Dirk Grobbelaar's Reviews > A Hymn Before Battle

A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo
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's review
Jun 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: books-i-own, science-fiction, sf-road-trip-2012
Read from July 07 to 10, 2012

”War! What is it good for?”

Military Science Fiction does come to mind…

A Hymn Before Battle is the first in the Posleen War saga. The series is also referred to as the Legacy of the Aldenata, which has a nice ring to it. In essence, it’s all about war. The aliens are coming! This theme, of course, isn’t new. Not by a long shot. There are different aliens involved too, some are nicer than others. Some are treacherous. Some are just plain evil. Not having much of a choice (with Earth being next on the menu), humans are pulled into the war on the side of the Galactic Federation, who are being owned by the Posleen in a war of rather extreme proportions. Thankfully, the bad guys in this instance are not bugs. Wow!

So, long story short, humans get handed some nice tech and are sent into the far reaches of space to bite some heel and… guess what? It seems we are better at making war than other aliens in general. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Mild sarcasm aside, the book is actually pretty darn cool. It has all the tropes, of course. Such as: the top brass in the military are criminally incompetent and short sighted. Sigh. This really does make one wonder about the state of the US military. There is power armour of course. The ACS suits, as they’re called, are really cool, so if you’re a Halo (or other mil-SF with heavy suits) fan you might want to feast your intellect on these.

In the end, the story is far from over. The main arc plays out over four novels. The novel takes some time setting up the back story and introducing the players, but when the action starts is as compelling as you would expect from cutting edge military SF.

Now: I didn’t want to make a comment about the cover design of this novel. Who wants to be a nasty bastard all the time? However, since I know that some people will be giving this a skip based on the cover (to say nothing about the sequel: Gust Front) I should probably just, at the very least, say the following: don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s not that the art is bad, or anything, it just doesn’t seem to suit the epic-ness of the novel at all.
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