I may be generous in my assessment of this book but I felt it was the best of the "JAG in Space" series to date (4 in the series). All of the novels follow the same formula - some action at the beginning with a tragedy of sorts, followed by a prolonged court room drama. Apart from the fact that the action occurs in space the novels really aren't science fiction. Don't bother with the book if you want hard sci fi.
The books roughly follow the experiences and tensions of a junior ship's officer with collateral 'legal officer' duty. In this book (more than the others) the tension seems more realistic because the protagonist is the instigator of the court martial procedings and so has a more vested interest in the outcome. That makes the tension and concern seem more plausible than in other books.While the consequences of going against more senior officers do not materialise in this book (but are implied to become manifest in book four), the real concern that they could and that the court room drama could become "career defining" make this a book worth listening to if that is your 'cup ot tea'.
The small things that are observed in court including the lawyer tricks add to the overall interest in the developing character of the protagonist but the arm wrestle between prosecution and defense should have been a bit meatier.
The problem with the narration is that everything is emphatic. There's barely a conversation (seemingly) that is less than 'full on'. Also there are curious pauses (like the narrator loses track of the text) and some odd emphases which distract from the content. But it isn't as hard as other reviews to suggest to ignore those deficiencies.
The story itself is good and immersive. The characters and world that the story is set in is also fairly well developed. There are a number of situations that could be developed further even warrant novels of their own (such as the flying circus). I personally don't like the way the time line jumps back and forward at times. Several times a past event is referred to and later on the narrative jumps back to that event instead of leaving it mysterious. Some ideas could be fleshed out a little better.
Otherwise the story is compelling. Highly recommended.
This book is not a bad listen. But at the end you (ie I) get feeling that there needed to be something more to the story; some greater reason for there to be all the apparent tension but there's not. Like the other books in the series there is a bit of action at the beginning and then the book falls into a prolonged court room drama, and except for the fact that the initial action occurs in a space setting there really isn't much science fiction about the book. This book has a little less of the mundane court room stuff than the previous volumes and it is interesting to follow, especially some of the things that occur outside the court room but as the end was coming I was expecting something to happen. When it did happen it was more surprising in its banality than its twist. I thought that some of the side issues could have been handled better and I personally would have preferred more action dispersed throughout the novel rather than the two part formula of action then court room. The amount of intrigue is probably less than I would have otherwise expected for an espionage plot. The entire series of "JAG in space" is also misnamed. In reality you only have the perspective of a ship's officer with collateral 'legal officer' duty and while there are large editorials to fill you in with other's perspectives, the tension is all that of the legal officer not the court room drama. The only 'space' aspect of the novels is that the events occur in space although they could have easily occurred on a seafaring ship. At least there was a little more science fiction technology in te evidence of this novel, but only marginally slow. Definitely more a novel for those interested in court room stuff than science fiction or action.
Listening to this novel was actually surprising. You expect something significant to happen ... but then it doesn't. The entire storyline is based around the tension that the main protagonist feels in undertaking what they believe they should do versus doing what others think they should. However, there is next to no real pressure to follow the others so that the tension seems all imaginary. The testimony which is provided contains nothing that would not be apparent in a reading of the 'orders' in question so the need for such testimony and tension seems questionable [not being a lawyer and not having personal experience in court I can't say for certain that this is redundant in courts but seems silly and makes the plot weak] As for the court room drama I found that there was probably too much time spent in the mundane actions in the court. The characters in the story are reasonable. The actual court scene and arguments have nothing to do with science fiction other than the events they deal with occurred in space. The initial part of the novel is interesting but finishes all top soon into a prolonged court drama.
The JAG in space series is really only good for those people who like courtroom dramas. Like all of the series there is nothing in the story that is particularly science fiction - it happens to be a court room story that involves a problem with a space ship.
In this story the actual case seems to be very improbable and it is disappointing that the defense is so poor that no credible or plausible witnesses are found and the really obvious defense argument [that if it so much equipment was tampered with how could it have occurred in such a way that everyone not notice it in any way?] is not even addressed during cross examination.
To enjoy this story you really need to like stuff that goes on in a court room. By this time (the third novel in the series) the mundane stuff has become a little tiresome and seems like padding; weighing too heavily against any action that occurs. With about a third of the novel dealing with the courtroom stuff directly I would have liked better development of the arguments and the resolution is far too obvious and predictable, especially with the patently poor prosecution case.
Still there is some interest in the resolution of the case. If you're looking for science fiction or space drama this book and this series is definitely not for you. However, if you have some spare credits you could certainly do worse than this book.
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