Friday, June 5, 2015

Allan's Review: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan by Jack Campbell

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan by Jack Campbell
“One of the best military science fiction series on the market,” (Monsters and Critics) The Lost Fleet delivers thrilling combat on a grand space opera scale. Now, Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary embarks on a brand new mission—to defend the Alliance from itself—in New York Times bestselling author Jack Campbell’s latest action-packed novel…
Two Syndicate World star systems have fallen prey to a mysterious fleet of warships—a fleet controlled entirely by artificial intelligence—that is now targeting Alliance space. The warships are no mystery to Geary. They were developed by his government to ensure security, but malfunctioned. If the Syndics learn the truth, the war with the Alliance will resume with a vengeance.
As the government attempts to conceal the existence of the A.I. warships—and its role in their creation—Geary pursues them, treading a fine line between mutiny and obedience. But it soon becomes clear that his fleet is no match for the firepower of the machine-piloted armada.
With the help of the Dancer species of aliens, Geary has tracked the A.I. ships to their secret base in the supposedly mythical Unity Alternate star system where his fleet, the last hope of the Alliance’s future, will end the conflict at any cost…


Publishes in US:  May 5th 2015 by Ace
Genre: adult scifi space opera
Source: netgalley
Series? The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier #5The Lost Fleet #11

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Author stalk away: ~site

(Manly) bio: Allan is my husband, and will be an occasional guest reviewer on my blog. He's 30 and a nerd who loves (mostly) adult science fiction, namely space operas. 

Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series is a hard one to wrap my head around. On one hand, I’m all for a good space saga with a well-designed world and technology, but on the other hand, the characters can be kind of flat and sometimes boring. Having said that however, for me, the positives outweigh the negatives, and I will continue to devour future installments of the adventures of Jack Geary and his fleet.
Allan’s review: 3.25 out of 5.
To get the negative out of the way first, Campbell’s character development is lacking. Other than Jack Geary, and the Alliance Senator/envoy/emissary/persona non grata Victoria Rione, the remainder of the characters are portrayed pretty one-dimensionally. It’s easy enough to decide which characters you like and which you don’t, but you only occasionally get a sense of what they’re thinking, or feeling, or afraid of, and basically none of that occurs outside the context of the fleet preparing for, or actually engaging in combat.
Although his characters aren’t the greatest, the world of the Alliance is created with a nice amount of detail, and the overall story arc consists of an easy-to-follow main plot arc, combined with nicely defined and delimited subplots that usually get wrapped up nicely by the end of each book.
And speaking of combat, Campbell’s depictions of the battles fought in space are the absolute high point of the book. Written with the knowledge that comes from having served in the United States Navy, Campbell’s battle scenes are riveting. Although it does take some mental gymnastics to picture the various battle formations slicing through three dimensions, he does a nice job building up the tension, making you wonder how the battles are going to end. Campbell also doesn’t fall into the trap of having the “right” side emerge from fights unscathed. Geary’s fleet may win engagement after engagement, but they take losses in the process.

Overall, this book was not the most enjoyable in the Lost Fleet series, but it wasn’t towards the bottom either. I didn’t find this one to be particularly memorable, but it was an acceptable vehicle for moving the story arc forward, and contained some twists towards the end that seem to set up some very promising story developments as the series proceeds.

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