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Steel World

Undying Mercenaries, Book 1
Narrated by: Mark Boyett
Series: Undying Mercenaries, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the 20th century Earth sent probes, transmissions, and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers…someone had to do their dirty work for them, their fighting and dying.

I, James McGill, was born in 2099 on the fringe of the galaxy. When Hegemony Financial denied my loan applications, I was kicked out of the university and I turned to the stars. My first campaign involved the invasion of a mineral-rich planet called Cancri-9, better known as Steel World. The attack didn't go well, and now Earth has entered a grim struggle for survival. Humanity's mercenary legions go to war in Steel World, best-selling author B. V. Larson's latest science fiction novel.

©2013 B. V. Larson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Macho Space Shoot 'em Up

It was good. No better than that. Kind of imagine this is the type of book for guys standing around the barbecue holding a beer telling their war stories.
Lots of shooting at lizard-like aliens. A lot. Gets a bit repetitive.
Some of the main characters remind me of red neck soldiers in Starship Troopers and Avatar.
Obviously some people love this book going by the reviews. Nothing terrible about it but I prefer something with a little more substance.
I appreciate that this book ends and so I don't feel obliged to read the next one in the series unless I want to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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gripping story great hero

I don't always appreciate the way Mark Boyett characterises women's voices but other than that his laconic tone makes for easy listening. really good story by BV Larson that made me think of starship troopers. interesting play on concepts like Empire, and death.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A great read

The concepts and story line in this book had me in from the get go. This is one of the first books from Audible after The Martian that I could not wait to fire up and listen to each day. Can not wait for the next story in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A well thought out Adventure.

I really enjoyed this creative version of a futuristic world. The imagination of this author is quite amazing and the performance was brilliant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An excellent listen...

My first impression was to skip this particular series. I am not really a big fan of "military sci-fi" and prefer a good old fashioned space opera instead - where the scene changes from place to place and various characters.

I was also put off by the book titles, which seem to have very little imagination put into them.

I am glad I found it now, as the story and writing are excellent. I am looking forward to the next book.

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great

loved it first sci fi audio book. downloaded on holiday and finished it in a 3 or 4 days

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Great Military Sci Fi

Great read/listen! Good story, good narrator. Some action, some sci-fi and a pinch of humour.

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Battle Novel with a great story

This book manages to set up interesting scenarios and slowly introduces a number of important topics to set the narrative. I really enjoyed exploring this side but the battles scenes were also fairly intense and the way the story is told gives a very clear picture of what's going on. I am looking forward to the next few books. Would absolutely recommend.

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Wonderful book

Excellent narration and an intriguing story. Great start to the series and will have you sitting in the car or transport ship wanting to hear more!

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Starship Troopers... I mean Steel World

Take half a bowl of Starship Troopers, mix in some dinosaur, a pinch of galactic imperialism and throw in an infinite revival machine for some added crunch and violence and you have Steel World.

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  • John
  • 09-02-2015

Great book!

Would you listen to Steel World again? Why?

Great start to a series. Like a cross between Starship Troopers and Universal Soldier.

What did you like best about this story?

Exciting and full of action.

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

Mark Boyett does a wonderful job with the voices and narration.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Brown
  • 16-04-2019

A 14 year old boy’s idea of a “Real Man”

First, a disclaimer: I finished all 10 books. Probably because Mark Boyett is a fantastic narrator. Make that, Storyteller. I do not think I would have stuck it out as text.
Pros:
Well-written, flows well, story builds on itself, and, like Horatio Hornblower, the protagonist rises in rank and significance over the course of he books.
Many call-backs to earlier stories, well-developed characters (within the functional requirements of the narrative) are distinct from each other. You could probably identify each bit of dialogue without attributions.
Some nice plot twists.
The central speculative hook is revivication of the legionnaires, and it is fairly well developed, though never deeply.
Lots of ripsnortin’, rootin’ tootin’ action!!!
Cons:
Unlike Hornblower, he never matures in the slightest.
The problem with charming rogues is that they are rogues. McGill is a childish, self-absorbed misogynist (I am a centrist straight male) with a bull-in-a-china-shop approach to EVERYTHING, and phenomenal luck (Authorial intent, deus ex machinae) which is supposed to pass for good ol’ boy genius.
He is a Randian superhero: Only he knows what to do. How? Well, he just … y’know … knows. He never listens to anyone; they’d only slow him down. He literally hits on every female he meets, often missing important points in the process. Most of them are his own species. He makes Captain Kirk look grown up. He dozes through briefings with the fate of all humanity at stake, does whatever his amygdala fancies, and it always turns out for the best.
Graves would have been a much better protagonist.
All of the aliens are shallow, funny-looking humans, in terms of personality, intellect, and psychology.
This series panders to the child in each of us who wishes there were no rules, and we could write on the wall using our own feces. Why do I have to wash my hands before dinner anyway? Why can’t I just take what I want? If he weren’t such a terrible example, this would be a children’s series.
This is Peter Pan with sex, violence, and alcohol, and never any consequences.
If you’re looking for science fiction that leaves you thoughtful, this isn’t it. If you’re doing heavy labor all day, and want some background entertainment, well, Mark Boyett makes this a great comic book.
Would I read more by this author? I would test him on another series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan
  • 16-10-2015

Its like Starship Troopers but with Dinosaurs

Dino Aliens ✔
Cool guy Protagonist ✔
Cool World ✔
Likable Characters ✔
Unlikable Characters ✔
Protagonist likes looking at woman's posterior when being yelled at ✔
It güde.

50 of 60 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Don Gilbert
  • 05-12-2013

Classic Space Opera

Cast from the mold of Star Ship Troopers and B.V. Larson’s other great space adventure, his Space Force series, Steel World; Undying Mercenaries is a high speed, high adventure, military Sci-Fi, page turner.
Having already submitted to the vast empire of the Galactics, Earth is in a struggle for survival and humanities legions of mercenaries must battle on planet Cancri-9, better known as Steel World to endure; but death is not the usual final obstacle as these mercenaries have the ability to regenerate.
It’s an interesting concept, the book has several plot twists and the characters are well developed and believable.
This is a story begging to be a series; and the narrator, Mark Boyett, gives a great performance.

68 of 82 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Renato M. Lellis
  • 03-01-2019

Typical Military Sci-Fi with some fresh ideas

This a typical military sci-fi, with a focus in the infantry or "legionaries" as they are called in the book (for some reason Roman Military Hierarchy is somehow adopted by the mercenaries).

Sometime in the near future Earth joins a Galatic Empire and to take part in the interplanetary commerce, is forced to provide a commodity to trade. Since human technology is primitive when compared with the spacefaring races, the only earth service that found some market is mercenaries.

James McGill joins the legions due to financial difficulties and is promptly sent to the Steel World where Legion Veris has a contract to fulfill.

The setting is typical military sci-fi, with focus on ground battles from the perspective of a low-level infantry recruit. No spaceship fights here.

A good point on the book is the consistent and exciting worldbuilding. Since the legions are service providers and not a conquering force, there is some effort dedicated to the politics of a Galactic Empire with multiple alien races with multiples ways of thinking and conflicting interests.

Another good idea is that the Legions use a revival apparatus that produce a new clone everytime a soldier dies in combat. This technology creates interesting questions and plot dynamics.

A weak point, in my opinion, is that the main character looks a little too effective from time to time. Even as a recruit, James often take decisions that are questioned by the more experienced soldiers, but reveals to be correct at the end. He is also a rebel who "thinks outside the box", even when the books describe him as a lazy teenager with no life aspirations. In the end, he turns out to be a hero at the heart.

Other characters are even less developed than the MC. But this is not the focus of a military sci-fi book, I think.

At the end is a fun book for fans of the genre, with some new ideas to add to the scene.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 16-12-2013

You want great military scifi? Lock and load!

Better late than never.

Well, I have to preface this review with that statement, because, frankly, I've had a LOT of listening in front of me this Christmas season. Not a complaint as much as the cold hard fact of the matter.

So, let's get started.

I've already reviewed Larson's "Star Force" series, and I gave it high marks. I bought the entire series, and am working my way through THAT, and then planned to attack this, Larson's latest entry into military scifi.

To the point, this is an ambitious start to a potentially roller-coaster ride you'll to which you'll want to listen. It's gritty. It's VERY bad-arse. It doesn't waste time on over-complicated character development, and focuses on action, strategy, and storyline. Larson's new series is all about cutting to the chase - You want military scifi? Well lock and load, you're getting an earful.

I particularly like the pace Larson uses. It's different from "A Hymn Before Battle: Legacy of the Aldenata," another awesome military scifi, by john Ringo, which I've just reviewed. The Aldenate series covers a much broader landscape in the telling, as where here, Larson is more focused on close combat, squad interaction and a smaller cast of characters. Both series work, and frankly, reading either one makes you appreciate the other, because of their "on the mark" writing, despite their core differences.

The narrator here, Mark Boyett, has done the work well.

Yes, there are already TONS of spoilers, secrets and giveaways in a good number of Audible reviews. That being said, do you REALLY need to repeat those here? No, of course not.

So, this is a great start for Larson's new series, and finally, I get to give it a two thumbs up.

58 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Willie
  • 25-02-2014

Highly entertaining, straight forward

If you could sum up Steel World in three words, what would they be?

Just plain fun....Larson doesn't make this a muddled, too many subplots running story. He keeps you on target on the main character, builds solid supporting characters, and doesn't mess around with repetition or unnecessary subplots. You can see this as an action movie, or, dare I say it, a video game-but don't let that turn you off. This is worth it.

What did you like best about this story?

Reminded me of Star Ship Troopers but with dinosaurs. The writer gives you enough to invest in the characters and provides great action to keep you listening(or reading).

Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard him before but was very pleased with his performance. Accents a little weak but still a very good job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

too long for one sitting but high on the re-listening scale

Any additional comments?

Not over complicated story and action packed. I would highly recommend this book and am anxiously looking forward to the next book in the series.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BookWorm
  • 08-12-2013

Solid 5 Star Military SciFi Audiobook

What did you love best about Steel World?

I only wish all audiobooks were this good. This one was excellent from start to finish, everything from the story, character development and narration were flawless. I love it when a story hooks me from the first page and holds on until the end.

Another thing I liked about this book was that the characters were believable, as in they acted like real people and each had unique flaws. An annoying thing about some action stories is the way that that characters are often 2 dimensional and the hero is some kind of superman, not so in this one. Also I liked the way there was the political infighting and backstabbing in the Legion unit. In my experience, any time you get a bunch of people together you're going to have that kind of thing and yet its often an element that's left out of fiction (the B grade fiction anyway). I spent 20 years in the US Army, and the unit portrayed in this story seemed like a real military unit, the terms and technology were different but the people acted in a way consistent with my experience of how real soldiers talk and act.

I would rate this book right up there with some of my other favorite military fictional reads, to list a few: A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War Series by John Ringo), Red Storm Rising and Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, Invasion America Series by Vaughn Heppner, Armor by John Steakley, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein and Redliners by David Drake.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Undying Mercenaries series.

35 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dylan Brown
  • 21-06-2018

slow start but great finish

I initially lost initially interest, but on a road trip got back into the book, and after a few chapters the story really turns on and the book ended up being really entertaining.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-12-2017

Days of our Lives in space

It isn't a bad book, and let's face it, thousands of people watch DOUL but I found the main character annoying. He was petulant, whiny and angry. He says "I don't get angry easily". Really? Compared to what? North Korean dictators and reality TV stars maybe.
No more in this series for me, thanks.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • luke
  • 10-06-2015

Should I start this series

Where does Steel World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like a series to enjoy the immersive continuity. This seems quite light in tone though isn't the worst first in a series effort I've read. Some pleasant steps off the story to highlight or detail some tech or history with characterisation nicely done but perhaps with a little more depth. At around 10-11 hrs its quite a bit shorter than my usual read which kept the pace up, the rambling at minimum and overall a good bit of escape.

What other book might you compare Steel World to, and why?

It had a feeling of a comic book with more depth. An unusual plot premise that did take me by surprise. Light easy listening science fiction.

What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Mark Boyett has a pleasing repertoire of voice and gave the characters a warmth that wasn't quite as evident in the writing.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A fight for mankind

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary Sereno
  • 09-06-2015

Read like the diaries of a soldier, but works well

It's an odd one. The story is basic and has a few possible plot holes, but it works. The tale is just from one man from a personal perspective, which could make it one directional, but again it works.

A certain amount of my liking of this book is the reading of it. Mark Boyett reds it like it's a series of war diaries, making it feel partly like it's a documentary on past events rather than a story in the future. I think with out this I may well have been disappointed.

I'm looking forwards to the second book, just hoping the story does not lose it's way as I can see limitations in where this tale can go.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bob
  • 28-09-2017

Uninteresting take on Starship Troopers

I found this audiobook to be quite uninteresting. The protagonist, James McGill (no Saul Goodman has not changed careers to space mercenary) is a 22 year old college student who signs up with a mercenary outfit to make ends meet. Unfortunately, as he is written, he only stands out because the other characters seem to have lost ten IQ points. This makes him an ideal mercenary/spacer becasue everyone else is a bit slow or unreasonable.

The story is, in some ways, similar to Starship Troopers, (even to the drop capsules) which is to be expected given it is miltary SF. But whereas Juan Rico screws up and has a lot to learn, McGill is the opposite. There is no sense of wonder at the alien race and their star carrier. McGill doesn't even seem phased by heading to the stars in a three mile long spaceship.

All in all, I am sorry I wasted a credit on this.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 10-01-2015

Platoon in Space

Excellent story like Platoon but in space with more depth into unit politics. The idea of combining Mercenary soldiers with the make up of the Roman Legion all for the purpose of keeping Earth in the Galactic Council is fantastic using human aggression as a commodity
I thoroughly enjoyed the reading I hope there's a new one in the works

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • N. Bowler
  • 16-08-2017

Written by a child?

Pretty awful. So many preposterous plot elements, it just didn't seem believable or realistic. Whilst it was vaguely listenable in the background, there is so much good sci-fi out there I won't be continuing with the series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. P. S. Gale
  • 18-01-2014

If you liked Star Force, you'll love this

I've listened to all 8 Star Force books (waiting for no9, the last in that series). That was an excellent series but this is even better. Plenty of action and a fast pace with some interesting tech, moving in a new direction from the Star Force universe.

Mark Boyett delivers another fantastic performance. Some of the characters sound very similar to those in the Star Force series though but I didn't find that to be an issue.

I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment - hurry up and write it Mr Larson ;)

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew C.
  • 04-07-2015

Formulaic, by the numbers stuff

A juvenile novel without the charm of one of Robert Heinlein's.

Nonsense technology for reincarnation.

No need to rewind if you fall asleep before your timer stops it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Donal
  • 08-06-2015

slow to start good pace thereafter

while the language used is mundane the story is interesting enough and some fascinating science fiction backing the plot up. worth a listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • 07-05-2015

Average Military sci-fi nothing major to report!

Listened to this book all the way through so that's why it get 3 stars. I wouldn't call it awful, but it is far from great. Just like lukewarm water. The single POV makes it feel monotone and doesn't give that different perspective character you enjoy when reading a good book. It's a bit like a "live, die, repeat" T-shirt which has seen one to many wash cycle.... gray and faded out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-01-2019

ok

I found the story interesting but it moved to slow some how and never really enthralled me the way other sci-fi books have.
Not a bad listen but compared to Expeditionary Force it has not caught my attention in the same way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful