Friday, September 25, 2015

James Review -- Legion of the Dammned: Andromeda’s Choice

This week I decided to review Legion of the Damned: Andromeda’s Choice by William C Dietz. 

The novel begins with a televised mass execution of dissidents opposed to the reign of Empress Ophelia, and the empress watches with her young son who suffers from headaches due to his mother having extra personalities downloaded into his brain to make him a stronger leader. 

The story then shifts to Andromeda Mckee, once known as Catherine Carletto before being forced to assume a new identity and joining the Legion to escape after her family was targeted by the purges launched when the empress seized power. After a skirmish with Hudathan forces, she returns to base where she is informed that she is being sent to Earth to receive a medal from the planet’s governor. But while traveling to Earth, she encounters Ross Royer, a man who once tried to date her in college only to be rejected. Ross recognizes Cat’s handball style in Andromeda’s play style and plans to capture her, seeking revenge for her rejecting him and a reward for catching her. 

This eventually leads to a fight where Andromeda kills him and his two accomplices. After she reaches Earth, Andromeda returns to what had once been her home and checks an old hiding place where she finds a communications device left by her uncle, who is the military leader of the Freedom Front which seeks to bring down Ophelia. Upon discovering why his niece is on Earth, her uncle gives Andromeda a tag to plant on the governor which will serve as a beacon for a Freedom Front homing weapon. 

But when Ophelia and her son arrive to be part of the award ceremony, Andromeda is forced to choose her target. In the end, she picks the governor because she is unwilling to cause the Empress’ son to watch his mother die. But this leads to her uncle disowning her because he believes she now has the blood of any future victims of Ophelia’s reign on her hands. And, during the trip to her Legion post, she puts down an underground fight ring, but in the process she angers the officer who was the true brains behind the ring, an officer who soon becomes one of her direct superior officers. 

And some agents of the Imperial justice system suspect, based on her actions at the assassination, that she knew what was coming, so they save a Legion cyborg from execution and send him to try to discover the truth about her. And the native groups which wish to drive the legion from their world are gaining strength, partially due to the Legion accidentally building a base on some of their holy ground. 

But even after the base is moved, native enemies are closing in, leaving Andromeda to face a superior who dislikes her, a cyborg spy seeking her secrets, and an enemy strike force closing in.

I give the book 7 out of 10. The basic story is mostly well-written and the combat scenes are well done, but there are some parts that don’t make sense to me, such as a couple of big ones near the end. Also, it seems like some of the evil actions undertaken by Ophelia or that she remembers undertaking apparently serve no purpose in the book other than making her a worse person from the reader’s prospective, and I dislike such villains in stories. Furthermore, while the back cover makes the assassination seem like the climax to the story, in the actual book it is not even a third of the way through the story and feels to me like more of a step leading to later events then the most vital point in the tale.

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