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Publisher's Summary

In the 20th century Earth sent probes, transmissions, and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers…someone had to do their dirty work for them, their fighting and dying.

I, James McGill, was born in 2099 on the fringe of the galaxy. When Hegemony Financial denied my loan applications, I was kicked out of the university and I turned to the stars. My first campaign involved the invasion of a mineral-rich planet called Cancri-9, better known as Steel World. The attack didn't go well, and now Earth has entered a grim struggle for survival. Humanity's mercenary legions go to war in Steel World, best-selling author B. V. Larson's latest science fiction novel.

©2013 B. V. Larson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Steel World

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    6,449
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
    994
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    134

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A 14 year old boy’s idea of a “Real Man”

First, a disclaimer: I finished all 10 books. Probably because Mark Boyett is a fantastic narrator. Make that, Storyteller. I do not think I would have stuck it out as text.
Pros:
Well-written, flows well, story builds on itself, and, like Horatio Hornblower, the protagonist rises in rank and significance over the course of he books.
Many call-backs to earlier stories, well-developed characters (within the functional requirements of the narrative) are distinct from each other. You could probably identify each bit of dialogue without attributions.
Some nice plot twists.
The central speculative hook is revivication of the legionnaires, and it is fairly well developed, though never deeply.
Lots of ripsnortin’, rootin’ tootin’ action!!!
Cons:
Unlike Hornblower, he never matures in the slightest.
The problem with charming rogues is that they are rogues. McGill is a childish, self-absorbed misogynist (I am a centrist straight male) with a bull-in-a-china-shop approach to EVERYTHING, and phenomenal luck (Authorial intent, deus ex machinae) which is supposed to pass for good ol’ boy genius.
He is a Randian superhero: Only he knows what to do. How? Well, he just … y’know … knows. He never listens to anyone; they’d only slow him down. He literally hits on every female he meets, often missing important points in the process. Most of them are his own species. He makes Captain Kirk look grown up. He dozes through briefings with the fate of all humanity at stake, does whatever his amygdala fancies, and it always turns out for the best.
Graves would have been a much better protagonist.
All of the aliens are shallow, funny-looking humans, in terms of personality, intellect, and psychology.
This series panders to the child in each of us who wishes there were no rules, and we could write on the wall using our own feces. Why do I have to wash my hands before dinner anyway? Why can’t I just take what I want? If he weren’t such a terrible example, this would be a children’s series.
This is Peter Pan with sex, violence, and alcohol, and never any consequences.
If you’re looking for science fiction that leaves you thoughtful, this isn’t it. If you’re doing heavy labor all day, and want some background entertainment, well, Mark Boyett makes this a great comic book.
Would I read more by this author? I would test him on another series.

59 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

Would you listen to Steel World again? Why?

Great start to a series. Like a cross between Starship Troopers and Universal Soldier.

What did you like best about this story?

Exciting and full of action.

What about Mark Boyett’s performance did you like?

Mark Boyett does a wonderful job with the voices and narration.

27 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Hated the Protagonist

I found the Protagonist to be the most anoying, selfcentered and unlikable character i have seen in any story. It is sad be cause the universe its self got plenty of interesting stuff, and most of the other characters are interesting. If you can stomage the Protagonist then sture it is a good book. I could'nt..

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Typical Military Sci-Fi with some fresh ideas

This a typical military sci-fi, with a focus in the infantry or "legionaries" as they are called in the book (for some reason Roman Military Hierarchy is somehow adopted by the mercenaries).

Sometime in the near future Earth joins a Galatic Empire and to take part in the interplanetary commerce, is forced to provide a commodity to trade. Since human technology is primitive when compared with the spacefaring races, the only earth service that found some market is mercenaries.

James McGill joins the legions due to financial difficulties and is promptly sent to the Steel World where Legion Veris has a contract to fulfill.

The setting is typical military sci-fi, with focus on ground battles from the perspective of a low-level infantry recruit. No spaceship fights here.

A good point on the book is the consistent and exciting worldbuilding. Since the legions are service providers and not a conquering force, there is some effort dedicated to the politics of a Galactic Empire with multiple alien races with multiples ways of thinking and conflicting interests.

Another good idea is that the Legions use a revival apparatus that produce a new clone everytime a soldier dies in combat. This technology creates interesting questions and plot dynamics.

A weak point, in my opinion, is that the main character looks a little too effective from time to time. Even as a recruit, James often take decisions that are questioned by the more experienced soldiers, but reveals to be correct at the end. He is also a rebel who "thinks outside the box", even when the books describe him as a lazy teenager with no life aspirations. In the end, he turns out to be a hero at the heart.

Other characters are even less developed than the MC. But this is not the focus of a military sci-fi book, I think.

At the end is a fun book for fans of the genre, with some new ideas to add to the scene.

21 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Really Cringy

The author has wrote his character to be very hypocritical and hard to root for. The concept and plot of the story have plenty of holes, it maybe could have been fun but the constant illogical character decisions and blatant disregard for any common sense wears you down. I see a lot were written they maybe get better. I'll read reviews more carefully next time

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

No science, child’s fiction

Guns that shoot needles against 15’ tall lizards? Ridiculous, unless of course you’re a kid who just wants an action story. The lizards also had offices and medical wards. Tough to imagine those ergonomics.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Its like Starship Troopers but with Dinosaurs

Dino Aliens ✔
Cool guy Protagonist ✔
Cool World ✔
Likable Characters ✔
Unlikable Characters ✔
Protagonist likes looking at woman's posterior when being yelled at ✔
It güde.

69 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Space Opera

Cast from the mold of Star Ship Troopers and B.V. Larson’s other great space adventure, his Space Force series, Steel World; Undying Mercenaries is a high speed, high adventure, military Sci-Fi, page turner.
Having already submitted to the vast empire of the Galactics, Earth is in a struggle for survival and humanities legions of mercenaries must battle on planet Cancri-9, better known as Steel World to endure; but death is not the usual final obstacle as these mercenaries have the ability to regenerate.
It’s an interesting concept, the book has several plot twists and the characters are well developed and believable.
This is a story begging to be a series; and the narrator, Mark Boyett, gives a great performance.

77 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Highly entertaining, straight forward

If you could sum up Steel World in three words, what would they be?

Just plain fun....Larson doesn't make this a muddled, too many subplots running story. He keeps you on target on the main character, builds solid supporting characters, and doesn't mess around with repetition or unnecessary subplots. You can see this as an action movie, or, dare I say it, a video game-but don't let that turn you off. This is worth it.

What did you like best about this story?

Reminded me of Star Ship Troopers but with dinosaurs. The writer gives you enough to invest in the characters and provides great action to keep you listening(or reading).

Have you listened to any of Mark Boyett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard him before but was very pleased with his performance. Accents a little weak but still a very good job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

too long for one sitting but high on the re-listening scale

Any additional comments?

Not over complicated story and action packed. I would highly recommend this book and am anxiously looking forward to the next book in the series.

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Images of Barney and a third grade story.

I do love me some good space opera, but this story seems to be so lackluster. I don't care for the primary character at all, their mission is pitiful and the action is wanting. Will not be going any further on this journey. Try some BV Larson for a significant upgrade!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • luke
  • 06-10-15

Should I start this series

Where does Steel World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like a series to enjoy the immersive continuity. This seems quite light in tone though isn't the worst first in a series effort I've read. Some pleasant steps off the story to highlight or detail some tech or history with characterisation nicely done but perhaps with a little more depth. At around 10-11 hrs its quite a bit shorter than my usual read which kept the pace up, the rambling at minimum and overall a good bit of escape.

What other book might you compare Steel World to, and why?

It had a feeling of a comic book with more depth. An unusual plot premise that did take me by surprise. Light easy listening science fiction.

What does Mark Boyett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Mark Boyett has a pleasing repertoire of voice and gave the characters a warmth that wasn't quite as evident in the writing.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A fight for mankind

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary Sereno
  • 06-09-15

Read like the diaries of a soldier, but works well

It's an odd one. The story is basic and has a few possible plot holes, but it works. The tale is just from one man from a personal perspective, which could make it one directional, but again it works.

A certain amount of my liking of this book is the reading of it. Mark Boyett reds it like it's a series of war diaries, making it feel partly like it's a documentary on past events rather than a story in the future. I think with out this I may well have been disappointed.

I'm looking forwards to the second book, just hoping the story does not lose it's way as I can see limitations in where this tale can go.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 01-10-15

Platoon in Space

Excellent story like Platoon but in space with more depth into unit politics. The idea of combining Mercenary soldiers with the make up of the Roman Legion all for the purpose of keeping Earth in the Galactic Council is fantastic using human aggression as a commodity
I thoroughly enjoyed the reading I hope there's a new one in the works

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • 05-07-15

Average Military sci-fi nothing major to report!

Listened to this book all the way through so that's why it get 3 stars. I wouldn't call it awful, but it is far from great. Just like lukewarm water. The single POV makes it feel monotone and doesn't give that different perspective character you enjoy when reading a good book. It's a bit like a "live, die, repeat" T-shirt which has seen one to many wash cycle.... gray and faded out.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 01-18-14

If you liked Star Force, you'll love this

I've listened to all 8 Star Force books (waiting for no9, the last in that series). That was an excellent series but this is even better. Plenty of action and a fast pace with some interesting tech, moving in a new direction from the Star Force universe.

Mark Boyett delivers another fantastic performance. Some of the characters sound very similar to those in the Star Force series though but I didn't find that to be an issue.

I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment - hurry up and write it Mr Larson ;)

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Donal
  • 06-08-15

slow to start good pace thereafter

while the language used is mundane the story is interesting enough and some fascinating science fiction backing the plot up. worth a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Derek Greenwood
  • 02-15-15

easy listening

Where does Steel World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Really enjoyed this tale of Galactic mess ups

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Most definitely

Any additional comments?

Love listening to Mark Boyett's narration

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bob
  • 09-28-17

Uninteresting take on Starship Troopers

I found this audiobook to be quite uninteresting. The protagonist, James McGill (no Saul Goodman has not changed careers to space mercenary) is a 22 year old college student who signs up with a mercenary outfit to make ends meet. Unfortunately, as he is written, he only stands out because the other characters seem to have lost ten IQ points. This makes him an ideal mercenary/spacer becasue everyone else is a bit slow or unreasonable.

The story is, in some ways, similar to Starship Troopers, (even to the drop capsules) which is to be expected given it is miltary SF. But whereas Juan Rico screws up and has a lot to learn, McGill is the opposite. There is no sense of wonder at the alien race and their star carrier. McGill doesn't even seem phased by heading to the stars in a three mile long spaceship.

All in all, I am sorry I wasted a credit on this.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-04-21

A bland male dominated power fantasy

If you are looking for a relatively bland male dominated power fantasy book them this is for you.

The setting has concept of "high tech aliens enlist earth into their empire" has been done better by Gary Gibson in "stealing light".

Every female character is essentially described as generically attractive and one additional feature being particularly attractive.

But it does have some cool human Vs dinosaur fights.

Overall it's not bad, but it's not great.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jaspal
  • 03-07-14

Reads like a teenager's dream of video games

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I kept getting annoyed with the paper thin characters, the lame obsession with how the main protagonist often finds his eyes wandering when talking to a female character. The comedy galactic aliens.

Any additional comments?

I'm all for pot-boiler type action SF and the like but this was weak all the way through.
Even Jack Campbell's Dauntless series for all its flaws is way better than this.

16 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • 04-17-14

Macho Space Shoot 'em Up

It was good. No better than that. Kind of imagine this is the type of book for guys standing around the barbecue holding a beer telling their war stories.
Lots of shooting at lizard-like aliens. A lot. Gets a bit repetitive.
Some of the main characters remind me of red neck soldiers in Starship Troopers and Avatar.
Obviously some people love this book going by the reviews. Nothing terrible about it but I prefer something with a little more substance.
I appreciate that this book ends and so I don't feel obliged to read the next one in the series unless I want to.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-09-18

gripping story great hero

I don't always appreciate the way Mark Boyett characterises women's voices but other than that his laconic tone makes for easy listening. really good story by BV Larson that made me think of starship troopers. interesting play on concepts like Empire, and death.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Malcolm
  • 08-10-15

A great read

The concepts and story line in this book had me in from the get go. This is one of the first books from Audible after The Martian that I could not wait to fire up and listen to each day. Can not wait for the next story in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaron
  • 05-27-15

A well thought out Adventure.

I really enjoyed this creative version of a futuristic world. The imagination of this author is quite amazing and the performance was brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pete
  • 07-25-21

Total space opera! Lots of aliens and fighting

Totally enjoyed this book. Follows the same old space opera line but I found it interesting and finished it in 6 days. A pile of characters that are starting to develop so it is easy to go onto the next book. The storyline has some quirky aliens and big lizards.
The narration is low key but I never found it boring.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Nigel McDonald
  • 01-24-20

definitely a good start

the comparisons to starship troopers are deserved and while I don't think it is as deep in military understanding it serves a story which differs enough from similar military sci-fi to keep me hanging on every chapter. It's not a copy but rather a talented writer taking inspiration from the right places and producing a story that holds up well against any in the genre.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • thefinn
  • 09-28-19

An excellent listen...

My first impression was to skip this particular series. I am not really a big fan of "military sci-fi" and prefer a good old fashioned space opera instead - where the scene changes from place to place and various characters.

I was also put off by the book titles, which seem to have very little imagination put into them.

I am glad I found it now, as the story and writing are excellent. I am looking forward to the next book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-20-19

great

loved it first sci fi audio book. downloaded on holiday and finished it in a 3 or 4 days

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 07-06-18

Great Military Sci Fi

Great read/listen! Good story, good narrator. Some action, some sci-fi and a pinch of humour.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 03-04-18

Battle Novel with a great story

This book manages to set up interesting scenarios and slowly introduces a number of important topics to set the narrative. I really enjoyed exploring this side but the battles scenes were also fairly intense and the way the story is told gives a very clear picture of what's going on. I am looking forward to the next few books. Would absolutely recommend.