- Series: Merkiaari Wars (Book 1)
- Paperback: 387 pages
- Publisher: Impulse Books UK (August 20, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0954512235
- ISBN-13: 978-0954512231
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hard Duty: Merkiaari Wars (Volume 1) Paperback – August 20, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
This book has a particularly annoying multiple cliff hanger ending in which all the story lines are left completely unresolved. Worse is the fact the author revisits, in the most shallow way possible, a story line untouched for hundreds of pages just to move it abruptly to the cliff. A real slap in the reader's face.
There are some rather grating inconsistencies in the development the story and some plot problems that simply don't fly. Potential spoilers follow you have been warned.
Problems with the Shan.
While the shan are an interesting alien species and the author spends a fair amount of effort in their development there is a glaring flaw. In the past the Merkiaari invade the Shan's system. The Shan are very primitive and are nearly exterminated before they are able to defeat their invaders by gaining access to their enemies weapons. The Shan are able to jumpstart their technological development by using captured Merkiaari technology. They also develop a cultural aspect in which every living Shan is taught to fight and keeps weapons available to fight off the Merkiaari should they return. A major part of their infrastructure includes fortresses sufficient to house and defend their population should an invader manages to land on their planets. They are a species of naturally instinctive hunters who prize the primitive aspects of the hunt even as they develop further and further from it. This conditioning has been a part of their culture for dozens (hundreds?) of generations.
When the Shan learn that humans are in their systems hundreds of thousands of them flee their cities in a panic to hide in the forest. Yeah, probably not the reaction of a culture literally taught from childhood to oppose alien invaders with deadly force. Eventually in the book the Merkiaari return to the Shan system. The Shan defense fleet although out numbered attempts to defend their planets. They, with the help of an outdated human cruiser converted to exploration, manage to destroy the invading warships but their transports "slip past" to land. Based on the extent of the landings the transports must have out numbered the alien warships by an order of magnitude but none of the defending ships noticed them until it was too late.
So the aliens land and begin slaughtering the Shan, every one of whom is armed with weapons sufficient to kill their attackers. There is some hand waving about how the Shan defenses had to be mobile and couldn't be dug in so the attackers have superior mounted weapons and kill hundreds of thousands if not millions more or less in the first day. Nope. Simply not possible. Bombard them from orbit? Okay that's possibly reasonable. Land and off load your troops in the face of millions of individually armed militia supported by highly trained regular troops, all of whom have been readying themselves for this day? Not a chance. The invaders would be slaughtered immediately. They might well kill hundreds of thousands of Shan, but they'd be overwhelmed. The Shan warriors would take out the enemy's heavy weapons, and regular alien troops would eventually fall to shear weight of numbers.
Shima, a non-warrior female geneticist, who has often hunted with her father, kills five of the enemy who are distracted by what amounts to a series of flash bang attacks more or less single handily. Her support does blast a couple near the end of the engagement but she did most of the damage in hand to hand combat against a fully armed enemy. Out side of the "Mary Sue" aspects of this, how are we expected to believe that the true warriors heavily armed and continually training for this war are so easily neutralized? Sorry simply doesn't fly.
Problems with Eric's cliff hanger.
Eric is a "viper" a cyborg with heavy computer and genetic enhancements. We are repeated told that when in "battle mode" his systems continually and automatically do threat assessments and ensure that he can't be surprised. In fact he can "scan" through walls for extended distances. The cliff hanger has his identity get blown and he flees the encampment he was spying on into the jungle, where he is distracted enough to get jumped from above by a big nasty critter. See the problem? Anything big enough to have jumped down to try to eat him would have tripped the computer warning long before he got there. As I said a vary annoying cliff hanger.
This is not a bad book. It plods in places, and the various story lines are not well blended, but it's not a terrible read. If you want the stories resolved you will have to buy the next book.
many people like the concept and characters and even enjoy the story but get distracted by the divergent story line. There are 3 different stories and several perspectives taking place. first there is what is happening back home, second what is happening in space over the alien planet, third what is happening on the alien planet. Several of these has a human and an alien perspective. For some these multiple storylines can be hard to follow.
What i didn't like, I almost didn't notice, but once i did, I saw it everywhere.
Horrible grammar, run on sentences, spelling mistakes and poor word choices. I realize it is not a high school paper but if my English teacher had seen it there would be a lot of red ink on it.
In the end it is readable, understandable and enjoyable, but it could be better. with more polish i could have read it faster without getting a headache.
Since this is a long series, I'm sure the stories will converge later on, but a book needs to be able to stand on its own. This is a big problem throughout the book, as even individually, the stories don't really pay off and we are left with cliffhangers everywhere. This is hugely important, and when it came to deciding whether or not to buy the rest of the series, this was the deal breaker. I can't justify supporting an author that will publish unfinished works, because this is what this felt like, a two stories without their climax.
Reading this was definitely a hard duty, but I pulled through. Despite these massive flaws, the book does have its positives. There are plenty of likeable characters, which show decent development. The themes of space exploration and first contact are handled well, and there's a lot to enjoy with this book; but sadly, the pros aren't enough to outweigh the cons. Overall, I wouldn't recommend it, as reading this was an exercise in frustration.
Still, the author does have potential, and it might be worthwhile keeping tabs on what he does in the future.