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on August 31, 2010
I'll get the obvious out of the way. YES! I am a fan, I've been a junkie since episode 7 of Earthcore.

Now on to the fun.

Recently I have found myself reading more than in the last year, chalk that one up to finally giving up WoW. The latest of these reads was from none other than the FDO himself, Scott Sigler. The most recent publication from Dark Overlord Media, THE STARTER, is the 2nd in a reported series of 7 in his GFL (Galactic Football League) series, and thus far has followed the career of quarterback phenom and football god (he does have a church named after him), Quentin Barnes.

For those who have read or heard Sigler's work in the past but have yet to delve into the world of the GFL, this is not the traditional work from the FDO. The GFL books have been Young Adult as far as content and language goes, so that's a little something to get used to. Other than that Sigler delivers as always with the violence, gore, and statements that would probably make a drunken Mel Gibson sit up and take notes.

THE STARTER actually took longer to get dragged in to than I am accustomed. There seemed to be something different going on with the characters that hadn't been there before, something weird. It took until I was nearly a quarter of the way through before I realized it was a sense realism that hadn't come through as well the previous novel. In the 1st book, THE ROOKIE, the characters all seemed to have a single-minded goal at all times, play football games, win football games, kill any being to who gets in the way. This time it felt like there was more depth to each character, even minor characters. There was sensitivity, caring, and even love from places unexpected and a bit of hatred and intelligence from others. The growth of the characters, less focus being given to the games, and more focus for the off-field action made for a considerably more enjoy reading experience.

THE STARTER didn't have to spend much time on creating the world and setting everything up for the reader seeing as how it is the 2nd in a series. The all-powerful FDO was able to give much more attention to the characters and even make a few references to the greatest running back to ever play the game, Mitchell "The Machine" Fayed. There is great brilliance in the world being created as there background stories that can found in The Crypt series and even a side novella, Title Fight, written with the ever-frightening, always disturbing, Matt Wallace.

The tale is moving along nicely and is setting up well for a 3rd season that will hopefully continue to follow the Ionath Krakens in their pursuit of upper tier success in the GFL and the possibility of a Galactic Bowl championship to return the Krakens to glory.

This could be Scott Sigler's best work yet. It would seem the plan for having a several book GFL series is working well and is now giving the FDO the opportunity to develop characters even more fully. The galaxy and all its inhabitants are coming to life with each planet having a new and sometimes dangerous feel. The seedy underside is coming to light. The reader is slowly learning there is more to the pursuit of a Galactic Bowl championship than simply the game on the gridiron. There is a far more dangerous game to be found outside the stadium where every decision, or lack thereof, can result in death.
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on September 4, 2010
so of course I will give The Starter five stars.

Great literature this is not. I don't care. Sigler's works are just plain old fun.

The Starter picks up right where The Rookie leaves off. Fans of the FDØ (Future Dark Øverlord) who are familiar with the Siglerverse will catch references to Sigler's other works sprinkled around the book. We also get some more history this time around. It's pretty obvious what will happen in the third book, so you will be looking forward to that one as well.

What else can I say? I started reading the book Wednesday night, and here it is Saturday night and I am done. That's a five-star read in itself.

As I said in my review of The Rookie, no other books gave me an insight into (Earth Human) football like these two. So if you are a football fan, read these books. If you like stories about criminal aliens, read these books. If you like books that will keep you turning the pages, read these two books.

Those of you not familiar with Scott Sigler are lucky - you get to read his printed books and listen to his free podcasted books for the first time.
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I admit it, I'm hooked on the GFL. The Starter picks up where the previous installment of the series leaves off, with Quentin Barnes embarking on his first season playing Tier 1 football. The same great characters are back, and we get to meet some very interesting new ones as we follow the Krakens through their first Tier 1 season. There are bumps along the way as Q continues his education in the ways of the universe, including a memorable tangle with a beautiful crime boss that I think will have far reaching effects on his future.

I actually enjoyed this one more than the Rookie - the story flows better and we get to know the characters a bit more. I didn't spend so much time hating Quentin this time around. The author has placed him on a pretty steep learning curve that he's managing pretty well, although this time the results are more often funny than they are infuriating. The supporting cast has more dimension and I was glad to see the emergence of the Tweedy brothers into more prominent roles. Quentin seems more human, with less of a chip on his shoulder, which gives the reader more time to enjoy the football, which is really the best part of the series.

The author is still treating us to new worlds and new aliens. His interludes that describe the planets and peoples that the Krakens visit initially felt kind of intrusive and seemed to stop the momentum of the story. Later, I did come to enjoy them and was able to see how all the information fit into the GFL universe.

The Starter has great descriptive writing, memorable characters, and a great story. No football cliches this time around (at least not very many), just an entertaining sports story that just happens to feature a few out of this world players. Too much fun for any football fan. Recommended.
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on August 31, 2010
Scott does an outstanding job again. This time expanding and growing the team we loved in The Rookie. It is not all smooth easy glory. Seeds are sown that may come back to haunt the team members later in return for surviving tough situations in the now. Some of the most interesting details are the way Scott crafts the various races, their interactions and the way they embrace and adapt football to their cultures. Still its all a simmering pot of conflict to come. Maybe one day we will see the chaos reign if the Creterakians lose control.
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on May 28, 2014
Scott Sigler does it again with The Starter, part two of his "galactic football league" series.

I had described The Rookie (part one) as being wildly entertaining, and The Starter continues in the same page-turning manner. If there's going to be only two books I read in a year that have a sports theme, I'll go with Sigler's work.

Imagine the universe, but in the future, seven centuries from now. Image other species of life in outer space, intelligent beings who are physically very different than humans, but with thriving planets and huge, populated cities. Like all other races that intermingle, they've had times of war and times and peace. They've long ago staked out planets and territories as their own. Now imagine the larger of the species, including a bigger version of humans called "Heavy Gs," coming together to play the game of football.

Sound crazy or maybe like some cheap rip-off of Star Wars? It's not. Sigler's work is original, interesting and engaging, not to mention quite amusing in many places.

In The Rookie, we're introduced to our main character, Quentin Barnes, a football quarterback. He's a young orphan from a planet of "Purists" who believe the human race is the only true species and that all others are abominations or even "demonic." But one day during a game on his small home planet, Quentin is purchased by the owner of a Tier 2 football team and ushered into the world of inter-species play. The team owner is a gangster and member of the organized crime world and happens to be of a species called the Quyth. Because of his background, Quentin has to do some hard personal attitude adjustments in terms of how he looks at non-humans. In that sense, this book continues in the theme of being partially a commentary on the problems of racism and differing religious beliefs that exist on earth today.

While the first book focuses much on the game and how Barnes must acclimate his skills to the different physical abilities of non-human players, The Starter deep dives into the darker side of the game. Behind the throwing and tackling and game strategies, there's a whole world of high-stakes money, manipulation and power struggle. Many of the football teams are owned by crime bosses, and Quentin, being the team leader, gets caught between some of it. There are times this book gets gritty and even a little scary. But it's all believable.

Quentin's team, the Ionath Krakens (from the planet "Ionath"), doesn't do well at first. They are lacking certain good players and have rookies that aren't doing the job. The title of this book reflects the fact that Quentin Barnes ends up being a starter quarterback on a Tier 1 football team. Much of this book is the Krakens struggling to maintain their Tier 1 status. The result is that not only does Barnes have to play politics, he has to deal with getting thrust into the world of stardom and all the baggage that comes with fame and fortune on a galactic-scale.

As with part one, I highly recommend The Starter. I can see why these books have been so popular. You start reading and you just don't want to put it down until you find out what happens. That's good fiction.

Kelly Libatique, author of "Practical, Part-Time, Paying, Voice-Over"
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on December 18, 2010
This is a great sequel to The Rookie. If you like football and science fiction, you'll like this book. When compared to The Rookie, this book seems to focus more on the off field action and developing the characters, while The Rookie was more about the games. Which makes sense, there is only so much Sigler can write about GFL action. But don't worry, there is plenty of game excitement, action and violence here too! Sigler builds up the suspense by showing us the Krakens preparation for tier 1 competition and introducing some new rookies. Once the season starts, the action is non stop, on and off the field.

Scott Sigler used to be my favorite podcast novelist. Now he is one of my favorite novelists. Period. If you are reading reviews trying to decide whether to buy the kindle version of The Starter, I really don't see why. It's about the price of a Jimmy John's sandwich. Just buy it and start reading.
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on October 28, 2010
I absolutely LOVED "The Rookie", the first book in the series, and I was extremely excited to get my copy of "The Starter". Scott Sigler delivers a cool story and more. Not only do we learn more about the characters on the team, we also learn history of planets in the GFL (Galactic Football League), as well as history of specific species, and how galactic wars helped shape the galaxy to the state it is in the book. I love the week-end wrap ups that show the standings for ALL the teams in Tier One. It's like a post game show at the end of a great day of sunday football. I tell ya, Scott knows football, and it shows in this book. The other great thing is it's great for young adult readers as well. I don't mind all the foul language and gore that is in his other books, but these are great for young adults and people like me that are technically adults, but still a kid at heart.
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on July 26, 2012
I was introduced to THE ROOKIE via a podcast by Scott Sigler. I was hooked from that moment on. I mean, come on, how can one that loves football not love intergalatic football. I fell in love with Quentin Barnes immediately. I absolutely had to purchase the book for my Kindle to which I reread. When I caught wind of THE STARTER, I could not wait to sink into my chair and go back to Quentin and the Krakens world. THE STARTER is a great follow up to THE ROOKIE focusing on the typical things and issues an actual football "starter" would have. Again I was sucked in and read every chapter with anguish. Now I am reading THE ALL PRO. Taking my time with this one though.

Going to purchase the actual books for my husband as I am so sure he will love them too.

If you are into football and you are also into otherworlds then these books are ones to read.
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on November 23, 2010
Imagine a professional football league consisting of not just human beings, but players from all the sentient races across the galaxy. Receivers who have a 25' vertical leap, linemen that bench-press 1200 lbs, and human quarterbacks averaging over 7' tall and weighing over 300 lbs. Imagine a league whose weekly statistic reports include a category for "Deaths" and you've got the Galactic Football League (GFL).

In this sequel to The Rookie, Scott Sigler continues the story of Quentin Barnes, the quarterback for the Ioneth Krakens. Last season Barnes led his team to the championship of the Tier Two league of the GFL. That championship elevated the team to Tier One status for the next season and gave them the chance to play against the big boys. Now in Tier One, the Krakens have got to find a way to continue winning. The last thing Barnes wants to have happen, is for his team to end up last in their division at the end of the season and be relegated back to Tier Two again. He'll do whatever it takes, including angering the organized crime bosses that run the league, to ensure that it doesn't happen.

The Starter is the type of book that I can't help but smile as I read it. It's just fun. Sigler has an obvious love for the game of football that is showcased in both The Rookie & The Starter. The only criticism I have for these books is that they make the players and the action of the NFL seem amateurish by way of comparison.
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on May 1, 2011
I'm not a fan of football but Sigler does such a great job of making the characters come to life but you can't not love these books regardless of the setting. Also, don't let the young adult rating throw you off. I was concerned about this but it is just as good as the rookie with all its foul language. The violence it just as visceral, just a little less detailed. If it gets more kids reading I'm all for it.
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