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Armor Mass Market Paperback – December 4, 1984
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As a reader you may be at first a little confused about the change of perspective in Armor. Half of the novel is written in the third person following the story of Felix, our power-armored soldier, and the other half is told by space adventurer/pirate/prisoner Jack Crow in the first person. This element is essential to understanding the story, and is reconciled later on as we learn more about Felix's story. So give it a chance even if you're at first put off by the shift in perspective.
As many other reviewers have mentioned, the combat sequences in Armor are indeed exceptional. As Felix flung himself into combat against his alien foes there was no way for me to remain outside the battle. Steakly believingly portrays brutal hand-to-hand combat through the eyes of a frantic soldier as he loses himself in the struggle to survive a terrible war on a bleak world.
If you're a science fiction fan or military fiction fan, you can't afford to pass up Armor. It's one of those few stories that pick you up and take you along an exciting 400-page ride, but still leaves you with a simple moral at the end.
The author's writing style is unique. On the battlefield, you get that feeling which is rarely accurately conveyed in words, the feeling of the rush, the confusion, the horror of combat (I've never been in a combat situation, but I like to pretend I can imagine what it is like). But it's more than that. Steakley questions the whole purpose of the war, the necessity and the making of heroes, and the humanity and desperation of the soldiers.
When you get to the the pirate's section, it switches over to a first person POV, but instead of using one of the usual first person styles (either normal third person with the word 'I' substited in a lot, or subtance-less with a lot of jokes,) you really get into the head of the character, into what makes him tick, and it's really a fantastic experience.
And even with all the fantastic points necessarily made, this book never lets up. There's nary a boring or dull moment, there are the obligatory plot-twists, action sequences, etc..
This is simply a must read novel.
now i also now that armor is not a book for everybody. i've read it a number of times in my life. for the first time when i was in my early teens and as recently as a few years ago. armor is NOT about the social structures of the ant-like enemy. armor is not about the political or quasi-nationalistic motivations of the ant-like enemy. armor is not about the science of it's fiction. armor does not care how intersteller warfare is possible. it's assumed. armor does not care about the astro-physics of planetary behavior. armor does not concern itself with the mechanical genius of the full body killing machines.
it is because armor doesn't concern itself with the typical science of fiction that we are directed to what it is about: the survival of the human survival instinct. Armor is about the intense impact of fear, pain, death, and lonliness on the human psyche. armor is about the humility of realizing the depth of another's suffering. about knowing that you wouldn't have been able to survive.
armor is a subtly compassionate novel that explores human suffering like no other piece of fiction i know. it's english is not perfect. but the style is perfect for the story. the battle scence are graphic. the characters are rough. but once again they are true to the story.
science fiction provdes only a convienient setting. it could be vietnam or it could WWI. steakley uses sci-fi to focus in on what the story is really about. humans. not ants. humans.Read more ›
Then the author throws us for a loop. The second part starts out in a prison with the narrator (this part is again in first person) trying to escape. I was really confused as to how Felix went from being on a battlefield to being stuck in prison. It takes a while for it to be revealed that this isn't Felix. It's Jack Crow, an interstellar pirate. The majority of the rest of the book revolves around him. I was kind of disappointed in this. I was much more interested in Felix's story. Not that Jack Crow isn't an interesting character. I eventually got into him. I would have liked, though, to get a clearer picture of his history. Mr. Steakley left it kind of fuzzy.
Despite this disappointment of missing out on Felix's continuing exploits, I was still absorbed in this book. Mr. Steakley's storytelling abilities carry this book. His characters are vivid, his dialogue is (usually) great, and the interaction between characters, while sometimes confusing, is entertaining to read. The middle third of the book was a bit slow, but the excitement of the beginning and end more than made up for it. If you're looking for a good sci-fi read, this will definitely satisfy you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps my favorite sci fi book ever, re read it more times than I can count, and it is a hefty book. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Bibliophyle
Had the paperback, but lost it in the 2011 flood . Book is good enough to pay to have it again to read. Shame another book wasn't written.Published 19 days ago by Jason Oliver
Really enjoyed reading Armour. I think if you enjoy action and a protagonist of unparalleled spirit, you'll like it too.Published 28 days ago by Harold JP McCann
This book has a great story near the being and the end and it's also very captivating but in the body of the book it becomes a bit dry.Published 28 days ago by Ged
Great sci-fi war story. There are a couple errors not picked up in editing that can pull you out of the story.Published 29 days ago by Esycos
This was a really excellent sci-fi novel, and, if you get the audiobook, it is very well read. There was a sequel being planned, but John Steakley had only told his friends and... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Jordan K.
Thinking of it as a look at what happens to someone psychologically when all they do for a living is kill.