I usually do not waste my reading time on books based on RPGs/Boardgames--for I believe they spit in the eyes of the genres they are based in: science...moreI usually do not waste my reading time on books based on RPGs/Boardgames--for I believe they spit in the eyes of the genres they are based in: science fiction & fantasy. Nor do I like books based on STAR WARS/STAR TREK. I feel if one reads them, they are wasting time which could be well spent with genre novels of a higher quality (says the geek who reads comic books--yes, you can call me a hypocrite). DRAGONLANCE novels are particularly ones in which I just can't see myself ever picking up because they just look so fucking cheezy. Seriously. They do. It's one thing to be teased for chucking 20-sided dice for Saving Throws but as a geek, do you have to justify it by reading the novelization crap?
But here is a series based on a popular miniatures game from across the pond which defies all my judgement of these types of books. Furthermore, author, Dan Abnett, takes this series to a new level--working with the structure of 40K's universe & giving it depth.
Through his pen, Abnett brings a human approach to the story, gives his characters a 3rd dimension by letting us inside their minds & doesn't focus on the main theme of everything that is 40K--war, war, war, WAR! There is a story here & Abnett weaves it very deftly & makes the reader forget the novel is based on a very popular dice chucking game. This is not an easy task & Abnett succeeds on every level--he realizes this is more like the sub-genre, Military Sci-fi, & treats it as such. His 40K novels could easily be sitting on the shelf next to the best works of David Webber--he's that good at transcending the novel-based-on-RPGs.
If you want to try a 40K novel, start with an author who thinks outside the box, Dan Abnett. I have read other 40K novels by him & they are ALL good. He even makes you want to continue the HORUS HERESY series despite the fact each following novel is written by a different author. There is a great tragic saga starting with this novel & it has yet to find an ending.(less)
Oh... my... GOD! This was just a damn chore to read! I did not care for the prose or the world/galaxy setting. I didn't care about the characters at a...moreOh... my... GOD! This was just a damn chore to read! I did not care for the prose or the world/galaxy setting. I didn't care about the characters at all & by the time I was at page 200, I realized nothing was really going on. It's as if this novel was just a set up for the rest of the novels & a poor one at that.
I will give Drake credit for not making this a thousand page novel like Peter Hamilton or Weber (though Weber writes fantastic Military Science Fiction). He kept it...um, short--though that's up for debate considering how I slogged through this book waiting... waiting... waiting... for something, ANYTHING, to happen. This is why I have a problem with former military servicemen as writers--they spend too much time on protocol. It gets boring. This is why I've yet to read a John Ringo novel for fear of him doing the same thing. David Weber knows how to set up conflict, have the military brass quickly discuss strategy (key word: "quickly") & then gets right into the action! Drake just drones & his character, Lt. Leary, makes me think of Capt. Stern from Heavy Metal magazine--a pompous, egotistical ass! If only Leary was as interesting as Stern. If only Drake tackled this with the same excitement as his tank corps tales, Hammer's Slammers!
Do yourself a favor & read Weber's Starfire series instead or, if you want to read Drake for the first time, get your hands on HAMMER'S SLAMMERS VOL. 1 & 2--much better stuff. Otherwise, avoid this boring pile of crap! It's the kind of novel which gives the sub-genre of Military Science Fiction a bad name.(less)
Everyone loves this novel & based on my rating of it, you'd think I did too. Actually, I don't & maybe I should rethink my rating, but what ma...moreEveryone loves this novel & based on my rating of it, you'd think I did too. Actually, I don't & maybe I should rethink my rating, but what makes me give it this rating is the concept of the novel: "& a child shall lead them...."
I find Ender to be an interesting character through his evolution into adulthood. I guess I'm saying it is important to see where this character goes by also combining this novel with it's sequel, SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD. The character is bred to be a genocidal warrior & is tricked into committing the act upon a alien race through a video game--this is the basic plot. It's not the execution which garners my praise, but the character's revelations through his guilt of committing genocide; the end result--he becomes numb to his own well-being & seeks to be honest with what he is: a mass murderer. His guilt makes him seek the strength to be honest with not only himself, but to those around him--he refuses to live a lie in order to erase his guilt.
You can say that he was a soldier but his understanding of what he has done to another sentient race goes beyond the battlefield. He has destroyed a race & through his connection with the hive-mind, comes to realize his own race hasn't taken to the time to understand the aliens. He also comes to realize--without stating it--that there is no God & that religion has no place, only honesty. Again, this is incorporating the novels sequel to fully understand Ender's evolution as he grows into the universe around him. It's also why he keeps the last remains of the bug race--his guilt of committing genocide makes him want to bring about it's survival & find the aliens a new home.
This is what resonates with me within these two novels--not the battle school, not the super intelligent children being trained to be warriors & their interaction with each other, not the complaints at how much the children are naked in countless scenes with in the novel. It's the understanding of what it is to be HUMAN. It is through Ender we begin to see there is something more to life than humanity's destiny--more than religion & our progression through the galaxy. There are others populating this galaxy & we have to learn to live with them & not just push them aside because they matter. We all matter regardless of our status in life because we're all part of something bigger than ourselves.(less)
This... this is how you write Military Sci-fi! David Weber knows what the reader is looking for when they come to this sub-genre of Space Opera--lots...moreThis... this is how you write Military Sci-fi! David Weber knows what the reader is looking for when they come to this sub-genre of Space Opera--lots of action, millions of starships, the deepness of space, the inter-planetary battles, the alliances between alien races. It's all here! Look no further!
Hey! You! Yeah, I'm talking to you--the person holding that David Drake novel! Put it down--slowly--& walk away from it right now! You need to walk over to the "W's" & pick up the book that comes before THE SHIVA OPTION, IN DEATH'S GROUND (STARFIRE #3), & buy it along with this novel. You don't need to start at the beginning with this series--I didn't--but you should read these two books together in order to fully enjoy the epic Interstellar Bug War our planet finds itself in.
While humanity is searching for new star-gates (wormhole-like anomalies in space), they come across the massive Dreadnought starships of the Bug race who attack the Terran starships without provocation. From this point, IT'S ON! All out war for the survival of the human race & their alien allies (who are now former enemies) to not become Bug food.
Massive battles erupt in space with vast interstellar armadas facing off to epic proportions but there's a twist: Weber brings character to each clash through development of his military commanders & their alien counterparts. Some readers say you don't care too much about them but I beg to differ. While the character development isn't as deep as some sci-fi novels, Weber does an excellent job without forgetting he's writing an action novel too.
I've always been hesitant to read military sci-fi, thinking it would be incredibly boring--that would be David Drake--but Weber is a fine craftsman of the sub-genre that makes you want to continue to read his other novels. IN DEATH'S GROUND & THE SHIVA OPTION are strong testaments to what it takes in order to make a successful military Space Opera sing. (less)