The universal order is unraveling. The enslaved cry out for freedom. The apocalypse is now. Devis Cameron, hero of the Xenophobe War and the Empire's reluctant champion, has been posted to the 4th Terran Rangers - a gaijin Warstrider unit on New America - to eliminate a newly discovered underground colony of Xenos and to deal harshly with civil unrest spawned by Imperial repression. The situation is rapidly degenerating into total anarchy. And the nuclear option may be the only alternative.
But Dev is uncomfortable with the role that has been assigned to him. And now he must choose between betraying his masters or his principles - to crush a righteous revolution or to help forge an alliance between the Empire's enemies and an inscrutable race of alien monsters.
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The books deserved better
I'll be blunt: the performance was horrible. I'm not familiar with the narrator's other work but I suspect the problem here is the direction anyway. Bill Paxton's character in aliens is famous for his panicked scream "Game over, man! Game over!" It was effective because it stood out in stark contrast to the other soldiers who (mostly) remained calm under pressure. In this performance, *every* character sounds that panicked, *every* time. There are plenty of ways to portray excitement in a dangerous situation other than terror. I only hope that the remaining books in the series are yet to be performed and that the director and narrator give the material the treatment it deserves.
I'm cheating here because I have the series in paperback and know the arc of the story. Ask someone for whom the material is fresh and maybe they will name a character other than Dev Cameron. Among the other things I like about Dev is that his rise to prominence is believably reluctant. He's not the resentful rogue-cop, bad boy kind of hero who breaks all the rules and gets away with it because he's so effective. Dev gets thrown into undesirable situations and reconciles by making the best of them, learning and growing from the experience.
Yeah, sure. The pacing was fine. At least I think so. If it was off, I was too busy cringing every time something happened and all the trained, professional, hardened, badass soldiers started shrieking.
This is one of my favorite book series and the author ties together elements of military sci-fi, cyberpunk, space opera, exobiology, emergent phenomena, galactic origins, AI, nanotechnology, philosophy, and more. I was so anxious to experience it in audio that I was getting close to recording it myself. When I found it on Audible I freaked and snapped it up. I would have bought the entire series if it had been available. Now I'm waiting to see how the next one sounds and actually considering abandoning the series.
"What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?"
Exactly. How did you know?
To be clear, I remain loyal to the series and will probably listen to the entire set, even if cringing all the way through. But then I'm a sucker for emergent phenomena (which occurs later in the series) and that isn't widely covered in the genre. If you start the series and don't finish it you will probably wonder why I'm such a fanboy. If you make it all the way through I predict you'll at least like the series and understand, even if you don't love it as I do.
First book was better