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Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1 Kindle Edition
|Length: 382 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the first instalment in an epic tale of empires fighting each other and covering 2,000 years historically. For me it was all just a bit too much. The first third of the book was just downright confusing as character after character is introduced and vivid descriptions of imperial politics (that I had to keep re-reading to place in the storyline) kept mingling till you were forced to read very carefully. There are just so many stories told in parallel it is hard to get to know any of the characters much beyond their names and job descriptions.
It took till the last third of the book before the story really became apparent but by then I had nearly given up. This was hard work and not being able to find the 2nd instalment I felt it was hard work wasted.
In the positive, there is still a great deal of fascinating sci-fi throughout including the descriptions of FTL travel through various levels of dimensional space/time and the ever present nanobots doing clever and well described things. However the story is quite simply drowned in it's scale and complexity that for this poor reviewer was a bit overwhelming.
Why only 4 stars? Mainly because I felt the book didn't really take the story forward. Yes, it is undoubtedly realistic, and probably needed, that we have some setbacks, but I'm not worried that if at this pace the series will be 20 books.
A few things I liked (SPOILER ALERT):
1 - Use of Angel. That could be an interesting story on redemption and and an interesting new character--although honestly, I'm not super interested in politics between the competing Lords, etc.
2 - The new ships using the drive that allows for hundreds or thousands of times faster than light (but not using hyperspace) sounds interesting. I can imagine a few options (sending small fleets to use the teraton bombs on strategic sights), but this requires that htey are not as easily detected as ships that use hyperspace.
A few other minor nitpicks (SPOILER ALERT):
1 - I found a couple dozen text errors (wrong word used, etc.). These were generally easy to see and could be caught by even a basic reading word-by-word. I don't recall prior books with this many errors.
2 - Do we really need the time travel sub-plot? It is getting borderline fantasy in my view, and honestly, I don't think we need this strange threat to help with tension--we have the Caca's to do that.
3 - I feel the use of human POWs for duplicating top-secret technologies is a bit too easy. Okay, so they figure out how to make black holes, but the proper use of them? Also, they're duplicating the FTL fighters? Really? Too easy.
4 - So two of our allies just coincidentally decide to renig on our alliance? Too much of a plot device.
5 - I'd like more news on other aliens that see the Caca's as a threat and contact us. None at all (other than a potential race found in the companion AI war series?)
In summary, really enjoy the series, and enjoyed this book. I would consider most books 5 stars in the series.
What I would have liked to know before I bought this book. (minor spoilers)
1. What type of book is it: adventure, action, drama, etc? This is a sketchy sci-fi political intrigue book, with a strong leaning towards sci-fi military space opera.
2. What is the story about, in general? After fleeing the cannibalistic murderous Ca'cas, humanity founded the New Empire of Humanity. The story is about the events which transpire when the Ca'cas find the humans once more.
3. What/Who is the target audience? Considering its focus on military matters, breakthrough technology, and intrigue, I would say teenagers, young adults and adults of the male gender. Those who enjoy space opera, regardless of gender, might enjoy this book as well.
4. How is the proofreading? Above average, but there are one or two mistakes through the manuscript. Most of the mistakes are missing words or confusing punctuation.
5. Is there character development or exploration? I would say there is a lot of character exploration, with one or two characters having some development. We learn who are the protagonists, the incompetent antagonists, the competent antagonists and so forth. With Prince Sean being the only TENTATIVE exception, no one changes their stripes at any moment. If someone is a vicious puppet, they remain vicious and manipulated. If someone is a fool, they remain a fool. If someone is smart, they remain smart. If someone is an enemy, they remain an enemy. If someone is neutral, they remain neutral. If someone is going to be a story sacrifice, the reader will know who that person is. No development. No role changes. What you see is what you get.
The book has couples, but NO romance. Though it hasn't happened yet, I believer these couples are `redshirt couples', whose only purpose is to experience tragedy for dramatic impact. This is one more reason why this book is an introduction.
6. Are the characters likable? Hmm. It is too early to tell. This book feels like a well detailed introduction. There are so many different characters that the story doesn't spend enough time on any, except for Prince Sean. Thus, the reader might have difficulty developing familiarity with any of the characters. Besides Sean, I wasn't very emotionally invested in any of them; as of yet. Even my emotional investment in Sean was almost cursory.
7. Do you have to suspend disbelief? Though some characters are forcefully one dimensional, to the point of reader fatigue, I don't think any of them are completely unbelievable. The technological aspects of this read are so complex that I simply accepted as gospel all the difficulties meshed into the `reality' of the sci-fi tech.
8. Does the story keep its pacing? As a standalone book, I would have to say `so so'. Why? I have to stretch my imagination to point at a climax, let alone falling action and resolution. The entire book is all about introduction and rising action. There is a lot of predictability built into the story on purpose. Some of it is foreshadowing. A lot of it involves statements from the characters explaining the next steps of a strategy or coming conflict.
As the beginning of a series, this is the introduction book. It begins the buildup to what appears to be a heavy space-opera series with a lot of space fleet action and `ground pounder' combat. It also integrates the seeds for non-complex intrigue. That is to say, the reader won't be too confused as to the goals of the intrigue as they involve very little obfuscation and manipulation. That does not mean the intrigue is ignorable, simply direct.
The empire and world building is superb. There are different planetary ecosystems. There are different cultures with their nuances and practices. There are multiple alien empires, almost all hostile to humanity to some degree or another. There are multiple factions within the empires. There are allies and enemies. Pretty much, there is a little of everything.
9. Is the book worth the asking price? Yes. The scope of the book, the effort spent towards making the technology as realistic as possible (within the paradoxical scope of science fiction), and the creation of complex cultures is worth a $4 ebook.
In conclusion: Though this book does not offer much to anyone outside its target audience, and the book feels more like a preamble, it is still a strong beginning for a complex military space opera. The keyword here is `beginning'. It almost feels as if the book was split. The story does not spend enough time on any one character to build emotional investment on them. Except for one character, all character roles are calcified and static. Nevertheless, the world building is superb, even magnificent. The proofreading errors are few and far between. The price is modicum at $4. This book actually makes me excited to see what will happen in the next book, but as a stand alone book it isn't well fleshed out.
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