Earth arms marines with alien technology and builds its first battle fleet! Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.
A novel of military science fiction by best-selling author B. V. Larson, Swarm is the story of Earth's annexation by an alien empire. Long considered a primitive people on a backwater planet, humanity finds itself in the middle of a war - and faced with extinction.
Battle stations! Listen to another Star Force novel.
©2010 B.V. Larson (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Good military SciFi, but don't expect too much. It is engaging and interesting enough to encourage you to follow along for a nice adventure.
If you were looking for just a simple time passer with sci-fi flair, then this may fit the bill. Not much depth, 2-d characters, but lots of action. The book kind of loses the plot and wanders too much mid way through. I'd like to learn more about the aliens in the story, but not sure I'd want to sit through another one to find out. Unfortunately, there are far better SCI FI stories out there competing for my time and attention.
I will to give them a second chance. This book was horrible, but they might have wrote something good. I shouldn't hold a single book against them. But I will inspect that book more thoroughly before starting it.
The lack of character development. The main character starts flat and devoid of all emotion, and continues pretty much the same way. And no, losing loved ones is not an excuse to not having emotions.
The disregard of the ways physical changes to the characters would affect their behaviour. After the main character undergoes a radical physical change, he acts the same. I would believe such a change would impact a person's character somewhat. But if that was the only thing wrong with it, I would have been more than willing to suspend my disbelief for it.
Complete disregard to the ways warfare is conducted. For some reason the author thinks that if a certain faction is comprised only of computer equivalent devices they will operate the same way as his buggy computers at home. This is Independence Day virus scheme stupid.
Sandra. As much as the story needed a female character, it could definitely do without this stereotypical buffoon. Her presence just strengthens the misogynism of the story because she is such a degrading stereotype, and she does nothing to advance the plot.
The premise sounded very promising at first, and the fast pacing makes it easy and interesting to read, but this story doesn't stand on its on.
1st book in the series of 8. It was ok. The Narrator was really good, but everything else was boring. Kept finding myself drifting off onto other thoughts and would become lost of what was happening in the book. The plot was not very entertaining and at times was very predictable. If you read this don't bother reading the rest of the series. They are all the same right down to the same exact plot.
I'm a bit more lenient with an author's first book, and this was a quick and enjoyable listen. It kept my interest pretty much the whole way through. It starts very unconventionally, which really keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. The main character gets abducted by an alien ship, has to pass several tests, and then gets put in charge and forced to fight another invading alien force. It feels very original since it could go anywhere.
Then about halfway through the books really speeds up and devolves into a more traditional marine military sci fi. The author skips a lot of time as forces build up and alien technology is proliferated in order to fight a huge ground war, and most of the latter half is filled with bloody ground battles. This part is more disappointing as it loses much of its originality and actually feels like a different book.
Then the very end puts on a twist that I didn't expect. I wondered how the next book would get set up and whether it was just a continuation of the battles we've seen. But instead something unexpected occurs and leaves a huge hook for future books. I'm interested to see where it goes from here.
If B.V Larson was a better writer. Brian Larson is a college professor and decided to put a perfected version of himself in a book. The problem was that he decided his fictional persona was always going to do the right thing despite that B.V never thought things out out. The result is a narrative littered with plot holes and terrible ideas that make the protagonist come across as an ignorant villain because he always assumes hes right (thankfully for him the narrative bends the universe to aid to his misguided attempts). To make matters worse everyone else fits into a one dimensional caricature with an IQ of around 80. The main female character enters the book nearly naked and only gets more 'seductive' from there and doesn't mind at all that shes just a shapely object. Elite troops the world over can't suggest better tactics or give incite to the unseasoned protagonist. Likewise the protagonist can spout off pseudo science that always seems to work but nobody ever corrects him that hes using the word theory for something he just thought up when hypothesis is apt.
Mark Boyett did a great job with the many voices, each voice was unique and portrayed the emotions the character felt. Interestingly he also narrated John Ringo's Troy Rising which is nearly the same book only more political. Mark Boyett has a knack for suspense on even mundane things like giving programming code or making large mirrors.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book was recommended by a person I follow on Audible. The book hero is Kyle Riggs a professor of computer science. He and his family live in a rural area and first his children are abducted and killed then he is taken up in a spacecraft. He passes the tests and finds a civilization of computers. The alien fleet invades earth and Kyle helps the earth armies to use the alien technology to fight them. The book ends in a set up for a series. The book has lots of space and land battles and human interaction to keep it interesting. This is a bit different than the other military sci-fi books I have been reading therefore adds a bit of adventure to the reading.
Molecular biologist. Musician. Lover of science. Lover of music. Dreamer of magic. Thinker of thoughts. ||| "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke ||| As a scientist, science fiction and fantasy inspire me to push the line of discovery forward, beyond conventional imagination, beyond conventional wisdom.
First, if I wrote the book's blurb:
An everyman computer scientist is propelled into a cosmic landscape that will bring out his best, and, unfortunately, his worst. The "ring" to Hell is manufactured with Kyle Riggs' intentions. But, as you'll find out, Riggs' really is the right man and perfect protagonist for BV Larson's genre smashing space operatic military apocalyptic science fiction pragmatic technothriller.
Second, why I chose this book:
This book caught my eye because I was looking for a new sci-fi series, and I really enjoyed Troy Rising which was also narrated by Mark Boyett and has been compared to Star Force by others. Similar to at least the first book of Troy Rising (Live Free or Die), SWARM and the Star Force series in general (I'm on Book 3 as of writing this) has a strong protagonist who starts as a humble rural type with an additional edge of technical prowess (More about Kyle Riggs below). But while Troy Rising really lost its momentum after the first book, the Star Force series keeps it going and lays it on hard.
If you like military science fiction of the sort portrayed in the Troy Rising series, you will love the Star Force series. And, to those of you who enjoyed the Star Force series, you will enjoy Troy Rising. But, as of Book 3, I have to put Star Force above John Ringo's space opera brother from another mother.
Other comments have already mentioned some of the reasons you may have to suspend disbelief, but I think good science fiction will always include a few things that make you feel a touch incredulous. Nevertheless, I really don't feel like Star Force takes it over the top in any way, and I never felt like what I was hearing was too absurd or unbelievable. The technology focuses a lot on a few specific plot elements (if you are intrigued by nanotechnology, this book is your fantasyland) , but the descriptions of said technology are surprisingly within the realms of science fact. Larson either did his research well or has a wealth of information that I wish was wielded by more writers of science fiction and fantasy. Most readers will find a little bit to learn from this book. And, as good science fiction should, it will hopefully inspire your envisionment of things that are very possible given our current rate of technological advancement, even without extra terrestrial intervention.
A little bit of analysis about the books protagonist:
Like so many nerds growing up in the information age, I at least considered the possibility of pursuing computer science as a career choice. And, I think anyone who has ever found beauty in the workings of a machine or the elegance in a mathematical proof will be able to relate to Kyle Riggs and put themselves in his position. Larson seems to intentionally leave out specific details about Kyle Riggs appearance and style so that the reader may either truly empathize with Riggs' through his tribulations, or one can easily insert the image and essence of whichever heroically moral archetype they feel most comfortable with. Some may criticize that this leaves the main character seeming more hollow, but I think this allows Riggs to be less a man and more a symbol for the resilience of humanity. Kyle Riggs is not a single man, but as I alluded to in my first sentence all the way at the top, he is every man.
Finally, While Mark Boyett's accents may at times all sound alike, his attempts still bring wonderful life to the characters. I really enjoyed Boyett's work for the Troy Rising series and believe he shines even more here. I'll be looking for more books narrated by him simply for his performance. Many audiobook narrators have a voice with distracting qualities of varying degrees,making listening to the book somewhat challenging regardless of the content. But, with Boyett, I have absolutely no trouble focusing on the story he is telling, but at the same time his acting fits most characters absolutely perfectly.
That brings me to one more point. This is the first series where I've noticed that the narrator is incredibly effective at channeling a representative presence in his characters. What I mean is, the cast in this story are from so many diverse backgrounds, as they should be. So much military sci-fi puts the US at the forefront with a couple token internationals sprinkled in due to necessity. But I feel that Larson very effectively has created a very believable cast of characters from all aspects of life from all over planet Earth. This, of course, is something which would almost definitely be the case provided the scenario in the book came about.
Furthermore, and somewhat importantly, he doesn't harp on about it. In the third Troy Rising book, 75% of the story was about the conflict between South American culture versus US culture versus Middle Eastern culture. So, sure, there was a lot of diversity,and sure, there almost certainly would be a culture clash provided people from diverse backgrounds were forced together in close quarters. But I do not think it has to be a huge focus, or a focus at all really,in a book that is about the unification of humanity into an established and significant force.
Thanks for reading.
My wife says she can read me like an open book. Though she regrets not being able to shut me up the same way. :)
... But, overall, it's a good listen; not a wasted a credit.
You know when your friends occasionally describe a movie as a good "popcorn matinee" for those Saturday afternoons when there's nothing else to do? This is like that.
I like to think of this series now as my warm backup when "credit day" arrives yet finding myself all caught up with my main GoTo authors and waiting for their next title.
If you find yourself in that boat and enjoy the occasional bucket of popcorn (with butter) and military sci-fi story a-la "War of the Worlds," meets "Transformers," meets "Alien vs. Predator," AND you're feeling adventurous enough to give an unexplored author a shot, then you're likely to enjoy this one.
Head nod, too, to the performance of narrator Mark Boyett. Mr. Boyett's pacing, voice inflection and character-voice diversity complements the rhythm that was probably intended by author B.V. Larson.
MEL'S BOTTOM LINE: Though it devolves a bit in the middle to a mundane "shoot-em-up" ground fight, there's more than enough originality and enigmatic backstory to keep you engaged in Book 1, even as you "Wish List" future titles in this promising series for those slow Saturday afternoons. But when you do, take this tip to heart: don't spare the popcorn butter! :)
Non-stop action throughout. Your imagination runs wild with each new solar system and the aliens that inhabit them. If you like the Marines, action or science fiction, you will love this series!
"Visual story telling great read"
From the beginning Swarm charges along a full speed, the atmosphere is spot on and desperate.
The black surface of the ship has a personality of its own.
I've started the Steel World books where Mark Boyett performs a different younger big ego character which comes across well, whereas in Swarm and Star Force he performs the slightly older lead just right.
"Great book and easy to listen too."
Fun, engaging and smile.
It's a bit like starship troopers but with robbots.
easy to understand.
I wouldn't say moved but it did make me smile when the guy got his foot blown off and explained that the reason he still had a boot was because he found one. Only problem was that the boot was too small but not to worry as he didn't have a foot anyway.
Great story, easy listen, already started book 2.
"Good read with a few minor flaws"
I have listened a military based sci-fi book before, and whilst this has not me got me searching for them I have been put off them. I enjoyed the concept and the story development.
I thought the narrator did a great job and had an excellent voice for the military characters within the book.
I found it hard to take to the Riggs the main character in the book, and the way he reacted to situations lost a bit of realism for me. I would go into detail but do not want to spoil things by giving away important events.
"Amazing book! Action filled sci-fi! Great narrator"
It's an amazing book! Loved it from the very first "page" till the last!
The story is great and original, very fast paced sci-fi novel, filled with action, aliens and cool technology. There is no moment you could feel bored. Couldn't put it down at all. Despite the fact that there is a lot of military insight and strategy in the middle of the book, it wasn't too overwhelming (even a girl like me was still interested). I guess it helps that the main character isn't a military person as well, so it's simple enough to understand his solutions and thinking. And the story has a lot of twists and surprises to keep you on the edge!
And special love goes to the narrator - he is just amazing! The best I've heard so far! He really makes you feel the book on your own skin, the way he paces his talk, all the emotions he puts in the voice! And it's so easy to understand (very well pronounced and clear voice - English is a foreign language for me, so it's important)! The different characters also have different distinguishable voices. Great work!
I'm already prepared to listen to the next book in the series!
"Best read this year"
The reader was very good,reminded me of Ed Bishop.
Gripping stuff from start to end,have got all the star force books now. Will get the audio versions too.
All of the characters were good ,hard to pick out.Riggs I think
Yes I did one Sat Morning.
"Great Start but fizzles out"
Probably not, it has a great idea regarding the 2 alien races but as the story continues it falls into the pulp sci-fi genre. It is a good pulp sci-fi.
39 Steps by John Buchan
Good atmosphere - certainly could feel the sense of claustrophobia
Mindless late evening listen - yes
Fair book - bit in same vein as "Forever War" but not quite as good
"a decent book"
the sotry is well told although there is the usual problem of men trying to produce femail voices to me they always sound wrong. other than that there where a few editing issuers with the recording words seems to jump or be cut off half way through this does not affect the story however can be annoying and gives the impression that the book may be abridged when it isn't (i assume as have not read the book in print form however audible says it is unabridged).
over all a solid and interesting scifi story.
A great start to the series. This really sets the scene for a relatively simple story that then gets you thinking. I think it takes a real knack for words when a writer gives you simplicity and you can't help filling in the details. No overburdening with technicalities either and that makes a great adventure story. Iain M Banks did it in great detail, B V Larson does it with simplicity - both manage a good story.
"Not the depth of the likes of Reynolds or Hamilton"
Rocked along at a good pace, no switching off while surroundings are described in minute detail or sub-plots expanded like some of the "Space Opera" type reads from Reynolds or Hamilton. It did feel a rather simplistic storytelling though with too many plot holes and "well why wouldn't you do X?" questions especially w.r.t. military tactics and descriptions.
It was OK. Relatively short I thought, and in two minds about whether to read any more.
Worth a listen so you can decide whether to read the rest.
"Never judge a book by its cover"
I picked up the 'Swarm' Soley on recommendations (and I am glad that I did). I was immediately drawn into a fast paced nightmarish scifi scenario which kept me constantly engaged. I was looking looking for a high paced classic scifi adverture that would keep me entertained and I was not disappointed. A definite buy for any scifi nut who cannot stand unrealistic plots.
Similar pace to the vampire novels by Scott Mariani.
Have not listened to any other books YET!
The first few chapters leading to his abduction.
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