MandaBerry's Books

One person's thoughts on a whole lot of books

Tag Archives: military sci-fi

Review: Dauntless by Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet #1)

Dauntless by Jack Campbell  (The Lost Fleet #1)

From the back of the book

The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century – and losing badly.  Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory.  Their only hope is a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief…Captain John “Black Jack” Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild.  Revered for his heroic “last stand” in the early days fo the war, he was presumed dead.  But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survivial hibernation and reluctantly take command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.  Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geray is nevertheless a man who will do his duty.  And he knos that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war.  But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic “Black Jack” legend…

My Rating:  3 out of 5

Bookshelf: No

How I Got It: BoughtI

I thought this was just ok. The storyline of how Geary went from soldier to legend is interesting, but it just didn’t hook me. The interactions between the military and the politicians reminded me of Battlestar Galactica. No matter what Adama needed to do, he had to (in theory) check with the representatives of the colonies and the President. If you’re not familiar with BSG (which is awesome), there’s major tension trying to convince the politicians what needs to be done to win, or just survive. I’m not too keen on politics in general, so this aspect of the book really didn’t endear me to the first in this series. Unfortunately, I don’t have the urge to read the rest of the series either. It’s not that it was bad, just wasn’t for me.

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Review: Cagebird by Karin Lowachee (Warchild Universe #3)

 Cagebird by Karin Lowachee (Warchild series #3)

From the back of the book

At age four, Yuri Kirov watched his home colony destroyed by the alien enemy.  By six, he was a wounded soul, fending for himself in a desolate refugee camp, and still a child when the pirates found him.  Now twenty-two, Yuri is a killer, a spy, an arms dealer, and a pirate captain himself – doing life in prison.  That is until EarthHub Black Ops agents decide to make Yuri their secret weapon in a covert interstellar power grab.  Released from jail, but put on a leash by the government, Yuri is more trapped than ever.  Controlled by men even more ruthless than the brigands he’s ordered to betray, Yuri is back again in deep space where his survival depends on a dangerous act: trusting a stranger’s offer to help…

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I got it: Bought

I Really Don’t Recommend Reading This Unless You’ve Read The Previous Books In The Series

Review: Burndive by Karin Lowachee (Warchild Universe #2)

Burndive by Karin Lowachee  (Warchild Universe #2)

From the back of the book

The son of an infamous starship captain, the grandson of a diplomat admiral, and his home station’s “Hot #1 Bachelor,” Ryan Azarcon lives in a fishbowl.  After witnessing a horrific terrorist bombing of his grandfather’s embassy, Ryan’s grief-stricken face is plastered all over the net.  Now, a year later, he is still plagued by nightmares of bloody destruction that make him desperate to escape his family, the relentless media, and his memories.  When his distant and domineering father takes controversial action in the long, depleting interstellar conflict, Ryan is targeted by assassins.  Forced to confront the violence, he begins to question everything he thought he knew about the war and his father.  He will realize that the enemy is not who he thinks and uncover a secret that may destroy any hope of peace…

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Bookshelf: Definitely

How I got it: Bought

If You Haven’t Read Warchild Already, Click At Your Own Risk.

Review: Warchild by Karin Lowachee

Warchild by Karin Lowachee  (Warchild series #1)

From the back of the book

The merchant ship Mukudori encompasses the whole of eight-year-old Jos’s world, until a notorious pirate destroys the ship, slaughters the adults, and enslaves the children.  Thus begins a desperate odyssey of terror and escape that takes Jos beyond known space to the homeworld of the strits, Earth’s alien enemies.  To survive, the boy must become a living weapon and a master spy.  But no training will protect Jos in a war where every hope might be a deadly lie, and every friendship might hide a lethal betrayal.  And all the while he will face the most grueling trial of his life…becoming his own man.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Bookshelf: Definitely

How I got it: Bought


I first heard of this from CalicoReaction’s blog.  I’ve read some really amazing things based on her reviews, and since the review of this series was so glowing, I decided to give it a shot. Frakking awesome.  Warchild is the beginning of a series, but the series set up is a little differently.  Each book follows one young man, but they all happen in the same world and in nearly the same time frame.  It’s three different points of view of the same major events.  Warchild follows Jos Musey (who’s my favorite of the three!).  The events that Jos faces are so harsh, and it’s interesting to see how he reacts and handles them.  It reminded me a little of Ender’s Game, but only very slightly; not enough to say that “if you liked Ender’s Game, you’ll definitely enjoy this.” It’s the same type of story since it’s about a boy that’s growing up in a war-torn universe and has to figure out his role. But that’s where the similarity ends. It’s a broad plot generalization, but the authors have very different views on how the characters should end up. Warchild is very gritty and quite dark as some points.  I do want to express a word of caution for those concerned with certain subject matters.  Potential sexual abuse of children is a topic often brought up throughout the book.  It shocked me and made me a little uneasy the first time I read it, but it didn’t keep me from falling in love with this book.  If you like space opera, military sci-fi, heck, I guess even Ender’s Game you may want to check this out.  Definitely find a used copy of this or even check the library because $20 for a mass market paperback is just ridiculous.

NB – I received a Nook for Christmas, and while searching around to see what books are available, I found both Warchild and Burndive available on bn.com at reasonable prices. Yay!! If you have a Nook, or the Nook app on your iPhone, iPad, Android, or even your computer, then it’s now easier for you to enjoy the awesomeness that is the Warchild series. Unfortunately as of right now (1/12/11) only Warchild is available on the Kindle.

Review: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (Old Man’s War #1)

Old Man's War (Book 1) Old Man’s War by John Scalzi  (Old Man’s War #1)

from the back of the book

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it to the stars.  The bad news is that, out there, planets fit to live on are scarce – and alien races willing to fight us for them are common.  So, we fight.  Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of our resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force, and everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join up. The CDF doesn’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth, never to return. You’ll serve two years in combat. And if you survive, you’ll be given a homestead of your own, on one of our hard-won planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He thinks he knows what to expect.  But the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine – and what he will become is far stranger.

My rating: 5 out of 5

Bookshelf: yes

How I got it: bought


I loved this book! I found the idea of only being able to join the army when you turn 75 interesting and the alien/human encounters entertaining. I enjoyed the sarcastic tone that’s in much of the dialogue and the military battles were exciting.  While there are serious moments, there weren’t enough to leave me feeling down after finishing the book.  I often recommend this at work – especially for people who want to start reading sci-fi. It’s not too technical, it’s exciting, and it’s fun.

This is the first in the Old Man’s War series. It’s followed by The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and Zoe’s Tale.