The reviews online for this book aren’t great, and frankly they’re right. The plot is predictable, and there isn’t much character development. Just lots and lots of blow-by-blow combat. It gets wearing after a while, and I found this book at bit of a slog. Not recommended.
As someone who doesn’t play computer games and has never played a Halo game, I find myself in the strange position of having read a Halo book. This book is the first in the chronological lineage, and explains the history of the Spartan program which produced the Master Chief. I decided to read this after accidentally watching a Halo mini-movie on Netflix with a sick baby, and deciding it wasn’t totally terrible.
The book is actually ok to my surprise. Its competently written, and on par with much of the other combat fiction I’ve read. It certainly doesn’t feel like its a tie in to a game. I would have liked this book to cover more of the moral issues around the back story to the Spartan program, but those were only briefly considered. Then again, I like a good shoot ’em up as much as the next guy and perhaps that would have been too boring. Overall I enjoyed it and think I might have to read more in this universe.
I don’t read as much as I should these days, but one author I always make time for is John Scalzi. This is the next book in the Old Man’s War universe, and it continues from where The Human Division ended on a cliff hanger. So, let’s get that out of the way — ending a book on a cliff hanger is a dick move and John is a bad bad man. Then again I really enjoyed The Human Division, so I will probably forgive him.
I don’t think this book is as good as The Human Division, but its a solid book. I enjoyed reading it and it wasn’t a chore like some books this far into a universe can be (I’m looking at you, Asimov share cropped books). The conclusion to the story arc is sensible, and not something I would have predicted, so overall I’m going to put this book on my mental list of the very many non-terrible Scalzi books.
I originally read this as a series of short stories released on the kindle, but the paperback collation of those has been out for a while and deserved a read. These stories are classic Scalzi, and read well. If you like the Old Man’s War universe you will like this book. The chapters of the book are free standing because of how they were originally written, and that makes the book a bit disjointed. The cliff hanger at the end is also pretty annoying given the next book hasn’t been released.
So, an interesting experiment that perhaps isn’t perfect, but is well worth the read.
This book’s underlying premise isn’t really my thing. The escape of the remnants of the Posleen works for me, and I think holds together. However, I’m unconvinced by a religious mission setting out after the Posleen to convert them to one of the Earth religions. That just seems a bit far fetched to me. However, this book is rescued by the insights into the Posleen’s history that it offers. Its worth wading through the other stuff that isn’t all that interesting just to find out a bit more about how the characters ended up in this state.
This book is pretty preachy (if you’re not a republican your wrong and you’re what’s wrong with the universe), and long. The story also centers around haunted warships, which is a bit of a leap for this series. On the other hand, its a good read if you can put up with those bits. Overall ok, but not the best in the series.
If you knew you were in deep trouble, had the technology to rejuvenate any soldier you wanted, and happened to be a late nineties Germany desperate for cannon fodder, would you return the SS to service? A harsh reality is that they’re some of the only soldiers you have left with real combat experience, even if their politics is abhorrent. This book has an interesting underlying concept, but to a certain extent its ruined by the politics of the authors — any concern for anything other that military strength is dismissed as another example of rampant nimbyism. However, the book tells a good story and made me think about some stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about, while being entertaining. So, overall a success I guess.
The second time around I think my opinion has changed a little. I found the plot a little hard to believe (perhaps I am scarred by other book’s twee explorations of the motivations of alien species), and overall the book not as good as Old Man’s War. Then again, its far from the worst book I have read this year.
[award: nominee prometheus 2007]
Let’s be honest, this book has not reviewed well over the years. However, I had a long flight, and figured I’d give it a go. It wasn’t actually all that bad, and was certainly massively better than some other share cropped books I have read. The writing is competent and the plotting reasonable. I think the biggest problem is that the start of the book would be quite shocking to some people (it certainly bothered me), and Cally’s character is so out of line with where I wanted her to be 40 years after the last book. I can see how it would be possible for her to end up like she is in this book, but it was a disappointment to me. The pretty much constant shagging is distracting from the rest of the plot too.
Overall, I am left wanting to know more about the Darhel plot, and the book did help further that story line, if only a little. I don’t regret reading the book, even though it isn’t the strongest in the series.
The final book in the Earth based Posleen war series. This should really have been part of the previous book (When the Devil Dances), but that would have made it a 1,100 page book. I’ve seen some complaints that these two books needed editing, but I feel that’s not totally fair. They didn’t feel padded, and I’m not sure what’ you’d leave out of them. Sure, there are characters who are introduced in reasonable detail in order to then die, but isn’t war like that? I like that you couldn’t really guarantee that all the good guys would survive for once.
The remainder of the books in this universe are share cropped. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.