My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Performance: **** (11.5 hrs)
A Paint By Numbers Mil Sci-Fi
A basic military sci-fi full of all of the expected tropes from a Mars vs Earth conflict. Stir in a Princess MacGuffin, a few testosterone laden Mary Sues suffering from manufactured drama and some deus ex machina hand waving and you got a mechanical story that was saved by a great narrator. The story opens with a Mars that is under an authoritarian feudalistic society of mutant humans that evolved for a rebellious mining colony. Apparently despite the vast superiority of power, tech and genes, they are still in danger of checkin’ out and they blame earth for their situation. On the other hand, a rather incompetent and weak earth is now ruled by corporations after having bought up all of the sovereign debt (so the setup is a huge stretch for anything other than a comic book story).
For some reason, Martians run around with hand weapons (sword, mace, spear), invulnerable suits of armor and mutant genes that give them enough of an advantage over earth forces that we get plenty of gratuitous and graphic violence. Finally I would say that the world building is pretty lazy with very little thought put into how any of the story elements (spaceships, naval ships, laser lines, communications, computer hacking, et al) would realistically work … which was amusing in the beginning, but it quickly wore out its appeal. However, I thought that the pacing was actually pretty good, with only a short section in the middle that started to drag while a clumsy, slow burn romance starts up (and more or less hints at a big reveal that sort of fizzled when it happened) … and all of the sword fights were pretty cool for a futuristic space war story where standoff weapons are mysteriously absent.
I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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