A thoroughly fascinating book, beginning a thoroughly fascinating series. This is the best sort of book for a military historian like myself. Fun char...moreA thoroughly fascinating book, beginning a thoroughly fascinating series. This is the best sort of book for a military historian like myself. Fun characters, exciting action, it's got so much to enjoy.(less)
I'm not sure why, if it was just that the title seemed so monumentally hubristic that I couldn't get past it, or if it was just that I read this book...moreI'm not sure why, if it was just that the title seemed so monumentally hubristic that I couldn't get past it, or if it was just that I read this book courtesy of a school assignment, but I didn't like this book. Don't ask me to quantify why, and it may be irrational, but I did not enjoy it.(less)
**spoiler alert** Holy balls, this was a bad book. It might have been a somewhat interesting thriller book if not for the frelling New-Agey symbolism...more**spoiler alert** Holy balls, this was a bad book. It might have been a somewhat interesting thriller book if not for the frelling New-Agey symbolism bullcrap gumming up the works. No, I don't care if all of it is true, it screwed up the whole book for me. And even if it is all true, it isn't, because life couldn't possibly be that stupid. Also, what's with the Langdon Girls? Seriously, he has a new female companion every book. What is this, James fucking Bond? Doctor Who? Hey, anyone else remember how he got married in Angels & Demons? Yeah, I didn't think so. She got a brief mention in Da Vinci Code, and none whatsoever (as far as I can tell) in this pile of shit masquerading as a book. The only nice thing that I can say about this book is that Dan Brown has still not directly gotten a single dollar from me, since I bought it (for a single dollar) from my local library. I would much rather support their cause than Dan Brown's bank account. In short, this book sucks.(less)
**spoiler alert** Another fine volume in the series, bringing the World of the Wheel closer to the Last Battle. Honestly, I think this is probably the...more**spoiler alert** Another fine volume in the series, bringing the World of the Wheel closer to the Last Battle. Honestly, I think this is probably the best volume to demonstrate how much frelling depth this series has. We pay at least one visit to each and every major character (and some recurring ones, too). From Rand al'Thor, all the way to everyone's favorite corrupting insane former Darkfriend, Padan Mordeth (previously known as Padan Fain), we see them all.
The characters who really come in for the biggest focus are probably Perrin and Mat, and rightly so. Perrin gets a great deal of development, plus Berelain and Faile bury their hatchets (not in each others' skulls). Mat, meanwhile, feels very good, and he gets to send a memorable letter to Elayne that would have had me in stitches if I hadn't been so intent on finishing.
One last thing: This book contains probably the single creepiest/grossest scene in the Wheel of Time thus far. It's the single scene that we get from Padan Mordeth, who is making his way through the Blight, killing jumara (remember the Worms from TEotW? those things) in gruesome, purple ways, and generally wreaking destruction on the Dark One's home turf. Most notably, he turns a patrol of Trollocs into zombie Trollocs. So the previously creepy stuff just got creepier. Ecch...
In the final estimation, this is another excellent contribution by Brandon Sanderson, even if it is a bit of a middle child. In that regard, though, it functions much better than, say, Crossroads of Twilight. ToM should hold us over until Tarmon Gai'don arrives in a year or so.
(Really the final note, I swear. If you, like me, obsess over blogs, you might notice a shout-out to a certain blogger. She happens to blog at Tor.com, and her "character" is a dead Aes Sedai. I thought that was pretty neat.)(less)
I'm sorry, having read most of the books put out by both David Weber and John Ringo, I am not impressed by this book. There were occasionally interest...moreI'm sorry, having read most of the books put out by both David Weber and John Ringo, I am not impressed by this book. There were occasionally interesting moments, but they are not worth the derivative drudgery and slogging. Maybe there are people out there who like sloppy clones of better books, but I am not one of them. If you are one such person, you will enjoy this book thoroughly. For anyone else interested in military SF, for the love of God, go to http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com and pick up the free ebooks of Weber and Ringo. While you're at it, try some of David Drake's work, as well. His RCN stuff is very good. Anything but this book.(less)
**spoiler alert** I'm not sure if it counts as "reading" a book when you only got through the first fifty-odd pages. For me, the point where this book...more**spoiler alert** I'm not sure if it counts as "reading" a book when you only got through the first fifty-odd pages. For me, the point where this book just dove headfirst into the Grand Canyon was when Our "Hero" is fighting off hordes of Syrian presidential guards after killing the President of Syria and Osama bin Laden. While he's being awesome and manly, one of the dozens of naked American co-eds who had been kidnapped by al-Qaeda gets a live feed to Fox News (because that's the only network that Our "Hero" trusts to tell the story the way he likes it), and says that she used to be some kind of Democrat, but now, through the awesome power of Our Manly "Hero"'s Manly Manliness, she's now a complete and total Republican.
Of course, this is the breaking point after a load of cliched bullcrap about the way American college campuses are. You know, socialist professors indoctrinating their drone-students with Teh Librulism. Ringo's scenario is undercut slightly by the fact that the socialist college campus to which he refers is the University of Georgia. I mean, really? I know he lives in Georgia (where I grew up), but I don't think he's ever really been to UGA. When I was reading the descriptions of Our Manly "Hero"'s history classes, my mind was going "ARGLBARGARGLARGH...", and then "But that's not accurate at all!"
Absolute crap. And I'm glad to know that Ringo himself kind of agrees. If you must read something in this series, the second book, Kildar, isn't half bad. If you want to read a good John Ringo book, try his early Posleen work.
(P.S. Google "OH JOHN RINGO NO". You will thank me.)(less)
**spoiler alert** This was the first collaboration between Ringo and Kratman, and, unfortunately, not the last. In general bookish terms, it's not tha...more**spoiler alert** This was the first collaboration between Ringo and Kratman, and, unfortunately, not the last. In general bookish terms, it's not that bad, since Ringo is still a pretty good writer. The problem I had was the central conceit that the whole thing was built around.
It turns out that when the Posleen attacked northern Virginia in Gust Front, the chancellor of Germany realized that without more troops, his country would be royally boned. But he was scraping the bottom of the barrel for the regular forces, so he decided to deepen the barrel by pressing aged Waffen-SS veterans into service (after giving them deagening treatments, of course).
We get a long spiel about how, really, the Waffen-SS (Heinrich Himmler's private army, lest we forget) is just a bunch of misunderstood people. Why, they were all just soldiers, doing their duty for the Fatherland. They didn't all commit atrocities, you know! Plus, any of them who did probably feel really sorry about it by now. And those who don't are sure to be horribly offensive, and killed very soon.
John Ringo hadn't previously shown tendencies to praise Nazis before, so I've always chalked it up to Tom Kratman's malign influence. Looking at Kratman's other books, it's clear enough where he stands on Certain Issues, like Texas (loves it), Massachusetts (hates it), Teh Peepul of Teh United States (loves a highly distorted version of them), and Muslims (hates a highly distorted version of them).
I really feel that Kratman's introduction into the series made it less enjoyable, and more conservative. Before Kratman, Ringo may have had some RW themes in the series, but they were easy to ignore, if they were present. In Watch on the Rhine, on the other hand, we have the French wanting to surrender, environmentalists turning out to be either deluded or corrupt, and the aforementioned praising of Nazis. Blech.
Not to mention one French character, described as "socialist", who converts to Teh Side of Goodness and Light (i.e. the Nazis, in this world). If you've read my review of Ringo's book Ghost, you'll know that I fucking hate that. That's one sure way to make me dislike a book.
Overall, I would not recommend this book, unless you're very conservative or you don't care about the real world (but I repeat myself). Read Ringo's earlier Posleenverse books. They're pretty darn good. Skip this one and the other collaborations with Kratman.(less)
If you've read John Ringo's first Mike Harmon (aka "Paladin of Shadows") book, Ghost, you'll know that it kind of sucks. In fact, it really sucks. Wha...moreIf you've read John Ringo's first Mike Harmon (aka "Paladin of Shadows") book, Ghost, you'll know that it kind of sucks. In fact, it really sucks. What you might be surprised to learn is that it actually gets better. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. Of course, when you've set the bar as low as Ghost did, that's not hard.
Mostly, this book is better because Ringo backs off on a lot of the fairly disgusting sexual stuff that characterized Ghost. Oh, every so often, it becomes turgid once more and rears its head over the story, but it mostly follows Our Manly "Hero" and his adventures in Georgia (the country, not the state), where he happens across a group of fairly primitive people who would probably do well as soldiers, if they even knew that the 21st century had arrived. So we get a lot of scenes with the people building stuff, and the process is actually pretty engrossing, if you like that sort of thing.
The other thing I'm really glad got left out is the original cover. See, apparently the cover that you see here was not the first choice. The first choice, which is on view at the Fifth Imperium's BaenCD subsite, was a mostly brown picture, which showed two grubby little foreign girls gazing up in awe at the super awesome American, whom I presume to be Our Manly "Hero". It's just a little too "thank you for saving us, Mr. Awesome American" for my effete liberal tastes.
To summarize: A much better book than the first, not that that's an amazing feat.(less)