I’ve spoken already about Kindle Unlimited (its pros and cons) so won’t go into too much detail on it here. Suffice it to say from my point of view its a way of getting books cheap (often from new or fairly unknown authors), but that being said, no one wants to read books that aren’t worth it, so here is my quick and dirty list of the books to get and the ones to miss for the Military SciFi buff. So without further ado, here’s my list from worst to best. Oh yeah, if you’re interested in purchasing any of the books on this list, click through to Amazon on this link.

Constitution ‚Äď Book 1 of the Legacy Fleet by Nick Webb (3.3)

My thoughts

I think this was one I’ve rated lower because of the quality of other books that I was reading at the time and it just jarred me. Reading through this overall list now, I’d probably give it a higher overall score and might end up adjusting it in the future depending upon how the other books in the series do (assuming that I read them ūüôĀ )

What’s it about?

Broken down ship, broken down and down on his luck captain, Engineer and Doctor that are caricatures of Scotty and Bones … unfortunately nothing really new or original to this tale and the writing and editing errors simply don’t help the situation. The enemy is somewhat interesting but they are also limited in my estimation and I think its the lack of originality that is probably the most disappointing here.

Escape to Earth Series by Andrew Saxon (5.8)

My thoughts

Some interesting ideas and concepts but the massive fleet battles tend to take away from any caring that you might have for the characters. In addition, it seems that regardless of the challenge put forward, there is always a technical solution waiting in the wings ready to be deployed. Its hard to really have any empathy for the death and destruction when you know that its only temporary.

What’s it about?

In this case an escape pod from an advanced race crash lands on Earth with one survivor. This survivor is “changed” to look like Human’s although he retains his strength and intelligence which are both greater than normal mankind. Realizing that the people that attacked him will not rest till he is recaptured, this escapee decides that his greatest hope for survival is helping Earth’s forces and Earth itself modernize in preparation for the upcoming alien invasion.

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Swarm Series by BV Larson

My thoughts

The first book is actually quite good although you will be exposed to quite a few typo’s and other writing related errors. As a 10 issue series (& counting) it will keep you engaged for quite a while, and while its good (mindless) reading, its definitely not at the same level of quality as some of the others in this list. However for a read on the beach or a similar distraction it will probably keep you quite well engaged.

What’s it about?

Similar to many others on this list, Swarm is about an imminent attack on Earth that could cause the extinction of Humanity. Once again – similar to Ember Wars – another species chooses to send out emissaries to save those under attack … this time the emissaries choose their candidates in a brutal Darwinian process that weeds out all but the strongest and smartest leaving those survivors as the pilots of a fleet of ships. These ships are the only hope for Earth’s survival and as they are somewhat self aware, they don’t always have Humanities best interests at heart.

Human Legion Series by Tim Taylor (6.1)

My thoughts

Book 1 starts out way too slowly and while its written well, the action sequences take forever. Subsequent books are definitely better paced which is good, although this is primarily in terms of the action itself, unfortunately the underlying (and overarching) story progresses only slowly.

What’s it about?

In the not too distant future Earth was approached by an Alien Superpower. In exchange for Earth‚Äôs survival, millions of children were sold into slavery to found the Marine Corps. These ‚Äúchildren‚ÄĚ without any knowledge of Earth would change/grow and develop over the centuries to come into an enhanced race of warriors ‚Äď and while most of their enemies see them as nothing more than cannon fodder with third rate weaponry and training, over time that changes.

Battle Cruiser by BV Larson (6.8)

My thoughts

The same author as the Swarm series (also on this list), this one is written significantly better & has a much larger scope than that one. The characters are much more interesting and while the book starts out somewhat slowly, it quickly picks up pace.

What’s it about?

Earth had established a small interstellar empire with several different colony worlds and more continually being founded. However when a solar flare disrupts the wormhole network that connects these splintered colonies together, Earth is left alone once more. With widespread devastation throughout the solar system, the colonies are left to wither as a secondary concern and gradually Earth focuses more and more on issues closer to home. Hundreds of years later however, it seems that the colonies haven’t necessarily forgotten or even forgiven Earth for their abandonment and they have some lessons of their own they want to deliver.

Space Carrier Avalon by Glynn Stewart (7.3)

My thoughts

Space Carrier Avalon is also about a legacy ship (similar to Constitution also on this list) from a war fought decades previously but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The Captain is absolutely not a broken down has-been, the engineer is not Scotty and the ships’ doctor is not Bones! This book is well written and is absolutely engaging almost from page 1.

What’s it about?

No aliens here, the battles are human v.s. human and the “baddies” are the Terran Commonwealth. Lots of good fighter action and also some well explained and detailed inter-ship combat.

Steel Breach series by Casey Calouette (7.7)

My thoughts

Really well written and thought out, this book definitely takes us in a different direction to the others in the list. While there are some significant battles being fought, the technology on the front lines is absolutely understandable and recognizable and is in some ways more archaic than you’d expect.

What’s it about?

Penal battalion is sent in with unfamiliar leadership, weaponry and training and expected to make a difference in an all out war to the death.¬†We’ve seen similar scenarios before, but this one is definitely well conceived and written and the underlying story arc that is only explored briefly in Book One is extremely interesting and engaging.

Fractured Space Series by J G Cressey (8)

My thoughts

Looking at the list as a whole, I’ve probably rated this one a bit higher than it should be, however I’m going to let it stand right now as it is written well and while the story is a bit weird, it is also interesting. ¬†Interesting enough for me to want to read the next part that’s for sure!

What’s it about?

A ragtag group of castaway’s are thrown together through a bizarre set of circumstances on a strangely changed Mars.  Here Mars is a big game preserve and a farming planet where the monsters from other planets and dinosaurs from Earth’s past are left to roam free … prey only to a few solitary hunters that track and kill them for Earth’s teeming masses.  By itself that would be quite interesting, but Mars is just the start of the story as these castaways need to determine not only why they were marooned on Mars in the first place, but also why all communications with all other humans in all the populated planets seems to have ended so abruptly.  Are they the only surviving humans left?

Saiph Series by PP Corcoran (8)

My thoughts

Really well written and gripping right from the get go.  The characters are interesting and engaging and perhaps most refreshing Рthey are not infallible!  They make mistakes and are as human as we are.  The enemy in book one is somewhat faceless and amorphous but that quickly changes in book two Рin fact by the end of the second book the question of who the real enemy is starts to raise its head!  Definitely recommend this one.

What’s it about?

In the not too distant future mankind manages to perfect faster than light travel.  This isn’t the type of travel you’d expect with wormholes and varying degrees of acceleration but is almost instantaneous for thousands of light years in all directions.  On the maiden voyage their ship detects an artificial signal on a planet and after much investigation they realize that these are the remnants of a long dead civilization.

However this civilization has a connection with humanity as the DNA of the alien species and humanity is almost identical. ¬†We quickly come to realize that while we were not seeded on Earth, our DNA was manipulated in a last ditch effort by the Saiph to escape oblivion and destruction and to leave a little bit of themselves behind in their battle with the ‚ÄúOthers‚ÄĚ. ¬†What they have also left us is a library of information to help bootstrap humanity so that they can survive when the Others come hunting them too!

A slightly different review than ones I’ve normally done in the past as for this book I’ve been compiling thoughts and feelings as I read through the book. ¬†As such there might be some jumping around as different scenes are introduced but I’ll try to ensure that any spoilers are kept to a minimum so that I don’t ruin your enjoyment.

First impressions – this one was a bit different to what I expected as it offered a form of warfare that I absolutely did not expect to read about in a SciFi context. ¬†Namely that of trench warfare a’la World War I with a no-mans-land in between competing armies.

  • ¬†… waves of charging faceless foes … what you’d expect from the Chinese or North Koreans’ perhaps? ¬†Russian pragmatism and imperialism against an implacable alien aggressor. ¬†Excellent writing and gets right to the meat of the matter without messing about.
  • Advancement by service¬†– war against the enemy is a long struggle as it allows more and more nobles to be created, no incentive to defeat the enemy. ¬†New foes are introduced that change the whole landscape and the existing system does not want to send enough forces to truly make a difference.
  • Penal battalion is sent in with unfamiliar leadership, weaponry and training and are all expected to make a difference.¬†Weapons however are new to the battlefront as they are equipment that while obsolete to the Sigg Empire, are new and radical in form to the Vasilov. ¬†Will they make the difference when crewed by criminals, thugs and other radicals?

 

  • Way of battle itself is different as Sigg forces represent World War II forces or perhaps even more modern combat veterans in terms of tactics and strategy whereas Vasilov forces and their enemies¬†(the Kadan an insect like race)¬†are very much of the World War I mindset and based on trenches.
  • The bogemen to truly fear are the Emflife – synthetic beings that seem to be able to take on the shape and form of anything they want. ¬†They can reconstruct themselves after seeming death and are not only blazingly fast, but are seeming invulnerable to all but the heaviest of weapons.
  • Earth has created “the order of Terra” – a group of individuals tasked with policing and protecting Humanity in this hostile environment. ¬†Hidden in plain site, Vasilov – the founder of the empire – was one of them and they are not only aware of the Emflife, they are actively combating them.
  • Emflife created by the Ken-Tek … Ken-Tek also the founders or mentors of the humans that are part of the order of Terra. ¬†They feel responsible for what they have unleashed upon the Universe and while they will not provide technological assistance to “lesser” species they will still assist how and where they can and will provide guidance.
  • Very short chapters with lots of action. ¬†Several different characters and points of view can sometimes get confusing, but as the story progresses they come into focus. ¬†Some small typographical errors here and there, but overall very easy to read. ¬†Character growth non-existant for for all but one or two characters as the others are all fairly well established already.

 

Quick Summary

I won’t give too much away in terms of details as I really think this is one that you should pick up and read yourself. ¬†Humanity has managed to expand the boundaries by settling multiple different planets through a series of Stargates. ¬†While there is interstellar transit also, it is limited and focused more on transit of heavy equipment versus individuals.

On one of the planets the Vasilov empire gated to, they came across a hostile species Рthe Kadan Рthat immediately attacked.  Forced to occupy a series of static defenses, the humans managed to initially drive back the enemy.  However instead of routing them fully, the hereditary forces of the Vasilov took advantage of the Kadan as a unifying force and created a situation where only through leadership and service against the common enemy could a peasant advance to a title.  Stalemated in three different places on the planet, the Kadan and Vasilov are forced into trench style warfare where the Kadan act and attack in multiple kamikaze raids only being driven off after massive casualties.

One of the Vasilov Colonels’ however has seen a different way of fighting … a more modern way between the Sigg (another Human Empire in another part of space) and yet another race of aliens. ¬†The Sigg with their more modern tactics and focus on technology instead of manpower were successful in their war – so successful in fact that they have demobilized after defeating their enemy and the Vasilov Colonel has managed to acquire a battalion of obsolete armor at literally junk prices.

Unfortunately the Vasilov high command does not believe in the Colonel’s plan and instead of regular soldiers, they instead only give him the dregs of the army … prisoners, drug addicts and convicts and a timetable of two weeks to make a difference in a war that has gone on for decades!

Overall Thoughts

Not sure if you got it from my bullet points above but I really, really enjoyed this book. ¬†It was extremely fast paced and action packed and you absolutely felt like you were in the midst of the action. ¬†While there were some typo’s and writing errors they weren’t glaringly obvious and didn’t detract from the pace of the book.

The enemy are truly fearsome and the capabilities shown by the Emflife are actually quite scary. ¬†I quite liked Tomi (one of the key characters) and I’m glad to see his growth and progression with the company. ¬†The technology is understandable – no real superweapons here – and you don’t get the problems that you do with other series where each chapter has another new weapon or defense introduced. ¬†Problems with equipment and the struggle of war are quite evident.

This is a good one … I’d definitely recommend it.