This is the first of the four books that I actively enjoyed (bits of) so far! The template that books one through three followed almost slavishly has been at least partly done away with and the sub-plots are doing interesting things at last!
The good things from the previous books carry through like the actions between opposing fleets, although the final battle of the book left even me wondering if the maneuvering descriptions could have been slightly more, well, descriptive and slightly less a list of exactly what commands Geary gave (especially since one of the earlier books goes to great pains to point out that the commands could never be issued verbally to the other ship captains for execution due to requirements for speed of transmission and execution). Additionally, some of the major characters start acting far more like humans and have ranges of emotion.
On the down side: Rione's relationship with Geary goes into an unbelievable super-bipolar mode almost immediately (around chapter 3) and I found the characterisation of both Rione and Desjani throughout the book quite disappointing (I simply can not believe that the character Rione was depicted as through the previous three books would buy into the petty sniping and bickering that is attributed to her) and actively detracted from the overall plot.
I was interested to discover the introduction to Lost Fleet: Relentless where Campbell/Hemry talks about REQUIREMENTS from his publishers with regard to word count. I'm beginning to wonder if my reviews of the previous books misplace the blame on the author for stretching out the story and instead I should be getting upset with the publishers for enforcing arbitrary word limits. I stand by my earlier assessment that books one through three (and probably four) could easily have been combined into one volume.
I would listen to this story several times because Christian Rummel does such a great job at all the different voices and projects the persona so well that it is not distracting in the least when he jumps from a male to a female voice. Excellent job on his part. In addition to this, these stories are extremely well written and very entertaining. They take you along a wonderful journey that you wish you could be a part of in real life.
My favorite character is Black Jack Geary; I would have loved to know someone like this in real life. Not only is he interesting and intelligent, but he keeps a very high moral ground.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
Unlike Nesbo's Harry Hole, who I'm also following, our hero in this series is a bit of an ideal. I like that. I want to believe that some people are doing exactly what they were born to do, and with honor. If you, too, want to believe in the existence of people who are not petty, political, and self-serving; then 'The Lost Fleet' will entertain and inspire. There's nothing too deep here. Just an entertaining tribute to those who serve and a bit of exploration of how, under the right conditions, an entire race can lose it's way.
Our narrator, Christian Rummel, is excellent.
I've enjoyed the series and it keeps interesting. However, the barbs at the Marines being brainless at the beginning of the book gets irritating as I’m a retired Marine. Then in the second half he tries to make up for it by sending barbs are Navy enlisted, but completely leaves the officer rank alone. Sorry, when I was in the Marines, everyone was fair game. I hope in the end he send barbs and jabs are the Fleet commissioned officers.
It also gets annoying where he explains the ‘conference room software’ two or three times in the book. I like other authors that do no back-story or go back at all assuming if you’re reading book 4 of 6 then you already know the back-story. I want to skip ahead whenever any of these repeats of information are done. Except that audible removed this feature from the Kindle Fire HD.
The book picks right up where the previous book left off. Captain Geary leads the fleet to a victory that turns into a defeat as billions are killed. This puts him in a mindset that will play out throughout the rest of the book and into the next one as the sub story-line hasn't resolved itself. We do see where the return to the ‘old ways’ is paying off for the fleet. However will then be enough? Will the ‘new’ internal enemy get Geary before he can get them home?
The new internal enemy reminds me of the job we have in IT of needing to balance shutting down the illegal ‘sub’ traffic on all networks and the need to keep it around to monitor it for legal reasons. It’s always a balancing act of not killing it and taking down those responsible and all involved at one time. That is what faces Geary. Can he do it? If it was up to his g/f then the network would be shut down. Buy will Geary do it or do what we do in IT?
One of the most frustrating things about novels that deal with intergalactic conflict is that the author usually does not understand the subject matter fully. Good authors know what they don't know and let the reader's imagination fill in the blanks. Bad authors will work with subject matters which they have little or no knowledge of and torture the knowledgable reader. A good example of this is "hyperdrive". For some reason, some authors feel it is necessary to go over the technical details of how a hyperdrive system works. Usually they end up failing because the technology has so many holes in it. A good author will just say that they used a hyperdrive system to get from Point A to Point B, and leave it up your imagination as to how the system worked (I recommend Michio Kaku's "Parallel Worlds" for a good explanation of how a hyperdrive system might work. He also has a theory on how one might travel to another universe.).
John G. Hemry (Jack Campbell) knows his stuff and it shows. He has such a broad knowledge base about his subject that it makes it believable and compelling. I really enjoyed his fleet engagements, the interpersonal relationships, the sociopolitical intrigue. All this experience comes from his career in the Navy and working at the Pentagon. He comes across as being quite intelligent and thoughtful.
I like his writing style too. It is very fast pace and efficient. By the first or second chapter, you're into the action. There is not a lot of time wasted setting up the storyline. Boom, boom, boom, you're in. Hold on!
Too much repetitiveness and constant paragraph stuffing with refer-backs to conditions on the Fleet's ethics and cowboyism from when he first entered the scene. While I had enjoyed the relationship plot arc between him,Victoria Rione and Captain Tanya Desjani in priors books, it's now becoming tedious and over-wrought.
I tried out book one of the Lost Fleet series and was hooked. Haven't been able to set these down. Having been a career Marine during the same time as the author was in the US Navy, we shared some of the same experiences of sorts. From book 1 to now 4 I have been thrilled and thoroughly entertained for hours on end.
I usually listen to a book on my way to and from work, but find that even when I get home I'll continue to listen to the book due to its riveting nature. It is a wonderful ride not only of science fiction but also of leadership which principles are timeless.
Christian Rummel does an excellent job in this narration and is one of the better audio book narrators in the tradition of George Guidall and Patrick Tull.
If you want a read or a listen that will capture your attention and keep you on and off the edge of your seat, become a fan of "Black Jack" Geary and the Alliance Fleets struggles to return home.
I'm going to finish the series out because I'm not a quiter. The series is too much of the same story with tiny twist over and over. The character's motivations and thinking is often way over explained by the author. The love story or lack of love story is dull to say the least.
One of the best series of books, not necessarily a Wheel of Time series but on par with John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata Series.
If you like hard (okay, maybe just a little squishy) science fiction with a huge dose of drama and solid, if not overly deep, characters, Jack Campbell is an author to keep on your list. I've listened to the whole Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier series', and there wasn't a slow or disappointing book in the bunch.
It's all about politics and space combat, and a clash of cultures that could ultimately save humanity.
My only complaint (and it's really petty), is that by naming the books after random ships it's a little hard to keep track of what order they come in. I needed a cheat sheet that I kept on a memo in my Blackberry so I knew in what order to listen.
I said it was petty.
Great narration by Christian Rummel. For space opera and science fiction fans these are a great listen.