My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Review: Cold Solar

Cold Solar Cold Solar by Anthony C. Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book: **
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.

#ColdSolar  #KindleUnlimited #FreeAudiobookCodes 

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.