Customer Reviews: Star Soldier (Doom Star 1)
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on October 5, 2010
I found this book difficult to rate. It has its good points and its bad. Ultimately, I felt like this was an enjoyable sci-fi failure.

First of all, the editing of this book is absolutely ATROCIOUS. I do not remember ever reading any published work with so many errors, many of them painfully obvious. This was very noticeable throughout the entire book, and sometimes I had to re-read passages several times in order to get the intended meaning. Normally, a work this poorly written would be tossed aside by me, but I found myself enjoying the story and the world enough to power through this annoyance (and from the view of an avid reader, insult).

The world and story are the redeeming qualities of this book. An interesting and "realistic" view of future incarnation of humanity. If you're looking for a "Star Trek"-like utopian view, keep looking. This world is dark and rife with dangers and injustices. The story is interesting, although not always well written. It follows a few main characters and their companions, but not always with the effectiveness that is needed to convey a clear storyline.

The characters in this story are one of its weakest points. They never really come to life, nor does the reader ever grow to care one way or another about them. The lines drawn between protagonists and antagonists are unrealistically defined and obvious. Their thoughts and feelings are sterile and as you read, you never feel anything any character is feeling, you are simply being told what is going through their mind and heart.

Despite the drawbacks of this book, I enjoyed it thoroughly until the end. The world seemed alive, which was the most redeeming quality about this book. An interesting dynamic of this book is how it pits an extreme socialist/communist society against an extreme caste/monarchy-like one.

This interesting dynamic is however what turns into this books hardest downfall. At the end of this book, the main character has a revelation that ruined my enjoyment of this book. A revelation about freedom and a free nation that once existed. It turned a decent go at a sci-fi epic into preachy, pro-democratic/American propaganda. It would be one thing if this turn in the story fit the story itself, but it doesn't. It kind of comes out of nowhere, and never has a place to settle into the story. It made the book itself drop in value. This is the exact kind of thing that readers of science fiction are trying to escape by reading it. It really killed the book for me, and in one page I went from not being able to wait to read the second book to barely being able to finish the first.

All in all, this was an enjoyable sci-fi failure. This book should have been worked on for a few more years however, both the story and the editing needs a lot of work. And it would have been nice that even if the author's sole intent was to extol the greatness of America & Democracy and vilify other forms of government, that it was integrated into the story more so you didn't feel preached at. In the end, it just comes off as a pathetic attempt to persuade you to the author's ideals.

I should say I don't personally disagree with those ideals, just that they ruined what SHOULD have been a decent novel.
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on July 2, 2010
Hard SF is hard to find these days. This is the real deal. We learn how much more radiation one is exposed to on one side of Mercury's orbit vs. the other in the first few pages, for example. But it isn't all technobabble, the characters are very human and having a very hard time of it.

What's even more unusual about this book is it's military Hard SF, even more rare. We are taken into a grim, not-so-distant future where Earth is in the hands of a single political party and those who complain are harshly abused. Much of the book concerns a civil war/rebellion and different groups of genetically-built supermen and who shall rule over all.

Plenty of cool tech ideas, plenty of combat, and what sold me right off was finding only a single slight error in the entire sample (see if you can find it). Some of these cheap books are not of pro quality, but this one did it right, as if the author truly cared.
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on February 21, 2014
A solid 3-star book and series.

The concept is very entertaining: Solution A becomes problem B, and solution B becomes problem C for both B and A. Martin Kluge seems to lead a very charmed life, coming out of impossible situations, all while his companions bemoan their imminent doom and Martin assumes a 'well, whatever, let's try anyway' attitude. That seems to be a recurring theme.

I'm not an astrophysicist. I'm not even going to call out details on interplanetary travel. However, I'm not an idiot. If you ballpark the speed of light, you don't have to keep doing it. Vaughn seems to feel that need exists.

Basic spell-checking. Look, typos happen, grammar is not always perfect, sometimes a homophone slips through. It's a fact of life. And not everyone can run around paying professional proofreaders to try to avoid that, fair enough. However, doesn't whatever word processing software the author uses have any basic spell-checking, or more important, that the correct spelling of the word is used? I can't immerse myself in a story when my eye trips on someone spelling weather when they meant whether (I don't think this happened in the book, but it's a perfect example). This isn't a 'one or two' kind of thing, this is a constant given throughout the series.

I know the author uses word processing software, because entire paragraphs or sections are copied and pasted throughout the series. Look, I know when you're writing a series, sometimes you have to spell out what happened in a previous book because some people may have jumped in at part 2, or part 3, or part 4. However, for the sake of the faithful readers who were there for each part in sequence, could you not bother to take an extra 10 or 15 minutes to re-word that section? The sense of literary indignation that sets in because of this, again, prevents good immersion into the story.

This part is hard to articulate. There will be a micro-climax or sub-climax approaching, pages building up to it...and suddenly it feels like it's over in about 1/10th the time leading up to it. Yes, I know, combat is a lot of hurry up and wait, but I don't feel that my literature should be the same way.

Anyway, I hate not finishing any series I start, so I'm sticking it out, but that is the essence of my experience with this series. I should be looking forward to the next part and devouring pages by the score, not thinking 'Le sigh, I still have 2 installments to go. Well, let's get this over with.'

The concept? Great. The execution, both artistically and grammatically? Meh.
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on January 3, 2011
Well, this is a difficult review to write. Not only because I'm typing from the kindle, but also due to the fact that this novel is rich with excellent ideas yet very poorly executed. The author in question appears to be pumping out books fairly often, and I would advise him to take a step back to proofread and further analyze his writings. Now, I'm a pretty big fan of scifi and if you enjoy scifi then go ahead and purchase the entire series. I say this because while this one is riddled with obvious and fairly embarassing typos, it gets much better with the next two books. That's not to say this one isn't an enjoyable right because is. However, when I purchase a novel I expect minimal, hidden typos at most. Some typos in here seriously hinder the reading experience and make me wonder if he typed it all on a kindle. If you can live with some fairly blatant typos then buy it, it's an enjoyable book and only $1
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on October 19, 2011
Star Soldier and it's four sequels (Soon to be five) describe.....well maybe "describe" isn't the right word because even the descriptions are disjointed and incomplete.....a future time when the Earth and the solar system are populated by mostly arrogant, self-centered, fanatical, and sadistic humans belonging to one of four factions who are all trying to kill or dominate each other. Inserted into this mess is one Martin Kluge who all the above characters seem to have a need to want to either torture, kill, or sleep with and sometimes all three at once? Martin seems to have a knack for making everyone hate his guts. As for Martin, he bounces from place to place somehow always rising to a leadership position and seems interested in every female he sees as a sex object. His dialogue with other characters in the series always portray the other person as aristocratic, arrogant, and always treating Martin as a sub-human species.
Thank goodness Martin and all his myriad enemies have a common enemy the cyborgs the author's description of which only seem to possess mechanical elements and no organics which would actually make them robots. Only Kluge seems to know how to kill them. The combat scenes throughout the series are basically interchangeable following a repeating pro-forma with Martin establishing himself as leader of a thrown together band of combatants, most or all of whom are killed except for Martin and his immediate companions. The battles themselves lack the technical details that make a military hard sci-fi novel a great one.
Add to this the fact that the author seems unaware of orbital mechanics describing journeys that even with the technology described would take months or years as taking weeks. Simultaneous rendezvous between multiple spacecraft and comets are portrayed that would be next to impossible to achieve.
This series has so much potential that due to poor writing and editing is never realized.
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I really enjoyed the Sci-Fi part of this book. That part is a 5 star rating as it is interesting and has a lot of serious military action and plots within plots. It held my attention and kept me turning pages. Based on this, I rate it as above average in the Sci-Fi category.

Two issues for me detracted one star from the book. The first is that the beginning 35 to 40 % of the book is about the political situations between the inner planets (Socialist/Communist), The Elite Military (Nazi) and the outer planets (Capitalist Owner Barons). Some of this has to be explained but I felt that almost 40 percent of the book was this topic and for me it got old quickly.

The second issue is a number of errors in selecting the wrong word and spelling. Poor grammar made some of the sentences so choppy I had to read them twice to get the meaning. It wasn't overwhelming but it did detract from the story a little.

I still gave it 4 of 5 Stars as the last 60% of the book was enjoyable. This is the first of a series and I now wonder if the rest of the series will be as good as this one was? I'll have to check it out!
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on December 28, 2011
.......In the best possible way.

I will return to this shortly but first what is Star Soldier actually like?

Well it's good old fashioned shoot em up sci fi. There's plenty of action, believable technology and interesting social commentary that manages to get a message across without being boring.

I did not find the small number of typing and grammatical errors to be too distracting and it may be that the book has been edited since the first reviews.

Character development is light and I would have appreciated more background on the main players especially those that continue into the series. Even without deep background the various characters are solid and well described. The good guys are not all good nor are the bad guys completely evil. Except for...... Oops. Almost let that slip didn't I?

Long story short, at 99c this is a steal but at $4.95 it would still be good value for money.

Now to the blackmail. If you get sucked in, and you will, there are 5 books in this series but........ There should be 6!!! The author requests reader input so he can choose which book to write next (he does have a few irons in the fire). A clever way to get reviews but I am a willing participant. The ride has been tremendous fun so far and I am sure the next installment will be as good as the previous 5. Now write the damn book!!!!!
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on July 16, 2011
A good read. Well put together story with good characters and very, very well done action sequences. Everyone works within the boundaries of the believable. No cheesy "superman" moments where an impossible situations for the hero is resolved by some miracle.

Well worth the money (and time).
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on May 6, 2011
I have read all four books and I hate to say that I cannot remember every detail about the first. All four have been really good and the story has yet to bore me or leave me longing for the series to be over. I read a good bit of sci fi books and as of now the 5th book of this series is the one that I am most anxious for. When I think back to the first book it seems like it took me finishing it and starting book two to really become wrapped up in the story. If I had stopped there I would have missed out on a good bit of enjoyable reading. I am always interested in knowing about the people that write reviews because it helps me to know if I will like the book. I am a 29 year old male, one child, social studies teacher, baseball coach. Hope this helps!
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on May 29, 2012
I'm glad I only bought the first book to see if I liked it, rather than buying the whole series. I'm afraid that I will probably never finish the first book, because I just can't believe in the main character. He's very one-dimensional; and somewhat unbelievable. Without giving away too much (and I really can't, since I didn't even read half the book), the main character gets in trouble for mouthing off to the authorities. When they punish him by sending him to the slime pits, he then (belatedly) refuses to say a single word, resulting in no food at all (if he'd kept his mouth shut in the first place, he wouldn't have been in the slime pits - not to mention that he'd still be with his girl friend, who was being chased after by one of the bad guys). After 8 days with no food, he steals a food wafer, gets in a fight and is sentenced to be put in a large tube that keeps filling with water. The only way to keep from drowning is to continually work a hand pump (after 8 days of no food, remember). After only about 30 or so hours straight of pumping, he is saved by an attack on the facility. Even when I was in the Army, I didn't know too many people (not Rangers, Special Forces, Delta, etc) who could be starved for 8 days, then work a hand pump for 31 hours straight. I realize this is science FICTION, but this is a bit too out there for me. Sorry, I really wanted to like it.
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