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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven's Devils review
Heaven's Devils was given to me as a birthday gift. My sister (who picked out the book) knows that I've been an avid Starcraft fan since the game's original release in 1998, and also knows that I've been anxiously awaiting for Starcraft II to be released. The thought of buying this for myself hadn't crossed my mind, so when the time came to open presents, I was shocked to...
Published on May 14, 2010 by Joshua W. Tunis

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Not Too Bad
It's a good book for those who love the Starcraft universe. I have to say this book does do some explaining of Tychus and Raynor's relationship and how they met each other. I like the insight on Raynor's beginnings and how he becomes the way he is.

However, the book starts off fairly slow. You will not see much action until at least halfway through the novel...
Published on October 12, 2010 by bascurero


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven's Devils review, May 14, 2010
Heaven's Devils was given to me as a birthday gift. My sister (who picked out the book) knows that I've been an avid Starcraft fan since the game's original release in 1998, and also knows that I've been anxiously awaiting for Starcraft II to be released. The thought of buying this for myself hadn't crossed my mind, so when the time came to open presents, I was shocked to see this sitting in front of me. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive that I might not enjoy the book, because I hadn't read a Starcraft novel before, nor had I heard of William C. Dietz. However, after reading it from front to back, I can say that my initial thoughts weren't the correct ones.

I enjoyed the book so much, I felt compelled to write a review. This book did not disappoint; infact quite the opposite. Part of me had always wondered who Jim Raynor really was, where he came from, and how he came to be. This book explains it, and also explains a whole lot about who Tychus Findlay is, and the type of character he is. Heaven's Devils was definitely a great read. It's a tad over 300 pages long, and I finished it in about 4 days, on and off, reading a little each day. Which says a lot, if you consider the fact that I'm a slow reader compared to the rest of the population. It was hard to put the book down and I couldn't wait to see how it ended.

It had action and adventure, suspense, and some mystery. It was very descriptive. From the feelings and emotions of each individual character, to a great story line where I could imagine the scene unfold in my head as it took place. The book was very thorough, and it explained everything. It's not all combat and it's not all talk. The book had a great vibe, and it works very well. I'd go so far as to say that someone unfamiliar with the Starcraft universe could pick it up, give it a read and love it, and not feel like they're missing out on something. Parts of the book made you laugh, made you cheer, made you feel involved, and made you wish some things hadn't happened.

I definitely recommend this book to any Starcraft fan, to anyone who is familiar the Blizzard universe, or even to anyone who isn't. You'll like it, I promise!

Lets just say that I'm very happy with my birthday gift! :)

*By the way, this book does contain violence, combat sequences, scarce profanity, drug usage, and mild (but brief) sexual references.*
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read the ecerpts on the SCII official website, June 15, 2010
By 
Thad (Syracuse, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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It was officially announced - the release date for the much anticipated sequel to StarCraft. For years, unofficial release dates on pre-order websites kept getting pushed back. I had learned to stop getting my hopes up as each false date approached; but this time the announcement comes straight from the source. Soon, we will be swept away to the Koprulu sector to not only witness, but experience the events that will decide the fate of mankind and the two races incubated by the Xel'Naga.

Now that it is so close, so real, I am watching the pot again, waiting for it to boil. It seems somehow farther off and I need something to satisfy the craving for just a few more weeks. The first single-player storyline, Wings of Liberty, will feature Terran hero Jim Raynor whom we met in the original game. What better way to prepare than to read this book about Jim's early military career and the events that shaped his character?

With that said, this book is NOT a biography of Jim Raynor. While his story provides the main plot line, a good bit of this book goes to the exploits of Tychus Findlay and several sections are devoted to character development regarding the other members of the 321st as well as the bigger picture narrative that drives the Devils' chronicle.

For the non-StarCraft-fan, William C. Dietz provides a realistic portrayal of military life, war, corruption and politics. For us StarCraft junkies, he fleshes out the Guild Wars and exposes the atrocious state the Confederacy was in even before the Zerg and Protoss showed up.

The question is not whether you should buy this book - of course you should - the question is whether Blizzard should have put so many excerpts on the SCII official website. The answer is, no. As of this posting, they've got ten of them available. The most recent is plucked from chapter twenty-two, well into the story; and while they do their job of drawing you in, these snippets give you an unpleasant sense of déjà vu as you read through the book. If you haven't read the excerpts yet, don't; but either way, definitely read this book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Not Too Bad, October 12, 2010
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It's a good book for those who love the Starcraft universe. I have to say this book does do some explaining of Tychus and Raynor's relationship and how they met each other. I like the insight on Raynor's beginnings and how he becomes the way he is.

However, the book starts off fairly slow. You will not see much action until at least halfway through the novel. This made the book a little laborious to read. But, the ending is pretty good. I wish there were a little more expansion on what happens towards the end, but there may be more books to come.

All in all, it's a good read. If you like Starcraft, go for it. If not, but are willing to see what it's about, go ahead and give it a shot. You may like it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOOOOOOOOB, July 21, 2012
I checked out this book at my work, thinking that maybe it'll be a good sci-fi. After all, I love Starcraft the games, so why not Starcraft the books?

Uughhh...if this were published by any real publishing company and not by Blizzard, it would never have seen the light of day. It's just too noobish.

Throughout the book, Dietz chooses the least exciting way to describe everything. At one scene, as Raynor and fellow cadets are escaping a shot-down plane, he describes each and every sound that goes along with an exploding plane. It would be simple enough to say something like "the blast from the plane deafened everyone and sent them sprawling", but instead he says something like "a muffled thump sounded as the fire got too close to the fuel line" and then proceeds to describe the rest of the plane's destruction by what sound goes along with what action. He doesn't describe how the noise or fire affects the characters.

And this isn't once a chapter. Every long expanse of narrative is filled with errors like this that make reading the book a chore. He describes things in a boring manner, and sometimes in just completely strange ways. Tychus Findlay passes out at one point, and Dietz says "he fell into a black hole". Yeah.

Also, the characters are pretty bland. There's not nearly enough description or personal development to build an attachment to the characters. This story was meant to elaborate on Raynor's life, and yet it never does. It basically said that Raynor was a poor farmer's son who signed up one day on a whim because some dude piloting a goliath told him to. It barely describes his emotions at all.

One of the biggest problems with this book is that the dialogue doesn't feel distinct. Raynor, his family, Tychus, and the vast majority of Starcraft characters are complete rednecks. They therefore should talk like rednecks. Instead, much of the dialogue feels bland. There's one point where Raynor's father is giving him advice on bullies (note that Raynor is beyond high school at this point) and it sounds just like advice on an after school special.

As a nitpick, Dietz also commits two amateur sci-fi writer sins. First, he uses a special adjective to describe ordinary items. He keeps calling things "sonic", like a sonic shower, a sonic toothbrush, or a sonic clothes cleaner. I had to wonder if people in the K Sector are huge fans of blue hedgehogs, or if Raynor's toothbrush was a gift from the Doctor.

Secondly, Dietz gave a character an awkward name of questionable pronunciation: Ryk Kydd. Yeah.

Honestly, the writing in this book is so stiff and strange that I couldn't even finish it. I know it's bad to comment on a book if you can't finish it, but I just couldn't make myself finish this. I spent more time picking out errors (like picking berries off an in-season bush) than I did enjoying the plot.

To say at least one thing positive about this book, every so often there was funny dialogue. It's not nearly enough to balance the rest of the book. Lackluster plot, bad writing, underdeveloped characters...yeah, don't get this book. There's much better fiction out there.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SCII: Heaven's Devils, July 31, 2010
Heaven's Devils is a book that had a lot of potential to be a very good book but fell short. There are several issues I find with the book but the most basic is the prose arrangement. William Dietz has a peculiar style of arrangement that inhibits the flow of his prose, at least in this book. Some of his grammatical devices seem almost childish (I won't go into them to avoid nit picking). Long story short, the novel reads like a manuscript in second or third draft and that theme continues with the actual storyline itself.

Dietz tells the story from the third person omniscient and soundly abuses that omniscience in order to achieve a shorter story. What takes place in 300 pages here really deserves about 500-600. There are too many characters and not enough time to care about all of them. So the focus of the story is blurry, which is sorely disappointing. Usually stories about tragic heroes such as Jim Raynor, are just that: tragic. This one doesn't have enough time to be tragic even though the story itself obviously is. Again, it reads like a manuscript, not a finished piece.

I have not read Dietz's other work on Halo but I imagine him to be an author of some skill to have been a bestseller for the Halo series. It makes me wonder if perhaps this work was rushed and his wings were somewhat clipped by Blizzard. In the first chapters there are vestiges of a truly advanced style of a thinking that Dietz is apparently capable of but it is rapidly squelched and obscured. I also wonder if perhaps he was out of his element. It seems like this book might have been written for a younger audience, which would go against conventional wisdom (seeing as those of us who played Starcraft the original are now 12 years older). Still compared to another novel in the SC lineup "Liberty's Crusade" (which I very much enjoyed, a tragic story about tragic people), the book dims.

I would say that Heaven's Devils is worth a read for anybody who likes to know histories. It is not an abysmal read and can be completed in a day. Just buy it in paperback or check it out from the library when it comes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood and Guts, July 27, 2011
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Heaven's Devils (2010) is the first SF novel in the StarCraft II series. It takes place during the Guild Wars after Tarsonis becomes the capital of the Terran Confederacy.

In this novel, Jim Raynor is a farmer's son on the planet Shiloh. Times are hard because of the War and his parents are barely making a living.

Tom Omer is a friend and classmate of Jim. The two exchange video puzzles.

Hank Harnack is another classmate of Jim's, but they don't like each other. Jim won a fight with Harnack just before they enlisted.

Tychus Findlay is a Staff Sargeant in the Confederacy'd Marine Corps. He is busy selling captured weapons on the blackmarket.

Ark Bennet is the scion of an Old Family. He has just graduated from upper school.

In this story, Jim and Tom join the Marine Corps for the signing bonus. It should cover the taxes for this year. Besides, now their families will not have to feed them.

The new recruits leave Centerville on a bus. Harnack has also joined and is on the same bus. They spend the night in a school gym. When Harnack breaks into line ahead of Jim, Raynor headbutts him and then knees him in the groin.

The new recruits are shipped to Turaxis II on the troopship Hydrus. Several violent criminals on the ship break out of confinement. Harnack hits a convict and a dozen or so decide to take him down.

Raynor grabs a crutch and hits a con who has Harnack in a headlock. Another con pulls the crutch out of his hands and hits him. Jim and Harnack go back to back and stand against the criminals. Afterwards, they become bosom buddies.

Meanwhile, Ark is given a mickey and sold to a Marine Corps recruiter. When he comes to, Ark insists that he was shanghaied. Nonetheless, he is inducted into the Corps under the name Ryk Kidd and sent to Boot Camp.

Ryk is exposed to the usual irritations as a Boot, but he finds that shooting is a joy. He qualifies as a sniper while in Boot Camp and is sent to the Advance Sniper course. He begins to feel better about himself and welcomes having a role where his actions make a difference.

Tychus has a buyer lined up for some surplus weapons when his captain calls out the Tactical Response Team. They use an enemy dropship on the raid. Then Tychus figures out that his captain has them firing on civilians and decks the officer with his rifle butt.

Tychus gets time in Military Correctional Facility R-156 on Raydin III. He definitely doesn't like the facility or the guards. He does get a bit of revenge on the guard sargeant.

This tale introduces Jim to military theft. Harnack has a ball. And Ryk discovers some disturbing things about his father.

This series is not exactly chronological. This novel is close to the end of the sequence and Jim returns home in the last of the series. This storyline continues in Devils' Due.

Recommended for Dietz fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of armed conflict, military crime, and disillusioned soldiers. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, Some references though light, Perfect for Starcraft Fans and Addicts!, February 12, 2013
By 
Jimmy Kim (United States) - See all my reviews
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This book sort of covers the story...no...the LORE behind Jim Raynor and others during the time of the Confederacy. It goes over the bootcamp days and lightly delves into the politics and social issues of recruitment, offworlders, colonists, and the military itself. The book softly mentions all the things about the Starcraft universe and you get giddy but only momentarily.

The writing style is decent but many times they are cliched action sayings and descriptions. The length of the book is surprisingly short and you'll blaze through the pages.
Overall, I enjoyed the book very much and I thought that it added very well and engaged the reader to be more invested in the characters. This is definitely a good read before Heart of the Swarm

4****/5***** Stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, July 24, 2010
I bought this book because I have read (and loved) every Starcraft book written so far. I was only slightly disappointed with this book simply because I felt that it was a little slower than most of the others, especially the Dark Templar Saga. Don't get me wrong it was a great book and was worth reading, but I was a harder read for me. Just a little too much background story between the action. However, if you every wondered anything about Jim Raynor you'll probably get the answers from this book. Overall 4/5, if you've read other Starcraft books you'll enjoy this and should read it at least once.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read but barely about Starcraft, August 21, 2011
I approached this book as a fan of Starcraft that wanted to learn more about the back story of the universe, specifically the origins of Jim Raynor. Raynor is a main character in Starcraft I and II but they never touch upon how he got to where he was in those games and I guessed that this book would explain that as well as add in some factoids about the world of Starcraft along the way.

If you're interested in this book for the same reason I was, I wouldn't recommend it at all. There's nothing bad about Heaven's Devils itself but it depends on what you're expecting to get out of it. I'm convinced that this book was tailored for High Schoolers (or other young fans of the games) who like reading or want to start like reading but need an easy digestible book to get started on.

Heaven's Devils is a very easy read. For the first third of the book I found myself digging into the book without paying attention to how long I had read for or what page number I was on. The early set ups are paced very well so you frequently get the sensation of wanting to know what happens next. This is because the first third of the book focuses on the three "main" characters: Jim Raynor, Tychus Findlay (who's in Starcraft II), and Ark Bennet (or Ryk Kydd, who isn't in any of the games). I really enjoy learning about character motivations and reading into foreshadowing of what character fates may amount to and the first third of the book is entirely that. You learn how each of these characters end up meeting each other and their backgrounds are very different from one another so it's interesting to see how they all collide.

Everything after page 100 is a bit of a drag. As I mentioned before, I like character development, plot progression, understanding a person's psyche and in general learning what makes them tick. This effectively ends after the first act simply because all three characters are in the military and the focus shifts to describing various battles that the characters get into while serving as soldiers. These sections are incredibly monotonous as they have no real sense of tension. Tychus and Raynor are both seen in the Starcraft games (which take place after this book) so you know neither will ever be in any serious danger. It's the James Bond paradox where every scene is set up to make the viewer (or reader in this case) believe that the character they know will never die, is in danger. It's boring to read and even more boring when three battles occur back to back for a hundred pages.

There are additional characters who don't follow the James Bond paradox but none of them are fleshed out enough to make you care about their well-being. This is especially true for Ark Bennet who has a very interesting back story but it seems to be forgotten about until the very end of the book. Ark's character specifically seems very inconsistent since he's set up as a high-class rich boy who you'd expect to act like a snob or at least woefully ignorant of low-class socialization, but his transformation occurs instantly and he's depicted as using the same slang as his fellow comrades. With that in mind, I found it difficult to believe Ark was a real character in this universe.

This is also true with virtually every other character in the story. They're all either so bland you can't name any distinguishing attributes to differentiate them from the battalion of other soldiers mentioned or they fall into various cliched archetypes.

However, despite all this I have to say that Heaven's Devil isn't a bad book, I was just expecting a lot more. I was expecting Starcraft but I got Starship Troopers (exception without all the anti-military satire, in fact this book seems to be accidentally pro-military). There's no Protoss, no Zerg and no narration on the overall standings of the Terran race. This is far from a lorebook for dorks like me. If you're just someone who likes Terrans a whole like and wouldn't mind reading a very military-focused action book, you'd probably enjoy this. Or if you're a parent who wants to promote your teenager to start reading, this is a good book to pick up to get that wheel rolling. Like I said at the beginning though, if you wanted to get into this book for the same reasons I did, you're better off picking up one of the other Starcraft books over this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Heaven's Devils" Indeed, June 10, 2011
I'd like to start off this review by saying that I have never really been an avid fan of the Starcraft universe: I recently just started playing Starcraft 2 recently (which is a great game by the way), and this is the first Starcraft novel I have ever read. All in all I must say that I really enjoyed this book and Dietz does a good job with keeping the reader generally engaged throughout. Because I am an avid reader of Warhammer 40k novels, I found myself comparing the action in those of Warhammer 40k novels and I can't say that "Heaven's Devils" is on par on the action part. I feel like Dietz doesn't necessarily go into much detail in the action sequences and does more summarizing and telling as opposed to describing. However, I feel like the novel doesn't prize itself on the action but rather its storytelling with the fact that this book has a lot of substance to it. The book isn't just filled with senseless violence but rather explains the origins of an unlikely relationship between the upstart but noble youngster Jim Raynor (probably the foremost protagonist in the Starcraft universe), and the crook soldier Thycus Findlay.

Dietz does a fairly good job with fleshing out the characters in the novel, especially the main and minor characters apart of the "Heaven's Devils" platoon. Every character has his or her own motive for doing what they do in the novel from a loony pyromaniac who fights just for the thrills to an avenging father who fights for his murdered family. I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel because it's really easy for authors to lose character development in sci-fi/fantasy novels.

Another thing I didn't necessarily like was the conclusion of the novel as it seemed a bit rushed, but I won't spoil it for you, that's all I will say. However, all in all, the novel was a good and fun read. There is a lot of talking and it may get slow in some parts but hey that's what makes it interesting- it's not just senseless violence, there's actually substance that some readers may be able to relate to (i.e. Jim's father's influence on his decisions). I recommend this book to any hardcore fan of the Starcraft universe or even to any nerd out there who just enjoys a good and fun-filled science-fiction read. Cheers
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