hold on a protective cover on "a small radio telemetry array" (necessary to compute basic nav data, for some reason) and after a training exercise in which a power unit's "circuit rods" are replaced by our heroine, it bursts into flames.

Inconsistencies abound. Jenetta's rescue pod is almost out of power, but has maintained an artificial gravity field for 10 years (which later on is said to require significant power.) Computers can bring an FTL space ship into normal space and not let it resume FTL travel, but torpedoes have to be guided manually. Jenetta is programmed to enjoy pain (don't ask) while unconscious and is later deprogrammed in a few hours, but it takes eight to ten years to completely rewrite her DNA. Generally the science has the feeling that it is made up on the spot to satisfy a plot requirement, then dragged, kicking and screaming, through the rest of the book, leaving implausability in its wake.

OK, enough about the science. How about the plot? Here is where the glimmer of hope emerges. Not because it is anything but preposterous. But because after despairing at the ambiguity and obscurity of much modern science fiction, there is something refreshing in the naivete of a plot like the one in "A Galaxy Unknown." (Spoiler alert!) The more hopeless her situation, the more Jenetta triumphs in the end. Tattooed, trapped, brainwashed, and abused in a detention center in an enemy's hollow asteroid surrounded by 18,000 enemy? Of course she is going to escape in command of not one but two of the most most powerful ships in the known universe and blow the base up behind her. The greater her triumph, the larger the challenge that comes next. Returning Space Command's two lost ships? Of course Space Command is going to shackle her and put her up on charges for desertion, murder, impersonating an officer, etc.

I did end up reading the whole thing. But I really have some trouble understanding how anyone could say A Galaxy Unknown was well written in any way. How about a button like the "Prime Eligible" one that filters out anyone who gave this book four or five stars from affecting the reviews I see? I might start to trust reviews again. Still, I'm envious of anyone who has rated this book highly because they have obviously never read any good science fiction. What I would give to be able to have all of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, Greg Bear, Orson Scott Card, Daniel Keys Moran, etc., in front of me? A lot.

If, after what I wrote, you still want to get A Galaxy Unknown, you should. And if I'm wrong anywhere, please comment. I haven't forgotten that Thomas DePrima has written and completed books that people enjoy. That is a significant accomplishment in itself, and one that I admire.
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41 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost like Plan Nine From Outer Space, in book form, January 11, 2011
By 
Andrew R. Thaler (Brecksville, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
There's no way to put this gently: This is not good writing, let alone good science fiction. However, if you either don't notice or don't mind all the badness, or if you can suffer through and skip over the worst parts, it can get mildly entertaining at points.

I originally purchased this book via a Kindle suggestion. It had a high star rating (really, guys?), and I saw that there was a whole series. So it seemed like it might be popular enough. And hey -- I actually enjoy reading the occasional trashy sci-fi series every so often. Cheesy military SF is my secret vice. But after getting about hundred pages in, I literally gave up in disgust, stopped reading, and deleted it. (Eventually I realized that I could never again let myself impulsively buy Amazon recommendations from authors I don't recognize without getting a sample first.)

Fast-forward six months. I've forgotten all about it, and I'm looking through my suggestions again. Hm, it keeps recommending the second book in some science fiction series. That sounds like it might be fun, but I can't start a series there. Let's go sample the first one. Wait, I already bought it? That's funny. Maybe I should give it another chance. And so I recover it from the archives and sit down to try to read it again.

Wow. So yeah, my first impression was spot on. It's not good.

Here's a partial list of the abuses this book delivers. There are mild spoilers in here, I suppose, but in a way I think the spoilers are what might possibly entice you to buy the book.

- Template: "An unlikely hero overcomes all odds." Like every book L.E. Modesitt Jr has ever written, but even more ham-handed and clumsy. Right down to the hero constantly overhearing people talking about her amazing achievements.
- Hero Perfection: Strikingly beautiful 21-year old ensign with a heart of gold leaves everyone she meets in awe of her. She defeats legions of enemies through her natural talent for both hand-to-hand combat and space battle, and saves planets as an afterthought. Halfway through the book she is genetically modified by the bad guys so that she will grow six inches, have bigger breasts, never need makeup, heal almost instantly, experience pain as sexual pleasure, and live to be 5000 years old. And she poops gold too. OK, actually, I made up the pooping part but the rest is all straight from the book.
- Slow Start: I honestly had to skim the beginning because it led off with chapters and chapters of nothing happening. Hopelessly dry political background, a few pages of the heroine's family life, etc. The book didn't really begin until chapter five.
- Military tactics: 19th century clipper ships. Straight up. And I quote: "Contact off the larboard fo'c'sle, Captain!"
- Science: Only used for plot points, and consistently invented and described about five pages prior to the point where it's needed.
- Futurism: Computers might as well not exist.
- Language: Did the marine pull out his gun and blast the bad guy into dust? No, the space marine pulled out his space gun and blasted the bad guy into space dust!
- Dialogue: Sometimes OK, often bad. When it's bad it's stilted and formal - utilizing word choices, constructions, and dare I say turns of phrase that would astonish if ever you heard an individual of your acquaintance actually speak like that. Which you won't.
- Character descriptions: Every character is described exactly once, including a few random details and, amusingly, almost always a height. "Looking at Dommler with piercing steel-grey eyes, the five-foot eleven-inch officer said"....
- Rambling: The book frequently goes off in odd directions for pages at a time, going down some rathole that's not really in service to the plot or anything in particular. It eventually comes back to the action, but always left me with a kind of vaguely puzzled feeling.
- Predictability: No surprises. Zero. When the heroine visits the giant enemy base in a tiny lowly space tug and happens to see two enormous stolen battleships that the bad guys captured from the good guys, can you guess how she leaves in the end? Exactly.

The one redeeming aspect of this book is that, if you can manage to fight past its many (oh so many) flaws, there's the kernel of ... something. A fantasy adventure of pure escapism. One where the good guys always win, the bad guys always lose, the hero is always perfect, the bureaucrats are always bumbling, and the just-plain-folks are the best people ever. It's a Saturday morning cartoon or a 1930's pulp serial. The kid in me still secretly likes it a little bit no matter how bad it is. And hey, maybe there's even a little bit of hipster in me that likes it ironically. Two stars.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good premise, poorly written, November 22, 2010
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This could have been an incredibly great space opera. The author, however, absolutely ruined it.

The premise for the story is very good, the basic plotline, even, is good. That said, this author is terrible.

First, for anyone starting to read this book, the insane overuse of exclamation points does mitigate somewhat as you continue. The stilted and dry nature of much of the writing, and the impression that it was composed by a fourteen year old, not so much.

In any science fiction universe, some degree of exposition is necessary for a good story - let's face it, the largest readership of this type of novel is going to consist of geeks, and we want to know how the technology works and how the world fits together. The author, though, accomplishes this by constantly making his characters sound as if they're reading strait out of an encyclopedia entry - the majority of the exposition is done through conversation, it's stilted and technical and, simply put, absolutely miserably put together.

Almost worse is that the author doesn't take the time to explain, at least in any real detail, some of the the issues that could be interesting - the author avoids any topic whatsoever that could potentially leave you questioning the reality of combat sequences, technology, or anything else. Basic stuff is stated in the open, in boring detail and poor writing style, but anything that might, potentially, have you look at the main characters, the ships, or the world in detail and think "um...this doesn't fit..." is either left out of any and all exposition, or never brought up in critical situations in the story line.

Beyond that, the essentially instantaneous (yea, 10 years in stasis is a long time, but as is pointed out ad nauseum in the book, it's nothing to the person who was in stasis) transformation of an absolutely terrible military cadet who can't make a critical decision to save her life to kick-ass, calm and collected hero is ridiculous. Some token effort is taken to suggest why the main character is able to handle what she does, but it's unbelievable in the extreme, especially for anybody with even a basic military background. Actually, I'm told it's pretty unrealistic even to those without. There is nothing whatsoever in the writing that explains the change in her ability to command, much less function, in high-stress situations, it just happens for no reason. The main character goes from useless to bad-ass with no real transition whatsoever.

It's very sad that this book's technical details and writing style are so bad. The concept of the universe presented is interesting, and while the plot is somewhat predictable, overall it isn't bad. I can't help but think if this were written by a better author with this concept, it could be an excellent series - but this is just...horrid.
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130 of 192 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A galaxy unknown, September 1, 2010
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OMG! There were nearly 40 4 and 5 star reviews so I felt that this book was worth taking a chance over even if it had only been electronically published. This is horrible. I haven't managed to make it past the fourth chapter. The purple prose, needless use of 5 dollar words,and sentences like this one "Numerous items of limited pecuniary value stirred a vast reservoir of happy memories and stimulated her lachrymal glands beyond her control." are going to cause me to lose control of the contents of my stomach. Seriously, this is one of the worst things I have ever read. It is awful. There is a reason that it was not issued in a print format. I am in no way a tree hugger but I would have protested the use of paper for this dreck. People please spare yourselves and DO NOT READ this crap.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne style fun in a space opera, June 1, 2014
By 
Winston 1874 "WLSC1874" (Pennsylvania, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown (Paperback)
I've now re-read the series 3 times - and I almost never read a book twice within a decade. If you want a torchered soul wrestling with an abused childhood or an attempt to answer eternal questions of morality and spirituality - then go somewhere else. If you want fun and a clear cut good vs. bad story - read on! Are some of the characters 2 dimensional? Sure. Is the heroine too perfect? Maybe. But sometimes I just want to read an story where the white hats are obvious and you can cheer them on. There are some interesting concepts and a lot of cliches, but it comes together in an entertaining way.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A so so start to a space adventure series, January 13, 2011
By 
Clyde M. Wisham Jr. "C. Wisham" (Kohoku-ku, Yokohama-shi Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A young female navel officer struggles against seemingly insurmountable difficulties and finally triumphs. Shades of Honor Harrington? Perhaps a bit. Even closer might be Kylara Vatta. (I suspect the success of Weber with HH and Moon with KV had a lot to do with DePrima's choice of a female protagonist.) Unfortunately, Jenetta Carver isn't as clearly realized as Honor or Kylara; in fact I find her rather lacking in depth. That said, I did enjoy the story (I'm a sucker for this stuff), and I'll give DePrima another chance.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed!, January 27, 2011
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This review is from: A Galaxy Unknown: (A Galaxy Unknown, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I read this book in about 2 days on my kindle. It was an action packed roller coaster ride. Yea some of the storyline can get a little rediculous but that is why I liked it. It's Not your Asimov type space opera reading. More like some of the early work of Peter F. Hamilton. It has lots of technical descriptions of DePrima's vison of the future and he came up with a unique way of achieving FTL travel (and he gives a pretty good explaniation of how it is achieved). The main character's (Jannetta) tranformation over the entire saga may seem a little fantastic, but hey... this is science fiction guys. IMO it is an overall a feel good book with a good ending. It Does set up well for the rest of the series and I am definitely going to read the next one.
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40 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable crap, November 24, 2010
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From the first sentence I knew I had pissed away my money-

'A dizzying montage of abrasive red and white splashes from the overhead rotating emergency light slathered the room and savagely doused her sleeping form without effect.'

Incredibly enough, it goes downhill from there.
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