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A Soldier's Duty (Theirs Not to Reason Why #1)

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,024 ratings  ·  181 reviews
Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.

Mass Market Paperback, 1st Edition, 432 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Ace
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Lost In Time by Bridgitte LesleyDreams Come True by Bridgitte LesleyAlien Species Intervention Books 1-3 by J.K. AccinniA Soldier's Duty by Jean JohnsonMagic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Women are Awesome Too
4th out of 407 books — 218 voters
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Best Sci Fi Books with Female Main Characters
44th out of 565 books — 632 voters


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Community Reviews

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Dirk Grobbelaar

“No. I am not Death. I am merely Her herald.”

After a prophetic vision of the destruction of our galaxy, a young girl decides to set events into motion that will have far reaching effects, with the hope of averting the future disaster. This is book 1 in a series.

All I have left are the nightmares, and the slim chance I can help save the universe.

As derivative as this premise sounds, don’t shoot it down just yet. For one thing, despite the rather suspicious cover art, this is an actual bona fide M
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Gail Carriger
First in the Theirs Not to Reason Why series (unfinished at three books: A Soldiers Duty, An Officer’s Duty, Hellfire) this is high-end far-future space opera featuring a main character whot is a psi future seer heavy worlder, best at everything physical and mental. Ia is a pompous Cassandra prophetess figure orchestrating the future of the galaxy. Despite Mary Sue components, repetitive language, info dumping, and various other concerns and issues I found this whole series utterly addicting and ...more
Tamora Pierce
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bryan Schmidt
I so wanted to love this. It was nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award and I like the writer and her style a lot, but there were three flaws that kept me from enjoying it. One, pacing. The first half of the book is boot camp and it's pretty cliche and dragged out. It's nothing we haven't seen in Full Metal Jacket, etc. It even includes Clancy-esque expositional sequences like six pages describing 13 different kinds of bullets in detail. Yes, the author is clever to have thought of it in detail an ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Well crap....

Will I follow this book up? Probably.

BUT early on, through about the first 2/3 of the book I'd have said definitely. So, let's discuss the up and down, good and bad...plus and minus of the novel.

First the book opens well. The writer reports she hasn't been in the military but on the whole the "military feel" of the book is okay. There are some things that don't ring true and people who've been in the military will note a few problems. They aren't bad however and my thought was that
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James
This was an amazing book. Amazing.

What really got me was the uniqueness of it; of having a pre-cognitive protagonist who is aware of everything that will happen except for a few grey spots. Jean Johnson really brought a new set of problems to the table with this characterisation and in my humble opinion, blew me away with them. This could easily have turned into a mary-sue fest of the main character kicking butt from dawn to sunset, and while Ia certainly flourished and succeeded she was still
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Libby
I rarely read military sci-fi because it tends to glorify the things I find least admirable about humanity and there are rarely well-developed female characters. That's why I found the premise of "A Soldier's Duty," the first in a new series, to be so refreshing. It features a smart, strong female protagonist who enters the military in an attempt to stave off the cataclysmic war that she has foreseen with her precognitive abilities. She must hide her gifts and tread the narrow, precipitous path ...more
Karl
Well, if copying is truly the most sincere form of flattery, Jean Johnson is a very adept flatterer. But as much as I enjoy the genere, this book is the cafeteria lunch of military sci-fi.

I don't think I can count the tropes that are borrowed. It's literally impossible. And they're not even very well mixed -- it's like they were plunked into a bowl and barely stirred, much less baked down. There are lightsabers that return laser bolts. There's precognition that gives the protagonist superhero p
...more
Blodeuedd Finland
I always have a hard time remembering what people are named in books. Of course I keep track of who is who, even if there are lots of characters. But as soon as the book ends names slip my mind. Well not this time, Ia is an easy name to remember ;) That and the fact she was totally kick-ass.

Anyway, I did not end up liking the book as much as I wanted to. As always do not get me wrong. That does not mean the book is bad. No, it was well-written, thrilling and interesting. Will she save the univer
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Linda
I LOVED this book! I really enjoyed her other books and was so excited to find out about this series. This is more of a Sci-Fi book than romance but it was really good. Ia (that is her name) is a futuristic colonist on a world with more gravity than earth which makes the people who live there very strong, she is also precognitive (sees the future). As a young girl she has a vision so horrifying that she must put aside all of her dreams in order to keep it from happening. She joins the Marines ( ...more
zjakkelien
I really enjoyed A soldier's duty. Not that it doesn't have a few flaws. Jean Johnson describes some things in great detail, and particularly in the beginning there a few instances where it is too much. I recall a 2 page description of the guns and ammunition that the soldiers use. It was so boring I got worried about the rest of the book. I needn't have, though, those 2 pages were the worst, and it only got better afterward. The book drew me in and didn't let go. I can still see a few other fla ...more
Kara-karina
Guys, gals, this book is AWESOME. The scope, the sheer complexity of it all is on par with Dune.

I have to admit straight away, this is not a book for everyone and my 10 out of 10 is highly subjective because I personally grew up with reading and rereading Dune, and gobbling up extremely popular military sci-fi in Russia for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This is like a blast from the past.

A Soldier's Duty has been on my shelves for about 7-8 months, and then this Sunday I suddenly fancied some sci
...more
Rich
What convinced me to buy the book was the idea of someone who can see the future devoting their life to altering it. The actual book spent about half the time during main character Ia's basic training and the other half on shipboard duty. The boot camp chapters went well enough, but the book slogged down during the second half. It went from battle to battle without a break. I'd have liked to have seen less battle and more time for introspection and character building with Ia. For a heroine of a ...more
Chris
If you like military science fiction, you'd like this book. It had a good pace, without completely bogging you down with details. Unfortunately, that is also a downside. Johnson throws a lot of stuff at you, and while the immersion is good by just mentioning things like you should know, it takes her a while to find a way to explain things.

The main character of Ia is amazing. She's witty, talented, powerful....everything that a perfect mary-sue should be. At times she seems far too overpowered,
...more
Marlene
A Soldier's Duty is the opening title in the new military science fiction series, Theirs Not to Reason Why, by Jean Johnson.

We first meet Ia as a 15-year-old on the Terran colony of Sanctuary as she navigates the time-streams after a horrifying vision of the future annihilation of human civilization. Through her frantic search of the possible futures for one tiny glimmer of hope, we catch a glimpse of our heroine as well. Her precognition is a recognized fact, and this future accepts psi-powers,
...more
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
First of all, this is not a romance novel. Unless you count the entire chapter long ode to the specs of military guns of the far future as a love poem, there is not a spec of romance in this book. It is straight up sci-fi. But because it's written by a woman, with a female main character and was given a, granted, kinda misleading cover, some people on Goodreads classify it as a romance. I repeat, not a romance.

With that out of the way, this book is WAY more fascinating than a book that can often
...more
Vanessa
I read this book because I was sent the 2 sequels to review for the Elitist Book Reviews website. I had a little trouble getting into it because there is so much infodumping (I mean, really, do I need to know how each of the 10 different ammo types work in *detail*?). The concept is fascinating, though. Ia is a precognitive who's seen the end of humanity and knows what needs to happen to prevent mankind being wiped out by an alien invasion that will arrive in 300 years or so. This makes her some ...more
rameau
Usually, I prefer more character driven stories. Although this book is told from Ia’s point of view and partly narrated in her voice—there are short notes from the character at the beginning of each chapter—it’s far from an emotional and introspective journey. Instead, Johnson concentrates on the world building and plotting Ia’s military career from basic training to her first officer’s post.

I don’t read nearly as much scifi as I’d like to, but I do read fantasy and that’s what drew me in here.
...more
E.
Oct 06, 2012 E. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
4 3/4 stars!

15 year old Ia already knew that she was different as she grew up but matters coalesced when she realized that an apocalypse was inevitable unless she followed the single pathway that she could discern amongst infinite possibilities. She determined that she would need a military background to supplement the physical advantages conferred to her by her beginnings on a 'heavyworld' and joins the Marines, excelling in her service and honing her skills. The dichotomy of being able to use
...more
Carien
I'm in two minds about this book.

On the one hand it is a very interesting read. It follows Ia as she starts her military career and I very much enjoyed the view into the hard world of the Terran United Planets military. I also really liked the writing, the world building and the view of the future Johnson paints in this book.

What I did miss in this book is emotion. Ia is completely focused on the future and on nothing else. I would have wanted to learn more about her inner turmoil. What does she
...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
I saw a recommendation for A Soldier’s Duty on another web site and decided to check it out. It is the first in a new series, Theirs Not to Reason Why, by Jean Johnson.

The story is riveting. Ia (this is her only name) is a precog . She has visions of the future and when she was 15 she sees a future where everyone dies. As she searches all the many time streams she finds only one where there is a chance of survival but only if she works very hard to make sure certain events happen. That is what d
...more
Amy
I purchased this book during Border's going-out-of-business sale, based solely on the cover and the idea that it'd probably be terrible but entertaining. I was in no hurry to read it, and it sat gathering dust for almost a year. Finally picked it off my bookshelf on a whim, and devoured it in two nights.

I will say, first and foremost, that cover is a crying shame. It sells a completely different kind of story. I know this is very much based on personal opinion, but after reading just the first q
...more
Janet
Jul 27, 2012 Janet rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: space
Don't get the wrong idea from the hot heroine on the cover -- this is not a 'shippers space opera. It's a straight military sci fi. I recommend Jean Johnson's novel for fans of David Weber's Honor Harrington series (On Basilisk Station) and of Frank Herbert's Duneseries. Johnson's heroine, Ia, reminds me a great deal of Herbert's Paul Atreides in her terrible foreknowledge and grim determination to walk the narrow line to prevent disaster far in the future. Ia is a second-generation colonist fro ...more
Gina
This book had a fresh take when it comes to narratives taking place in space. First I'd like to say that the strong female lead was very interesting and a complex character. The author really delves into the question "What would you do if you knew the future?" Since the main character is planning out future events a thousand years in the making we are never sure why she does what she does. It is simply fascinating to follow a character around who already knows everything yet the reader still get ...more
Abhinav
You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:

http://thefoundingfields.com/2013/03/...

Shadowhawk reviews the first novel in the Theirs Not To Reason Why hard military SF series.

“This is military science fiction at its best, filled to the brim with some excellent action scenes and a heavy dose of military jargon, rounded off with an excellent protagonist and a great narrative. A must-read.” ~The Founding Fields

Military science fiction is one of my favourite genres, whether we are talki
...more
Helen
This books was really disapointing. It was well written and put together, but I just didn't find enough in it to keep reading.

The premise was interesting: a precog has a vision of the "end of the world" (so to speak), but sees a way to stop it and save millions (billions?) of lives. So Ia enlists in the marines and hilarity ensures. No, wait. That's the problem: Ia is overpowered. She has such a grip on both the near and long term futures that there is no dramatic tension. She gets into all sort
...more
Jane
Ia is a precognitive young woman who has seen the future and it ain't good. Her ability to dip into the timestreams has given her knowledge no person should have and yet... What can she do but try to change things? If she does not her world and every other world in the galaxy is going to be destroyed in the future. Every step she takes from the age of 15 is meant to prepare her to be in the right places at the right times to prevent that catastrophe. Her first step? Join the marines.

This first n
...more
April
Dec 01, 2014 April rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
(Originally posted @ CSI:Librarian)

For me, A Soldier's Duty was like a much needed breath of fresh air. Not only because it was a fun, character-driven series opener with a strong, vivid female lead, but because it lacked romance of any kind. Romance is fine and good, of course, but sometimes I just want to read about someone saving their world and/or universe.

The best parts of the book were the details and the way the future was set up as a far more open-minded, complex place, which I appreciat
...more
Per Gunnar
This is the first book in a new series that I have started to read. Well, it is not new in the sense that the first edition was published in 2011 but it is new for me in that I just started to read it.

This is not the usual marine grunt story. Sure there is the marine training followed by plenty of violent action as one would expect when one brings in the marines. But behind all of this runs the story of Ia which is what makes this book interesting.

As the book blurb tells us Ia is a precog, an un
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Tamahome

pg 56/422 (14 hrs?): Military scifi. Heard her on Sfsignal. Parts of it feel derivative of things like Star Trek and Star Wars (which I can get behind), and parts seem researched. The cliched urban fantasy cover is deceptive (is that half a wing?). The main character actually has white hair that gets shaved in the beginning, and she's noticeably buff from a high gravity planet. Although being a super psychic who can see the future, I'm not sure where the suspense is going to come from. I think i
...more
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Berkley/Jove Authors Bio

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
(1)romance author, science fiction author

Jean Johnson currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, has played in the SCA for 25 years, sings a lot, and argues with her cat about territorial rights to her office chair. She loves hearing from her readers, and has a distinct sense of humor. Rig
...more
More about Jean Johnson...
The Sword (Sons of Destiny, #1) The Storm (Sons of Destiny, #6) An Officer's Duty (Theirs Not to Reason Why, #2) The Wolf (Sons of Destiny, #2) The Cat (Sons of Destiny, #5)

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