I relistened to Book 2 (Galatic Corps) before listening to this, and I am glad I did not because it made this one more understandable or remember where last we left off, but because it made realize why I liked this series in the first place. The Mars series and the Inheritance Trilogy were not nearly as preachy or monologue-filled as this novel was. I have seen others rail against people like Tom Clancy or books like "One Second After," and this is the opposite. If you were not of the author's viewpoint, this is one difficult slog of a book.
The second piece of my criticism is that often this book is not even science fiction or more accurately set in a science fiction setting. If I want to listen to a history of famous corps battles, I am sure there are other books to read, but in this situation the constant returning to old Marine battles simply seemed like filler.
If you like a lot of what Stephen King has written recently like Lisey's Story or Duma Key, you will love Joyland.
Having listened to the other books, I should have come to expect it, but Jack Campbell raises the incomplete book to another level with this one. Unlike the other reviewers, I thought the book was engaging enough to keep my interest. It is not action thriller though, and for a book that is portrayed as a alien encounter book, the aliens were a surprisingly low part of the book. The book also did not further that relationship between the two much. One could miss reading this book in the series, and one would really not miss much.
Its greatest fault though has to be the ending. I can appreciate that John Hemry / Campbell wants to start another gravy train series of books or science fiction soap opera, but how about completing at least one thread before rapidly completely the book. I won't give anything away, but it would appear he had a number of pages to fill put in just enough star systems, and then erected a threat in the final one. At this point, after purchasing the Lost Fleet series, I am contemplating letting the train go on without me.
I notice a lot of the reviews and the "helpful" comments have gotten red vs. blue in nature. Let me stress one thing - this book was a good read. It requires some suspension of belief, but if you are a fan of genre, it provides a nice counterpoint to books like "The Road." In some sense, it's an slightly optimist apocalyptic literature.
One of the best purchases I made this year along with Split Second.
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