Friday, October 24, 2014

The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield review



This week I decided to review The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell. The novel opens in the Midway system not long after the end of the previous book.  A massive fleet, belonging to the alien Enigmas, whose master plan to cripple humanity --or at least the Syndicate Worlds and the Alliance--recently failed, has entered the Midway system which has recently revolted against the Syndicate Worlds. It arrived while the Midway system’s fleet was preparing to engage a Syndicate fleet sent to retake the system. And soon the Alliance’s main fleet appears, attempting to pass through Midway on its route home, including a Super Battleship captured from the second alien race humanity has encountered, and several ships belonging to the third, and so far only friendly, non-human space-faring species mankind has encountered. The first section of the book focuses on the battle against the Enigma forces, and efforts to forge a temporary agreement with the main Alliance fleet for aid against the Syndicate forces, while rescuing a newly-arrived vessel fleeing the Syndicate fleet. There is also a hunt for remaining members of the system’s old Syndicate internal security force, which are launching attacks against the new regime as the system’s first elections draw near. And then, while a key portion of the Midway fleet is away picking up POWs whom they hope will crew the Battleship Midway is working on completing, a fleet belonging to another former Syndicate faction--this one far more militaristic than Midway--sweeps in, attempting to seize Midway’s lone Battleship. Meanwhile, a plan instituted by one loyal but insane member of the Midway forces is discovered. A plan which may unleash a nightmare of epic proportions if not stopped…
I give this book a 6.5 out of 10. The first portion of the book is basically a rehash of some of the events of The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Guardian from a different point of view. While still interesting, it wasn’t great. After that part ends, the book gets much better, and I enjoyed the increased focus on space combat. But the last chapter is like something out of a very bad soap opera script. It cripples one of the more enjoyable rivalries in the Midway military, and I don’t see a way out of this that doesn’t involve reducing one of the more interesting characters in the story to minor character status in future books, if they aren’t removed from the story totally by the end of the upcoming sequel.


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