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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2012
Not too bad. I am in agreement with the product blurb, in that I was often reminded of the great grandmasters of sci-fi like Asimov and Niven. Set in far distant future, when galactic empires have risen and fallen, leaving barely a memory of their existence. Massive engineering on incomprehensible scales. There are also nods to some of the great writers within the story.

The story was well-paced. It wasn't a frenetic page turner like some action novels, but I don't think there was any moment where I felt bored with the story. Mysteries are introduced in such a way which made me wanting to keep reading. The major actors were introduced in a manner which felt natural, and the overall backstory developed over the course of the novel. I would certainly like to read more of this story.

Edited on September 10, 2012: Earlier versions of the book had formatting issues. If you look at the comments thread for this review, you'll see the author's own comments on the issue, and addressing the issue, so I'm removing the comments regarding editing and boosting it to a much-more deserved 5-stars. Great to see authors who are proactive (and interactive, not just a name on the title page!)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
As soon as Pandi Latham brought her "twin forty-five automatics" into space, I knew she was my kind of gal. I love a heroine who is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the bad guys (and in this case, an army of robots). Not only that, but she's intelligent and passionate about what she wants. Watcher was equally fascinating as a leading man, and just enough of an enigma to keep Pandi on her toes through the twists in the plot.

The amazing thing about this author is that Dandridge not only gives us engaging characters in The Deep Dark Well, but a startlingly original world for them to inhabit. I had never encountered many of the inventions and concepts that he details in such clarity. The style was reminiscent of classic sci-fi from the old masters, but with a fresh approach and modern eye. A real treat for those interested in the "science" part of the genera. At the same time, those details didn't detract from the overall story arc, which kept the pages turning for this reader. Well done, and highly recommended for sci-fi fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2013
I was very mixed about this book. This has some great key elements and would be a fantastic book if the author hired a professional editor.

What I liked:
The premise was quite good and the story was engaging. The characters are generally likable. Spanning vast reaches of time and huge empires is very Asimov-like, but it's not done in a fan-boy way. The universe the author creates certainly borrows ideas from the Foundation series but he does a good job establishing his own style. The author certainly put thought into how the technology would impact the characters and the society in which they operate.

What I didn't like:
The mind numbingly thick layer of foreshadowing, where the author must have thought he was trying to be clever, severely cramps an otherwise good story. Did he really think he would fool any reader past the moment the antagonist walked through the door for the first time? He tried for fight club and ended up with the Khan "reveal" in Star Trek: Into Darkness but even more painfully obvious and drawn out. It wouldn't have been as bad if it wasn't one of the pivotal conflicts in the story.

This book, like most independently published books, badly needs an editor. The terrible foreshadowing could have been avoided but one of the biggest issues is the author's reliance on spell check. There must be 20-30 typos that spell checkers simply wouldn't catch. The word that ended up in the book is correctly spelled, but it's just the wrong word. It really pulls you out of the narrative because the sentence just doesn't make sense and you have to read it couple times to figure out which word he meant from the context. An editor will also catch basic things like sentence fragments, run-ons, and the 200 or so missing commas. I'm usually pretty lenient on grammar and punctuation. Roughly 40% of all the sentences start with a prepositional phrase. I can get over that, but you really need to use a comma to split up the sentence when you do it. There were countless times that I had to re read the same sentence over and over again because I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say. Once I figured out where the prepositional phrase ended and where the comma should be, I was able to comprehend what was happening. This really pulls you out of the story during complex scenes. Asides need commas too.

The science in the story works ok within the context of the book, but there is a lot of meaningless techno-babble. Descriptions of weapons and technology are really confusing and consistently fails to paint a clear picture of what is going on in complex action sequences. It just gets in the way. The terrible editing doesn't help either. Eventually, I just started skimming through sections and just substituted "shot a really powerful gun" to simplify the scene so I could make sense of it. Again, it pulls you out of the narrative.

Overall, I still enjoyed the book and jumped into the sequel, which is just as poorly edited unfortunately. I've found some fantastic reads from independent publishers and this has many of the right ingredients but this feels like a 2nd draft, not a final product.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
well... not quit old-fashioned... R rating for some sexual content, and the science is modern.

enjoyable read, good characters, good plot. I'm looking forward to the sequel ( though this episode is entirely self-contained).

for a while I thought a mystery was obvious, but I don't give out 4 stars to that kind of book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2013
Doug Dandridge's work that I've read so far is pretty good. Not on the five star read it again and again type work, but fondly reminiscent of the early Sci-Fi work somewhere between Campbell's Arcot, Morey and Wade, and Smith's Subspace series - with a heavier dose of tech explanation thrown in.

This particular series represents one of the more interesting Sci-Fi fantasies - thrown thousands of years in the future to explore strange new tech and new peoples and kill them or be killed...The tech is similar/common to other Dandridge work. You will see familiar names, places, tech, but in a different universe.

The main problem for me is the inconsistencies in the tech explanations and usage. Invulnerable, impenetrable armor gets penetrated all the time. Superduper killer weapons aren't so great after all. It sort of follows the Heinlein/ Haldeman 'even a couple hundred savages with a rock in each hand can bash your brains out while you are trying to read a vernier' theme, but not consistently and easily understandably. The next part of the series will be getting into advanced ships and ship tactics, so we will see if Doug steps up and eliminates the inconsistencies. The tech is not consistently used in its most advantageous manner either. I keep almost wanting to shout, use a wormhole, use a wormhole dummy!

The characters are not as developed as some of other better known Sci-Fi people. Pandi is not militarily trained and it shows. Even Watcher makes big, big rookie mistakes in the second book. (So much for being "superman".) I almost wish that Doug had spent more time letting Pandi learn and explore before throwing her into a battle against "Landru" right off the bat.

But enough negative. This is a solid 4 star read. 5 star reads are ones that I go back to again and again. 4 Star reads are those that capture me and make a 4 hour plane ride fly. Battle scenes are exciting, the characters are interesting and growing on me, the tech is different, but familiar to Dandridge readers.

Good read, great value.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
As a science teacher and ex artillery officer...I get picky with authors sometimes about their use of 'science as a cheap tactic'. Not here! Well thought out. Exciting tale with loads of action and heart. A Fun read...thank you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2013
I really enjoyed this book. It has a bit of everything...time travel, quantum computers, wormholes, FTL, aliens, nice weapons, evil AI, gen-mod superhumans, and more. Our female hero is thrown 40,000 years into the future and lands on her feet fighting. I really admire how the author managed to incorporate so many scify aspects into a good action story, and did so without any glaring logic holes. The only hole I found was how the station at first wasn't able to defend itself once a ship got inside the graviton beam range, but then later it had all sorts of surface mounted weapons to throw at Panda. I did find our heroine's ability to utilize new tech with near instant expertise a bit of a stretch, but I'm not sure if I would've rather had long "training" explanations to make it more realistic, or not.

But overall the tech was very polished and consistant, without lengthy tech explanations. The action was good and the plot was imaginative and well paced. Really the only thing that kept it from being a 5 star for me, was that my interest level seemed to dip a bit through the final conflict resolution. Not really sure why...but I stopped feeling as invested in the action.

Am happy to see there's a sequel...going to go buy that now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2013
This book is a missed opportunity for the author. The first couple of pages really grabbed me. An interesting and intriguing story, some hard SF concepts and a tough female protagonist. Unfortunately after getting through those pages I started to realise the writing and characterisation was terrible. The author desperately needs an editor to go through this work to improve the writing style and characters. Honestly I could barely get through it and ended up skimming through the last half.

Given it's only a cheap kindle book it may be worth your time and money. Probably best suited to young adult readers or those with a high tolerance for the poor editing found in many of these self published books.

It really is a shame. Hand this thing over to a professional editor and release a "version 2". I honestly expect a 4 or 5 star novel would be the result.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2013
This book was most interesting. While I saw the part about the watcher and vengence comming. I failed to see how the watcher ultimately would resolve the question. I was hopping to find a 2nd book or a follow up to explain things the imagination wanted to know.

What happened to the two human fleets, did the quantum computer get working and grow. why are some gates locked and not others. where did Venegance go too.

I would hope there will be a 2nd novel following this, there are many story lines to follow, can they have children, does one section of the ship listen to her and another to him. how would they guide the different groups to the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
A very good and fast read. Well written and edited from my reading. Steady intelligent plot, mysteries and plot turns done well, good characters, albeit there aren't many to deal with. An old AI story done differently and done well. The end was satisfying with a continuing story to be told. The end seemed a bit rushed, fragmented, and less detailed than the body of the story, but a minor quibble. I eagerly await the sequel.
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