It’s been a while since I hit a sci-fi series I wasn’t already reading, and this one seems like the beginning of a pretty good military sci-fi series. The book focuses on the journey of the main character from a barely functioning legionary to one of the most the elite of the empires military. While it is straight up military fiction and adventure fodder, it is interesting to have a book which is almost a study in character progression. Very unusual for a military fiction book.
When it comes to the building of the world, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with the world of Starship Troopers, what with the futuristic fascist thing going on. We have seen this kind of setting before, but Gunn does a good job not making it feel too much like a copy of previous books.
While following the Journey of Sven you can almost break the story into sections of his progression, which is both good and bad. While it does increase the feeling that you are taking a journey with the character, it is hard to get truly invested in one series of events. As you start getting invested in the world Sven inhabits in one part of the book you are done with a section and on to a new situation to read about. By the final section of the book, an epic battle where the main character is thrust into leading the fate of whether a city falls, you just aren’t connected with the events. Sure you are on board with Sven and the cast of characters he has arrayed around it but as a reader you have spent so little time in the city that its ultimate end just doesn’t seem that important. While it’s good I have been able to connect to Sven the writer should also make it possible for me to connect to the world Sven lives in.